Basement Ceiling Insulation

motherof3sonsApril 3, 2012

Decision time for insulating the basement ceiling. The lower level will have two bedrooms, bathrooms, family room, mechanical and storage. The main floor is hardwood and we want to reduce noise to/from the lower level. The drywallers recommended RC8 resilient channel, however, it is expensive. Our second option is thermal/sound unsulation.

We live in the midwest with snowy and cold winters, hot and humid summers. Any recommendations? To insulate or not? Which product?


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There is no significant benefit for heating since the whole thing is conditioned space. If you perhaps are going to shut off the heat for the basement, there is a marginal benefit.

As far as sound, insulation does a little. But it does little for foot floor noise which is the biggest irritant. Doing things with drywall are really much better (whether resilient channel or not).

We have some R-18 in ours and when someone is walking above, it is annoying. Outside of that, the sound doesn't travel too much. We also have hardwood floors.

I'd do the insulation but don't expect foot traffic to be acceptable. Our basement is just game room and mechanical.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 6:13AM
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Insulation helps absorb sound that passes into and out of the floor cavity through cracks but it is not a substitute for a resilient surface top and bottom.

The minimum treatment is for a drywall ceiling to be suspended from resilient channels that lower the ceiling .5 inche. RC8 is the tradename of Auralex Acoustics. A more effective suspension system is IsoMax from Kinetics Noise Control that uses standard hat channels held in highly resilient connectors that lowers the ceiling 1.32 inches.

The minimum treatment for the flooring is one of a multitude of a thin resilient underlayments for engineered hardwood or some kind of system that allows a 3/4" hardwood floor to be floated like Soundeater from Impacta Acoustical Floor Underlayments but such systems can raise the flooring enough that the subfloor and framing must be dropped in order to align with other floor finishes.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 7:13AM
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Ditto David_Cary. We have hardwoods throughout and put fiberglass insulation between the floor joists. Sound from the TV doesn't transmit, only carries up the staircase. Even our home theater that's below a bedroom can't be heard on the floor above. But foot traffic is not changed at all. We're mostly barefoot or socks in the house, but my wife's heels sound like a drummer.

Resilient or something like Green Glue can help with the foot falls. But insulation will do nothing for that.

My only sound complaint is hearing the water rushing through the DWV system, maybe someone has a solution for that out there.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 10:55AM
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Conducted noise is always hard to stop.

How much money do you want to spend for a limited benefit?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 11:56AM
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Cast iron and resilient hangers will go a long way in quieting waste lines but the best way is to use vertical stacks and not run lines above living space ceilings.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2012 at 6:14PM
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Thanks everyone! This is a great forum!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 11:21PM
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