7 Cheapest Ways to Soundproof a Basement Ceiling
You are probably wondering whether you really need to soundproof the basement. Well, yes! You actually need to.
For most people, the basement may not be a special room. But there are quite a number of unique ways in which you can use your basement for.
You can turn it into a home office, or even just a chill crib. You can also decide to turn it into the kid's study room or if you are a bookworm like I am, make it your library!
However you decide to use the basement, it may be just as necessary to make it soundproof as any other room.
My basement remained unused for a number of years and we just couldn't seem to get an appropriate way to use it. However, when my son's friends started tagging along after school to play some Xbox games, I found that I could barely work over all the noise they were making since my home office was just next door. I, therefore, decided to turn the basement into a home office for a couple of hours after school.
Of course, I wasn’t about to spend a lot of money soundproofing the basement since I was only going to be in there for a couple of hours.
The best news about it is that soundproofing your basement does not have to cost you a fortune. With a couple of dollars and a bit of energy, you can turn your basement into a quiet and peaceful haven. Here’s how to soundproof the basement ceiling cheaply.
But first, What kind of noise gets into the basement?
If you are looking to soundproof the basement ceiling, you need to answer this question first. There are two main kinds of noise that will get to your basement through its ceiling; airborne noise and impact noise.
Airborne noise is simply noise that travels through the air. Say, for example, your teenage kids are blaring loud music through their stereos. Perhaps your toddlers are screaming as they play in the nursery and the noise gets to the basement. These are all examples of airborne noises. Airborne noise will either bounce off the floor or ceiling or travel through them and get to the basement.
Impact noise, on the other hand, is a result of actually hitting a surface. A great example of impact noise is someone thumping their feet as they use the stairs or the kids hitting the floor with a ball as they play.
When soundproofing the basement ceiling, these are the two most common types of noise that you will need to pay attention to. However, the same methods can be used to soundproof against both kinds of noises.
So, how do you soundproof your basement ceiling in the cheapest way possible?
7 Cheapest Ways to Soundproof a Basement Ceiling
1. Seal Any Gaps
If you know anything about soundproofing, this is the basic rule. It doesn’t matter what area you are trying to soundproof. You should always try to seal any gaps first. The basement ceiling is no exception.
Gaps will be the hugest culprit of letting sound through to your basement. Unfortunately, most basement ceilings have a couple of gaps and cracks.
Sealing them should not be hard. Simply use caulking seals and you will be sure to notice the difference. If you decide not to seal the gaps, then no amount of soundproofing will block out the sound entirely.
2. Go Fluffy (With Carpets and Rugs)
You should probably consider getting some rugs, considerable fluffy ones, for the rooms above your basement.
Fluffy rugs will especially work better in dampening the impact of footsteps or noise from the kids. However, if you have already done some carpeting and do not want to buy new rugs, consider adding some padding. These you can place between the carpet and the floor to make sure more sound is absorbed.
Alternatively, you can use some mass loaded vinyl between the carpet and the floorboards. They work in just the same way as the padding. It adds density between the floorboards and therefore makes it difficult for sound to pass through.
The other option that you have would be to place a piece of furniture such a couch or a bookshelf directly above the basement. You can use your already existing pieces so that it doesn’t cost you anything.
Related: How to Soundproof Floors
3. Acoustic Foams
Most soundproofing experts will argue that acoustic foams will not be the best to use when soundproofing a ceiling. They are right!
Acoustic foam panels will work when used on walls. However, most of them tend to fail as good sound absorbers when they are used on ceilings.
However, the ATS Acoustic Panels are different from the ordinary acoustic foam panels. You can actually just tell even from looking at it. They are covered with a microsuede that enhances their visual appeal as well as their performance.
Should you decide to install these panels, you can be sure that they will be able to block out all noises from upstairs, be they impact or airborne. Installing is also not a difficult task as they come with hooks to which you can easily attach the panels. You can also decide to glue them.
The best thing about acoustic foam panels is that they are relatively cheap. If you are looking for a cheap way to take on that soundproofing project, I suggest looking at your acoustic foam options.
4. Acoustic Insulation
If you have an open ceiling that does not have a drywall, you should first think of insulating the joist cavities. Regular ceiling insulation will still work fine, especially if you are soundproofing on a low budget. However, I suggest getting acoustic insulation as there will be a difference, albeit a small one.
The Roxul Mineral Wool Insulation particularly works great as an acoustic insulation. It does not require any fasteners and for you to use it, you will have to cut the panels to a perfect fit for the joist cavities.
When fitting the acoustic insulation, be sure to leave an inch or two so as to create an air pocket. Also make sure that the insulation is not jammed. It should, rather, be light.
5. MuteX Soundproof Material
If you would want something much simpler than the acoustic foam panels, then you might want to take a look at the MuteX soundproof material.
It is, basically, a sort of mat that you can use to soundproof the basement. It comes as a thick roll of black material that is in fact lightweight.
Mutex soundproof material is made up of two main elements. The vinyl makes it more flexible while a high mass element gives the material enough density to act as a sound barrier.
What I especially love about the MuteX material its versatility. So you can go ahead and buy quite some material as you can use it on your car, in your office, or just about anywhere.
While it works just fine on its own, I suggest pairing it with a drywall. You can either staple or glue it to a drywall and then set that up on the ceiling.
If you would like, you can also use mass load vinyl instead of the MuteX soundproof material.
6. Soundproof Drywall and Resilient Channels
I have already mentioned how you can use a drywall to soundproof your basement ceiling. However, resilient channels can act as an alternative to the MuteX soundproof material.
The sound is able to transfer through solid materials. Installing a drywall directly onto the basement ceiling will, therefore, still offer a medium of transfer for any unwanted noises.
The goal when installing a drywall should, therefore, be to leave some gap that will act as a sound barrier. This can easily be achieved by using resilient channels.
Resilient channels offer a gap between the drywall and the ceiling which in turn blocks the transmission of sound. The channel bar is usually suspended so that the drywall is hanging from it.
Any sound from the rooms above is distributed through the resilient channels and in the process, it loses most of its energy before it gets to the drywall. The result? Little or no sound gets through to the drywall. In case any of it does, the drywall takes care of the rest ensuring the basement remains quiet and peaceful.
7. Apply Green Glue
Green glue can be a great option if you need further soundproofing. It is a sound dampening product that is not only cheap but also quite good at what it is supposed to do.
Green glue works by creating a dampening system. When sound energy gets to the glue, it is quickly changed to heat energy which then dissipates. You can even use green glue as a sealant and use it on cracks and gaps in the ceiling.
Just like the Mutex soundproof material, the green glue is also quite versatile and can be used on quite a number of soundproofing projects.
Since soundproofing is all about adding mass, you can use the green glue alongside the drywall. Apply the green glue in between two drywalls and then use these two to soundproof the ceiling.
Green glue is also quite cheap and is easily available on Amazon.
On Soundproofing the Basement Ceiling Cheaply
Once you have finally figured out what to do with your basement, you may have to get into a little soundproofing.
Of course, no one wants to spend so much time soundproofing a room that will only be used occasionally. So I hope that this article has given yo a couple of tips on how you can soundproof your basement ceiling on a low budget.
For my basement, I decided to use the acoustic panels and the fluffy mats on the room above. I must admit, it is so quiet down there that I am at times able to sneak in some sleep time.
Go ahead and try out some of these cheap soundproofing methods for your basement ceiling. You will absolutely love the results!