If you plan on using your basement as a livable space, then you’re likely going to want to make some important changes. Whether you’re using the basement as a rehearsal space as a musician or you want to put a bedroom down there, it’s a good idea to soundproof the ceiling. If you don’t take the time to do this, then you’re going to hear a lot of noise coming from the floor above.
In this article, I am going to go over several methods for soundproofing basement ceilings. The focus will be placed on finding cheap do-it-yourself options that will be practical for most homeowners to take advantage of. Once you have spent some time reading everything over, you should be able to determine which option will work best for your situation.
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Soundproofing a Basement Is Very Straightforward
Before digging into the details of different soundproofing methods and materials, I’d like to point out that soundproofing a basement is very straightforward. Unlike soundproofing the rest of your home, you’re going to have an easy time focusing on just one area when soundproofing a basement.
You just have to worry about the ceiling because the walls of your basement are underground. Most basements only have one window as well, making it very easy to cover it up if you feel as if it is causing noise issues at any point in time.
Being able to worry about simply soundproofing the ceiling makes life easier for you. It should be practical to soundproof your basement ceiling without spending too much of your hard-earned money. Now that you know that this is going to be a simple project from a planning perspective, it should be easier to move forward with confidence.
Which Type of Noise Is Entering Your Basement?
In our day-to-day lives, we only ever come across two types of noise: airborne and impact noise. Airborne noise travels through the air, whereas impact noise travels through walls, floors, the ground, and other mediums.
A conversation, noise from a television, or a violin being played are examples of airborne noise. Footsteps, an earthquake, or a wall being drilled into are examples of impact noise. The methods we’ll talk about should help reduce or stop both types of noise.
Any musician will tell you that outside noise can just as easily ruin your day as your neighbors lodging a noise complaint against you. Thankfully, this list covers both inwards and outwards noise leaks.
8 Cheap Ways to Soundproof a Basement Ceiling
Here are a few cheap and (for the most part) hassle-free ways to soundproof your basement ceiling. They’re not all equally effective, but you can mix and match for the best results.
1. Moving Furniture Around on the Top Floor
Have you considered soundproofing the top floor? If you can pinpoint where a lot of the noise is coming from, then you could put your couch or other pieces of furniture over that spot.
This could save you some time and effort since you won’t necessarily have to go through with soundproofing. Moving furniture around to lessen the noise in certain spots doesn’t cost you any money so this is probably the most cost-effective idea on the list.
If you’re experiencing significant noise issues in your basement, then this simply isn’t going to work. If the noise is coming from all over your basement ceiling, then you’ll likely have to look into some serious soundproofing ideas. Thankfully, there are several such ideas listed below for you to check out. Just remember that moving furniture around isn’t a bad idea and you could always see if it helps.
For some people, this just isn’t going to be a real option. You might find that moving your furniture to specific spots won’t even be a practical idea. No one wants to have a couch floating out in an unusual spot so your mileage is certainly going to vary here. Just keep in mind that some people have solved their problems using this advice so it could work for you depending on your situation.
2. Laying Down Carpeting or Rugs on the Top Floor
If you like the idea of being able to keep things simple, then laying down carpeting or rugs on the top floor is a good idea. This can keep footsteps and stomping from being as noticeable when you’re down in the basement. Of course, this isn’t going to be a perfect soundproofing method. It is going to reduce noise levels by more than you might expect, though, so consider giving this a shot if you already have some rugs that you could use.
One of the best reasons to consider this idea is that it can actually help your home to look nicer as well. If you like the feel and look of carpeting, then installing some new plush carpeting is a solid idea. Even just using area rugs can make a difference and this will work well if you have hardwood floors above the basement. This is an idea to keep in mind for those who want another low-effort option.
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Remember that there are many different rug options available to you. You can even buy rugs at a reasonable price so this could be one of the best options for anyone who doesn’t have a lot of money to spend. If you’re hoping to keep your costs low, then you should try this out before moving forward with some of the more intensive DIY soundproofing methods. It could save you some time and cash if the results wind up being good enough for you.
3. Using Soundproof Panels
Those who want to keep things really quiet might want to actually do some significant work to reduce noise levels. In this instance, one of the most practical ways to accomplish this is going to be to use soundproof panels. They can be very cost-effective if you look for a good deal and they work superbly. You’ll have several options to choose from when picking out soundproof panels too.
One of the most popular options is to use foam soundproof panels. These aren’t the thickest soundproof panels that you can buy but they’re very affordable. They do the job right and they’re easy to mount to the ceiling using only mounting tape. If you want to have an easy time, then using foam soundproof panels might be your best bet.
There are slightly more expensive panels to consider as well. You could decide to buy acoustic panels or certain types of fabric panels. These will be denser than the aforementioned foam panels but they’re going to be harder to install. Consider which option is going to be the best choice for you and know that both can work very nicely.
4. Acoustic Insulation Options
If you have an open ceiling, then there will be some options available to you. The first is to try out acoustic insulation. Insulating the joist cavities will help you to reduce noise levels. If you use true acoustic insulation, then you will get the best results.
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Even normal insulation can be helpful when it comes to lowering noise levels. It might be more cost-effective to buy traditional insulation. If you’re a budget-conscious individual, then you might prefer the more affordable approach. Acoustic insulation is highly recommended for those who want to keep things as quiet as possible, though.
5. Soundproofing Mats Can Also Work
If you have any experience with soundproofing, then you might be familiar with soundproofing mats. Something such as this soundproofing barrier can help to reduce noise levels significantly. This can act as an effective sound barrier that will be very simple to install. When placing soundproofing mats on your ceiling, you just need to fasten them into place.
The most difficult part of doing this job is that you’ll likely need two people. You can have a friend hold the mats in position while you fasten them to the ceiling. Some people use roofing nails to accomplish this but just about any fastener is going to work. Trying to end all of the seams on the joists will give you the best results so keep this in mind when you’re positioning the mats.
As long as you have someone to help you out, this shouldn’t be a tough DIY project to finish up. You can soundproof your open basement ceiling using this method with no problems. It should keep things a lot quieter and you’ll be able to use your basement for whatever you need to use it for. Call in a friend if you want to go this route and you should have things completed in a timely fashion.
6. Using Soundproof Drywall
Another potential way to solve your issues is to install soundproof drywall in your ceiling. Many people have drywall installed right at the ceiling joists and this allows sound to transfer to the drywall easily. The noise then travels down to the basement and this causes a lot of the noise that you’re hearing. Using better drywall that is designed to be soundproof can change things, however.
You could go the route of installing resilient channels that will make a gap between your drywall and your ceiling structure as well. This does a better job of distributing sound and should alleviate noise issues. This is one of the more complicated fixes on this list, though. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of installing resilient channels and soundproof drywall, then you might want to consider some of the above options instead.
7. Sealing Cracks in Your Existing Drywall
It’s also possible that you could be experiencing sound leakage due to cracks in your existing drywall. You might not have to go to the trouble of installing soundproof drywall if you can make some simple repairs. Inspecting your basement ceiling will allow you to determine if there are cracks or gaps present. Smaller holes or gaps might be tougher to spot than usual but try to inspect the ceiling thoroughly to determine where the problem areas are.
Once this is done, you’ll be able to get to work on fixing things. You can use something such as this patch and primer product to seal the hole or gap. It’s going to prevent sound from leaking through and it should make things significantly less noisy. If you can use this method properly, then it should be possible to quiet things down without having to go to a lot of effort.
This is very easy to accomplish and you’re going to like not having to do anything significant to seal up the cracks. As long as you buy a high-quality patching product such as the one mentioned above, you should get positive results. The hardest part of this process is really just detecting the cracks and recognizing where you need to make the changes so be vigilant when you’re inspecting things.
8. Make the Ceiling Thicker
Some people have decided that the best option for reducing noise levels is to make the ceiling thicker. In theory, if the ceiling is thicker, then it should be much tougher for noise to make it through to your basement. This is an idea that could work nicely but it’s going to involve putting in a lot of work. It isn’t going to be as practical for people who are looking for the cheapest and easiest solutions but it’s still worth mentioning briefly here.
Making your ceiling thicker is going to involve installing another layer of drywall. Before you place this drywall, you could choose to use an acoustic compound that is called green glue. This stuff is great and you can use it as a sealant around the corners of the ceiling. It can also be a sound-dampening compound that will help provide a buffer between your two layers of drywall.
The only downside of this idea is that you will need to buy a lot of drywall and you’ll also need to purchase the green glue. It won’t cost too much money to get everything that you need but it’s going to be a bit of a project. You might find that the results will be more than worth it, though. If you don’t mind putting in the effort, then this will be a good way to make your basement a lot quieter.
Keep Things Quiet in Your Basement
Now that you understand that there are many options available to you, it should be simple to pick one or two that will work for you. Some of them are simpler than others but it shouldn’t be a big deal to take on these little projects if you don’t mind a bit of DIY work.
You don’t even need to be a very handy individual to accomplish many of these soundproofing fixes so they should work out well even for novices. I hope that this information helps you to keep things quiet in your basement and that you will love being able to save a bit of money.