Soundproofing is very important for various reasons. Be it music or work, silence always brings out the best in people. The basement can be easily used as an office or a playroom or just a silent place for anything.
But you must be thinking, all of this will cost a lot. We understand and it’s totally ok. Here are some of the cheapest ways to soundproof your basement ceiling. All of these are easily installable and available.
Why do you need to soundproof your basement ceiling?
In order to be able to decide if you need to soundproof your basement or not, you need to consider a few factors.
Soundproofing is very important if you want a quiet place at home to be able to work or rest or do anything else without any distraction. If you are a musician yourself or planning a party, there will be music blasting from the speakers and this may be an issue for the people living around or with you.
Especially if it’s a very closed and tight neighborhood, it may be a concern and soundproofing proves useful. Soundproofing your basement ceiling traps, the sound waves below and doesn’t allow it to leave the room.
Soundproofing is also very useful when you want some quiet place to work in. While at home, the quiet inspires a lot and helps you focus properly without distractions. Any other sound from elsewhere will not be an issue for you.
Now you have to analyze as to what type of sounds you’re trying to soundproof. Two main types of noise can get into the basement through the ceiling – airborne noise and impact noise.
Airborne noise is the noise that travels through the air like loud music through speakers or construction noises. These noises either bounce off the floor or ceiling or travel through them to get to the basement.
Impact noise is different and is the vibration of something actually hitting a surface.
The sound of the ball hitting the floor when playing basketball is an example of impact noise.
These two main types of sounds need to be paid attention to while soundproofing.
For cheap ways of soundproofing, we need to tackle both types of noises using the same methods. Some of these methods are listed below.
Soundproofing a basement ceiling
- Seal off any gaps or cracks: Sound waves can easily pass through any small cracks and holes.
The first main thing to do before soundproofing is to check for any cracks or holes. These need to be sealed shut.
If these are not sealed off, no amount of soundproofing is going to block out the noise entirely.
Soundproofing mainly means not allowing sound to easily pass through any surfaces.
If there are even any small cracks, it defeats the whole purpose of it. Spackling compounds or caulking seals are usually used to seal these cracks and are easy to use too.
- The Fluffy layers: Adding fluffy layers, mats, and carpets to the floor of the room above is also another effective way of soundproofing. It absorbs the vibrations and sounds of footsteps hence dampening them.
Adding more padding in between these carpets lessens the sound even more.
If this still doesn’t work that well, you can try adding a rubber sheet below all the carpets and the layers. It can be installed independent of the carpets too.
Placing a furniture like sofa or a bookshelf can also help in the reduction of sounds.
- Acoustic Insulation: If your ceiling doesn’t have drywall yet or it’s still open, then acoustic insulation can be another solution for you.
Before sealing your ceiling with drywall, you can stuff it with insulating wool or foam.
This will help in absorbing a lot of the sound waves.
The panels of the acoustic insulations can be cut to a perfect fit for the joist cavities. It does not require any fasteners.
While installing it, make sure to leave an inch or two for creating an air pocket. Also, keep in mind to not jam the insulations and rather keep it light.
- Soundproof Drywall and Resilient Channels: Drywall is directly installed onto the basement ceiling wall. However, the sound can still travel through the drywall.
Leaving a gap between the basement ceiling and the drywall layer prevents the unwanted sound to travel further.
Resilient channels create a gap between the drywall and the ceiling and hence blocks the transmission of sound.
The channel bar is suspended from the basement ceiling and the drywall hangs from it.
Any sound from the rooms above is distributed through the resilient channels and hence loses most of its energy before being totally transmitted into the basement and thus no sound goes out or comes in the basement hence creating a perfect soundproof room first time.
- Green glue: If you need even further soundproofing, green glue can be another option for you. It dampens the sound even more and is also cheap and very good at what it is supposed to do.
When sound energy reaches the glue, it is quickly transformed into heat energy which then dissipates.
Green glue can also be used as a sealing agent to Fix cracks and gaps in the ceiling.
As we know soundproofing is all about adding more mass and hence adding green glue alongside the drywall makes it even better.
- Rearrange the furniture: The placement of the furniture above the basement ceiling is also another factor in the soundproofing. Heavy furniture such as couches, bookshelves, closets can be placed directly above the basement ceiling in order to ensure minimum sound leakage.
This may not be a very permanent solution as the furniture cannot stay in one place forever but it is one of the cheapest solutions you can try and also it gives a new look to the room above as well as suffices the needs for the room below.
- Acoustic or Soundproof panels: These may seem very expensive when you’re new to this but they are not as intimidating as they sound.
Acoustic panels lessen the noise that travels by absorbing it. It doesn’t totally block the sound but converts them.
These panels are made of foam or fiberglass so that they can easily absorb the sound waves.
Soundproof panels are usually much more thick and dense.
They block out the sound waves totally that is if the panel is installed on your ceiling, no sound will leave the basement, and if it is installed on the floor of the room above, no sound will reach the basement.
- Measure the area of a ceiling to make sure you get enough panels as you need. Acoustic and soundproof panels come in various sizes and the measurements will help you decide which sizes to get.
- You may have to cut some of the panels in order to fit right in your ceiling and then figure out how you place them on the ceiling.
- After understanding the panels’ placement you’ll need to install them by using a ladder or something high to stand on to have them installed. Use green glue or heavy-duty glue to glue the panels to the ceiling so that they don’t fall off very easily.
The green glue is specialized for soundproofing and also has other components like blocking and absorbing the sound waves.
Once the panels are installed the next thing you need to do is nail them so that they stick to the ceiling very firmly.
- Mass-loaded vinyl: Mass-loaded vinyl functions almost as similar as acoustic or soundproof panels. It is like a thick wallpaper that blocks the sound waves from getting through the basement ceiling.
Usually, these are used to soundproof walls but this is also something that you can stick on the ceiling and that would reflect the sound waves to its sources.
- Soundproof paint: This may not be the best method for soundproofing but it could still help eliminate at least 30% of the sound waves that are trying to pass through the basement ceiling.
This method can be used along with some others for better sound absorption. This paint is made up of thick substances including latex. It reflects the sound back to its source.
One of the main elements of this paint is its thickness and works best on sounds with mid frequencies.
Use a paint primer before applying soundproof paint to cover the ceiling wall.
Apply a base coat over the primer when dry and then you can add additional layers of the base coat but make sure the previous layer is dry before you coat it with a new one.
These are some of the different methods that you can use to soundproof your basement ceiling. Some of these may not work so much on their own but you can try 2 or more of these methods to achieve the best results.
Some proofing feels almost like a DIY project that you can do yourself or with the help of somebody else when you’re free.
A lot of it depends on the materials that you use and the way you install them. make sure to properly analyze the whole process and read the instructions given with the materials before you use or install them.
No major renovations are required to install any of these methods and these are also very cheap and will fit within your budget. These are also very time-saving processes compared to many others and hence even more preferable.