How to Soundproof a Drop Ceiling

The thin, foam panels of your drop ceiling offer a small bit of sound protection from room to room. But the open space above those panels offers the opportunity for almost total soundproofing between rooms. Installing a double layer of insulation above your drop ceiling will cut off the noise from one level of your house to another while helping to make your home more energy efficient and cutting your monthly heating and cooling costs. Adding this sound barrier takes just a bit of time, a few supplies and a little know-how.

A drop ceiling covers an open space that is easily accessible.
  1. Remove the retaining screws from the vent covers in the ceiling with your screwdriver. Set the vent covers aside for replacement after the soundproofing is complete. Twist the outer lock rings free of the lights in the ceiling and set them aside for replacement.
  2. Remove the foam panels from your drop ceiling. Lift one end of a panel. Slide the panel toward the lifted end. Twist the foam panel and pull it free from the metal frame of the drop ceiling. Stack the foam panels neatly to the side keeping them in order for easy replacement. Stack the panels face up, being very careful not to damage the fragile foam surface.
  3. Unroll a piece of R19 insulation with the paper side down. Slide one end of the strip of insulation through the metal frame of the ceiling. Pull the insulation up into the ceiling. Hold the insulation between the wooden joists above the metal frame. Attach the paper tabs on the sides of the insulation to the wooden joists with your staple gun. Cut the insulation as necessary with your shears to achieve a tight, proper fit. Fill every gap between the joists with insulation.
  4. Unroll a piece of R19 insulation and cut it into pieces that are 48 inches long. Replace a row of foam panels into the metal frame of the ceiling. Slide a 48-inch piece of insulation through the metal frame and place it on the top of the foam panel with the paper side of the insulation resting on the foam. Continue replacing panels and place a piece of insulation onto each foam panel. Trim the insulation with your shears to fit around the lights, pipes, conduits and vents as necessary.
  5. Replace the lock rings onto the lights in the ceiling. Replace the vent covers onto your HVAC duct openings and tighten the retaining screws with your screwdriver.

Things You Will Need

  • Screwdriver
  • R19 insulation
  • Staple gun
  • Shears
  • Step ladder
  • Dust mask
  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves
  • Disposable protective suit


  • Use caution and common sense when working on ladders. A fall from even a small ladder can potentially break a bone and cause injury or death.
  • A dust mask, safety glasses, work gloves and a disposable protective suit are necessary to keep you safe from the minute fiberglass fibers that will fill the air around you when you are working with insulation.

About the Author

After learning electronics in the U.S. Navy in the 1980s, Danny Donahue spent a lifetime in the construction industry. He has worked with some of the finest construction talent in the Southeastern United States. Donahue has been a freelance writer since 2008, focusing his efforts on his beloved construction projects.

Photo Credits

  • sensor of broken window on ceiling image by StarJumper from Fotolia.com