We live in a world where the noise pollution is increasing and getting worse day by day. You will find noise coming from cars, kitchen equipment, neighbors, washing machine and what not. So if you have a nice basement and asking yourself how to soundproof it, then you have come to the right place.
Almost every building has a basement and some people put a good use out of it as well. However, the ever-increasing sound pollution does not even space a closed and solid basement. So in this guide, I will help you to soundproof your basement so that you can spend quality time in your basement.
Is soundproofing basement necessary?
Many people think that as a basement is a closed space, so no sound comes in. They think that behind the sidewalls of the basement is lots of earth, which acts as a good enough sound barrier. Although that is true, however, sounds do penetrate through the basement’s ceiling and even the door of the basement.
So you will never find a basement with no sound coming inside without soundproofing it. Most of the sound comes in from the basement’s ceiling which is the floor of the upper level of the basement. It may be the dog is running or someone is exercising or from the home appliance like a washing machine running from the upper floor.
Even if someone is listening to the music, this sound may penetrate the ceiling. So soundproofing your basement is necessary if you don’t want any sound to disturb you.
How to Soundproof a Basement:
- Soundproofing your basement’s ceiling.
- Soundproofing your basement’s door.
- Soundproofing your basement’s wall.
1.Soundproofing your basement’s ceiling:
You know that the ceiling of the basement is the main entrance of the noise. So basically, there are two types of sound pollution. One is airborne sound and the other is impact noises.
The first one is the sound that is transmitted through the air. For example the sound of talking, music, and tv etc. Impact noise is basically coming from the impact or vibration of an object on the building element. For example, the sound of walking, jumping, or dancing etc. In this article, I will cover how to prevent both airborne and impact sound that comes from the ceiling of the basement.
Step 1: Install Batt:
Before installing batt, you need to seal any holes in the ceiling. Holes in the sealing can transmit lots of sounds, especially in the basement. Foam sealant products are great to fill up and seal the holes in the ceiling.
For small gaps or cracks in the ceiling, Red Devil Small Gap Foam 12 oz is recommended. Red Devil is a USA based brand that has been doing business since 1872. You can use this product for cracks for up to 1″ in size. Check out Red Devil Small Gap Foam 12 oz on Amazon.
Now coming to the main point which is installing batt. You may know that the basement ceiling has joist which is a great place to install your batt. If you don’t know what batt is, here is a quick definition of the batt. Batt for soundproofing ceiling is like a sheet made of cotton, wool or fiberglass.
Batts are great to prevent airborne sounds like music or screaming or singing to come into the basement. I have researched many wool foam type batt and came to the conclusion that Roxul Safe n Sound is one of the best and affordable soundproofing batt for basement ceiling. Check out Roxul Safe n Sound on Amazon.
Air is one of the best absorbers of sound. And this Roxul Safe n Sound has lots of air pockets and can absorb sound waves easily. So this a very dense compression fit batt which doesn’t have any fastener. With the Roxul Safe n Sound, the days of stapling your batt to the ceiling joist are over.
This Roxul batt is a fire resistant product that won’t melt, smoke or combust very easily. It is also water repellent, so even if you have water pipes installed in your joist, with this product, you don’t need to worry about water.
Step 2: Install Resilient Channel And Dry Wall:
Till now, I have tackle and prevent the airborne noise. But what to do about impact noise that comes through vibration or impact on the building element? In this situation, installing resilient channel will reduce impact noise. Resilient channel is a metal bar that absorbs sound wave (vibration).
Resilient channels are installed under the joist. Just place your resilient channel under the joist, and drill the channel in the bars of the joist. Make sure that the resilient channels do not touch the batts installed between the joist.
If you want my recommendation, I would recommend RC-1 One Legged Resilient Channel 8′ Lengths – Box of 32 (25 Gauge) resilient channel (check it out on Amazon). This comes with 32 pieces of resilient channels and each bar has a dimension of 2.0″ W x .5″ D x 96” L
After installing the resilient bar now is the time to install the drywall to make your basement more soundproof. It will also give your basement look good. Also, note that you should install the drywall onto the resilient channel rather than be drilling the drywall onto the joist bar.
3. Soundproof your basement’s ceiling without removing drywall:
If you have no drywall installed on the ceiling joist, then follow the steps mentioned above. However, how to soundproof a basement if you have drywall already installed on the ceiling?
Don’t worry, in this part of the article I will tell you how you can soundproof your ceiling walls with minimal construction. Also, if you have already installed the batt, resilient and the drywall and still want to soundproof your basement more, then this part of the article will be very helpful for you.
You know that basements have lots of echoes. So to reduce the echo, installing acoustic panels on the ceiling is really helpful. Also, if you want to use your basement as a studio, then it is highly recommended to install the acoustic panels.
Finding an acoustic panel for the ceiling is very difficult. So in my best experience, I have found that the ATS Acoustic Panel is a great soundproofing acoustic panel. Disclaimer: This ATS acoustic panel is mainly made for side walls, however, I found that it is fine to install this panel on the ceiling and you will face no problem with installing these panels on the ceiling unless you live in an area where an earthquake is frequent. Do watch the video below before buying this acoustic panel.
Besides providing an excellent soundproofing system, this ATS acoustic panel is also aesthetic looking. This panel will enhance the look of your basement. They also come in various colors, so you can choose the one that goes with your basement. These panels have a dimension of 24″ x 48″ x 2″. Also, to install this panel to the ceiling, you need strong and sturdy screws and anchors. So I would recommend you to buy ITW Brands 25210 20PK#50 Plas Dry Anchor.
How to Install ATS Acoustic Panel on the Ceiling
Use Vinyl Mats
Acoustic panels are bulky and are pretty hard to install. Nonetheless, there are alternative ways to soundproof your basement’s ceiling.
You can use Vinyl mats as they are a good absorber of airborne sound. I found the Mass Loaded Vinyl 4′ X 25′ 100 sq.ft. 1 Lb MLV Acoustic Barrier from Burning River Buys a great option. Installing them is very easy, however, they are very expensive and costs more than the acoustic panels. Check out Mass Loaded Vinyl 4′ X 25′ 100 sq.ft. 1 Lb MLV Acoustic Barrier on Amazon.
3.Soundproofing your basement’s door
Most people have doors in their basement. However, there are also few homes where there are no doors installed in the basement. So if you are in the minority, I would suggest you to install a thick door first to deaden the sound waves. Doors are great to reduce noise and also they provide more privacy. I would recommend you to buy a Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) door because they are great to reduce noise and they are also cheap to buy.
So if you have doors already installed, you may notice that still, sound comes inside the basement through the door. I have talked a lot about soundproofing the ceiling of the basement. So if you have already soundproofed your ceiling, you should also consider soundproofing the door of your basement to reduce that extra noise.
Step 1: Fill those holes:
Doors may contain many holes and cracks. Most of the airborne noises come from those holes and cracks. That’s why you need to fill up any holes in the door or the door frame of the basement to reduce the airborne noise.
First of all, look thoroughly for any gaps holes on the door. One pro tip is to turn off all the lights. Then ask someone to hold a flashlight behind the door. The places from where a lot of light is coming in is also the place from which airborne noise can come in. So you need to seal those gaps to make your basement soundproof.
To seal those gaps of the doors, you can use a caulk or some sort of door sealant will also work. To my best knowledge, I found the GE Silicone 2+ Window & Door Caulk one of the great caulk to seal the gaps or holes in the door (click here to check it out). This product is 100% waterproof and weatherproof.
Step 2: Install a door sweep:
If you have a look under the door, you will see that there are lots of gaps between the floor and the door. Airborne noise can easily transmit from that gap. So to deaden the noise from that gap, it is recommended to get a door sweep.
Door sweeps not only reduce the noise coming in, it will also keep the bugs, spiders, and cockroaches from getting inside the basement. Also, they are great for preventing hot or cold air getting in.
I found that the Energy Efficient Door under Seal, Door draft stopper, door noise stopper & soundproofing door weather stripping from IDEALCRAFT one of the most affordable and easy to install door sweeps. Click here to check it out.
With this door sweep, you don’t need to drill or do any screw work. There is a sticky part on one side of this door sweep. You just need to peel and stick the door sweep on your door. That’s it!
Soundproofing your basement’s wall
If the reason for soundproofing your basement is that you want to have a studio or your personal recording place, then soundproofing your basement’s wall is highly recommended. The reason is that the basement makes a lot of echo sound and this might be a problem for you. Even if you will use your basement for home theatre or your personal hangout spot, having the walls soundproofed is a nice thing.
So to soundproof the wall, you need the acoustic panel. Acoustic panels are a great absorber of soundwave and it can make your basement pin-drop silent. They are also great for reducing echoes, which is very much needed to soundproof your basement.
My recommended acoustic wall panel is the 12 Pack- Acoustic Panels Studio Foam Wedges 1″ X 12″ X 12″. These are easy to install and you also have lots of different colors to choose from. These panels are great for reducing echoes for making your basement a great place for studio, office, gaming room, home entertainment room. Check out 12 Pack- Acoustic Panels Studio Foam Wedges on Amazon.
Know your purpose of soundproofing the basement:
Many people may think about the basement as just a place below the ground level. However, the basement is a special place to many people especially Americans. For some people, the basement is the place where they hang out with friends and family and for some basement is their workplace.
A basement is also a place where many musical bands have started their journey. Also, many successful multi-million companies have started their business in the basement! You should know that the huge company Apple started their journey from Steve Job’s basement.
Now that you know that the basement is really a special place, you should also know what you will use in your basement and according to that, you should soundproof your basement.
For example, if you want to use the basement for your musical band, then you need to soundproof the ceiling, door and also the walls to reduce or eliminate echo. But if you want to use the place for hanging out, then soundproofing the ceiling will be enough. So knowing the purpose of soundproofing your basement is the first task you should do before indulging any further.
I hope that your question of how to soundproof a basement is answered by reading this article. Remember that, if you want to have an excellent soundproof basement, you have to spend some time and money into it. Soundproofing the ceiling is the most important thing to do to deaden the noise.
If you want to use your basement for recording or studio purpose, then soundproofing the ceiling, door and the side walls are very important. So just follow my suggestions and you will have a hectic free and enjoyable time.