Today, we shall be discussing the cheapest way to soundproof basement ceiling.
If you’ve transformed your basement into an office, man cave, or home theater, then you would want it to be free from any sort of noise.
Unfortunately, those living upstairs could be a nuisance to you with all the stomping noises, footfalls, and furniture dragging or utensils falling.
Such noises are termed as structure-borne noise and mainly is transmitted through vibrations.
How Does Noise Get into The Basement?
Before you think of the cheapest way to soundproof the ceiling, you should first identify where the noise is coming from.
Noise in the basement can be classified into either impact or airborne noise.
Airborne noise travels through the air.
For example, the sound from a stereo blasting or the chatter from children playing in the above rooms gets to the basement through the air.
Impact noise, on the other hand, results when the objects hit the above floor or any other surface hard.
The footsteps above and the sound of a ball hitting the floor is all part of impact noise.
Why Soundproof the Basement Ceiling?
If your basement is your hideout where you want to enjoy some quiet, you may want to soundproof it if the noise from above bothers you.
By soundproofing the ceiling, less noise will be getting in, and you can enjoy your meditation or whatever else you do in there in peace.
If you want to play loud music from the basement or use it for band practice, soundproofing the ceiling is also a good idea.
This way, you can have as much fun as you want in the basement without disrupting the rest of your household.
Cheapest Way to Soundproof Basement Ceiling
To prevent structure-borne noise from coming through the basement ceiling, you will need to undertake simple DIY soundproofing.
Below is a detailed guide on the cheapest way to soundproof a basement ceiling.
1. Thick mats and carpets on above floors
Installing thick mats and carpets on the floor above the basement is the most effective way to soundproof the basement ceiling.
The carpet will reduce the impact of footfalls and dropping things, among other noises.
A fluffy carpet adds a lot of warmth to your space, in addition to offering excellent soundproofing for the basement.
Since carpets and mats are available in many colors, you are not restricted as far as getting the perfect match for your space is concerned.
To enhance the carpet’s soundproofing ability, install a rubber mat beneath it.
This is important if you already have carpeting in place and do not wish to buy new ones.
Mass loaded vinyl is another material that will work great when placed between the carpet and floor panels.
The material works just as good as a rubber mat, and the additional padding makes it harder for sound to pass through the floor to the basement ceiling.
In case you already have rugs in the above rooms, move them to that area just above the basement.
This will reduce the structure-borne noise that gets to the basement ceiling.
2. Seal Gaps and Cracks in the ceiling
It is common to find the basement ceiling filled with gaps and cracks, especially if the area is not used regularly.
These gaps and cracks let in a lot of sound from the top floor, and you need to seal them to make the basement quieter.
Green glue sealant will work great in this case. If you can’t find green glue, then I would highly recommend these green glue alternatives.
It will not only seal all the gaps but also offer additional soundproofing properties.
You can also use any caulking seal at your disposal.
Just ensure that you do a thorough job, and no cracks and gaps are left unattended.
Whatever soundproofing material you use, remember that you cannot enjoy a quiet basement until all the cracks and gaps are adequately sealed.
It is easy to miss the small cracks on the ceiling so ensure that you do a systematic inspection and mark all cracks first before you begin your work.
3. Move your furniture
Another simple yet effective hack involves soundproofing using household items.
Placing a heavy furniture piece just above the basement ceiling.
The furniture will absorb most of the sound from the upper floor, not to mention that it will also hinder traffic around the area.
Depending on the material, the furniture could also reflect the sound waves to wherever they are coming from.
Use already existing furniture if you do not have a budget for a new one.
Anything from a heavy couch to a bookcase will work as long as it is thick and heavy.
4. Acoustic Foam Panels
Foam panels are not as great when it comes to ceiling soundproofing.
They work best when installed on the walls. Here is a guide on how to hang acoustic foam panels.
That said, these panels can absorb some of the noise coming from the ceiling and improve the basement environment.
When you get the acoustic version, you enjoy enhanced soundproofing abilities.
Some acoustic foam panels come with a microsuede finish that makes them ideal if you are concerned about aesthetics.
Installing them is easy since some of them come with hooks, and they can also be easily glued to the ceiling panels.
5. Use drywall and resilient channels.
From the basement floor to the ceiling, the sound is transferred from one solid surface to the other.
This means that if the drywall is installed on the ceiling, the noise will be transferred to these surfaces.
You can soundproof the basement ceiling by installing resilient channels.
These are small channels between the structure and drywall that disable the sound transmission between surfaces.
The channel bar is usually suspended to ensure the drywall is hanging.
Sound travels within the small channels in this bar and, in the process, loses a good portion of its energy before it hits the drywall.
There are enough tutorials on installing a channel bar on drywall if you are a DYI enthusiast.
You can also hire a drywall expert to complete the process for you.
Read my detailed comparison between quiet rock vs double drywall.
6. Apply Green Glue
Green Glue is a highly effective and reliable sealant.
Even if your ceiling doesn’t have any physical cracks or gaps, you can still use this product.
Many tests have proven that Green Glue comes with an impressive STC of 56.
It also remains flexible, making it ideal if you want a long-term soundproofing solution.
When used around ceiling corners and in between drywall layers, Green Glue can tremendously reduce the sound getting into the basement.
This is because it converts sound waves into heat energy, making it an effective sound dampening product.
If you install drywall in the ceiling, use green glue in place of regular glue between the layers before mounting them on your ceiling.
Your basement will be much quieter.
7. Soundproof Paint
Soundproof paint will reduce your space’s sound, but you should combine it with other methods highlighted above.
The manufacturers of these paints claim that it can absorb about 30% of the sound waves.
Soundproof paint is inexpensive, and it’s also available in a variety of colors.
You can also DIY, further reducing your cost if you work with a tight budget and apply multiple coats for the best results.
Cheapest Way to Soundproof Basement Ceiling
Above are the best and the cheapest way to soundproof basement ceiling.
Like earlier mentioned, these methods have varying degrees of effectiveness.
Therefore, to get the best results, I would recommend combining two or more methods highlighted above.