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Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

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Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

Postby cako » Mon Jan 04, 2021 3:03 pm

Hi Everybody,

My wife's a singer and she has to train her voice daily with a digital piano. We have to live in an apartment floor, with no same floor neighbors. We only have upper and lower neighbors.

Is it possible to soundproof only the floor and ceiling? Or do we have to soundproof the whole room? No low frequencies will be emitted since only a digital piano and a woman voice will be present. No drums, bass, amplifiers etc. Bare vocals.

Thanks a ton!
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Re: Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Jan 04, 2021 4:54 pm

Welcome! :thumbup:

Bad news is that effective sound-proofing is hugely expensive and requires significant work on the structure of the building - particularly for floors and ceilings.

In all honesty the best option would be to talk to your 'above' and 'below' neighbours and see if you can come to an understanding about times and durations. If that isn't possible or proves unproductive then the second-best is to explore finding a suitable rehearsal/practice space away from the apartment.
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Re: Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Jan 04, 2021 5:02 pm

If you really have to work with the space you've got, it would help to know the following:

- The dimensions of the room within which you practice
- Window size(s)?
- Do you have to use the room for anything else?
- Can any treatment you install be permanent/semi-permanent or does it need to be easily removable?
- Do you own the apartment or rent it?

As Mike says, soundproofing is not a trivial matter but that's not to say that you cannot make some improvements which may help even if only to attenuate the sound heard by your neighbours, leading to better relations with them.

If you absolutely have to use the space rather than find other solutions then providing the information listed above would be useful.
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Re: Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

Postby blinddrew » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:00 pm

cako wrote:Is it possible to soundproof only the floor and ceiling?
Fundamentally the answer here is 'no' because the walls will act as a transmission mechanism.
How much they will transmit will depend on their construction. And how difficult it will be to try and reduce transmission up and down will also depend on your current floor / ceiling construction.
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Re: Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

Postby gullfo » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:22 pm

maybe charge the neighbors a small fee for having a live music performance available when there are no options currently to go out and see one? :bouncy:
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Re: Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

Postby cako » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:31 pm

Thanks for your answers :clap:

Our neighbor above is a very noisy lady herself, she woke me up once at 6:42 by yelling to her son. :bouncy: So I don't think she will mind our practice. She has a very high pitched and loud voice.

The guys below, we rarely hear them, so they are a silent couple. We knocked their door earlier this morning, but they weren't at home. We'll try again now.

We are a musician couple and since the lockdown, we aren't earning any money. So the cheaper the solution, the better because our savings can only last us 12 months or so, provided we don't spend money for anything other than food and bills. So a dedicated rehearsal space is not an option unfortunately at least for now.

Approximate dimensions are lwh= 3m x 3m x 2.7m
1 Window= 1.2m x 1 m
1 Double glazed PVC balcony door 0.9 m x 2 m
1 Door= 0.9 m x 2 m

We own the apartment so portability is not very important and everything is possible. I think a little bit of understanding between parties and some attenuation will be enough.

I'm asking about the attenuation bit :) Can we get it? If yes, how?
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Re: Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

Postby cako » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:36 pm

blinddrew wrote:
cako wrote:Is it possible to soundproof only the floor and ceiling?
Fundamentally the answer here is 'no' because the walls will act as a transmission mechanism.
How much they will transmit will depend on their construction. And how difficult it will be to try and reduce transmission up and down will also depend on your current floor / ceiling construction.

The parting walls are brick walls, floors and ceilings are reinforced concrete of 30 cm or so. Every party has some wooden tiling on their floors and some rugs over it. The construction system is r/c beams and columns.

I know that soundproofing is achieved by mass and decoupling, but I thought maybe only vocals can be controlled by some measures...
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Re: Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

Postby cako » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:37 pm

gullfo wrote:maybe charge the neighbors a small fee for having a live music performance available when there are no options currently to go out and see one? :bouncy:

Hahaha how come I couldn't think of this :headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :headbang: :bouncy: :lol:
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Re: Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Jan 04, 2021 7:26 pm

Given that it is a relatively small space and that the budget is tight, I think the best you can hope to achieve is attenuation as opposed to soundproofing and the floor and ceiling are the obvious places to start.

Note: I'm doing a studio build of my own at present and these are various things I've discovered through research and talking to more knowledegable folks but I'm not an expert in this and I would recommend you seek qualified advice before commencing any expenditure.

For the floor, ideally you want a surface which is not rigidly connected to anything below it. The cheapest way I can think of to do this is to take up the existing floorboards and put a couple of layers of joist isolation tape (it's a self-adhesive dense foam strip that comes in reels) on top of all the floor joists. Clear out any old underfloor insulation and fill the spaces between the joists with Rockwool RW3 (the 60Kg/m3 density) and then lay 22mm tongue-and-groove flooring chipboard over it, sitting on the isolation tape.

You could improve this further by laying some acoustic matting over the chipboard and adding a second layer of chipboard over that.

The boards should not be screwed or nailed at all, but glued to each other along the full length wherever they join. Around the periphery of the floor, leave a gap of 5mm and then caulk it with acoustic sealant.

For the ceiling, I think the best you can do is to install a second ceiling under the existing one, using the Genie Clip system supporting a couple of layers of acoustic plasterboard with an acoustic compound or equivalent layer in between them. This is something of a specialist job (it's doable yourself but I wouldn't recommend it unless you're very confident in your DIY skills) so I would seek advice from a contractor who has experience with acoustic builds.

The ceiling will likely be more effective at attenuation than the floor, but the net effect of both the above treatments should be significantly reduced transmission directly up or down even though the walls will still carry some noise.

I'm afraid that the above in total isn't going to be super cheap either, and it's quite impactful on the room itself of course.

Another, more practical, option may be to look into getting a vocal booth of some kind, which is a self-contained padded cell for the singer to work in, although that may not suit your desired workflow very well.

EDIT: While I was writing this I see you posted that the flor and ceiling is concrete. The same principles apply, but instead of joist tape if you have a solid concrete floor then I'd use a thick layer of acoustic underlay, laid directly onto the concrete, with the floating 22mm chipboard flooring on top of it. I believe the genie clip system can work with solid ceilings but you'll need to take advice on that if you proceed in that direction.

To summarise, treat all the above as a source of ideas and get some qualified input from a company or contractor who can advise further!
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Re: Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:00 pm

If the floor and ceiling are 30 cm concrete it's hard to see how lightweight additional structure is going to make enough difference to justify the expense as the base structure should provide a reasonable degree of attenuation due to it's mass. But, in that case, I'm surprised that the upstairs neighbour shouting at her kids is as problematic as the OP suggests?
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Re: Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

Postby Eddy Deegan » Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:09 pm

I was surprised at that too and was wondering if the lack of flex/movement may have something to do with it. It could be that the window is an area of concern also, in which case a frame made of 2-by-4 to cover it, stuffed with RW3 and covered in fabric, could be worth considering.
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Re: Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

Postby Sam Spoons » Mon Jan 04, 2021 10:11 pm

I can understand footfall from above being intrusive (#1 son the rhythm tap/Irish dancer would probably make his presence felt) but not so much voices, that upstairs neighbour must be a bl00dy opera singer on steroids :oops: It must be coming in from elsewhere...
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Re: Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

Postby James Perrett » Mon Jan 04, 2021 11:40 pm

I'm not sure that it is going to be worth doing much soundproofing here unless you are prepared to do things properly. Soundproofing a floor isn't easy.

However, your construction seems fairly substantial already so your issues may just be leakage through weak points like windows, doors and vents. I had a studio with a similar floor construction and we didn't really have issues in the office below unless someone was playing bass or a drum kit directly above.

I'd suggest trying to work out where the weak points are and addressing those would be the best approach. The large window area may be a bit of an issue as I'd guess that the windows could be a weak point and secondary glazing (which is the best way to soundproof a window) would be expensive.
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Re: Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

Postby Jorge » Tue Jan 05, 2021 2:46 am

Regardless of how good a singer your wife is, I agree with you that not many neighbors really want to listen to musicians practicing exercises, especially if the neighbors are working remotely at home in the winter. Don't ask me how I know this.

You need to do something but given the unamplified vocals with piano and the concrete floor and ceiling, you are already in pretty good shape and don't need a perfect soundproofing solution. A moderate source control approach could work.
Attenuating the SPL in your apartment maybe 6 to 12 dB would drop the leaked sound by the same amount in the neighbor's apartment and probably be adequate to preserve neighborly relations. This would not be enough for drums or amplified instruments but may well be for unamplified vocals, unless she is an opera singer.
So you might try a DIY vocal booth that would fit the piano. Here is one, a PVC frame with sound blankets for ceiling and walls. Here is one link, there are others on the web: https://www.musicianonamission.com/diy-vocal-booth/

The blanket vocal booth #4 could be made big enough to accomodate a piano. The sound blanket they recommend claims a stated noise reduction coefficent (NRC) of 80%. Although this seems to be attenuation of reflected sound, it is not clear what is the attenuation of sound transmitted through the blanket. Probably similar items are available in the UK: https://www.vocalboothtogo.com/product/ ... and-white/

Has anyone tried this kind of vocal booth and measured how much it attenuates sound in the room outside it? I have not found any measurements yet of how well this would work.

I've replaced your original post with this updated version you provided Jorge --ED.
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Re: Soundproofing Only Ceiling and Foor

Postby cako » Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:16 pm

Hi again!

Sorry for the long pause. After some thinking, the conclusion was to build a room inside a room, with the cheapest options in hand.

So we had it done.

Image ImageImage Image

Now we are finishing the room, covering the cracks with plaster. I also started building some panels for the reverberation.

Image
Image

After everything is done, if the absorption is not enough I will try to find some EPDM membranes.

Not what I intented at first but sometimes there's no easy way.

Cheers!
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