Soundproof a Basement
LESLIE: Rick in Illinois has a question about a basement. What can we do for you?
RICK: Hi, I was just wanting to try to figure out the best way to soundproof a basement so that the sound doesn’t travel upstairs.
TOM: Are you planning your son’s rock band playing (Leslie chuckles) down there or something?
RICK: I wish I could say that (Tom chuckles), but it’s actually mine.
TOM: Ah! (laughing)
LESLIE: Nice! And it’s a real rock band? Not Guitar Hero?
RICK: No, it’s real. It’s a Christian Prog band and we’re all professionals and we’re trying to relive our teenage years, if you know what I mean.
TOM: I see.
RICK: We’re constructing a new home and it’s going to get to the point to where I have to make that decision in the next 30 days or so and I’m trying to figure out the best way to soundproof it so that the sound doesn’t bother the rest of the family.
TOM: Well, it’s going to be difficult – in a typical, normal construction situation – to make it totally soundproof because as you probably know, if you’ve been in recording studios, that the way you construct them is quite different than you would …
TOM: … in a regular house where you have just, you know, a single-framed wall as opposed to a double wall and so on. That being said, probably the best thing that you could do is to use some of the soundproof insulation that’s available – Owens Corning has a product – and fill that basement ceiling with soundproof insulation and then use a double application of drywall with green glue in between, which is sort of like a rubberized soundproofing glue. That helps to take up space between the boards and gives it sort of a place where the sound gets absorbed.
RICK: Now the builder recommended some kind of Z connector so it came off of the floor joists kind of almost in a Z pattern so there was a space before the drywall was actually put up so there was a barrier there.
TOM: That’s along the right idea.
TOM: You see, if you’re building a soundproof room you usually have a double wall. And so, with these connectors I think what he’s trying to do – and the green glue does the same thing as it provides a bit of space so you have somewhat of a barrier between the different parts of the structure, be it the wallboard or the wood frame itself. And all of this helps to slow the transmission of sound.
RICK: And he also recommended that the heating and air conditioning ducts, instead of coming through the ceiling, come through the sidewall so that the sound wouldn’t travel up.
TOM: Yeah, that’s probably a good idea …
TOM: … because it certainly could do that.
LESLIE: You know, Rick, there’s a great website that has a lot of, you know, resources and products for soundproofing. It’s called SoundproofFoam.com and it’s all acoustic products for walls, ceilings, floors, doors, pipes that might help you there with some of the products that are available to you.
TOM: And by the way, make sure you use fiberglass ducts and not metal ducts because fiberglass ducts don’t carry the sound like the metal ducts do.
RICK: That’s great information, Tom and Leslie. You have a great show and I really appreciate the advice.
LESLIE: Rock out.