Are Ceiling Tiles Good for Soundproofing?

Many homeowners are often faced with the burden of unwanted sounds within their home that drives them crazy. They are forced to spend unnecessary amounts of money creating open space to try and quiet the noise, or they find themselves rearranging the décor so that dense items within the house will absorb or block the soundwaves. While these methods may help, a much easier solution is becoming more prominent that homeowners are currently taking advantage of, which is the installation of ceiling tiles.

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What is noise?

First and foremost, it’s important to understand what noise in the home actually means. The definition of sound is vibrations that travel through the air or another medium and can be heard when they reach a person’s ear. Noise, on the other hand, is a sound that is unpleasant, loud or distracting and causes a disturbance.


We’ve all experienced annoying noises in the home that we just want to go away. Whether it’s the teenager talking on their cell phone, a person playing music, the television too loud or the person in the bathroom is causing a raucous, every homeowner understands the frustration of unwanted noise.


Unfortunately, regular walls and ceilings are mediocre at blocking noise because they are essentially a drum. Drywall, for example, has membranes on the outer two surfaces of the structural framework that’s filled with air. When sound waves strike one surface, it carries through the aforementioned air or framework to the other side where they can be heard.


Thankfully, however, ceiling tiles are taking annoying noises out of the home and in return, creating a quiet, peaceful place that everyone can relax in.


Do ceiling tiles really work?

The short answer? Absolutely. Not only does it work, but it is one of the most effective ways to reduce the transmission of noises. Ceiling tiles have a long history of improving and aiding a noise problem. Whether it’s attached directly to the ceiling or used as a drop ceiling, acoustic ceiling panels and sound absorbing drop panels are both great options. The best part? They are offered in a wide range of materials, sizes, and designs, making acoustic ceiling tiles an affordable and easy option for improving the acoustical qualities of any space within your home.


Some tiles have smooth surfaces, while others have textures that are similar to corduroy. Homeowners never have to worry about the hassle of having to replace them because they simply rest in the suspended ceiling grid, making them extremely easy to replace when the time comes. Because they come in a variety of designs, shapes, and sizes, it’s important not to paint the tiles because it will reduce their acoustical capabilities.


How do ceiling tiles work and what’s the process?

Acoustical drop ceilings help provide soundproofing in two different ways: by absorbing soundwaves, which soaks up sounds and stops it from bouncing around the room, or they block sounds from traveling to an adjacent room. Some drop ceilings do both, while others only have one or the other.


Before you are able to install the ceiling tiles, you need to plan the layout of the suspension grid by measuring the length of the room you want to be soundproofed, dividing it by the length of the ceiling’s tiles and dividing by two if you have a remainder. You have to repeat this process for the width of the room by using the width of the tile as the divisor.


By creating a scale drawing of the room with the measurements you come up with, the smaller numbers will represent the border tiles, and when you place the smaller tiles around the room with the full-size tiles at the center, it’ll create a balanced look for your ceiling.


SFGate provided an easy step-by-step process of how the grid and ceiling tiles are installed to show how it’s a fairly easy and painless job.

  • The ceiling grid consists of a metal L-shaped perimeter secured to the walls, with a group of parallel pieces called the main runners running perpendicular to the ceiling joists
  • Connecting the main runners and forming the individual sections of the grid are the cross tees, and they, along with the main runners, hang from wires secured from the ceiling joists
  • As you snap the pieces of the grid together, you must pay close attention so that the entire grid stays completely level
  • With the graph you created, as well as tools like laser levels, you can then set the outer boundaries, and the tiles are finally ready to be installed into the grid
  • Starting with the four openings in the grid, tilt the tiles into the opening above the grid and settle the tiles into position
  • Once these tiles are in position, shake the grid slightly so that the tiles can form properly, which in return makes it easier to install the rest of the full-sized tiles
  • To cut the smaller tiles, score them with a utility knife, break them into two and then set them in place. Repeat until all of the tiles are placed


What to look for in ceiling tiles

While the process of installing soundproof ceiling tiles may be simple, it’s still important that customers understand what to look for and why. When shopping for either acoustical ceiling tiles or panels, you want to look at two different things: Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) and Ceiling Attenuation Class (CAC). NRC tells you how much sound a ceiling panel will absorb to lessen the noise within a specific room, whereas the CAC rates a ceiling’s efficiency to block sound to adjacent rooms.


When looking to soundproof a room that needs extra sound diminished, like a home theater, game room, etc., you should consider a ceiling panel that can absorb up to 70 percent of sound. Worried about losing room height? Don’t. Suspended ceilings only take up 3” – 6”, meaning there would be plenty of headroom left.


Benefits of ceiling tiles for soundproofing

Besides the obvious benefit of not hearing annoying noises any longer, Soundproof Cow, the leading online provider of soundproof and sound absorbing materials, provided benefits of a soundproof ceiling that you may not have thought about.


  • Acoustic ceiling tiles can be cleaned easily with soap and water while resisting impact. That means you don’t have to worry about putting a messy toddler with food and drinks in a quiet room
  • If you’ve never had people over in your basement for a get-together or party because you were embarrassed that the ceiling had pipes, wires and other things that look ugly to the eye, the soundproof ceiling tiles can actually hide them
  • Bathrooms are possibly the noisiest rooms in the house, with family members taking long showers, blowing-drying their hair for what seems like hours and slamming the door shut. If the ceiling were soundproofed, the people above or below the bathroom wouldn’t have to listen as you dropped the toilet seat


Ceiling tiles are one of your best options

While it may not be the most well-known option, ceiling tiles give homeowners an extremely affordable way to soundproof their homes. A standard 2-by-2-foot panel is only $25-30, and at the end of the day, you are left with a room that is quiet while others in the household don’t have to worry if they’re making too much noise.


There are very few options out there as easy as this one. They are easily replaceable, easy to clean and easy to install. The initial question asked if ceiling tiles were good for soundproofing, yet the article proved that the tiles were not only good, but they go above and beyond for what you’re actually paying for them. Learn how we can help you quiet your home once and for all.

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