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Soundproofing a Basement Helps Create Comfortable Rooms

Soundproofing a Basement Helps Create Comfortable Rooms

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March 1, 2010

If you are adding new living space to your house by finishing a basement, you should consider soundproofing the new rooms to ensure that unwanted noise doesn't echo throughout your home. Whether you are adding an extra bedroom, a home gym, or even a state-of-the-art home theater in your basement, soundproofing the walls and ceiling is a simple and effective way to create comfortable and quiet rooms.

Most unwanted sounds coming from your basement are transferred through the basement ceiling, making it an important place to soundproof. One way to stop the noise from traveling between the lower and main levels of your house is to install sound-insulating batts between the wood joists, which can be done if the basement ceiling is exposed. Sound-insulating batts are made from materials like fiberglass and recycled cotton, and are similar to those used to insulate walls. To keep sound from also traveling through the joists themselves, you can stick a layer of foam tape to the underside of the joists before attaching the finished ceiling. This technique will minimize the noise transference between the above room and the basement below.

If your basement renovation is already underway and the overhead joist space is inaccessible, then it may not be possible to insulate the ceiling cavity. In this instance, you can reduce unwanted noise transference by covering the existing ceiling with a layer of sound-dampening drywall. This specialized drywall is installed and finished just like traditional drywall, but it offers a better acoustical barrier.

For rooms that require serious sound insulation, like a recording studio or shop, you can use spray-in foam insulation or sound-deadening panels that are attached to the walls and ceiling with metal channeling. Both of these specialized products are effective at reducing unwanted noise, but they can be expensive, and they most often need to be installed by a professional contractor.

Steps to Soundproofing a Basement

When soundproofing a basement, no matter how many rooms it may be, you should consider the following steps:

  • Wrap all pipes and vents with sound dampening insulation
  • Use solid core interior doors
  • Don't use hard flooring materials like tile or wood; consider installing carpet with a heavy weight pad instead
  • Isolate any noisy HVAC equipment in a sound-insulated room

Soundproofing and finishing a basement may require professional expertise and specialized tools, so consult a local contractor if you need help getting started.

About the author: Marshall McCauley is a builder and freelance writer. He writes from his farm on the Bitterroot River in Montana.

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