How to Soundproof a Ceiling without Construction

How To Soundproof Your Ceiling Without Doing Any Construction

While there can be quite a significant number of benefits to living in an apartment, there are also quite a few drawbacks. Neighbors can fall into both categories, depending on who they are and what they’re like. Even if they’re quite nice, they can often be noisy.

This is especially true for upstairs neighbors, as we’ll often hear their footsteps, washing machines, and more. Nobody wants to put up with this noise, although we might not know how to stop it.

Naturally, the easiest way to do this will be to ask them to keep the noise down. While many neighbors will oblige as best as they can, they often might not be as quiet as you might like. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll have to put up with the noise levels for long.

While insulating walls and ceilings will be quite useful at soundproofing your home, this might not be possible for people living in apartments. Since you’re more than likely renting, then you’re not going to be able to make any major changes to the apartment.

This can often lead to some of us being in a bit of a bind. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t things that you can do. Instead, you’ll be able to soundproof your ceiling without construction with a few simple steps.

What You’ll Need

Once you’ve decided to soundproof your ceiling, you’ll have to get each of the materials that are needed for it. However, many of us might not know where to start with this, especially when it comes to avoiding any construction.

Despite what you might think, you’re not going to need to buy too many materials. However, you’ll need to spend a significant amount of time comparing different products to make sure that you get the best ones for your needs.

Before you start buying any materials, you should first measure the ceiling and other areas that you’re going to soundproof. This will make sure that you know how much of the materials you need to purchase. It’s best to be as accurate as possible when doing so.

At the same time, it’s also recommended that you buy slightly more than you think you might need. This will be in case you make any mistakes when soundproofing your ceiling, so you might need some back-up materials.

Once you know how much space you’ll be soundproofing, you’ll need to buy the materials. The most prominent ones you’ll need are:

☛ Mass Loaded Vinyl; This offers a significant amount of protection against a large number of sounds, especially when used in layers.

☛ Acoustic Foam Panels; These are one of the most effective ways of reducing the noise that comes through any surface, even the ceiling.

☛ Acoustic Foam Eggs; Not only do these prevent sound from coming into your apartment, but they should also stop noise from going out.

☛ Adhesive Spray; This is an easy and effective way to apply acoustic foam panels and eggs to your ceiling.

☛ Acoustic Caulk; This will be needed to seal any cracks or holes that may be in your ceiling, which you’ll need to pay a significant amount of attention to.

Typically, you’ll be able to find the majority of these in any DIY or hardware store, although they can often have quite a limited number of options. Alongside this, they may be much more expensive than you might want.

However, you’ll be able to avoid them by buying them online. While this will mean that you’ll have to wait several days before you get the materials, the cost-savings should be worth it. Alongside this, you’ll be able to compare more items to make sure that you can choose the right ones for your needs.

Steps To Soundproofing A Ceiling Without Construction

Naturally, the first step you should take is to speak to any noisy neighbors and ask them to keep the noise down. Alongside this, you could ask them to put down some carpet or other materials so that less noise comes into your apartment.

However, there’s a significant chance that your noisy neighbors aren’t going to change anytime soon. This could simply be because they’re not as nice as you might have thought and will ignore what you’ve asked them to do. Some might even make more noise afterward.

This doesn’t mean that you should stop there. Instead, this has just been the first step to take. There are quite a few more that you’ll be able to take without having to resort to any construction.

1. Using Acoustic Foam Panels

Acoustic foam panels are arguably the easiest and most effective options to take advantage of. This is predominantly because they’re quite easy to install and have quite a large sound-dampening quality. Coupled with this is their affordability, so you shouldn’t have to spend too much money to get as much as you need.

Despite how easy to put up these are, there are a few things that you should know before soundproofing your ceiling with acoustic foam panels. The most notable of these is focused on the various types of panels that you’ll have available.

The majority of us will expect that any of them can be placed anywhere, although this isn’t necessarily the case. Instead, some are great for walls and some for ceilings. You might also be able to find a few that offer a certain amount of protection for both.

acoustic foam panel

This is something that you’ll need to keep in mind when you’re choosing which acoustic foam panels to buy. There’s also a variety of color options to choose from with many brands. While this might not be a large consideration for many of us, it’s still worth looking at.

Alongside this is the price. While you might want to keep your budget low, you might have to spend a certain amount to make sure that you get high-quality acoustic foam. Though these should still be relatively affordable, you might need to balance the effectiveness and price when buying them.

2. Use Spray Adhesive To Install Foam Panels

While you’ll be able to find many acoustic foam panels that have self-adhesive properties, a large number of them will not have this. Though this isn’t too large of an issue, it does mean that you’ll have to spend a significant amount of time choosing an adhesive.

Typically, it’s recommended that you choose one that comes in the form of a spray. This will make sure that you’re able to cover the entire back of the foam panel quickly and easily. When you’re choosing one, you should always make sure that it’s as high-quality as you can.

While the acoustic foam panels may feel relatively light, they can be too much weight for many types of glue, so they’ll eventually fall off. However, choosing a permanent adhesive should avoid this, so it should be worth the additional cost. After all, none of us will want to apply and reapply the glue regularly.

Use Spray Adhesive To Install Foam Panels

How much of it you’ll need will depend significantly on how many acoustic foam panels you’ll be putting up. However, one or two sprays should be more than enough. You should make sure you put safety first when you’re using it and make sure that you don’t get any in your eyes or mouth.

Once you’ve sprayed the back of the acoustic foam panel, it’s a matter of holding it against the area that you want it attached to. How long you have to hold it there can vary, although this shouldn’t be longer than a few seconds.

An additional benefit to using an adhesive spray is that it should be quite easy to take the acoustic panels down when you’re moving.

3. Put Up Acoustic Foam Egg Panels

We mentioned above that some acoustic foam panels are great for walls, while others are better for the ceiling. This could lead to many people wondering which ones they should get. While most should be effective, one of the better options is acoustic foam egg panels.

Though these will look like Styrofoam egg holders, they’re quite effective at absorbing sound and are designed specifically for the ceiling. This should mean that they’ll be your first consideration when you’re soundproofing it.

This is mainly because the somewhat edgier surface absorbs sound much better than their flatter counterparts. They’re also quite thick, which helps to make them much more effective. This thickness is something you should pay a significant amount of attention to with any soundproofing product.

As a rule of thumb, thicker products will offer much more sound absorption than others, so it’s recommended that you purchase the thickest one possible. The acoustic foam egg panels should make sure that no sound gets through it, regardless of whether this is noise coming into a room or leaving it.

While these might be slightly more expensive than some of their counterparts, acoustic egg foam panels are definitely worth the investment. When you’re applying them, you should take the same steps as mentioned above.

4. Use Mass Loaded Vinyl

Since the majority of acoustic foam panels have to be thick so that they’re effective, many of us might not want to use them. This is because quite a lot of us might feel that they’ll take away from the appearance of the room. Despite the noise benefits that they’ll offer, this could be quite a noticeably drawback.

If this is the case, then it’s worth considering using mass loaded vinyl, which have quite a significant number of benefits. If the appearance of the ceiling is something that you care about, then these could be one of the better options for reducing the noise.

These are usually much thinner than acoustic foam products and offer a lot of sound absorption. However, this might not be as large as many foam products, so you may need to put down a few layers to make sure that the sound is reduced as much as possible.

This doesn’t mean that they’ll take up as much space as the acoustic foam products, although they’ll still add to how low your ceiling gets. Another benefit of these is that you can use them almost anywhere, so if you’ve got some spare mass loaded vinyl after your roof is done, you could try it with the majority of other areas.

When you’re applying these to the ceiling, or anywhere else for that matter, you’ll need to make sure that you’re using a high-quality glue. As we mentioned above, spray adhesive can be quite useful for this, which is why it’s worth buying.

5. Check For Holes & Fill Them

One thing many of us might not consider is whether or not there are any holes in the ceiling. While it’s easy to spot any large ones and have them fixed, many of us might overlook the smaller ones. These could still be an issue as far as noise is concerned, so you’ll need to fill them.

For newer buildings, you shouldn’t need to do this, although you might have to if you’re in an older one. These will typically be found in areas where wires are or were passing through. You might need to look for these if you’ve done all of the above and you still hear a lot of sound through the ceiling.

Thankfully, these shouldn’t be too difficult to fix, with the most challenging part being to actually find them. Once you have done this, you’ll have to fill them with acoustic caulk, which should only take a few minutes to be applied and dried.

One thing that you’ll have to consider when you’re buying acoustic caulk, however, is the color of your room. While many of the products can be painted over quite easily, there are a few that can’t be. Though not too noticeable, it could be something that you might want to consider.


Typically, soundproofing your ceiling isn’t an expensive process, especially if you’re avoiding any constructions. However, it will take a considerable amount of time and effort to do properly. As such, you should be prepared to put a significant time investment into it.

If you can convince your neighbors to keep the noise down, then this will help you avoid the majority of the steps above. When you’re doing so, though, you’ll need to be a good neighbor too and reciprocate.

Hopefully, if you lead by example, then your neighbors will follow suit and start becoming quieter. If this happens, then you shouldn’t have to do much work. However, it’s still recommended that you do some of the above steps, regardless of how much quieter your upstairs neighbors get.

Despite how much time and effort you’ll have to put into soundproofing your ceiling, it can be well worth it. However, if you don’t have much time left on your lease and plan on moving out, then this might be too much of a time and energy investment.

If that’s the case, then it could be worth skipping the steps entirely and putting up with the noise for the last few weeks of your lease. After all, there’s no point in putting in the money and time if you’re not going to see much of a reward from it.