How to Soundproof Apartment Ceiling Effectively [2024]

If you live in an apartment complex and your ceiling is someone else’s floor, then enjoying some quiet time can be impossible. 

In these cases, footsteps blaring televisions, loud conversations and any other type of ambient noise can disturb your living space. 

So how do you rectify this problem? 

Since you’re most likely a tenant then you will need to make non-invasive fixes to soundproof ceiling. 

While these fixes are not as effective as construction measures they will help considerably to reduce any noise filtering down from above. 

If you’d like to know how to soundproof apartment ceiling effectively without construction then keep reading. 

Things you’ll need to soundproof apartment ceiling

soundproofing existing ceiling with foam panels
  1. Green Glue

Green glue works great to fill up cracks and holes in the ceiling.

  1. Acoustic foam panels

Acoustic foam panels are your safest bet to soundproof your ceiling without construction.

  1. Adhesive spray

An adhesive spray is the best thing to use to keep the acoustic foam panels securely attached.

  1. Acoustic foam egg panels

These prevent ingoing sound to your space as well as prevent outgoing sounds to be heard outside.

  1. Mass Loaded Vinyl

Mass Loaded Vinyl offers great protection against low and high-frequency noises.

How to soundproof a ceiling without construction

Soundproofing a ceiling without removing drywall can be done in various ways using different products.

Use Green Glue

Before installing anything onto the ceiling, check for holes in the ceiling.

While it may not be common, there may be tiny holes between floors where cables were passed, etc.

It is unusual for holes to be present in newer ceilings, a lot of older ceilings will have them because the property owner is not there to experience the noise and have the issue fixed.

So soundproofing existing ceilings starts with an inspection for any holes, cracks or crevices which may allow noise to enter your apartment.

If you find any, then you can simply seal them up using Green Glue.

Green Glue reduces both airborne noises and impact noises.

However, the one issue is that the glue may not match the color of your ceiling.

For this reason, get the Green Glue described below that you can paint over so it matches the color of your ceiling.

  • Affordable
  • Professional-quality soundproofing
  • Reduce both airborne and impact noises

Green Glue Noiseproofing Sealant offers professional quality soundproofing and is your best bet when dealing with holes in the ceiling.

It helps to prevent sound leaks at perimeters, holes, gaps and spaces.

Green glue adds as much as 9 STC points to walls and ceilings when used between layers of drywall and plywood.

In testing, this acoustic caulk had an STC rating of 56 in a drywall/ single stud wall.

While the STC rating may be significantly lower since you are not placing it in between layers of drywall or plywood, it is still effective at drowning out impact and airborne noises.

Green Glue Noiseproofing Sealant is multi-purpose and can be used on many different surfaces.

These include drywall, glass, wood, metal, concrete and plastic.

It can also be used around electrical outlets, light fixtures, windows and doors.

Installation is fairly easy but you’ll probably need a caulking gun to do so.

Last but not least, this sealant can be painted over to give you the best-finished look.

Put acoustic foam panel

One of the easiest and Safest solutions to their noise problem is putting up some acoustic foam panels. 

Acoustic foam panels are affordable so not only are they easy to install but they are a cheap solution to your noise problem. 

Soundproofing ceiling in apartments is a lot easier than in most houses but there’s a few things you need to know before putting these acoustic home panels up. 

First off,  there are various types of acoustic panels on the market. 

Some are designed for walls in the home while others are great for recording studios and then they are those that are excellent for the ceiling. 

Of course, the more you pay the better quality you get so it may be best to invest a little bit more when purchasing acoustic foam panels for the ceiling. 

However, you can also find some that offer good protection at a reasonable price. 

Secondly, you will find acoustic foam panels available in various colors and designs so choose the pattern and colors you want to match your existing décor. 

sonic acoustics studio pyramid foam

  • Pyramid design
  • 2 inch thick
  • Environmentally-friendly polyurethane foam

Sonic Acoustic foam panels feature a pyramid design to provide sound control on walls and ceilings.

These high-density foam panels lower noise levels to help you create a quiet living space.

They reduce and absorb unwanted echoes, waves, reverbs, and flutter echoes.

These panels work by transforming sound waves into energy and can lower the resonant frequency of decoupled walls or ceilings

These foam panels are made up of environmentally friendly polyurethane and are two inches thick.

Installation is made easy by using an adhesive spray.

Using the adhesive spray to put up the acoustic foam panels

In some instances, the foam panels you choose may come with an adhesive backing. 

However, if it doesn’t then you can use some glue or the better option is using an adhesive spray. 

Adhesive sprays not only help you to easily fix the panels onto the ceiling but can also strengthen the foam panels and offer a layer of defense.

Another good thing about it is that the adhesive is not only made for soundproofing purposes.

You can use this adhesive for various types of projects since it easily bonds together plastic, cardboard, films, paper and other materials. 

It also makes it very easy to remove the acoustic foam panels when it’s time to move. 

Take note and keep in mind that this adhesive is extremely powerful so be careful and take all precautions necessary when using this product. 

Once you seal the foam panels to the ceiling using the adhesive, you should have no worries about them randomly falling off.

This is because the spray adhesive provides a good hold.

  • Industrial grease
  • Versatile
  • Repositionable

To ensure your acoustic foam panels stay stuck to the ceiling, reach for the 3M Super 77 spray adhesive.

This versatile adhesive bonds a wide range of lightweight materials.

These include paper, cardboard, fabric, insulation, plastic, metal, wood, felt, fiberglass, foam, leather and so much more.

This spray adhesive provides a professional industrial strength hold and comes with an aggressive tack that provides a quick bond to reduce set time.

Simply spray on the back of the foam panel and attach it to the ceiling allowing a bond time of 15 seconds to 30 minutes.

if you need to reposition the foam panel then it is easy to do so since the spray adhesive creates soft non-dimpling glue lines.

The best thing about it is that it won’t damage the ceiling in any way if you need to remove the foam panels.

Place some Acoustic Foam Egg Panels

While they do fit into the acoustic foam panels category, acoustic foam egg panels are designed for the ceiling.

At first glance, they may not look as appealing because like their name says they are panels with an egg crate-looking surface. 

While they are not too aesthetically pleasing, this design has shown to be extremely effective in soundproofing. 

The edgier the surface, the better it protects against noise. 

Egg foam panels will prevent sounds from entering your living space and also prevent sounds from leaving your living space.

This way no one can hear what you’re doing below and at the same time, you are not disturbed by what they are doing above.

After installing these acoustic foam egg panels, there will be a significant decrease in the amount of noise coming down through your ceiling. 

However, be careful when choosing from the many egg foam panels available on the market. 

You may find panels with the egg crate design but not the correct thickness. 

Look for egg foam panels that are at least two inches thick for the best results and also choose colors, designs and patterns that best match the look of your apartment. 

  • 2.5 inches thick
  • Great sound absorption
  • Easy to install

The Foamily Acoustic Foam Egg Crate Panel is one of the best acoustic foam panels for noise reduction.

It is 2.5 inches thick and provides an ultra-clean look while taking care of your noise problem.

These panels are also great for spot treating sounds on the ceilings and walls of your apartment.

They have a very high NRC rating and are 1 of the thickest you’ll possibly find.

Foamily Acoustic Foam Egg Crate Panels are made from smolder-resistant materials used in upholstered furniture.

This means that it passes the requirement tested in the CAL 117-2013 procedure.

Just like the other acoustic foam panels, you can use an adhesive spray to attach these panels to the ceiling.

Try Mass Loaded Vinyl

If you find that acoustic panels are not what you’re looking for because they look a bit too bulky and heavy then you can choose to use Mass Loaded Vinyl. 

MLV is hands down the most effective way of soundproofing your apartment ceiling in a non-invasive way. 

For those that are not familiar, MLV is a heavy vinyl sheet that you can use on ceilings, walls and floors for effective soundproofing. 

They have very little effect on the appearance of the room and if you want to keep the interior and design of your room intact, then use MLV. 

Using the right MLV will give you awesome protection from low and high-frequency noises as well as decrease the transmission of vibrations and bass. 

Installing MLV is pretty simple and all you need to do is measure correctly and cut with a sharp knife. 

Just remember the golden rule; measure twice, cut once. 

While it is very effective at soundproofing and fairly easy to install, the price may be a bit on the expensive side. 

But your peace has no price and the truth is that you won’t have to replace the MLV until a couple of years have passed so why not invest in the best solution possible?

  • STC rating of 27
  • ⅛ inches thick
  • Thin, flexible and easy to work with

If you want to get rid of noise coming down from above, then use MLV on your ceiling.

MLV is the superior solution over any other type of soundproofing alternatives for blocking sounds effectively.

Soundsulate 1/8-inch-thick MLV is thin and flexible so it is easy to work with and can be used in a variety of sound control applications without compromising space.

It has a stand-alone STC rating of 27 and when applied to the ceiling, that rate goes up.

The higher the STC rating, the better the noise reduction.

This MLV is made with the highest quality materials that provide superior strength, durability and flexibility while remaining completely odorless.

Installation is easy but you may require the help of another person due to how heavy the material is.

Soundsulate MLV weighs 1 pound per square foot and you can choose how much you need since it’s available in various lengths.

Frequently Asked Questions

soundproof ceiling in apartment

How much does it cost to soundproof a ceiling? 

The cost of soundproofing a ceiling will depend on several factors. 

These include dimensions of the ceiling, the materials you want to use, if you need additional products and whether you’re going to be installing it yourself. 

Of course, the larger the area, the more material you will need so the cost will vary accordingly. 

If you’re looking for a budget option then you can choose the acoustic foam panels. 

 On the other hand, if money is no issue, then invest in some Mass Loaded Vinyl. 

For more, read this how to soundproof a ceiling article.

Does ceiling insulation reduce noise? 

They are two types of noises and ceiling installation reduces both of these to a great extent. 

Airborne noise is caused by external noises like traffic, airplanes, etc and Impact noises are caused due to others’ footsteps or slamming of a door, etc. 

When you install some dampening materials whether it’s acoustic foam panels or MLV, the vibrations are prohibited from reverberating. 

This is what helps to maintain the silence in your apartment. 

These materials also help to maintain the temperature of the room as they convert sound energy into heat energy that gets dissipated. 

If you are living in an apartment with a thin ceiling then you need to install some type of ceiling insulation to create a barrier to stop noise from going out or entering your living space 

What materials can block sound? 

Some of the best materials to block sound include cellulose, fiberglass and foam panels. 

You can also cut off noise by installing materials like MLV, foam panels, Green Glue, soundproofing curtains and blankets. 

These all absorb vibrations which help to keep your place quiet. 

Some of these materials like foam panels and MLV can be applied to walls and other corners of the room to further soundproof your space.

Green Glue can be used to seal any gaps and crevices from which noise can filter in. 

How to reduce noise from upstairs neighbors? 

Simply put you need to make your ceiling thick. 

Add any soundproofing material and you can instantly make your ceiling thick and cut the amount of noise coming down into your apartment. 

You can also opt to create a drop ceiling where an area is left between the existing ceiling and the new ceiling. 

This area is filled with air at a much higher pressure and the air acts like a sound-insulating layer. 

If you have a good relationship with your neighbors upstairs you can ask them to put down a pic carpet on their floor which can minimize noise to a huge extent. 

You can also opt to soundproof your rooms so the noise doesn’t bother you too much.

Read here for the best ways on how to soundproof a room.

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