Shop Vac Silencer Using Ceiling Tiles

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Forum topic by J Azuma posted 05-13-2014 02:40 AM 1433 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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J Azuma

30 posts in 904 days

05-13-2014 02:40 AM

Topic tags/keywords: shop vac silencer acoustic dampening ceiling tiles dust collection

In an article published in Fine Woodworking Thomas Schrunk talks about the possibility of using ceiling tiles instead of acoustic padding. I’m trying to build a silencer on a rock bottom budget so I bought five 2'x2' Armstrong 935 celing tiles for ~$2.50/each. I would have spent over $50 on acoustic padding. I considered buying a sheet of homasote (NRC=.4) but the ceiling tiles were cheaper and better (NRC=.55). However now that I have them home and started working with them I realize that they are very brittle and produce a dust similar to drywall.

My question is: Will the exhaust from the shop vac blasting onto the ceiling tiles produce a super fine and very unhealthy dust? Any comments or advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

-- J Azuma

6 replies so far

View Paul's profile


719 posts in 987 days

#1 posted 05-13-2014 03:19 AM

I have a small shop vac and my compressor in a simple plywood box to dampen the noise.

Is there a reason (apartment) etc that you are trying to dampen the noise to a certain level? I have found 3/4” plywood to dampen the noise of the prior mentioned to a state that I could work without ear protection in a 20’x15’ work space.


View woodchuckerNJ's profile


1140 posts in 1056 days

#2 posted 05-13-2014 03:26 AM

Try Homosote, available at the big box stores. It is a great product for sound deadening, and is nicer than cieling tiles.

I don’t know about the dust from the tiles. I did my enclosure with carpet that I got for free. I don’t like the tiles. When I had to cut mine to create my basement shop the crap from the cutting was very nasty.

-- Jeff NJ

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J Azuma

30 posts in 904 days

#3 posted 05-13-2014 04:20 AM

Paul, the shop in my garage which is connected to the house, but my main desire is to simply quiet it down. I’d like to be able to hear the radio over the shop vac. It doesn’t need to be silent, just quieter. I’m trying to stay very basic and very cheap with this project. My plan is to build a box with an open bottom so that the shop vac remains on the floor and its casters will still be in use. I might build the box first and try it without any extra acoustic dampening material. It might very well be enough.

Jeff, I thought about Homasote, but I’d need a full 4×8 panel at ~$30 that’s almost 3x more expensive than the ceiling tiles. But I have used Homasote in home construction and like it as a product. Carpet is an interesting alternative, how do you like it?

-- J Azuma

View dawsonbob's profile


1840 posts in 1177 days

#4 posted 05-13-2014 04:23 AM

Home Depot sells Homosote in 2×4 sheets here in San Diego. They might in your area, too?

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View bigblockyeti's profile


3579 posts in 1143 days

#5 posted 05-13-2014 12:34 PM

The tiles shouldn’t produce any unhealthy dust with the vacuum exhaust pointed at them. It should work well if you can construct the box in such a way that the tiles will the substantially held together and it’s located out of harms way. Use what you’ve got!

View J Azuma's profile

J Azuma

30 posts in 904 days

#6 posted 05-20-2014 01:15 AM

Just to update. I went with the ceiling tiles and while not a total fail….I would strongly advise against using ceiling tiles. If you don’t have enough money for legitimate sound proofing, just use the plywood box until you save enough money. The ceiling tiles are not at all durable and required an entire tube of caulk to salvage the project. See my blog on dust collection for more details.

-- J Azuma

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