Impact Noise Reduction in Five Steps.

Impact noise reduction requires soundproof ceiling

There are many factors that go into the decision regarding impact noise control. First, you need to clarify your own needs with regards to the reasons you need to soundproof ceiling. Some questions that you need to ask yourself are:

  • Do you want to accomplish impact noise reduction from the room above?
  • Do you want to reduce impact noise between adjacent rooms?
  • Do you want to quieten the whole house, or a specific room?
  • What degree of impact noise reduction or soundproof ceiling you need?
  • Once it is clear in your mind what you want to accomplish, how it can be done?

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Difficulty with impact noise reduction

Impact noise in buildings is much more difficult to control than airborne noise. The reason for this is that impact (footsteps, dropping objects, shuffling of chairs, hammering, etc.) imparts much more vibrational energy into the building's structure than does airborne sound. The noise then propagates through the structural elements far and wide.

Depending on the degree to which you want to reduce impact noise, one or more, or all of the following steps will be necessary:

  • Make sure the floor in the room that contains the noise source does not squeak.
  • Install a carpet with thick under pad in the room that contains the noise source. This is by far the best method to obtain soundproof ceiling and damping impact noise.
  • Install drywall over resilient channels on ceiling and walls in the room below the noise source.
  • Install floating flooring in the room that contains the noise source.
  • Build a room within a room in the space that you need to shield from the impact noise.

I should note that the first two steps have virtually no effect on reducing the airborne noise transfer, but the last three steps will also significantly contribute to reducing the airborne noise transmission in the spaces in question.

Obtaining a soundproof ceiling

Implementation of each of the steps (except perhaps carpet installation) demands specific skills and knowledge that a typical building contractor does not possess. Paradoxically, some contractors think they know soundproofing, but, as the saying goes, "little knowledge can be dangerous". The Internet is full of soundproofing advice, but some of it is not credible. Applying even good advice to a specific job site and obtaining the required improvement in sound attenuation requires specialized expertise.

This excellent article provides more information about this topic.

In order to make sure that your soundproofing job is done right, I strongly recommend that you consult a competent soundproofing consultant, or acoustics consultant at the planning stages of the project. This advice is surprisingly affordable and the cost will be returned many times over by avoiding project issues and re-work.

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About the Author Ivan Koval

The author is the publisher of the Soundproofing.Expert website. He is a soundproofing and building acoustics consultant working in Toronto and GTA, Ontario, Canada. Telephone (416) 471-2130

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