What is the cheapest way to soundproof basement ceiling?
One of my blog followers sent an email last week and want to know how she can effectively soundproof against footfall and other noises from the floor above her basement.
According to an article published National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the nonauditory (noise that doesn’t cause hearing loss, e.g., Impact noise) effects of noise exposure include loss of sleep, increased blood pressure, labored breathing, cardiovascular constriction, increased heart rate, changes in brain chemistry and labored breathing. (Source)
It’s now evident that the effects of noise go beyond the ears.
According to a study by WHO titled Guidelines for Community Noise, these nonauditory effects can, in turn, result in reduced productivity, social handicap, increased drug use, decreased performance in school, accidents, and absenteeism in school and the workplace.
Now that you know the adverse effects of noise, let’s have a look at the cheapest ways to the soundproof basement ceiling.
A-List of Cheapest Ways to Soundproof Basement Ceiling
Soundproofing a basement ceiling mainly focuses on minimizing structure-borne noise/ impact noise.
Unlike airborne sounds, impact noises are hard to soundproof against. This is because transmission is mainly through vibrations.
Below methods are proven effective against impact noises such as footfalls, utensils falling on the floor above, or furniture movement.
1. Try thick carpets and mats on the floor above
This is one of the cheapest and yet effective methods of dealing with impact noise from the floor above the basement.
Carpeting the floor above is a great idea to reduce impact noise such as the sound of something dropping, footfalls, or the sound of furniture dragged around.
A recommended fluffy carpet is Safavieh California Premium Shag Carpet, available in over 20 fashionable colors.
An excellent recommendation is the Rubber-Cal Elephant Bark Floor Mat. It’s available in seven colors, so you can choose one that complements your interior décor.
2. Seal any gaps on the ceiling
Gaps and cracks on the ceiling are the biggest culprit of leaking noise into your basement. Unfortunately, most old basement ceilings have cracks and gaps.
If you disregard this step, you won’t be able to completely eliminate the noise problem regardless of other hacks you implement.
3. Acoustic Insulation
If your ceiling doesn’t have drywall, it’s important to insulate the joist cavities. Standard ceiling insulation will work fine, especially if you’re tight on budget.
One of the most recommended acoustic insulation is the ROXUL Mineral Wool Insulation. The product doesn’t require any fasteners, you only need to cut the panels to the ideal size for the joist cavity.
When installing acoustic insulation, leave an inch or two to create an air pocket and also make sure that the insulation isn’t jammed.
4. Drywall and Resilient Channels
Drywall is a great material for soundproofing walls and ceiling. Because sound can travel through solid material, you will have to use resilient channels or hat channels and then attach a layer of drywall beneath.
The idea is to create a gap between your ceiling and the drywall that acts as a sound barrier. Resilient channels are able to create the gap between the ceiling and drywall without any sort of contact between them.
Sound vibrations from the floor above won’t travel through to the drywall as it’s distributed through the resilient channels or hat channels. In the process, the sound loses its energy before reaching the drywall.
5. Green Glue
Green glue is an effective alternative to the acoustic caulk recommended above. You can use green glue sealant to seal gaps and cracks on the ceiling.
The product works by converting sound energy into negligible amounts of heat that’s dispersed on the ceiling.
If green glue isn’t available in your country, check out these green glue alternatives I’ve recommended in the previous article.
6. Re-arrange furniture on the room above your basement
Rearranging furniture is also one of the cheapest ways to the soundproof basement ceiling.
Rearrange furniture from the floor above. Make sure to position heavy furniture such as bookshelves, couches, or closets directly above the basement, especially the specific area that lets in most noise.
Only move the furniture to a specific point only if it can stay permanently. You’ll not only soundproof the basement but will also give a new look to the floor above.
7. Soundproofing Paint
Soundproofing paint isn’t your typical paint. It’s much thicker than regular paint and features soundproofing additives such as latex.
These additives help bounce sound back to the source hence significantly reduces the amount of noise transmitted.
For effective soundproofing, you’ll need to apply several layers.
One of the most recommended soundproofing paints is the Acousti Coat – Sound Deadening Paint.
Because the soundproofing paint is very thick, it’s been proven to get eliminate of at least 30% sound passing through the basement ceiling.
8. MuteX Soundproof Material
If you want something much cheaper than acoustic foam insulation, then MuteX soundproof material is an excellent option for you.
It’s a product available in a thick roll of black material that you can use to soundproof the basement ceiling.
Two materials make up this product. A high mass material that’s dense enough to act as a sound barrier and a vinyl material that makes MuteX flexible.
Not only is it great in soundproofing a ceiling, but it can also be used to soundproof your car or any other place that requires soundproofing.
Final Thoughts on Cheapest Way to Soundproof Basement Ceiling
Above are some of the cheapest ways to the soundproof basement ceiling. They are simple DIY projects you can implement right away and probably take a couple of hours to finalize.
However, it’s crucial to note that you can use a combination (e.g., soundproof paint +green glue+ rearranging furniture, +carpet+ drywall) to get the best results.
I must admit that using a fluffy carpet and a mat underneath are one of my favorite methods for soundproofing against footfalls.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.