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Basement Soundproofing

How to Soundproof a Basement

How to Soundproof a Basement

Soundproofing your basement can help turn it into the space you’ve always wanted — a media room for movies, an extra room to rent out on Airbnb for income, maybe even a recording studio. No matter what you’d like to turn your basement into, you likely won’t be completely happy with it until you’ve eliminated the sound of footsteps, voices, and music coming from the floor above.

An unfinished basements is a blank slate of opportunity, and we’re here to help you do the project with effective soundproofing. With a few practical solutions and helpful tips, you too can turn that cold, empty, unfinished room into a relaxing focal point in your home.

Soundproofing your basement can help turn it into the space you’ve always wanted — a media room for movies, an extra room to rent out on Airbnb for income, maybe even a recording studio. No matter what you’d like to turn your basement into, you likely won’t be completely happy with it until you’ve eliminated the sound of footsteps, voices, and music coming from the floor above.

An unfinished basements is a blank slate of opportunity, and we’re here to help you do the project with effective soundproofing. With a few practical solutions and helpful tips, you too can turn that cold, empty, unfinished room into a relaxing focal point in your home.

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Popular Basement Soundproofing Materials


RSIC™ Sound Isolation Clips

 

Green Glue™ Noiseproofing Compound

Fantastic Frame™ Soundproof Window Inserts

Benefits of Basement Soundproofing

Everyone has their own reasons for wanting a soundproof basement, but we find that it often comes down to three key issues: focus, income potential, and relaxation.

Better Focus

If you currently use your basement as an office, recording studio, or hobby space, you know how difficult it can be to stay focused. After all, who can concentrate on a business call with the sound of kids playing “the floor is lava” right above you? If you want to be able to focus on work or hobbies without constant disruptions, soundproofing is the answer.

Turning Your basement into a rental space

If you are like many people looking to capitalize on unused space in their home, soundproofing the basement is a great call. Not only will a quieter environment be better for you as you go about your day in the upper levels of the house, your renter will benefit as well. If you’re already renting space out, you know that good reviews are like gold. Making your basement as quiet and private as possible is an absolute positive when it comes to providing renters with a satisfactory stay while increasing your own earning potential.

More relaxation

Anyone using their basement for game days or regular movie nights will tell you how important it is to have their own space. It’s hard to fully enjoy that man cave or movie theater when you can hear someone else’s music playing upstairs, though. As any parent/football fan knows, nothing ruins the atmosphere of a playoff game in overtime more than the unbridled enthusiasm at a child’s slumber party. Soundproofing your basement allows you to disconnect from all the noise. If you need to hear what’s going on elsewhere, that’s what the Alexa or your cell phone is for.

How to Soundproof a Basement Ceiling

The ceiling is the first place to look when soundproofing your basement, but before installing any products, ask yourself what type of noise is bothering you most. Is the noise structural or airborne? The best solution to your noise problem depends on the type of noise you’re dealing with.

Structural Noise

Structural noise, or the sound that results from two objects coming in contact with each other, is the main culprit in most basements. Structural noise (think: footsteps, pitter patter of pets, bouncing balls, etc.) is the sound you hear from energy transmitted through the building’s structure, starting at a solid floor above you and then through the ceiling.

If you’re dealing with structural noise (also called impact noise) and your basement already has exposed framing, the easiest and best solution is to install sound isolation RSIC clips. When you install RSIC clips, 25 gauge hat channel, and ⅝” drywall to the ceiling joists, you will have decoupled (separated) the ceiling from the structure above it, allowing it to stop that impact noise Once you’ve installed the new clips, channeling, and drywall, seal any gaps and around the perimeter with acoustical sealant.

If your basement is already finished with drywall, you can still use the above solution. You will need to remove the existing drywall and replace it. The other option for impact noise is a rubber floor underlayment. We have a variety of thicknesses of UnderBlock rubber floor underlayment, which would be used underneath the upstairs flooring. If you were planning on redoing your flooring upstairs anyway or the upstairs is not finished, this is the perfect solution for reducing upstairs noise. Otherwise, we typically prefer the RSIC clips method.

Airborne Noise

Airborne noise is sound that travels through the air (think: people talking, TV, etc.). If airborne noise is your main issue, there are two possible solutions.

You can soundproof an existing ceiling for airborne noise by adding a new layer ⅝” drywall on top of the existing drywall with Green Glue between the two layers. Once finished, seal the perimeter and any gaps with acoustical sealant. Green Glue is a high-performing damping compound designed specifically for soundproofing — the glue combined with another layer of drywall is a very effective treatment for airborne noise.

If your ceiling is unfinished, the solution is the same as it was for structural noise. Attach RSIC clips to the joists, snap in 25 gauge hat channeling, and screw in a layer of ⅝” drywall. Again, seal gaps with acoustical sealant. Insulation should always be used, as filling the cavity with absorptive material will increase the STC rating of a floor-ceiling structure by 5-7 points. The type of insulation you use is irrelevant (for soundproofing purposes) if you’re using the RSIC clips method, because diminishing returns for insulation kick in at about STC 45. Basically, with the clips you’re too soundproof for the type of insulation to matter. Any insulation works.

soundproofing basement ceiling

Soundproofing a Basement in Other Areas

For most people, shoring up the basement’s ceiling is the “big rock” and the part of the room that absolutely needs to be soundproofed. However, depending on the home build and type of activity you plan on using the basement for, you may need to consider soundproofing other parts of the room too. If you regularly hold band practice in the basement for example, everyone in the house will be begging you to soundproof more than just the ceiling.

Soundproof Doors and Windows

To keep noise from entering or exiting your basement, first look at the doors and windows. These are the easiest places for sound to leak out through. If your basement has a hollow door (many interior residential doors are hollow – thus very lightweight), consider replacing it with a solid core door. You then should install a Sound Lock door seal kit to seal up the perimeter and bottom of your door. We have kits to fit any size of door.

Experiencing exterior noise coming from basement windows? Or maybe it’s the neighbors you want to save from your late night drumming? Add the Fantastic Frame soundproof window inserts, which reduce noise through an existing window by up to 80% and can be custom-fit for your windows.

Soundproofing Walls and floors

If you’re generating a lot of noise within your basement, soundproofing the walls with Green Glue and another layer of 5/8” drywall is a good idea. For more information, check out our guide on soundproofing walls.

Soundproof flooring is often not needed in basements, but if you can’t have sound getting out – it’s a required step. A room without the floor soundproofing accounted for will typically see about a 30% reduction in the effectiveness of the rest of their soundproofing. Adding UnderBlock rubber underlayment under any flooring is absolutely the best solution. You’ll need the 10mm thick version for high performance requirements. When high performance is needed, accounting for the floor in addition to everything else you already soundproofed is the right move.

Soundproof a Basement Ceiling using RSIC Clips

The RSIC-1 has been an industry leading sound isolation product for several decades and is perfect for soundproofing a ceiling. The science is simple. Decouple the ceiling or wall from the building's structure, and stop the transmission of structural noise. The RSIC line of clips features dozens of options to handle any situation when constructing a building.

  • Increase STC and IIC rating of a ceiling by 20+ points
  • Use with any wood, steel, or concrete application
  • Supports multiple layers of 5/8" drywall
  • Also used to soundproof walls in your home
  • Full line of clips offered. Just call if looking for a specific clip

Basement Soundproofing with Second Skin

Soundproofing a basement is a rewarding project because we’re taking a part of the house without purpose, and giving it new life. That life can be whatever you’re most excited about! Whether it’s a small change to drown out the sound of footsteps or a major soundproofing initiative to create a soundproof recording studio or a fun hangout area, we have the soundproofing solutions you need. If you need to soundproof parts of your home or basement, like a noisy fridge or drum room, we have you covered. Please reach out to us at Second Skin if you would like our help with soundproofing your basement, we’d be happy to talk you through a custom solution that works for you!

Have questions about your project?

Call us at 1.800.679.8511