Home | Residential Soundproofing

Residential Soundproofing

Whether it’s a noisy neighbor to your apartment or you’re trying to mitigate noise from one area of your home to another, residential soundproofing can be a tricky application. Many homeowners and renters aiming to reduce noise are looking for an easy, affordable solution that can be installed over existing surfaces. Residential soundproofing however, for proper application to achieve the results people desire, it often requires structural remodeling to allow for acoustical product installation.  In our experience this has made acoustical treatment cost prohibitive for the general resident.

Prior to any extensive-modeling, or addition of acoustical materials, there are a number of common-sense actions that can be undertaken to make the situation better.

Most important is to seal up any leaks or gaps that exist in the current partition, be it ceiling, wall or floor. Noise is like water in that it will find any leaks or gaps and infiltrate into spaces where it is unwanted. Sometimes these leaks or gaps are not apparent. Back-to-back electrical boxes can be an unknown source of noise leaks. Pipe chases, or enclosures where piping or electrical are contained often bridge multiple areas and can leak noise. Finally, doors are often a significant leak of noise between spaces. Even heavy solid doors often have a significant gap at the threshold and around the head and jambs. At the very least, thermal insulation seals can cut down on much of the sound leaking through.

Moving forward, we’ll discuss the basics of soundproofing a space and will address floors, walls, and ceilings individually.  


Probably the most common complaint in multi-family residential settings is the sound of the upstairs neighbor walking or running, or moving furniture, infiltrating into the space below. While often-times it is airborne sound (voices, television, radio, etc.) most often the culprit is impact sound due to footfall. The guiding factors for the acoustical performance for a floor / ceiling assembly are based on STC (Sound Transmission Coefficient) and IIC (Impact Isolation Class). HUD categorizes both ratings to be a minimum of 50. (See education page regarding STC and IIC)

Ceiling Solutions

Ultimately, an acoustically correct floor / ceiling assembly will incorporate aspects of both treatments. Of course, in rental units, or short-term condo housing, undertaking major construction to the floor/ceiling assembly is often cost prohibitive. Some common-sense approaches to help resolve the issue is to have the upstairs neighbor invest in some carpeting. As stated earlier, a layer of carpet does often resolve IIC issues. Even throw-rugs or strategically located remnant pieces can make a difference with the noise perceived in the lower unit.

A relatively simple way to increase mass (and STC rating) is to have a layer of the mass-loaded vinyl noise barrier installed on the existing ceiling, and then putting another layer of drywall over it. This does a decent job of adding mass and increasing the assembly’s resistance to sound transmission.


The second most common complaint (and probably the easiest to avoid during initial construction) is ability to hear your neighbor next door through the wall. As with floor / ceiling assemblies, there is a HUD (Housing and Urban Development) code for the acoustical rating of a demising wall.

Standard Wall

The most important rating of a partition is it’s STC (Sound Transmission Coefficient) rating. This is a measure of how much sound a single material or assembly will stop. In typical construction, a standard 3 5/8” metal stud with a 5/8” layer of drywall on each side has an STC rating of approximately 40. The same assembly using wood 2 x 4’s has a slightly higher STC of about 42-44. Both are below the HUD recommended number of 50. The result of this type of construction is that normal conversation is easily understood on the opposite side of the partition. The addition of thermal insulation to the cavity between the studs will yield another 3-4 dB on the STC rating.  

There are several ways to increase the STC rating of the partition during construction.

 Staggered Studs

When building the partition, instead of 2 x 4 studs aligned on a 2 x 4 floor plate, it is recommended that the construction be 2 x 4 studs on a 2 x 56 floor plate with every other stud being on an opposite side of the 2 x 6 floor plate. In this configuration, the drywall on one side is contacting only the studs on one side of the floor plate. While it’s not truly de-coupled, it is fastened to an independent set of studs. This configuration will yield an STC rating of approximately 46. Adding thermal insulation to the cavity will increase the STC rating 3-4 dB as well.

Double Wall

The next level of STC rating is to create two independent walls with a minimum 3” airspace in between. This configuration depends on creating two independent and separate masses. Typical STC rating of this assembly will be 54-56. Again, thermal insulation will add 3-4 dB to the rating as well.

There are several other things that can be done to increase the STC rating of a partition besides a simple construction method change. Other materials that can help are resilient channel, Resilient Isolation Clips, Mass-Loaded Vinyl Noised Barrier.

Resilient Channel

Resilient channel is a method of de-coupling the mass of the drywall from the structure of the wall itself. It can be used in single, double, or staggered stud assemblies. Special care must be taken when using resilient channel to not “short-circuit” the assembly by screwing through the resilient channel into the studs beneath. When installed properly, resilient channel will yield an additional 6-10 dB over the STC rating a standard stud wall. Another method that can be just as effective (if not more so) is to use Resilient Isolation Clips.

Resilient Isolation Clips

A Resilient Isolation Clip is also designed to de-couple the mass of the drywall from the underlying supporting structure. The unique shape of the clip works in a way that the clip is screwed to the structure and is shaped to accept a typical hat channel. The drywall layers are then screwed to the hat channel, for a fool-proof installation. The spacing of the clips is predicated on the number and thickness of the layers of drywall. As with other methods of increasing STC, thermal insulation in the cavity will enhance performance. A standard wood stud construction wall, with the addition of Resilient Isolation Clips and hat channel will yield an STC rating of 56.

This assembly can also be used with a layer of mass-loaded vinyl being added between the layers of drywall.

Mass Loaded Vinyl

Mass Loaded vinyl is an acoustical material that is used in many ways. For residential soundproofing, it’s most common use is as an underlayment for the drywall in a demising wall. During new construction, it is screwed to the structure (studs) prior to the installation of the drywall. This method is different from the vibration isolation method of the resilient channel or Resilient Isolation Clips. The barrier is not a resilient layer of material designed to isolate the drywall from the structure. It is a method of adding mass to the wall in a differing thickness and density than the material that will be put over it.

Does DDS Provide any residential soundproofing services?

At DDS Acoustical Specialties we are happy to assist homeowners and property owners make acoustical improvements. Depending on the need, cost for our acoustical products could range from $2,000 up to $15,000.

Examples of applicable residential projects include:

  • New Housing Development
  • Housing Redevelopment
  • Home theaters
  • Sensory Rooms

Typical products for new or redevelopment residential projects include noise barrier under sheetrock and floor underlayment. In some retrofit cases we may also recommend acoustic wall or ceiling panels.

Challenges of Residential Soundproofing

As mentioned, Residential Soundproofing comes with a variety of challenges – cost, accessibility, ownership, etc.

Apartments for example where a resident has noisy upstairs neighbor, this is considered impact noise. The solution to mitigate impact noise would be to treat the flooring of the above apartment with proper acoustic underlayment. This poses a challenge because the resident cannot access the above apartment or even make modifications because they do not have ownership. Some may think that acoustic ceiling panels would solve this issue but that is not the case. However, we are happy to work with landlords and property owners who are interested in making acoustic improvements for their tenants.

Residential Soundproofing
Based on 13 reviews
Amazing products from an amazing company! We have used them now twice at our church and just added one more room for them to do. I had high expectations when they came in initially. They did not disappoint. Everyone immediately noticed the sound quality improvement in the rooms. This product helps us, as a local church, offer a much more comfortable environment for everyone coming into our church. Thank you again everyone at DDS.
Ted Towne III
Ted Towne III
DDS did an amazing job sound proofing some difficult areas. They were great to work with and I would highly recommend them! Just to add...we had DDS come back and sound proof other areas because we were so pleased with their work. Highly recommend!
Jodi Zepke
Jodi Zepke
We are so thankful for the installation that DDS Acoustical Specialities did for a preschool classroom. The panels are making a remarkable difference in the sound in the room! The children and staff are able to concentrate more in the echo-free space. The company was excellent from start to finish! Fair estimate, quick turnaround, prompt, professional and high quality work! DDS was a pleasure to work with and I would highly recommend you call them to help with sound issues! They can improve your sound to make a difference!
Rachelle Kehoe
Rachelle Kehoe
From the very start DDS was a winner in my book. Dave answered the phone, came right out to assess our needs and we had a quote in no time. Their crew was informative, professional and kept their space tight and clean. And the product.... what a difference it has made in our restaurant. Even during the phases we could hear a difference from where the panels were installed and where they were not yet done. I would HIGHLY recommend them!
Holly Neylon
Holly Neylon
We recently worked with DDS Acoustical Specialties on an acoustic solution for a workstation area. We went with a combination of pinnable panels, ceiling panels, wall panels, and art panels, which have exceeded our expectations for the space.
Sarah Rahkonen
Sarah Rahkonen
My church engaged DDS Acoustical Specialties to reduce the noise level in our parish hall. The hard surfaces on the floor, walls, and ceiling made it difficult to converse when the room was full. We are very pleased with both the appearance of the sound absorbing foam panels which DDSAS installed on the ceiling and also with the reduction in the noise level. Many of our members have commented favorably on the improvement. I would recommend this company without reservation.
David Martin
David Martin
Great experience. We had a very severe sound reverberation issue in our town hall meeting room and Tyler and his team solved it quickly and affordably. Town meetings will never be filled with complaints (about the inability to hear) ever again. I highly recommend this company. And if you are ever in the Town of Sharon, Connecticut on a weekday, pop in, go to the second floor and hear for yourself
Brent Colley
Brent Colley
I had a great experience with DDS Acoustical Specialties from start to finish. I have a small physical therapy practice in Burlington, VT. and needed soundproofiing for my office. Mary was prompt and very knowledgable about how I could be helped on the phone and throughout the process. Steve made the long drive to provide and estimate for the work, and was extremely efficient, professional and pleasant to work with during the installation. They soundproofed the doors and ceiling tiles and it's made a tremendous difference.The entire process took about a month from start to finish. I now feel confident that my space is private and secure for my clients. I would highly recommend their services!
Michelle Downing
Michelle Downing
Great company to work with. Reasonable price for an acoustical solution in my 2900 sqf restaurant space. The noise has reduced considerably and people can hear each other even when the restaurant is fully booked. Highly recommended.
Antonio De Trizio
Antonio De Trizio
We had a great experience working with DDS. They checked all the boxes: great service, extremely knowledgeable, great selection at different price points; worked quickly and efficiently. Will use again in the future!
Esme Green
Esme Green

To Get More Information

Rest assured that we have not only a solution, but the right solution, to resolve your acoustical or noise concerns. Request a quote with the button below or contact us for more information about our soundproofing services at 413-248-8118.

Request a Quote