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You intend to create a nice reading room and office in the basement to escape the noise in the living room. However, with people walking, talking, singing, and cooking upstairs, you still face the challenge of noise.
How do you soundproof your basement and make it safe for work or study? You can soundproof your basement using fiberglass, foam, cotton, or polyurethane acoustic panels directly onto ceilings. You can hang ceiling baffles to absorb sounds if you have large, open-concept basements with hard floors.
In this article, I give you a step-by-step process of soundproofing ideas. We will also see DIY ways of preventing noise from entering the basement or escaping.
You might also enjoy reading: How Much Does It Cost to Soundproof a Garage?
What Kind Of Noise Will Interfere With Your Basement Operations?
Anyone looking to stop noise in their basement must answer this question. You will face two types of noise: impact and airborne. Airborne noise travels through the air. For example, your young kids playing loud music or practicing current hit songs in their bedroom above the basement.
They could also be fighting, screaming, or playing TV in the living room, and this noise enters the basement through the air.
On the other hand, Impact noise travels through objects or surfaces. For instance, you could hear someone using the staircases or kids hitting a ball on the floor. The noise vibrates through the floor to the joists and your ears.
You can lose concentration because of these disturbances, but soundproofing the basement can block the noise.
So, how can you soundproof your basement in the best way possible? We will answer this question, but before that, let’s consider…
Equipment And Materials Needed For Basement Soundproofing
Before you soundproof your basement, you need materials and equipment to get the job done. Here are some must-have materials and equipment
- 5.8-inch drywall
- Resilient channel
- Rockwool insulation or acoustic panels
- Green Glue acoustic sealants
- Green glue noise-proofing compound
- Drywall screws
- Drywall screwdriver
Now that we know what you need to begin soundproofing your basement let’s outline how to use them.
But before we discuss basement soundproofing ideas, I want to say that these methods work well when you want to soundproof an unfinished basement. If it is your own home, it would be ideal to soundproof when the building is under construction.
This way, you will not need to pull out ceilings when soundproofing.
Basement Soundproofing Ideas
Here are the soundproofing ideas to stop these noises from reaching the basement.
1- Use Green Glue Acoustic Sealant
Identify any gaps or holes lefts from electrical fixes and plumbing jobs, then seal them using green glue sealant. The sealant is easy to use and creates an airtight seal around light fixer boxes and other gaps in the basement ceiling or walls.
Sound can pass through small openings, hence the need to use sealants to close them up.
The glue sealants also seal any spaces between two drywalls, ensuring no gaps that sound can pass through. So, after fixing the drywall, use the sealant to seal all gaps in the corners.
After you have sealed all the gaps and holes in the ceiling, we go to step number two.
2- Fix Rockwool Insulation
You insert the Rockwool insulation between the joists in the ceiling. They are more efficient than the standard pink fiberglass. Their density and thickness make them powerful sound absorption materials to reduce airborne noise.
You can also use them on the wall facing the sound source- in this case, the ceiling. Rockwool is made from rock and slug, meaning it does not burn. It is fire resistant, so you don’t have to worry about fires.
Each unit of Rockwool sound insulation is 8 pounds of density with a high NRT rating, making it cost-effective.
Here is a brief description of Rockwool
However, it does not offer thermal insulation during winter or summer. It only helps stop airborne sounds.
The next step focuses on impact noise- noise that vibrates through the materials in the basement.
3- Fix The Resilient Channel
Impact noise from people walking or moving upstairs can travel to the basement through the joists. The noise can easily pass through the Rockwool and disturb you.
So, how do you stop it? The resilient channels do the trick. Resilient channels are thin, light metal bars often fixed between the joists and the drywall or acoustic ceiling, specifically designed to improve sound insulation.
Using an electric screwdriver and screws, you fix resilient channels on the joists. You can space them out in the ceiling.
You can also use resilient channels on the walls to decouple the drywall from the main wall. They isolate the drywall from the sturdy framing work, thus creating an airspace between the insulation and ceiling. We will talk about the value of this airspace later.
Once you have screwed them on the ceiling, they help hold the drywall. Another awesome thing about resilient channels is that it has holes to fix the screws. But these holes also help to cancel soundwaves, helping to block impact noise from the joists.
You can improve the acoustic qualities of your resilient channel during installation. How? You can apply a thin layer of sound-absorbing tape to the flange of the drywall mount.
This then takes us to the next step…
4- Screw The Drywall On The Resilient Channels
Before fixing the drywalls on resilient channels, I recommend fixing two layers of 5/8 inches of drywall. You can fix these two layers using a layer of green glue acoustic compound.
Green glue acoustic compound will help you create tiny air-void spaces between the two drywall layers. Spray the green glue compound in a zigzag manner to uniformly apply it on the drywall before laying one drywall over the other.
The 5/8-inch drywall is more efficient because it is denser than the regular ½-inch drywall. And we know the denser the material, the higher the mass and the better the soundproofing.
If you find the two-layer drywall heavier to lift alone, you can use a drywall lift tool. They are available on Amazon and other eCommerce stores. The tool can help you lift the drywall while you screw them into the basement ceiling or walls.
Since the drywalls are attached to the resilient channels and not the joist, the resilient channels create an air space between the drywall and the Rockwool. The air space also helps with sound dampening.
The extra distance between the drywall and insulation or Rockwool weakens the soundwaves, stopping them before interfering with the basement peace.
5- Use Acoustic Tiles
Acoustic tiles act like acoustic panels and can help you soundproof your basement ceiling and walls. By installing acoustic tiles on your basement ceiling, you will have easy access to the ceiling should you want to repair it.
You can also use them for soundproofing if your basement already has a suspended ceiling. Choose dense acoustic tiles instead of cheap, ineffective ones. While it may cost you more, they will provide a better sound reduction from the upstairs.
Furthermore, they offer more aesthetic value than cheap tiles.
6- Use Mass-Loaded Vinyl
Mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) is a dense vinyl sheeting material that looks like rubber and is fused with metal particles to enhance its mass.
While it looks thin, it is also heavy. You may not see it in a soundproof room because they are often installed behind drywalls.
How do you use to enhance your basement soundproofing ideas? If you soundproof an unfinished basement ceiling and walls, you can fix it on the joists or resilient panels. And because it is heavy, you need another person to help you staple it from the top of the wall downward.
You can reduce opening while stapling it through acoustical cocks. Also, ensure that the mass-loaded vinyl does not overlap; otherwise, they will create an uneven surface that can cause ceiling or wall bowing.
But if you have overlapped them, you can cut a quarter-inch space between the two pieces of vinyl and seal it with acoustic sealant.
After installing the mass-loaded drywall, you can cover them with the 5/8-inch drywall. If you can use them on your basement ceiling and walls, you will notice a huge drop in noise.
7- Install Rugs And Carpets
Since the sound comes from upstairs, installing heavy rugs and carpet on the floor above the basement makes sense. This strategy will help dampen noise from footsteps and falling things on the floor.
You can also include padding between the floor and carpets for more sound absorption. Alternatively, you can include mass-loaded vinyl between the floorboards and the carpet to add to sound absorption capacity.
What to read next:
- What is The Cheapest Way to Soundproof a Room?
- Can You Soundproof Your Walls? (With helpful tips!)
- 12 Amazing Soundproofing Ideas For Your Home (Try them now!)
The basement can serve as your office, a place for practicing the drums and other musical instruments, and a hideout for meditation. However, it requires some insulation strategies to make it suitable for work or study.
Simple tricks like using Rockwool, resilient panels, acoustic sealants, and drywalls can block noise from outside and upstairs. If the Rockwool is expensive, you can buy thick mattresses or use old blankets, although these materials are not fire resistant.