3 Ways to Make Your Basement Soundproof
Nothing says cozy and welcoming to your house guests quite like being awoken in the morning by what sounds like a herd of elephants tromping on the floor above their heads–or, what about this: you’ve just gotten the kids to bed and have settled into a great action movie in your basement home theater when you hear a sad voice at the top of the stairs crying, “Mommy, what’s that scary noise?! I can’t sleep!”
Depending on how you intend to use your new finished basement, keeping sound in or out will likely be an important consideration.
Reasons to Mitigate Sound:
- If you want to use the basement for an office, a quiet reading space, a guest room, or simply as a retreat from the world, soundproofing will help keep outside noises from intruding into your space.
- If the basement will be used as a home theater, or a place to play loud music or video games, soundproofing can help prevent those sounds from traveling to the rest of the home (or to the neighbors). The nature of basements gives you a head start on sound proofing, as their floors and exterior walls are made of concrete and not shared (or in common) with other spaces.
4 Methods of Sound Dampening:
- The most cost-effective and simple method of sound dampening in a basement is to install insulation in the floor joists (a.k.a. basement ceiling). Typically an R-factor of 19 is installed prior to basement ceiling drywall, creating a barrier that absorbs sounds between the main floor and basement.
- Another common method for room soundproofing is the use of RC (resilient channel) clips, which are installed on ceiling and wall joists. Metal furring channels are then snapped into the RC clips and the drywall is fastened to the channels. This creates an air barrier by decoupling the drywall from the joists, thus allowing each side to vibrate independently, which drastically reduces sound transfer.
- A third option for dampening sound, though more expensive, is the installation of double layers of drywall. The second layer of drywall could be one created especially for soundproofing; many types are marketed as sound dampening.
- Take two layers of drywall one step further and add Green Glue , a sound-isolating compound that can be used between two sheets of drywall as a decoupler. The space added by the Green Glue between the drywall sheets helps reduce transfer of noise and vibration from one sheet to the other.
Once your basement is finished, furnishings can also help absorb sound. Carpet, rugs, and fabric window coverings all help to soften reverberations, but nothing does the job better than the sound-dampening measures installed early on in the construction process. Figure out which method will work best for the intended use of your basement, and work the cost into your budget–you won’t be sorry!