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Isolating Footfall Noise Through Ceilings

What Will Work

There are not many options for treating the ceiling to isolate impact footfall noise. Whether the structure is of wood or concrete, it requires significant resilience to isolate the intense vibrations from impact footfall noise.

In order of highest performing to lowest performing

Decoupling

Treating the issue of impact footfall noise from the ceiling below leaves only resilient sound clips as a viable option. We recommend GenieClips because of the extensive IIC testing for the clip showing exceptional performance at 80 and 100 Hz. The IIC test does not include these two key frequencies, but the frequencies are still important because of the difficulty in isolating low frequencies and the number of complaints regarding low frequency footfall noise transfer. View the GenieClip.

Damping With Decoupling

Green Glue Compound on a fixed drywall ceiling alone will not help much with isolating impact footfall noise. The intensity of these vibrations is simply too much for any damping compound to handle in a rigid ceiling (drywall screwed directly to framing). However, if the ceiling is resilient, meaning suspended from resilient sound clips or resilient channel, then Green Glue Compound will have significant value in isolating impact footfall noise. This is because damping compounds, like Green Glue Compound, are efficient in resilient assemblies that allow the drywall to flex, thus allowing the Green Glue Compound to shear and work as intended. View Green Glue Compound tubes or Green Glue Compound pails.

What Will Not Work

In no particular order

Adding a layer of drywall

An additional layer of drywall will do nothing to help isolate impact footfall noise. Resilience is key to reducing impact footfall noise so additional mass will not help unless combined with additional resilience, i.e. resilient clips.

Resilient Channel/Furring Strips

Resilient channel does have significant benefit when combined with Green Glue Compound. Resilient channel by itself will provide minimal benefit to isolating impact footfall noise. Furring strips provide little resilience with no real benefit in isolating impact footfall noise.

Insulation

Insulation is necessary in sound isolation to avoid resonance issues (basically a drum effect), but provides no benefit in isolating impact footfall noise. This is because the vibrations pass through the joists rather than between the joists.

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