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There are some areas in your home, such as your home studio and your room, that you need to soundproof. One excellent way to do such is to use acoustic hangers. This soundproofing material works excellently for insulating sound waves.
Acoustic hangers are elastic materials that you suspend on the ceiling. They work to reduce vibration and noise insulation. Since acoustic hangers have elastic elements, they work well in preventing the propagation of structural-borne noise and vibration.
There are many uses for acoustic hangers. But you first need to understand them deeply to ensure that they will work for your soundproofing needs.
What is an Acoustic Hanger?
Using acoustic hangers is a widely popular method used to add acoustic isolation in areas that require soundproofing. They are an excellent method of preventing airborne noise from infiltrating your home through your ceiling structure.
In addition, acoustic hangers avoid noise and vibration from your second floor entering the room below it.
Hung ceilings often act as sounding boards that amplify the noises and vibrations that pass from the building structure through the suspension wires. Such happens due to the hung ceiling nature of construction. These cases are something that acoustic hangers prevent.
But before you can install acoustic hangers, you should know the three essential components that you need to improve to soundproof a ceiling:
- The mass of your ceiling
- The ceiling’s resilience
- Sound absorbency of the ceiling
The Mass of the Ceiling
To achieve the mass of your ceiling, you need to add two layers of acoustic plasterboard. It is also ideal for installing some high-density wool.
The Resilience of the Ceiling
This factor is the springiness of your ceiling. Without ceiling resilience, adding mass will only provide a little benefit. Fortunately, acoustic hangers are a cost-effective solution if you want to improve a ceiling’s stability.
The Ceiling’s Sound Absorbency
By adding various components to your ceiling, you will help it trap more sound waves.
Once you fully understand these three components, you can proceed to install acoustic hangers for soundproofing.
How do Sound Waves Travel through the Ceiling?
Generally speaking, the noise coming through your ceiling is the worst form of soundproofing problem you may encounter. There are two reasons for that:
- Today’s hard flooring choices do not aid in controlling noise problems.
- If your home has an upper floor, a footfall causes much energy to the upper floor, causing impact noise and vibration, overwhelming many standard soundproofing methods.
Moreover, there are two ways sound waves travel through your ceiling:
- Flanking noise
- Airborne noise
If your ceiling serves as the flooring of your second floor, then chances are you have already experienced the disturbance of impact noise.
Impact or flanking noise happens when someone from your upper floor is walking, moving furniture, or has dropped something on their floor.
Such a tremendous amount of vibration will travel from the flooring above and enter your ceiling framing.
Moreover, the ceiling framing is highly conductive. For this reason, it allows vibration to travel easily.
Another problem that arises due to vibration is that it also enters your room through the walls. The reason is that the ceiling framing is directly connected to your walls.
Another way that sound waves and vibration travel through your ceiling is via airborne noise.
Sound waves are powerful enough to travel through any solid medium. Meaning they can enter your room directly by traveling through your ceiling.
Even if the ceiling has some soundproofing efforts, that is sometimes not enough, and you will still experience some noises entering your room.
In addition, sound travels along with the air. For instance, if the person in the room above you is playing music on their speakers, the sound waves will go with the air and infiltrate even the most minor gaps that it can pass through.
Your ceiling generally has holes for ceiling fans, lights, and ventilation. These holes can serve as a passageway for sound waves to get into your home.
Fortunately, you can get rid of these noises by installing acoustic hangers.
How to Install Acoustic Hangers
Acoustic or isolation hangers are an excellent soundproofing material. They work well in stopping airborne noise from proliferating within your home.
However, you need to install isolation hangers correctly so that you can get their full benefits.
Before you start with the installation process, the first thing you need to do is to prepare the materials:
- Measuring tape
- Scaffolding or ladder
- Chalk line
- Powder-actuated fastener
- Screwdriver or drill
- Pop-rivet gun
- Aviation snips
- Sheet metal punch
- Utility knife
- Wire cutting pliers
- Compass or dividers
- String or keyhole saw
In addition, you will need some protective equipment during the installation process:
- Safety glasses
- Hard hat
Determine the ceiling panel’s direction
Ceiling panels generally run in the direction where they show the most pleasing finished appearance. The wood beams must perpendicularly orient to the joists in terms of spaces with wood joists or bars.
If the joists are covered with a drywall ceiling, you need to find all the joists and mark them.
Determine the size of the border panels
Dividing a dimension of the space by two feet will allow you to determine the sizes of the border panel.
For instance, you have a ceiling space measuring 10’8” x 14’2” with deck joints running in the direction of 10’8”. If you divide 10’8” by 2, you will have five entire panels plus the remaining eight panels.
However, it is not possible to begin the installation with a full panel against one wall and leave an 8” border on the other semi-corner. The reason is that the acoustic hanger installation will look unbalanced. Additionally, two frames with a size of 4” each would look too small.
To manage this issue, you need to add 24” to the 8” dimension. That would be equal to 32”. Now, divide the sum by two, and you will get 16”. As a result, you will be able to divide the room into four panels, with additional 16” border panels.
You need to do the same process in the other direction that measures 14’2”. Such will let you install the isolation hangers in a balanced way.
Install the perimeter trim
Ensure that there is a three-inch gap below the duct, the old ceiling, wirings, or pipes. The gap will serve as a clearance where you can maneuver a lay-in panel into the grid’s opening.
Place a marking for the height that you want for the new ceiling, including the height of the wall molding. Next, mark a level line around three walls, leaving one wall untouched. Snap a line of connecting chalk on the remaining wall.
After adding markings on the wall, the next thing you need to do is to attach the molding securely. If you are installing on wood, either screws or 6d nails will do. You will need to use screws for metal.
On the other hand, you need to use either expanding anchors or powder-actuated fasteners for stone and concrete walls. You also need to ensure that the joists between the molding inside and outside corners are tight.
Mount the hangers and fasteners
You need to install the hangers above the main beams every four feet. You need to snap a chalk line for every main beam.
The next step after that is to attach wires and hangers to the deck above the main beams’ first row. There should be four feet intervals for every attachment.
Stretch another guide string from one corner of the room to another, just below the molding, where you will hang the first main beam.
Next, place a leveling string from one side to another. You have to stretch the string 7 to 8 inches above the wall molding’s bottom part.
After making sure that the two guide strings are leveled, bend the wires at the height of the string. This way, the main beam will hold at the right height.
Install the first main beam
Now that the wires are secure, you can proceed to install the main beam’s first section. To do this, install a hanger wire into the hanger wire hole on one edge of the main beam. Bend the wire up and wrap it around itself thrice.
After attaching the first wire on edge, proceed to insert all the other hanger wires.
Mount the border cross tees
Find where the first border cross tee should sit. After locating it, place the end of the cross tee’s white face against the wall molding located at the side. Once done, cut the cross tee right where it crosses the guide string.
Insert the uncut edge of the cross tee into the main beam that you installed earlier. Make sure to rest the cut end of the cross tee on the molding.
Repeat this process for the remaining cross tees. After installing them all, attach the cross tees temporarily to the wall molding. This way, they will not move while you are doing the following process.
Square the grid
Join the additional units of the main beam until you achieve the required length to reach the other end of the wall. Attach the hangers and make sure to check the level while you are proceeding with the installation process.
To begin mounting the second row of the main beam, use the leftover piece of the first row’s main beam. Next, mount four-foot cross tees in between the two main beams. The cross tees should line with the first two border cross tees.
After installing the cross tees between the main beams, the next thing you need to do is to measure through the diagonals of the 2” x 4” opening. If the grid is square, the measurement that you will get will be the same. But if it is not, make one of the main beams shorter until the diagonals are already equal.
Continue to install the remaining main beams and cross tees
Use the process above to complete the installation of the remaining main beams and cross tees.
If you need to install additional rows of main beams, stretch an extra guide string from one corner of the room to another.
Make sure to align it with the first four-foot cross tees.
The additional string will serve as your guide when you cut the remaining central beam rows.
Notably, you have to line up all the cross tee slots so the grid would be square.
Install the panels
Once you are done installing the isolation hangers, the next thing you need to do is install the ceiling panels.
Before installing, you need to measure and cut your border panels one by one. Use a leftover main beam section or cross tee as a straight edge.
Next, cut the panels face up using a sharp utility knife. Make sure that you are wearing gloves before cutting to prevent any accidents.
To install the panels, you need to tilt the panels a little and lift the above framework. After that, rest the panels on the cross tee and edges of the main beam carefully.
Benefits of Acoustic Hangers
The first benefit that you can get from installing acoustic hangers is soundproofing. This soundproofing material improves your existing ceiling by reducing impact and airborne noise.
Acoustic hangers also fix existing concrete and timber joist ceilings in only one fixing. However you have to note that installing isolation hangers will take time and effort.
Additionally, you can use acoustic hangers to hide pipes and wiring. They are also beneficial when you need to access ceiling pipes and wirings because acoustic hangers are easy to detach.
You can lift this soundproofing material simply to the side. This way, you will be able to conduct repairs. After the job is done, you can quickly drop the panels back in place.
- Acoustic Hanger: New Range Of Acoustic Hangers For Increased Sound Insulation, AMC Mecanocaucho, https://www.mecanocaucho.com/en/products/acoustic-hanger/
- Acoustic Isolation Hangers (ARH-1), Silent Source, https://silentsource.com/acoustic-soundproofing-products/featured/isolation-hangers/
- Ceilings Installation Guide, Gyproc Saint-Gobain, https://www.gyproc.ie/sites/default/files/Gyproc%20Ceilings%20Installation%20Guide%202019%20Final.pdf/
- How sound travels through a ceiling, Soundproofing Company, https://www.soundproofingcompany.com/soundproofing_101/how-sound-travels-through-a-ceiling/
- Isolation Hangers, Mason UK Ltd., https://www.mason-uk.co.uk/isolation-hangers//