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Question DetailsAsked on 2/25/2014

Can walls be sound proofed from the attic?

We recently remodeled and moved into an office condo with 11 separate offices. The walls are very thin and you can virtually hear every conversation between adjoining offices. I was wondering if there is any way to sound proof the walls from the attic without tearing holes in newly painted walls?

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5 Answers

0
Votes

Be sure to coordinate with landlord if this is a lease or rental.

Yes - generally, one can use a 90 degree drill to penetrate the top plate and put in blown-in insulation from the top. I always recommend fiberglass rather than cellulose to avoid moisture and mildew in the walls issues. Will cost more than going through holes in the walls, but when you consider the cost of repairing holes and repainting might comes out cheaper, assuming there is reasonable attic access.

If you have suspended ceilings with typical removeable panels, then yahoo - can just punch holes in the wall above the suspended ceiling and work from there, probably at no increase in cost.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

1
Vote

While you can blow in insulation through the method described above I do not know if you will be pleased with the outcome. Adding mass (insulation) will deaden some noise it does not do that much. The sound travels through the studs and drywall acts like a speaker and the only solution I know of that works is to build the walls with double studs spaced so the drywall on one side is isolated from the drywall on the other side.


Don

Answered 5 years ago by ContractorDon

1
Vote

Insulating the interstitial wall cavities will do little to nothing like Don mentioned in his post.


If you pull the drop ceiling, perhaps you can put up some sort of wall that goes further up to the ceiling to control the noise that way.


I would also very much coordinate with your landlord prior to proceeding.

Answered 5 years ago by WoWHomeSolutions

0
Votes

1) WowHomeSolutions brought up an interesting case I did not mention - if the airspace between offices is open in the plenum (space above a dropped or suspended ceiling) then a significant amount of noise can come through that way, though acoustic ceilings do reduce both noise reflection and transmission from above.

2) I am going to have to disagree with Don and WowHomeSolutions on the blown-in insulation not cutting sound - it does. I spent several years working with my brother on building sound studios and theatres (he owned a major recording studio and consulted around the world for recording companies and TV stations designing and building sound stages, recording and TV studios, concert halls, etc), and while Don is right that total separation of studs from the two sides, fiberboard underlayment, rubber isolation strips, and the like are used in professional applications, a large portion of office to office noise can be eliminated with insulation. The drywall does act as a speaker diaphragm - but primarily NOT at the studs where it is tightly fastened and the sound transmitted is largely above the audible frequency, but rather in the open center between the studs, and the bulk of the audible range sound comes through the airspace drywall to drywall, which blown-in insulation WILL significantly reduce.

3) Another solution you could experiment with in just one office at first if you want, particularly if you are only talking basically one or two walls per office, is sound barrier fabric or panels - the fabric, which is fire retardant so it can be used exposed and has a sound reflective backing, you just loosely staple on or hang as a drape. It provides another airgap and resonant velocity change between the drape and wall, which reduces noise transmission, as well as directly absorbing sound because of its low natural frequency. Of course, there are also sound absorbent panels you can buy and install - available for either screw-on and glue-on applications - look basically like the surface panels on office "cube" dividers, and come up to 5x12 feet, though larger than 4x6 or 2x8 is usually special order. Google this search phrase for more ideas along this line - sound absorbing panels.

4) Here is a link to one company whose website has a fairly complete selection of the different types of products available, as an example -

http://acousticalsolutions.com/acoust...

5) Do be careful of fire ratings - check your local fire code as to what rating is required in your situation, as some easy solutions like velvet drapes and cork panels may not be allowed in your area.

Answered 5 years ago by LCD

2
Votes

LCD,


Let me revise my statement a bit as you are also correct.


http://www.stcratings.com/assemblies.html


The filled cavity does perform slightly better. The metal stud wall (likely here) does better than the timber framed unit.


While dense packing is certainly better at controlling air leaks and sound carried on air, the additional mass might not perform as well than the loose fit fiberglass. It is proven that the less dense open cell SPF (by comparison) performs better than closed cell SPF.


I think more examination of the wall and ceiling needs to be done first.


Even empty cavity steel stud walls are very good and if the noise is significant, I think it is probably coming from the top down via the party walls.

Answered 5 years ago by WoWHomeSolutions




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