Last year my nephew came knocking on my door. His mom had told him to vacate or find ways to deal with the noise problem he was causing both to his family and neighbors. He loves drumming and acoustic guitars. Knowing that I’ve been doing soundproofing projects in my house and my friend’s house- he had no other place to turn to other than my house.
In this article, I’m going to show you precisely cheap ways you can as well implement to sound a basement ceiling- same techniques I implemented to save my little nephew’s a@$$.
The cheapest way to soundproof a basement ceiling
I know that the basement is rarely used, but often a special place for those who make use of this space. For instance, I use my basement to craft articles or when I feel like I need some space alone.
So whether you’d like to soundproof the basement to avoid noises leaking out to other rooms or to prevent sounds from the outside from leaking in, you can use below techniques.
Luckily for you, sound insulating a basement ceiling is a budget-friendly project –doesn’t require any handy skills-
Why soundproofing basement ceiling is important
This is because, with a basement, you only have to worry about the ceiling- and only one window- if it exists at all and you can quickly cover it if it leaks out the noise.
Compare soundproofing a basement with a room- in case of a room; you have 5 or 6 surfaces to worry about, unlike a basement where you only have to worry about the ceiling.
Soundproofing the basement ceiling is important because you will be preventing noise from leaking in from other rooms or noise from escaping the basement to other rooms in your house.
If you’re an aspiring musician, like my nephew, you don’t have to worry about the neighbors calling the cops on you or the landlord issuing you with a notice to vacate letter.
This project won’t break the bank- so now sit back and let me show you how you can get this done in less than a day- you will only require a few items I’ll be recommending. I’ve personally used these products, so you don’t have to worry about their effectiveness.
Reasons to soundproof your basement ceiling
Like I said above, soundproofing your basement will benefit not only those living upstairs but also those who wish to spend their time in the basement. Sound insulation gives both parties privacy and blocks out any annoying noises through the ceiling.
Here are some reasons why soundproofing basement is so important.
i. Peaceful man cave
Play cards, watch sports, dude out and get loud. If you want the basement to be your man cave, don’t give anyone upstairs a reason to come down and complain about the noise.
While it’s a fact that sound dampening the basement isn’t 100% effective, it does dramatically reduce noise problem- allowing you to do whatever you like in your private haven without disturbing anyone.
ii. Parents with kids
Young parents often consider sound insulation their basement especially if they feel the space as becoming a playroom for their kids one day.
When the kids enter teenage-hood and begin inviting their friends over for sleepovers, a soundproofed basement give these parents the freedom not to be disturbed by their kids playing.
iii. Rent it out
Have you ever thought of renting out your basement? If you have, kudos you’ve got an entrepreneur mind.
Renting a basement is becoming a popular trend in the County where I live. Renting out the basement can help you cover the mortgage, and earn you some extra income.
Trust me, if you soundproof the basement, your tenants, as well as your family members, will be thankful you did because the two parties (your family and the tenant) will have privacy needed.
How to soundproof a ceiling cheap- Don’t break the bank!!
1. Try Acoustic Foams
I’ve seen so-called expert advocate that acoustic foams are not the best way to soundproof a ceiling- which is true to some extent.
In my experience, I’ve undertaken countless DIY soundproofing projects and also discovered that acoustic foam panels aren’t entirely effective when used on ceilings but are effective on walls.
So why I’m I recommending acoustic panels?
Halt your horses’ friend- because I’m not recommending any ordinary foam panels. Only use these ATS Acoustic Foam Panels. Don’t just buy any other ordinary foam panels and expect any results because you’ll be disappointed. These ATS panels have microsuede to enhance their performance as well as aesthetic appeal.
One thing I love about acoustic panels is the fact that they block both impact and airborne noises and installing them is as simple as installing a moving blanket. You can glue them on the ceiling and be sure that no noise will leak in or out of the basement.
2. Seal all the gaps
This is because gaps will easily let sound in or out of your basement since sound travels through the air. I’ve come to discover that most basement ceilings have multiple cracks or gaps because the homeowners tend to neglect the basement.
Sealing such gaps is very simple- you will only need to use these caulking seals, and you’re good to go. Remember if you don’t block these gaps, then no amount of soundproofing will block out noise problem for good.
3. Acoustic Insulation
If your basement ceiling doesn’t have drywall, I would advise you first to insulate the joist cavities even though a standard ceiling noise reduction will work fine more so if you’re sound insulating on a budget. But I would recommend using acoustic insulation even though the difference will be a small one.
You can use this Roxul Mineral Wool Insulation I’ve used it before and work just fine as acoustic insulation. The product doesn’t need any fasteners. You’ll only need to cut it the panels to fit the joist cavities.
However, it’s important to leave an inch or two when fitting acoustic insulation to create an air pocket. In addition, the insulation shouldn’t be jammed but instead should be light.
4. Try Green Glue
Green glue is a sound dampening compound that’s not only affordable but also effective in sound insulation. If green glue isn’t available, you can try these five green glue alternatives readily available online.
Green glue creates a dampening system- this means that when sound energy hits the glue, it’s immediately converted into heat energy.
You can also use green glue to seal cracks and the gaps on the basement ceiling. This compound can also be used in other soundproofing projects such as soundproofing doors or windows.
You can also apply green glue between two drywalls to achieve an effective soundproofing system. (Check the green glue I recommend here).
5. Try MuteX soundproof material
If you’d want something easier to install and also readily available compared to acoustic foam panels, then MuteX soundproof material is the product for you. (Check it out here)
The MuteX is a type of mats you can use to sound deaden the basement. I ordered the product on Amazon, and I received a thick roll of lightweight black material.
It’s made of two elements- Vinyl which makes it flexible and a more mass element which makes the product to have soundproofing characteristics.
I love the fact that the product is versatile, you can use it in your office, on your car, or just anywhere you want to soundproof. While MuteX works just fine without incorporating other materials, I would suggest you pair it with drywall. You can glue it or staple it to drywall and then fix it on the ceiling.
If you can’t find MuteX soundproof material, you can you Mass Loaded Vinyl instead. It works just fine.
6. Use Rugs and Carpets
This might sound crazy, but it does work. Consider getting some fluffy rugs and carpets for rooms just above the basement. I never knew that this trick worked until the day I walked home and found my girlfriend had added some extra mass of rugs and carpets on the room above my basement.
Fluffy rags will work magic in dampening impacts of kids playing or footsteps of the folks just above the basement.
However if you’ve got some carpets already installed, adding some rugs might not be such a good idea. Instead, I would recommend adding some padding (check some good padding here). You can place the paddings between the floor and the carpet for them to be effective.
Additionally, you can install some Mass loaded vinyl between the floorboards and the carpet they work fine just like the padding.
7. Drywall and resilient channels
While drywall is a good soundproofing material, installing it directly to the basement ceiling will still allow some unwanted sound in and out of the basement. The aim when installing drywall should be to have some gap between the drywall and ceiling that will act as a sound barrier- and this is achieved using resilient channels.
Resilient channels ensure that there’s a gap between the ceiling and drywall. They are often suspended from the ceiling so that the drywall hangs from it.
Any unwanted sounds from the above rooms are distributed through these resilient channels and vice versa it’s true.
8. Rearrange the furniture’s above
I know it sounds crazy, but you and I are not crazy. Rearranging furniture in the room above the basement might be a solution to your ever complaining neighbors-they probably won’t ever complain about drum thunders emanating from your basement.
You will need to place heavy furnitures such as shelves, closets, TV stands and couches in the room above your basement.
I know it sounds crazy, but that’s its completely free- you won’t spend a dime- only your energy moving things around.
How to soundproof a finished basement ceiling
You can soundproof a finished basement ceiling using these three simple steps.
- Green glue sealant and a 2nd layer of drywall
- MuteX or Mass Loaded Vinyl
- Fill all the existing cracks in drywall
a) Green Glue Sealant and Drywall
You can install an additional layer of drywall to the existing wall. Your aim is to give the ceiling more mass which is good for soundproofing. However, before installing the second layer of drywall, you should apply green glue sealant to the drywall sheets.
While a thin layer of green glue applied to the drywall sheets might seem useless- you’ll be surprised by how much it can dampen unwanted noises. It’s good for long term sound deadening solution.
b) MuteX or Mass Loaded Vinyl
In most cases, it’s recommended to install soundproofing mats directly to the basement ceiling joists. But in this case, you don’t have to bring down the drywall if it’s already installed. So in this case just attach the soundproofing mats directly on top of the drywall. (Recommended Mass loaded vinyl)
Since these mats are only available in black color, they might not be a good option especially if mind the aesthetic feel of your basement.
c) Fill all the existing cracks in drywall
It’s a fact that every wall or ceiling will eventually develop cracks and gaps as it ages. These gaps are the biggest culprits in letting unwanted sounds travels through the ceiling.
You will need to inspect the ceiling for both big and small gaps which can be quite a hassle to spot them. You can seal the gaps using this sealant (3M 4-in-1 Patch). You can get on Amazon. It’s affordable and easy to use. I ordered it on, and I was surprised that the package also included a primer, a putty knife, a sanding pad and spackle.
Soundproofing Basement Stairs
I discovered that many people often soundproof the ceiling and forget to soundproof the basement stairs. But did you know that sound deadening the basement stairs is cheap and can be achieved in no time.
You can use the insulation materials used to sound dampen the ceiling. You can have a 2×4 attached to the centre of the stairway, and that’s what will hold the soundproofing material.
Does soundproofing ceiling really work?
Ceiling soundproofing does work. I did a DIY project last summer, and I was surprised how I dramatically reduced the noise entering and leaving the basement through the ceiling.
If you had a second thought about this project- please don’t. You can easily undertake the project on your own. However if you find it probably too handy- you can hire a professional to do it for you but remember it’ll be an expensive venture if you call a handyman.
Soundproofing ceiling cost- Is it expensive?
The cost of soundproofing your basement ceiling will vary depending on the size. But if I can recall right- the last time I did this type of project I spent around $860 on a 10×10-feet ceiling.
Drywalls are sold in 4×8 feet sheets. In this case, if you need three layers of drywall, you will have to buy 10 sheets. I know this is more than you need- but for a beginner, it allows some room for mistakes.
Let’s assume one sheet costs $6 you will spend $60 on drywall sheets.
Foam insulation is sold in 4×8-feet sizes- let’s assume you’ll need 10 sheets- so you will spend $80.
Additionally, acoustical tiles are sold in 20×20 inches- so you will need like 36 tiles. One tile costs $10, so you’ll have to spend $360. You’ll need 3 acoustical caulk available at $20 per tube= $60.
Now include like $100 for other costs such as adhesives, paint and drywall mud. So you’ll end up spending roughly $860 for a 10×10-feet ceiling.
Remember that the prices for the materials could vary- and if you’re lucky, you could get a discount and end up spending less.
If you’d ask me DIY soundproofing projects are much cheaper. Why- If you read this article (check it out here) you’ll understand why. In New York City, you’d spend $8000 to soundproof a wall- now calculate the cost of soundproofing the entire room.
Are you willing to spend similar costs?
Is basement ceiling soundproofing a worthy investment?
Now the answer to this question highly depends on a number of factors.
- Will soundproofing allow you to rent out the basement and get some return on investments?
- Will it increase the value of your home or save you money in other ways?
- Will it improve the quality of life of people upstairs or those living in the basement?
There you have it guys. I hope you’ve now fully understood how to soundproof the basement ceiling. If it’s a worthy investment, then don’t hesitate- start today. If you’ve got any question or suggestions, please let me know in the comment section down below.