Trying to soundproof walls in a room with a dropped ceiling is nearly incongruous. By nature, drop ceilings are built with lightweight tiles that are designed to reducing echoing in the room, but they do very little to block sound. So, no matter how soundproof the walls are, the ceiling won’t be. However, with that being said there are some options you can consider to strengthen the ceiling so that you can effectively soundproof the walls. It is best to discuss these options with a contractor who has significant soundproofing experience because this type of project is best left in the hands of a professional.
Lower the Ceiling
One option is to drop the ceiling framing down a couple of inches and attach a layer of green glue compound and then a layer of drywall. Then you can run layers of green glue and dry wall down the existing walls down to the foundation. Once the walls are finished, seal two layers to the foundation as well. This will work, but the down side is that you will lose ceiling height. In some spaces, that isn’t practical.
Remove the Ceiling
Another option is to remove the suspend ceiling altogether. Once the old dropped ceiling is removed, you put new, lower ceiling joists between the original joists. The new joists should be smaller than the old ones, with one at each end. After that, you can build a new drywall ceiling. For this application, a layer of green glue and two layers of 5/8″ think drywall work best. Once the new ceiling is in place, you can then proceed to sound proof the walls.
Replace the Tiles
If your dropped ceiling has tiles, you can replace the tiles with acoustic tiles. Acoustic tiles will help keep noise out from above and below. However, some experts argue about how effective acoustic tiles really are. Even though replacing the tiles may seem like the easiest option, you should do some research and find out how effective acoustic tiling really is and whether or not it will suit your particular needs.
Obviously it does very little good to have soundproof walls if the suspended ceiling isn’t soundproof. In order to properly soundproof your room, you have to deal with the dropped ceiling first and then work on the walls. The idea here are presented as a starting point, but as stated earlier, it is best to consult with a professional. In fact, it would be best to consult with a few different contractors because each one may have a different solution to the problem. Because all rooms are unique, this it one remodeling job where it will pay off handsomely if you do some research first and get different perspectives on the project.
About the Author: Lianne Lillois a specialist who enjoys working on both residential and hotel soundproofing projects. The more time you spend identifying the source of the noise, the easier it will be to remedy your situation.