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How to soundproof a basement apartment? 7 easy steps or less

How to soundproof a basement apartment? 7 easy steps or less

Recently, my wife and I decided to do something the space in our basement. It was becoming super cluttered and basically a storage room, which wasn’t the best use of all that space. 

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Plus, I was thinking of installing a golf simulator, and that seems like the perfect space for it, while my wife wanted a wine cellar. (P.S. we did not end up with the either of them since it was way over our budget, sigh)

We came to an agreement to turn it into a basement apartment where we could either use it to host guests or maybe rent it out somewhere down the line. It could also double up as a family room of sorts, where the kids can go crazy with their musical instruments (son is really into drumming now), or simply another living space to chill out. 

Having decided on that, we knew we needed to keep the noise within the room itself, so read on to find out how to soundproof a basement apartment in a cost effective way.

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Why you should soundproof your basement apartment?

There are literally dozens of ways in which you can customize your basement to make some use out of it. 

Be it a home office, gym, workshop, library, drum room or just a cosy place to hangout on weekends, your basement can be all of it (rather than using a garage!)

After all, who dares to go out for all these activities when there’s a pandemic going on!

But, how often do we get to see a sight like this? 

Rarely, since basements are frequently neglected. I remember seeing a really nice basement apartment in an over enthusiastic uncle’s house who couldn’t find something else to do on a boring Sunday.

So, what is it that’s stopping us? Well, noise mostly!

Basements are extremely noisy (and ugly too). The reason is that builders mostly just put up bottomless rafters and call that a ceiling, assuming that no one’s going to use it. And a lot of times you are gonna find your utility closet or furnaces there too. 

Yet, are you going to let it be the reason you abandon a could-be-amazing space? 

Before you do that, hear me out.

Here’s some cool stuff you could be doing with your soundproofed basement almost immediately:

  • Convert it into an office space. You’ll be impressed how you can take all your zoom calls without feeling the need to turn off the mic.
  • You could take up a new hobby to calm your mind and use the basement as your workshop.
  • Weren’t you thinking about developing the habit of reading but got distracted every time you tried? Well, this is your shot!
  • In future, your children could invite their friends over and enjoy their gaming sessions without disturbing others. You may also land the title of ‘Coolest Dad’ by the kids.
  • You can earn some extra pennies by letting it out on rent. If your prospects are able to hear what you do all day, and vice versa, isn’t it a huge turn off for both of you?
  • And lastly, soundproof your unfinished basement apartment for the sake of music production. (Your lost love, is it?)

(Did you know that a soundproof finished basement ceiling also acts as a thermoinsulator, saving you precious money on your bills?)

With all these benefits discussed, you must now be convinced that a basement suite with no insulation for noise is a wastage of resources. 

So now, quickly decide the degree to which you want to soundproof your basement and I’ll tell you how to do that.

(Skip to the next section if you are running low on money and want a quick solution.)

How to soundproof a basement apartment: The steps

Move around your basement and inspect the areas you need to work on. Remove everything unbolted from the ceiling. It will give you a clearer space to work on.

Now, if you are going to turn it into a music room or a recording studio, set up your cables. Also, try to minimize the number of cables running through the walls and the ceiling as it will lessen the scope of air gaps.

And while you are in it, install/replace the lights according to your needs. Go for LEDs to stay cool and save the environment.

The actual work will start now.

But before you begin, you should have a clear picture of what you are going to do. To insulate the sound effectively, we will be creating a room inside your existing room (basement).

Now, follow my lead :

  1. Create a wooden framework for your basement. While placing it, make sure that it only touches the floor.
    (Now will be the last chance for you to make changes in your ventilation. Remember that it is very crucial for you to have a proper ventilation so that you don’t feel restless after it’s all done.)
  2. Right after the framing is done, you can start adding insulation
  3. Now, install the drywall. Start with putting up the ceiling drywall and then the vertical ones.
  4. (Try to use a double layer everywhere, unless you’ve an existing concrete wall. And I highly recommend the use of Green Glue in between the drywall layers.)
  5. Seal all the edges properly using an acoustic sealant. The more air tight your apartment is, the quieter it would be.
  6. You will now be in a position to apply mud and sand.
  7. Paint the walls and the ceiling. Go for soundproof paint to get even better results. It won’t show you much results when used separately. But, when combined with these steps, results are going to be significant.
  8. It is likely that you have a door installed in this scenario, so be sure to find out how you can soundproof a door with household items here.

How can I reduce noise from upstairs?

If you are living in a basement apartment instead, you would do very well to focus on the sound insulation of the basement ceiling to reduce noise. 

I would recommend the following steps to soundproof your basement ceiling cheaply:

  1. Add layers of adhesive acoustic panels to your ceiling
  2. Seal all gaps
  3. Adding insulation using mineral wool
  4. Install a drywall
  5. Rearrange furniture in the room above the basement (if possible)
  6. Apply soundproof paint

And for alternatives :

Go for a drop ceiling (It may cost you a tiny fortune, however, the outcome is worth it).

  • Install MLV in your ceiling
  • Use rugs/carpets on the floor above (if possible)

Do not spend your bucks on soundproofing walls, doors and windows when you are sure that the noise is coming from upstairs.

How much does it cost to soundproof a basement apartment?

There cannot be a definite number to this question as it all comes down to how much soundproofing you want your apartment to have and the products that you use. 

A very rough estimate for a moderately soundproofed basement would be $800-$3000. Though, it may go up to $10,000 as your demands increase.

But, not every one of us needs that. So, here are some other cheaper and quicker alternatives to make your life quieter :

Use acoustic foams instead of double drywalls. Not just cheaper, it’s also very efficient.
I usually have a few of these lying around at home.

Once again, Green Glue. It’s upto you if you want to use it as an absorbent or to fill air gaps. Value for money in each case!

At the end of the day, the cost of soundproofing is only as much as what you are willing to spend, and you can check out ways to reduce your costs here too.

Are you going to soundproof your basement apartment?

What’s your next project going to be? 

A recording studio? Or maybe a golf simulator like what I originally wanted? Or maybe just a family movie room? 

Whichever your desire I hope that the article helps you out in keeping the noise out of your basement apartment at a budget friendly price!

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