Most basements, by definition, are big holes in the ground. And that means that a common feature among basements is that they are typically surrounded on all sides by solid earth.
That’s a good thing. That solid wall of earth that meets each outer wall of your basement offers some really great benefits that are unique to basements.
One of those benefits is temperature control and insulation. Whether it’s winter or summer outside, the temperature of the earth that surrounds your basement walls is pretty much the same all year round.
Another wonderful benefit of the earth that surrounds your basement is the sound-insulating qualities of solid earth. Very little noise will be transmitted into your basement from outside your basement walls. And very little of the noise that’s generated within your basement will filter through the surroundings of solid earth.
But that doesn’t mean that soundproofing can be ignored when you’re remodeling your basement. You don’t have to worry about noise passing through the outer walls. But you still need to consider noise that might be transmitted through the ceiling, or between interior rooms within your basement.
Tips for Soundproofing Basements
It’s important that your basement renovation includes soundproofing for the ceiling. Obviously, you want to limit noise that might be transmitted from above down into the basement. But you also want to restrict the amount of noise that might travel from the basement, through the ceiling, and into the rooms above.
And depending upon the planned uses for your renovated basement, you might need to soundproof between some of the interior rooms of your basement as well.
Here are some tips for the effective soundproofing of basement ceilings and walls:
- Use Heavy Materials. Standard fiberglass insulation can be effective in reducing sound transmission. But denser materials such as fiberboard and drywall will do an even better job. Even a layer of heavy vinyl sheeting will help to deaden noise.
- Install Acoustic Tiles. Acoustic tiles can be very effective in reducing the transmission of sound, both through ceilings and through interior walls. A drawback with acoustic tiles is that they don’t always offer the refined look that homeowners often desire. But if the appearance of the tiles isn’t a turn-off, they can be very effective soundproofing tools.
- Double Drywall Layer. Drywall is a very effective noise-suppressant material. And doubling the layer of drywall can double the effectiveness by cutting sound transmission as much as 50%. The best results from a double layer of drywall can be achieved when a vibration-absorbing material (such as a soft polymer) is sandwiched between the drywall layers.
- Use Isolation Clips. Mounting the drywall on isolation clips can enhance the effectiveness of drywall as a soundproofing material. This technique can drastically lessen the vibrations – and therefore the sound – that is transmitted through the drywall.
The Basement Doesn’t Have to Do All the Work
The entire burden of suppressing sound transmission between the basement ceiling and the floor above doesn’t have to be shouldered by your remodeled basement. The floor above can also carry much of the load.
Thick rubber sheeting can be installed beneath hardwood floors and laminates. Acoustic underlays installed beneath carpet can dramatically reduce sound transmission. And for certain noisy hot spots, just something as simple as a throw rug can make a dramatic difference.
Combine the natural sound-suppressing effects of the earth surrounding your basement with some careful interior soundproofing, and your basement renovation will result in a warm, snug, silent retreat. Or depending upon your mood, a warm, snug, noisy retreat.
Either way, you won’t have to worry about bothering anyone else in the house, or being bothered by anyone else. And that’s how a retreat should be.