Soundproofing basement ceiling

haringfanSeptember 7, 2006

We just built a new house and have an unfinished basement with poured concrete walls and a concrete floor. We use it quite a bit and a lot of noise travels up to the bedrooms above. Does anyone have suggestions for how to cut down on the amount of noise travelling upstairs?

We were thinking of just buying some fiberglass batting insulation to place between the floor joists. Can anyone see any problems with that, or is there a better solution? FYI, the joists are the manufactured i-beams and are 18" apart.

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Haringfan- Now a days there is a lot of sound proofing items on the market. I did a commercial job where they needed soundproofing in an old church converted into office space. We ended up hanging Resilient metal channel across the joists. They came with sound clips, and had padded tape. Then we put a layer of 3/4" closed cell foam. Then 5/8" drywall. This was very silent.

This was about three years ago, and I had to order my material from a company called Super Soundproofing Company. I can't find my information about them, but I'm sure you'll be able to find them on the internet. I think they were from San Diego. I'm certain there is a supply house around you which will have something similar to this material.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 12:03PM
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There are a number of soundproofing products on the market and some of them can get pretty expensive. For your application you would probably be fine with a relatively low tech (and cheaper) solution. My suggestion would be to fill the spaces between the joists with the fiberglass batts, put padded tape on the bottom of the joist surfaces and then hang 5/8" drywall from the joists (sandwiching the padded tape which helps stop the transmission of low pitched (bass) sounds). The next step up would be to use the resilient channels mentioned above, but they add cost both in materials and labor. You can also use special sound deadening drywall panels, but that also gets expensive real quick! If you try the first step and aren't happy, you can also add another layer of drywall over the first. It can go on and on, you need to decide how much sound reduction you can live with and how much you want to spend.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 2:54PM
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We have a similar situation, except that our basement ceiling is low, so we don't want to add drywall that would make the ceiling even lower.

Is there any insulation we can add just between the floor joists that would help cut down on noise traveling between floors? We'd be especially interested in something that looks better than fiberglass batting, or else some type of covering for the batting that would go just between the floor joists.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 11:17PM
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Thanks for the information. I did find Super Soundproofing on the web: The resiliant channels look very good and we might try them. I'm going to call around for a local supplier.

Someone else suggested to me this morning that fiberglass batting might not be as good as eggshell foam for stopping sound, but when I asked about code and fire resistance, they didn't know anything. Anyone on here happen to have an knowledge or opinion about using eggshell foam instead of fiberglass batting?

We have a tall ceiling in the basement, 9', but there is less than an inch from the bottom of the joists to the top of the windows, and we don't want to lose any light, so we don't want to add many layers of material, so we're still sorting it out.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2006 at 12:49PM
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I have found that insulating the joist space alone, even with dense Roxul designed for sound deadening, makes no discernible difference. I've gotten the most muffling for the least cost by using resilient channel to hang the first or subsequent layers of drywall. When using the channel, be sure that the drywall screws only go into the channel, not into the floor joists.

Nice feedback on the Super Soundproofing! The pricing seems competitive to drywall/channel.

Here is a link that might be useful: Reducing Noise Through Ceilings

    Bookmark   September 9, 2006 at 11:27PM
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If the sound is voices fiberglass will be effective in reducing it.
The problem in basements is usually muffling footsteps fram teh floor above, not basement noise travelling into bedrooms above the basement.
There should not be a lot of low frequency noise from walking on concrete.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2006 at 9:18AM
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Interesting point brickeyee. Since we'll probably end up putting the batting between the joists no matter what, mayble I'll try that for now and see if it improves, before we invest in drywall and the resilent channels. There are some other places where I'd like to spend the money.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 10:37AM
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Stopping foot steps and low frequency noise is much harder then speech and higher frequency noise.
Most of the home theatre crowd is trying to create a silent room in a basement and do not want to hear any footsteps from the floor above.
Resilient channel, isolation membranes, and viscous Âglues can have some effect.
I design SCIFs and am, required to achieve measured and verified STC values.
Steel studs and multiple layers of drywall together with high density fiberglass insulation work just fine.
Floors and ceilings are normally concrete in commercial spaces so sound transmission there is vanishingly small (though we did find one building that was not designed correctly and the slabs had already started to crack).
If we need to produce sound attenuation from a floor above a drop ceiling and a lot of fiberglass generally does the job.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2006 at 5:27PM
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I live in Townhouse and have neighbors on both sides of me!!!!! I want to sound proof the basement for a home theater. I was planning on insullation batts between the wall and concrete wall, resileint channels and one layer of 1/2 drywall and another 5/8 layer of drywall. The ceiling I was planning on using acoustical batts and a drop ceiling with acoustical tiles. Am I wasting my time? Am I overdoing the walls (I'm not sure how osund proof concrete walls are) and not doing enough on the ceiling? Any info woukd be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 9:44PM
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Hey tom358, check out this website, it might help you with your question about soundproofing a wall.

Here is a link that might be useful: How to soundproof a wall

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 10:08PM
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I have seen that, however I am only finishing one side of the wall. The other side is mason block concrete. Is that soundproof?

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 10:26PM
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I have been through this with our main floor and loss of a large plastered ceiling 13' x23' due to flooding.
dh wanted plaster - due to expediting project, recovering from flood -
my research, including lot's of help here -
Roxul btwn floor joists (despite poster above opinion - yes this works very well - check SONY studios in Manhattan - that is one of the products used for prof studio)
RC channel w/green acoustic tape applied - then screwed into joists - 5/8" sheetrock -
Only wish - wish I had done this in the Kit ceiling when it was open - only used fiberglass batt & 5/8" BIG DIFFERENCE.

Now to basement refinishing
- low ceilings to begin with ~7'

1. Kensa ceiling link/grid system - This is similiar to RC but is flex PVC & applies direct to joist T's & L's - Benefit - only 1" off joists - rather than the 4"-6" of typical drop ceiling
2. Prior to applying grid ROxul btwn joists and in the wall that shared w/Utility side of basement
3. Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV) - comes in roll 1/8" thick the difficulty in applying this is it's at least a 2 person job due to the weight of the rolled vinyl
4. Acoustical/fire rated tile - up to 3/4" thickness

That should help tremendously with both sound going up to first floor and sound from first floor going down.

now I need to find a good looking 32" door to go on the utility side.

Good luck

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 11:08AM
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Fiberglass won't work- it's been proven in the field. Think about it, if the batts are placed between the studs or joists, how does that stop the sound from being transmitted through THEM?

Too bad I can't tell you more without risking being accused of "advertising". Without hearing from the experts, you are relegated to discussing these things among others, mostly uninformed. The danger is the opinions and wrong info passed out by the uninformed.

You can google for "soundproofing" and "forums on soundproofing" and get the experiences of others in real time without waiting for replies here.


    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 6:44PM
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Of course you should install the fiberglass batts but that will only give you a small measure of performance. Your best performance would be installing modern sound clips with hat channel than installing 2 layers with Green Glue hung from the channels. A much cheaper and simpler way to go is to install 2 layers of drywall with green glue in between directly onto your joists this will give you the best performance for your money.

Here is a link that might be useful: Soundproofing

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 3:43PM
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I see this thread's very old, but fibreglass is not very effective as a sound barrier, at least not the stuff we use for thermal insulation. Roxul/the mineral stuff that's grey, is better and it's also what you use as a firestop, as per the 5/8" drywall. Sprayfoam works quite well too, I believe. If you wanted a suspended ceiling, sprayfoam would be the best option.

I seem to remember there was stuff that was called (in Australia) wave bar, it was a lead foil product - not sure what they use now, for environmental reasons, but its density and softness makes it hard for sound to travel through. The resilient channel would help too.

I need to reline my garage ceiling and wouldn't mind more soundproofing, I'll use 5/8" drywall for fire resistance, and will be sprayfoaming the underside of the floor since there's no moisture/air barrier. I wonder if I could use resilient channel in this instance? It'd allow wires to be fished later too, I guess.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 6:07PM
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"I see this thread's very old, but fibreglass is not very effective as a sound barrier, at least not the stuff we use for thermal insulation."

Sound insulating fiberglass is denser (packed much tighter).

Thermal insulation is only dense enough to try and restrict air movement.

Using multiple layers of 5/8 drywall (with joints staggered at east one stud cavity) creates a very large mass that damps very well, and the sound insulating fiberglass dapms out the cavities.

One problem that does arise sometimes is that the heavy walls reflect so much sound it can be a problem in a meeting room (add a large white board for more reflections).

Covering walls with cloth designed for 'push pin walls' helps damp out the reflections.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2009 at 7:08PM
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I have an old basement with concrete floors that I need to sound proof to keep the noise in the basement and not transmitting to the main floor. Can I just put sound proofing pads or some sort of sound absorption material and screw it/ glue it to the ceiling?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 8:26AM
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Reminds me of that old Monty Python show's skit about that famous luncheon meat. Oh come on now what was the name of it????

    Bookmark   January 26, 2015 at 12:52PM
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