Join us now for another virtual tour through a soundproof basement project

Robby is the young dude you met when you visited his soundproofed apartment. He seems a little more friendly now, perhaps because you’ve already met.

“I joined a band” he explains. “then we found we needed a place to practice. We had the cops come a few times before we realized we absolutely needed a place quiet enough where we wouldn’t disturb the neighbors”!    (more)

“What did you do”? You inquire.

“At first, we had some luck by moving the practice out to the country, but that was not practical for all members of the band. We tried a large room in the back of a house and then a large garage, but that was no good at all.  We always found we needed soundproofing.  Some of the guys tried out their ideas of egg cartons and mattresses, but that turned out to be a joke, a real waste of time and money!”  (See Myths)

” We knew we needed solid walls, so we tried putting the practice in a basement, but the sound just went up through the house and out as well as out the windows of the basement.  We were now certain we had to make a serious effort to soundproof our practice area and figured the basement was the best place to start.  Reading up on the subject here at the website, we found that masonry is a good soundproofing material and our basement was quite full of it!”

“What seemed to be the biggest obstacle to soundproofing the basement, the sound passing up into the house”?

“Well yes, we knew it probably wouldn’t be possible to do good enough of a job to allow watching TV upstairs while we practiced, we are really loud!  But we wanted to at least keep the neighbors happy!  Any soundproofing effort has limitations, translating to a question of time and money.  Different levels of soundproofing are reached with a different application level of effort and materials.  Neighbors have different annoyance levels too.  Perhaps some acceptable level can be reached with a minimum effort and money, but maybe one has to go “all out” from the beginning.  This is what we decided to do, at the same time trying to substitute cheap labor, (the bands), for costly materials”.

“Did you make a plan”?

“Yes, we decided to carefully survey what would be required by reading everything here on the web site and to then select materials and determine a systematic method to apply them. The experts at the website were very helpful, too”.   (760) 752 3030

“How did it work out”?

“C’mon, let’s go downstairs”! He points to a door.

You stop to examine the door. “Say, this seems a bit unusual”.

Yes,” he explains. “This is a solid core “outside” or “exterior” MDF door. You’ll notice it has padding on both sides of it.  The inside padding is cut a little oversize so as to provide a seal over the crack around the doorjamb. We used gasket material (tape) for additional sealing and a doorsweep to cover the gap at the bottom

We left the regular interior door in place and added this door, creating a kind of “Airlock”!

You follow him down the stairs into the basement, shutting the doors carefully behind. You enter an area that seems muffled, noticeably quieter, yet somehow full bodied. Obviously, the acoustics were much improved.

Soundproof Basement EXPAND

“This house has part of the basement exposed above ground so we elected to soundproof the entire outside walls from top to bottom, rather than just the part that was exposed to the outside. This proved to be a good move because we improved the acoustics, too.  We first applied a vapor barrier, studding and MLV sound barrier under 5/8″ drywall.  Again, the mat would have been the  first choice, but for the expense. We also could have used asphalt roofing material as it’s also cheap, but has an odor and tends to outgas forever. We did save money by not using resilient channel or rubber sound clips, we just taped the studding with the stud isolation tape for padding”.

“What about the windows? You ask.

“They are now history, because of the excellent way glass transmits sound energy. They are still in place, but we first sealed them with caulking compound. Then we cut 2″ Super Soundproofing Mat slabs to a little over the inside frame size and forced them in, again sealing the edges.  We then covered the entire window frame with Celotex ceiling tile cut to fit even with the basement wall. We could have made removable  “Plugs”,  but because we don’t care about the light, or need to open them, we didn’t bother.

This is a large basement so we weren’t concerned with losing space to the false walls we constructed by studding away from the cement block walls. The false walls were built so that none of it touches the rest of the building except through “mounts”.  It is thusly suspended. We made the mounts from vibration isolation pads obtained from the web site, spaced about 2 feet apart. We framed it using as few studs as possible and placed more “Soundboard” inside the framing. It is spaced out from the house basement wall about six inches, creating a dead air space. On the outside is Gypsum wallboard, thin soundproofing mat (1/4″), and then a layer of Celotex ceiling tiles for looks. We used as few nails as possible to aid vibration isolation! When the wall was in place we caulked all around the edges of its rubber mounting, sealing all cracks and crevices” thusly creating a dead air space that sound doesn’t like to travel thru.

You look around. “I see the lights are not built into the ceiling”!

“Remember, the ceiling is for soundproofing!  We didn’t want holes in it! The ceiling is quite high, so we could suspend the light fixtures from the dropped ceiling easily using chains.  Otherwise, we’d use indirect lighting or low profifle tube lighting”.

“Say, Robby, what are these”? You indicate some large wheeled portable panels covered with acoustical soundproofing material.

“We found that the low frequency from the drums was still noticeable outside, so following the principal of attenuation of sound at the source, we made these panels from 3/4″ plywood covered with Super Sound Proofing Mat . We cut the panels in two and hinged them for storage. They open like a “V” on it’s side. We pull the panels over to surround the drums and put them back out of the way when not needed”.

“Did you run into anything unusual in doing this job”?

“Yes indeedy! We discovered the furnace ducting was carrying the sound of the band up and out of the basement”!

“Then what did you do”?

“We painted the ducting inside with Super Soundproofing Liquid, then covered it with the black foam mat. We still had a bit of a problem, because the sound was following the ducting, so we made a hinged door the fits inside the duct. It is covered with the mat and is hinged closed so as to swing open when air passes through the duct. Otherwise it’s closed at all times, effectively blocking any sound through the ducting. That took care of the problem. Ducting made of fiberglass instead of metal would have perhaps prevented the problem in the first place”.

“Can you give me some pointers”?

“Sure! Before you even start, make sure all cracks where sound can escape are sealed!  Cover the windows!  Cover and seal the doors! Provide mounting isolation to your sound walls and seal them too!  Forget about built in flush lighting, hang ‘em outside! (Or use indirect lighting!)  Paint metal ducts with Liquid sound proofing and cover them with mat! Make and use portable acoustical barriers! Use common materials if possible, but when you need it, don’t be afraid to use professional stuff! BTW, egg cartons are not suitable for sound proofing, nor is fiberglass batting”! (A better replacement for fiberglass batting is Natural Cotton Fiber).

“What happens if you do all this and it’s still not enough?”

“You can always put MLV under the carpet upstairs!”

“Thanks, Robby, you’ve been a big help”! I’ve got to go home now.

“Thanks for coming!

NEED HELP!?:
Any questions or pointers of your own, please post to the Q&A Forum Discussion Group so everyone can see the answers!! (See the sidebar).

See our article on soundproofing a basement for fun and profit.

Call us for free info from one of our sound control Specialists or visit us!  Questions?  Call or use the form below.

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