I live in a townhouse. There is a steel I-beam that run through the basements of all the houses in my row. This I-beam seems to carry a lot of noise. When I'm down in the basement, I can hear the conversations that my neighbors two doors down are having, and my next door neighbor can hear every word of the books on tape I listen to down there. How can I insulate the I-beam so that the sounds don't travel so much? By the way, property values have plummeted in our city lately, so the cheaper I can do this, the better!
I find it unlikely that the I-bean is actually the wiring, if you will, carrying the sound. This problem is more likely traced to the way the walls were constructed, including the possibility off openings around lightswitches and outlets that are too large.
One option is to insulate up to and including the joints the i-beam goes through. Add a second layer of drywall, and Green Glue for even more sound resistance.
Another option is to buy and install sound resist drywall. There's one called QuietRock. You put it over the existing drywall, but you have to pay extra attention to to outlets, light, and switches. There's a special soundproofing material that needs to go behind them. It's require you to unwire those outlets and switches, pull the box out, put this clay-like soundproofing behind it, then reinstall. You'll find this acoustical product - near the same area of the store where you find QuietRock.
Good luck, and let us know how this turns out!
I live in an apartment and have the same issue with a double I-beam running along the top of a wall and into an adjacent apartment. The two I-beams next to each other creates a metal tunnel through which all sound travels. Probably both ways. I desperately want a fix too but I have a feeling it will be limited to attaching sound absorbing material to the beam to decrease resonance…I’m no expert though.
I hope someone else responds!