Soundproofing your Basement
Many of my basement prospects question the necessity for soundproofing the basement during my visits to their home. The most common worries are about noises going down - “that hardwood floor up above – you can hear every step!”
The second is concern about the new basement TV and sound system permeating throughout the house.
Presented here are a few common sense solutions to the problem.
When it comes to soundproofing I think not only in terms of sound from the TV, but the furnace, bathroom, and bedroom spaces as well. I make it a standard practice to offer to insulate the interior walls around each of these rooms. When doing so, I simply use the same R13 fiberglass batt insulation used in the exterior walls.
I also suggest insulating the ceiling with either R19 or a higher R value – if you have the space – in between the ceiling joists in the TV area. I personally don’t feel the need to do the entire finished space of the basement – though we have certainly done so.
If you have a door at either the top or the bottom of the stairwell and want to minimize the noise level – don’t remove the door.
I bring this up as there have been some basements where we’ve opened the stairwell to the first floor. Portions of the stairwell wall and doorway were removed for visual effect. It REALLY makes the basement a part of the house and looks great - however this will also have an audio effect and defeat your soundproofing measures by allowing noises to go up the stairwell unimpeded.
Media Room Doors
Installing a media room door will block noise transmission too. French doors that separate a media room from the rest of the basement will have both an auditory and visual impact. If you have small children it can also be a means of keeping your audio equipment safe.
The Next Level
Following the above one can install a second layer of drywall on the ceiling perpendicular to the first layer.
When building walls, use a 2 x 6” bottom and top plate. Assuming both sides of the walls will be finished, stagger the studs so there are two walls constructed, with only the top and bottom plates connecting them. Insulate both sides and drywall. Add a second layer of drywall on one or both sides as needed.
From this point on search the internet for a solution that will meet your needs. If you’re looking to build a recording studio or make a practice room for your band, look for companies that sell special clips, foams and tape all designed to help you soundproof your space. They’ll have more ideas you can explore too.
My best advice regarding soundproofing the basement is: “when in doubt – do.” Fiberglass batt insulation is rather inexpensive in relation to what you will be spending on the basement project. Give yourself piece of mind and go ahead and take care of those areas you’re concerned about. It’s far easier and less expensive to do it now than to let it slide and be regretful later.