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Soundproofing project runs into safety issue

Ceiling lights may ignite insulation

Q: We live in a two-story house that has recessed floodlights in the first-floor ceiling and have been told that we cannot add insulation to the second-story floors because of the floodlights. We plan to build a two-story house with lots of recessed lighting. How do you use recessed lights and still soundproof the floors? A: We love recessed lighting and have put a lot of it in over the years. When installed properly, it does its job, it looks good and, at $10 or so a fixture, it's inexpensive. When you say "soundproof," we hope that you are asking how to limit the sound transmitted between floors, not totally stop it. Eliminating sound on the ground floor created by foot traffic on the second floor is virtually impossible and definitely impractical in a residential application. Although recessed lighting (we call them cans) is an obstacle because of the heat it generates, the problem is not insurmountable. We suggest you approach sound attenuation in the following manner. First,...