Author Topic: Sound Proofing?  (Read 10431 times)

Hummer

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Sound Proofing?
« on: November 06, 2014, 12:23:22 PM »
I have some renters in my basement suite. They are relatively quiet but I can still hear muffled conversation which I don't really like but I don't want to bother them because they are using normal voices. It's especially annoying when I am trying to get to bed around 10pm. My brother lived in the suite for over a year but he didn't make a peep so I never considered it to be an issue. I should have done this before they moved in but didn't realize it.

House was built in 1981. The suite is completely finished. What can I do with a finished ceiling? Is there some sort of sound proof board I could simply screw onto the ceiling which would't look horrible? I really don't want to add insulation and re giprock and mud the entire basement ceiling. Home depot is promoting that Roxul insualtion but I would have to frame, insulate, board and mud to use that stuff. I couldn't do that while the renters are there, it's too messy. I'm hoping to simply get their permission to enter the suite for a several hours on different days and install an item several hours at a time until it slowly covers the ceiling.

Most of the lighting is on the walls, there is only 2 lights to work around on the ceilings. There are several ducts from our forced air furnace in the ceiling too.
I would want to cover approximately 500 to 600 square feet of ceiling.

I wonder what a foam pyramid panel would like tacked to the ceiling?
Or what they call mass loaded vinyl? Black vinyl might darken the suite considerably though.
Or some sort of sound proof boarding?

Of course, cost is always an issue, this is the MMM forum.... :)

Anyone with experience with this issue? Please advise... :)

Gone Fishing

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #1 on: November 06, 2014, 12:31:12 PM »
Are there bare floors upstairs or down?  Carpet would probably help absorb sound.  I would look for any penetrations as well, amazing how much sound can come from a 1" hole with a 3/4" pipe.  Other solutions might include some sort of white noise when you are trying to go to sleep.

Hummer

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #2 on: November 06, 2014, 12:36:46 PM »
That's a good point. The main living area upstairs is hard wood and all the bedrooms are laminate. I have to say though that I've tried sleeping with a fan on but didn't like that kind of white noise.

GuitarStv

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2014, 12:50:44 PM »
You need a mass-air-mass kinda thing to have it work well as soundproofing.  Rock wool works well for this . . . if you could put a drop ceiling in with some of that rock wool sitting on the panels that would make a huge difference, as you've got a mass - air gap - mass (floor).

Mass loaded vinyl works well when used as designed in a build.  It's usually pretty expensive though.

You also want to make sure that there is as airtight a separation between your place and the noisy renter's place as possible.  Caulk gaps, use expanding foam to fill any larger voids that air can get through, insulate around the lighting fixtures in the ceiling, insulate gaps near the registers in your floor, etc.


http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2125

^ this is a great forum where they discuss studio design and soundproofing.  There's a ton of information on there and ideas for soundproofing that you may be able to adapt.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2014, 12:52:35 PM by GuitarStv »

fireferrets

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2014, 04:35:32 PM »
Are there bare floors upstairs or down?  Carpet would probably help absorb sound.  I would look for any penetrations as well, amazing how much sound can come from a 1" hole with a 3/4" pipe.  Other solutions might include some sort of white noise when you are trying to go to sleep.

I second carpet as a solution. I used to live on a first floor and could only hear the people above me walking when they were in the kitchen or bathroom.

Hummer

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2014, 05:11:02 PM »
Hmmm, tearing up my hardwood isn't something I'm really interested in. Plus installing carpet will cost a bit.

I was wandering through the internet and found this. Link below. It's technically for underneath a floor. But I'm imagining screwing it to the ceiling in the basement suite, and then maybe painting it because it would really darken it if I left it black. I am really trying to limit my renovations to something minimal. It seems like 90% of the solutions involve tearing up the floor or ceiling and re-flooring or re-boarding with giprock. If I can do something simple like I described, I would cut out all that cost and labour. I'm just not sure what it would look like. And I would probably need a couple coats of paint since black bleeds through.

http://www.noisestopsystems.co.uk/floor-soundproofing/barrier-shield-floors

Anybody with some out of the box ideas?
What about the sound board used in lecture theatres? What would it do if I could install that on the ceiling? Would it actually limit the sound transmission? And the cost? It would look different but not bad...

Hummer

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2014, 05:17:14 PM »
I should mention, the link I provided for the floor material would probably run me about $450 for around 600 square feet.
Gyprock appears to be twice that without installing any insulation or sound board.

I really don't want to get gyprock involved.

Gone Fishing

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #7 on: November 07, 2014, 12:14:03 PM »
Hmmm, tearing up my hardwood isn't something I'm really interested in. Plus installing carpet will cost a bit.


Dude, you are way overthinking (overspending?) this.  Get a large area rug off of craigslist for $20-$50 the thicker the better, put it in your bedroom. If you don't have curtains up, get some of those too.  See if it makes a difference.  If it doesn't, then work up the scale a notch.

Another consideration, when I was a tenant, the less my landlord was hanging around in my living quarters, the better.  Having to move some of my stuff, having the rest of it covered with plastic (and possibly broken), then smelling paint for a week as it slowly dries out of a permeable material for a "repair" I didn't ask for, and wasn't necessary to preserve the structure, might annoy me.  And annoyed tenants are not good tenants.   
     

The Architect

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2014, 12:41:46 PM »
Largely, heat insulation = sound insulation. Sound is also deadened by changing media - so drywall ->insulation->subfloor->flooring->your air. You also need to watch for 'drum' effects being created, a large span that isn't built right would transmit more sound than one that is designed for sound resistance.

All in all, it's going to be expensive to really redo it the right way. Sub-floor sound-damping stuff is usually for *impact* sound damping, so I wouldn't try that stapled to a ceiling. Adding a dropped grid ceiling could help, but it sounds like you don't want to do that. Start by sealing holes with foam if you can.

Hummer

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2014, 12:58:38 PM »
Nope, over thinking is a good thing. I am trying to under spend but I can't find a solution that is cheap.

The rug is a good idea but it won't help. I already have rugs on my hardwood in the living area and it makes no difference. We have curtains on every window. Let me clarify this a little.

The renters are below me. I have hardwood floors upstairs and I can hear them(normal conversation) in the 2 main areas of the house that I vacate. The living room and the bedroom. I already have rugs in the living room and it isn't accomplishing my task.

Proper sound proofing involves sound dividers and gyprock which I refuse to do but I am trying to find some other way to limit the sound. That's why I was looking at the floor barrier. If I tacked that to the ceiling downstairs it would probably absorb the noise. However their ceiling would be black from the floor sound barrier which would make the living conditions kind of dark. I could probably screw it onto the ceiling and since it's light/easy to handle, be done in only several hours. The reason I suggested painting it is because it's black. I don't have to though.

To be honest, I could care less if they got mad. They already yelled extremely loud and slammed doors once and I gave them an official warning for "unreasonably disturbing the landlord" (this is legal, it's in the contract). If they do it again, I will happily evict them. However, in the meantime, I have realized that my house was probably not insulated between floors properly (built in 1981)which is why I can hear them(during normal conversation) and I am trying to find a solution. Especially since I plan to rent the suite out for the next 10 years...

I want something in the long term that will work but not cost an arm and a leg. I could wait until these people leave and fix the problem when nobody lives there but I don't know how long they will be here and how long I have to listen to them. I will not tear down walls/gyprock, mud etc... while there is someone living in the space. I understand that is highly annoying to tenants.

This is the MMM DIY forum. I was hoping for some different ideas that are not 'normal' but would hopefully work... :)

Cheers

The Architect

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2014, 01:59:54 PM »
However, in the meantime, I have realized that my house was probably not insulated between floors properly (built in 1981)which is why I can hear them(during normal conversation) and I am trying to find a solution. Especially since I plan to rent the suite out for the next 10 years...

In that case, evict them and make renovations (or better yet, politely inform them that you'll be making renovations and that they are free from any contract fees to find other housing, or that they may continue living there and put up with the renovations). Your house probably was insulated between floors properly - properly for a single-family home is "no insulation." If you hired a contractor to build out that suite as a rental suite, and he didn't put in insulation; then yes, it was done improperly.

I want something in the long term that will work but not cost an arm and a leg. I could wait until these people leave and fix the problem when nobody lives there but I don't know how long they will be here and how long I have to listen to them. I will not tear down walls/gyprock, mud etc... while there is someone living in the space. I understand that is highly annoying to tenants.

This is the MMM DIY forum. I was hoping for some different ideas that are not 'normal' but would hopefully work... :)

Try putting down a carpet pad with a rug on top of it over your wood floor. Carpet pad is super cheap and where most of the insulation/sound properties come from in carpet. That way you've got a temporary solution until you can fix the real problem.

Or look into foam and blown insulation options - you might be able to insulate your floor without many holes. Tearing your floor up and putting insulation in from the top is another possibility, but that'd displace you.

Hummer

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2014, 04:22:18 PM »
Any opinions on this cellofoam?

See attachment.

I'm thinking, glue this to the ceiling. Put a second layer on if necessary and maybe paint to make it look like a normal ceiling.
For a 600 square foot ceiling, I figure I can do the entire ceiling for $180. If I do it twice, $360.

The Architect

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2014, 04:55:38 PM »
Any opinions on this cellofoam?

See attachment.

I'm thinking, glue this to the ceiling. Put a second layer on if necessary and maybe paint to make it look like a normal ceiling.
For a 600 square foot ceiling, I figure I can do the entire ceiling for $180. If I do it twice, $360.

After doing some research, I'm going to walk back my earlier statement. Apparently not all insulation is treated equally, though that link is specifically discussing soundproofing for a studio environment, which may not apply here.

They mention putting more GWB up, that might help and would take as much work as putting up the foam. My understanding of acoustic design for buildings is that if you change media for the sound to travel through, you will improve the sound resistance of an assembly. Here's a site that does a good job explaining it. Click around there, they may have solutions for you.

Spondulix

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #13 on: November 08, 2014, 10:03:38 PM »
I'm a sound engineer... putting a carpet on your floor isn't going to help the sound if it's already coming through two layers of hard material. You can try to plug the gap, and that'll help, but it probably won't eliminate the sound completely.

I'm wondering how much of what you are hearing is the actual voices and how much is reflected sound. If you have a space downstairs that's highly reflective (meaning you hear their voices very boomy and bouncing off the walls, and not just muffled like they're talking next door), reflective sound can be decreased by eliminating parallel hard surfaces in their space. Having a laminate floor means the room is more "live" than if there were carpet, so carpet downstairs would definitely help. If it's a large space, and if you do decide to evict them, consider adding a dividing wall (Even a partial one) or some sort of barrier so the sound can't bounce around the room so much. Having furniture, things hanging on the walls downstairs helps reduce reflections too.

It's technically illegal for a landlord to discriminate, but lease out to women, cause the higher frequencies aren't going to travel through those hard surfaces as much as lower frequencies. Plus they are probably more likely to have furniture, paintings on the wall, etc, which will minimize the physical impact of the space.

Hummer

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2014, 10:49:32 PM »
That's a fascinating thing that you just said. It is a large living area(15 ft x 25ft). It's a couple, but I only ever hear the mans voice well. Usually I just hear muffled talking but , the guy's voice is much clearer than the woman's.

Thanks for the help.

Greg

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2014, 12:05:30 PM »
How much ceiling space does the lower unit have?  Carpeting and even sound matting on the lower ceiling aren't going to help much, but will help.  Good sound matting is heavy and smelly rubber.

If there's space, a better solution is to frame a drop ceiling that's independent of the floor system above and with a new layer of drywall, or drywall over soundboard. This kind of  "Decoupling" with some sound deadening insulation in between is going to work best.  Mineral wool is the kind of insulation that's used for soundproofing, fiberglass doesn't work (as well).

zolotiyeruki

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #16 on: November 09, 2014, 02:08:58 PM »
Would it be possible/effective to blow cellulose insulation in the joist bays between the floors?

jaizan

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #17 on: November 09, 2014, 02:26:57 PM »
Think high density insulation.  Foam and all this low density stuff is no use. 

As for cost, well there's no point spending hundreds on a solution which doesn't work, as you're going to be renting this for 10 years. This needs to be done properly.  Can you lift the floor, put in high density rockwool insulation, then some thick plywood and refit the floor on top of that?
Seal around it to make it air tight.

Better still, put in a suspended sealing with high density plasterboard and high density insulation above that & have no contact between that ceiling and the existing structure.


m8547

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #18 on: November 09, 2014, 09:31:41 PM »
I was at Home Depot today, and they have 4x8 sheets of sound deadening panels for $10 a sheet. It was a kind of papery material about a half inch thick. It was heavy, so it's good for blocking sound, and the fiberous material would be good at absorbing sound too. It looked kind of like the stuff paper egg cartons are made of, but 1/2" thick and more brown than gray.

Goldielocks

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #19 on: November 09, 2014, 10:03:03 PM »
My employer installed white noise generators, designed for voices, into our open office.  It cut the voice noise so much, it is now very hard to hear your neighbor making a doctor's appt, 4 ft away. ( no divider)

I would look at spending that $400 on a white noise machine tuned for men's voices.

Also, yelling and slamming doors once over several months is normal living, not causing an undue disturbance.  Every night or even every week is excessive.  Playing loud music or partying late is excessive.  Screaming baby not on the lease, or barking dog for hours  is excessive.  You may find little support for your concern over noise if you word it the same way as you wrote it here.

If they leave, spend the money for high end ceiling refit with spacers, double construction, rockwool, sealing, etc.  Won't be cheap but your next Tennant could love playing music at a normal level.http://



Hummer

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #20 on: November 09, 2014, 10:54:23 PM »
They were a little worse than you described. 1st night, severe yelling and door slamming. Cops were called by them for themselves as one person kicked the other out. 4 times, in the first week there was very loud yelling. So I wrote them an official warning. Next time, they're gone.

It's been 5 weeks now and they have caused 2 minor disturbance but nothing like the first week. We have been VERY patient with them...

I was also at home depot and noticed some 4x8 sheets of foam insulation. They weren't described as sound deadening though, that sound like what I need. I'm in Canada though and the selection is usually less and the items usually more expensive. I could always order some in though.

I was discussing this with my father in law carpenter and he suggested installing a T-bar ceiling but instead of the usual tiles, just using foam insulation as the tiles. I could make the T-bar grid 4x8 so I wouldn't need to cut anything.

Thanks for the input everyone. I'll keep checking for updates if anyone has anymore ideas.

FoundPeace

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #21 on: November 10, 2014, 03:52:16 AM »
My dad does wallpaper and wall upholstery for a living. Wall or ceiling upholstery is expensive when done by a professional, but not too bad when you do it yourself. My parents did this a long time ago to soundproof their room. It would add some style to the apartment and do a great job of soundproofing without changing YOUR space.

http://www.designsponge.com/2012/03/upholstery-basics-upholstered-walls-part-1.html

RunningWithScissors

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #22 on: November 10, 2014, 10:53:20 AM »
Lots of good suggestions here.  I just want to chime in to reiterate that there's at least two different acoustic issues at play here.  Absorption, including reverberation i.e how 'live' a room is and overall noise levels inside the room, is generally controlled by having lightweight but porous surfaces to prevent sound from bouncing off of hard surfaces.  Examples are the mineral fiber panels in a t-bar ceiling, carpeting instead of laminate floors, and fabric wrapped or foam acoustic panels on walls.  To simplify, these measures generally dampen sound transmission within the room.

However, the main issue here seems to be transmission through the structure to an adjoining space.  In this case, mass and resiliency are our friends.  The idea is to keep the energy of sound waves from travelling through the ceiling/floor/wall assembly.  This is why condos with concrete floors rather than wood framed structures are quieter.  To retrofit this apartment properly, I think you'd need to take down the existing ceiling, fill the joist spaces with friction fit mineral fiber insulation, and even mount a new drywall ceiling on resilient channels.  Multiple layers (i.e. two 1/2" or thicker) of drywall will help provide some mass, and the resiliency of the metal channels absorbs the energy of sound waves, preventing it from travelling though to the space above.  Not easy or cheap, but doing halfway measures probably won't give you the solution you're hoping for.

Also ensure that mechanical ducts aren't connecting both spaces.  It's possible that one duct run supplies air to both the suite and the main living area, and sound is travelling down the duct unimpeded.  If so, there's acoustic baffles that can be added to ducts.  Any other flanking paths or openings need to be sealed as well.

Finally, and completely randomly, you could do what a friend of mine does...she lives close to a school for the deaf and only advertises for tenants there.  They don't mind her classical music, and she only hears the occasional clanking of pots in the kitchen.  She did hook up a door bell and smoke detector with a flashing light to cover the life/safety factor.

FoundPeace

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2014, 02:05:49 PM »
Finally, and completely randomly, you could do what a friend of mine does...she lives close to a school for the deaf and only advertises for tenants there.  They don't mind her classical music, and she only hears the occasional clanking of pots in the kitchen.  She did hook up a door bell and smoke detector with a flashing light to cover the life/safety factor.

I love the creative solution!

Also, those are some good points about the different factors involved in sound proofing. The only problem with adding mass is that it can be a lot more labor intensive.

Adding the baffles to the ducts could also be a big help!

Spondulix

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2014, 09:20:25 PM »
Lots of good suggestions here.  I just want to chime in to reiterate that there's at least two different acoustic issues at play here.  Absorption, including reverberation i.e how 'live' a room is and overall noise levels inside the room, is generally controlled by having lightweight but porous surfaces to prevent sound from bouncing off of hard surfaces.  Examples are the mineral fiber panels in a t-bar ceiling, carpeting instead of laminate floors, and fabric wrapped or foam acoustic panels on walls.  To simplify, these measures generally dampen sound transmission within the room.

However, the main issue here seems to be transmission through the structure to an adjoining space.  In this case, mass and resiliency are our friends.  The idea is to keep the energy of sound waves from travelling through the ceiling/floor/wall assembly.  This is why condos with concrete floors rather than wood framed structures are quieter.  To retrofit this apartment properly, I think you'd need to take down the existing ceiling, fill the joist spaces with friction fit mineral fiber insulation, and even mount a new drywall ceiling on resilient channels.  Multiple layers (i.e. two 1/2" or thicker) of drywall will help provide some mass, and the resiliency of the metal channels absorbs the energy of sound waves, preventing it from travelling though to the space above.  Not easy or cheap, but doing halfway measures probably won't give you the solution you're hoping for.

Also ensure that mechanical ducts aren't connecting both spaces.  It's possible that one duct run supplies air to both the suite and the main living area, and sound is travelling down the duct unimpeded.  If so, there's acoustic baffles that can be added to ducts.  Any other flanking paths or openings need to be sealed as well.

Great response - I completely agree. I had assumed being a Mustachian forum that they wouldn't want to take on the expense of adding a second floor or ceiling, but it is good to lay out how involved it is. It would a major job to really get rid of the problem.

m8547

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #25 on: November 10, 2014, 09:23:45 PM »
I was also at home depot and noticed some 4x8 sheets of foam insulation. They weren't described as sound deadening though, that sound like what I need. I'm in Canada though and the selection is usually less and the items usually more expensive. I could always order some in though.

I've never seen it in Home Depot before, but it's this:
http://www.homedepot.com/p/BlueLinx-1-2-in-x-4-ft-x-8-ft-Sound-Choice-Sound-Deadening-Board-717008/202090237

You could see if they can order it for you? I don't think regular foam insulation will do much.

Cinder

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #26 on: November 11, 2014, 10:00:20 AM »
Throwing this out from left field, but I wonder how dense pack cellulose would work?  You could blow it in between the joists and you would only need minor patches to fill in each hole.  I've seen it done in existing walls before.. It's primarily for thermal insulation, but it may do the trick as well?

Hummer

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #27 on: November 11, 2014, 10:57:57 AM »
Thanks for all the input. Particularly the sound deadening board link there from m8547. I'll look into that and see what the cost is. As I mentioned before, I was chatting with my carpenter father in law and we came up with the idea of putting in a t-bar ceiling. But instead of using a normal 2x4 grid and the normal ceiling panels, I am going to build a 4x8 grid and use either that sound deadening board or some high density foam insulation board. I may end up using both and layer the foam above the sound board. The sound board does look like it is for a finished look. If I used foam, I would have to paint it since the stuff I've been looking at is green or pink.

This may take me a couple months to do but I'll try to update maybe with pictures and results.

Blowing insulation into the joists may be an option too, I just didn't think it would be as effective. I'll keep it in mind. Since I am putting in t-bar, patching a few holes isn't a big deal since it won't be seen.

Here is a cross section of what I expect below, please respond if you think this is a good idea or a bad idea. The main living area only has wall lights so I do not need to take lights into account for the ceiling.

Finished gyprock ceiling
4 inches of air
1 inch of 4x8 sheet of foam. (or a 1 1/2" sheet) sitting on the t-bar and sound board
1/2" of 4x8 sound board and t-bar ceiling.

For a total ceiling drop of ~5 1/2 or 6 inches.

Greg

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #28 on: November 12, 2014, 10:15:03 AM »
It's not a bad idea, but t-bar ceilings aren't cheap either.  You can usually get special sound absorbing tiles from places that sell this kind of stuff, not readily from Home Depot.  In my area I can get them from a drywall supply house. 

I'd stick to 2'x4' grid or smaller, a 4x8 sheet of sound board will not stay in the t-bar grid.  I'm assuming you mean a suspended ceiling system like in an office space.

Guses

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2014, 10:52:50 AM »
Can you add carpeting on the ceiling?

I would look for something with shag at least a couple of inches long. You would be ok screwing this with washers into the ceiling support.

It would probably look cool too...

Hummer

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #30 on: January 03, 2015, 03:54:35 PM »
So I finally decided to go with the basic T-bar design with some insulation on top. I installed approximately 750 square feet of T-bar and ceiling tiles. It took me about 30 hours of labor to complete. I hung the T-bar 6 inches lower than the finished gyprock ceiling. I only had to move 1 light fixture on the ceiling. I also had to cut around 3 ducts and lower them.

I used the basic 2x4 grid and I bought Roxul safe and sound insulation. I simply sat the 3" 2x4 bats of insulation on the 2x4 ceiling tile grid. This appears to have made a large improvement with sound transfer. I will update the thread again if I run into any more noise issues. This seems to have solved the problem.

The only problem with this installation is the cost. It doesn't seem very mustachian to me. The entire project cost me around $1,500 CAD.
$2 CAD per square foot, I'm not sure if that is good or bad.

Greg

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Re: Sound Proofing?
« Reply #31 on: January 05, 2015, 10:40:13 AM »
If it helps then it's money well spent.  Certainly cheaper than hiring it out, plus you learned a new skill and know it was done to your standards (good or bad heh).