What is the cheapest way to soundproof the basement ceiling?
One of my blog followers sent an email last week wanting to know how she can effectively address foot traffic and other sounds from the floor above her basement.
According to an article published National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), the non-auditory (noise that does not cause hearing loss, e.g., impact noise) effects of noise exposure include sleep loss, increased blood pressure, work breathing, cardiovascular constriction, increased heart rate, changes in brain chemistry, and work breathing. (Source)
It is now apparent that the effects of noise extend beyond the ears.
According to a WHO study titled Guidelines for Community Noise, these non-auditory effects can, in turn, lead to decreased productivity, social disability, increased drug use, decreased school performance, accidents, and absenteeism from school and work.
Now that you know the adverse effects of noise, let’s take a look at the cheapest ways to the soundproof basement ceiling.
A list of the Cheapest Ways to Soundproof Basement Ceiling
Soundproofing A basement ceiling focuses mainly on minimizing structural noise/impact noise.
Unlike airborne noise, impact noise is difficult to attenuate. This is because transmission is mainly through vibration.
These methods have proven effective against impact noise such as footfalls, utensils falling to the floor, or furniture movement.
1. try thick carpets and mats on the floor above.
This is one of the cheapest yet most effective ways to deal with impact noise from the floor above your basement.
Carpeting the floor above is a great idea to reduce impact noise like the sound of something falling, footsteps, or the sound of furniture being pulled around.
A recommended fluffy carpet is Safavieh California Premium Shag Carpet, which is available in over 20 fashionable colors.
To improve the efficiency of the carpet, you can also install a rubber mat under the carpet. However, you can install it independently without the carpet.
An excellent recommendation is the rubber Cal Elephant Bark floor mat. It is available in seven colors, so you can choose one that complements your interior design.
2. close gaps on the ceiling.
Gaps and cracks in the ceiling are the biggest culprits for leaking noises in your basement. Unfortunately, most old basement ceilings have cracks and gaps.
The simple solution to this problem is to seal the cracks and gaps. You will need a caulking sealant-like 3M PPP-3-4IN1T Patch Plus Primer or green adhesive, and you will notice a big difference.
If you ignore this step, you will not be able to completely eliminate the noise problem regardless of other hacks you implement.
If your ceiling does not have drywall, it is important to insulate the joist voids. Standard ceiling insulation will work well, especially if you’re tight on budget.
But for best results, soundproofing is the best choice.
One of the most recommended soundproofing products is ROXUL mineral wool insulation. The product does not require fasteners, and you just need to cut the panels to the ideal size for the joist cavity.
When installing the sound insulation, leave an inch or two to create an air pocket, and also make sure the insulation is not jammed.
4. drywall and resilient ducts
Drywall is a great material for soundproofing walls and ceilings. Since sound can travel through solid material, you need to use resilient ducts or hat channels and then add a layer of drywall underneath.
The idea is to create a gap between your ceiling and the drywall, which acts as a sound barrier. Resilient ducts are able to create a gap between the ceiling and drywall without contact between them.
Sound vibrations from the floor above do not reach the drywall because they are distributed through the elastic channels or hat channels. In doing so, the sound loses its energy before it reaches the drywall.
5. green glue
The green adhesive is an effective alternative to the acoustical sealant recommended above. You can use green adhesive sealant to seal gaps and cracks in the ceiling.
The product converts sound energy into negligible amounts of heat dispersed on the ceiling.
If green glue is not available in your country, check out these green glue alternatives I recommended in the previous article.
6. Rearrange the furniture in the space above your basement.
Rearranging furniture is also one of the cheapest ways to soundproof your basement ceiling.
Rearrange furniture from the floor above. Make sure you position heavy furniture such as bookshelves, sofas, or cabinets directly above the basement, especially in the area where most of the noise occurs.
Only move furniture to a specific spot if it can stay permanently. Not only will you soundproof the basement, but you will also give a new look to the floor above.
7. soundproofing painting
Buy on Amazon
Soundproofing paint is not your typical paint. It is much thicker than normal paint and features soundproofing room additives such as latex. These additives help bring the sound back to the source, significantly reducing the amount of noise transmitted.
For effective soundproofing, you need to apply several layers.
One of the most recommended sound deadening paints is Acousti Coat-Sound Deadening paint.
Since the sound deadening paint is very thick, it has been proven that at least 30% of sound penetrates through the basement ceiling.
8. muteX soundproofing material
If you want something much cheaper than sound foam insulation, then MuteX soundproofing material is an excellent option for you.
It is a product in a thick roll of black material that you can use to dampen your basement ceiling.
Two materials make up this product. A high mass material that is dense enough to act as a sound barrier and a vinyl material that makes MuteX flexible.
Not only is it great for soundproofing a ceiling, but it can also be used to soundproof your car or any other place where soundproofing is needed.
Final thoughts on the cheapest way to the soundproof basement ceiling.
Above are some of the cheapest ways to the soundproof basement ceiling. They are simple DIY projects that you can do right away and will likely take a few hours to complete.
However, it’s important to note that you can use a combination (e.g., soundproof paint +green glue+ furniture rearrangement, +carpet+ drywall) to get the best results.
I have to admit that using a fluffy carpet and a mat underneath is one of my favorite methods for soundproofing against footsteps.