Basement apartments could be your hideaway from the bustling world outside. You can rest, read a book, or do anything peacefully if there is no noise to disturb you. To achieve a quiet basement, you should soundproof it. We have researched from the experts how to soundproof a basement apartment and here's what they suggest.
You can soundproof your basement apartment by doing any of the following:
- Seal gaps, holes, and cracks on basement ceilings and walls
- Use carpets and rugs for rooms above the basement
- Place some acoustic panels or foam to soundproof the basement ceiling
- Use soundproofing materials like mineral wool and Green Glue
- Add soundproof drywall and other similar resilient channels
- Apply soundproofing paint
- Rearrange furniture on the main floor
With the techniques above, you also need to consider the cost and efforts to exert. By soundproofing, you can continue your usual activities without any disturbance. Soundproofing can also add to the value of the apartment. If you need help to get started with soundproofing, read further below.
Why Do You Need To Soundproof Your Basement Apartment?
Dwelling in a basement apartment may not be quiet at all times. There might be frequent loud gatherings or annoying noise from the street. If you have noisy tenants, it would not be enjoyable. By soundproofing, you are also preventing noise from disturbing people living above. Hence, people on both levels can live peacefully.
Other benefits of soundproofing the basement include:
- Minimum noise impact from above (e.g., footsteps or thudding sounds)
- Reduced airborne noise from upper floors (e.g., conversations or opening of doors)
- Less flanking noise and vibrations from the main ductwork inside the building
How Can I Soundproof My Basement Cheaply?
Most homeowners hesitate to soundproof their basement apartment because of the cost. Yes, you will spare a few bucks. Yet if you don't take action to reduce the noise, you might not get a comfortable stay in your basement apartment.
So to help you save on spending, below are some cheap options for soundproofing a basement apartment:
1. Seal Gaps, Holes, And Cracks
Soundproofing starts with blocking the sound waves from the main floor above. You should first seal any gaps, holes, and cracks on the basement ceilings and walls. Sound cannot penetrate if you block the spaces where they can pass through.
You can use caulking or silicone sealants. For some, the terms are interchangeable. Here are the main differences between the two:
- The composition of caulk is acrylic while sealants have silicone.
- Caulk is paintable while silicone sealants are not.
- Caulk is rigid, but silicone is more flexible.
- Use a silicone sealant if you want to avoid cracking due to temperature and water. Caulk will dry and crack after some time.
- Caulk does not emit irritating fumes, unlike silicone sealants.
Regardless of their differences, both are effective for sealing. You can maintain your basement structure and keep the room quiet.
Check out this Gorilla clear silicone sealant on Amazon.
See this Red Devil Lifetime Ultra elastomeric acrylic latex sealant on Amazon.
2. Use Carpets Or Rugs
This option is quite cozy. With thick and fluffy carpets or rugs on the floor above, you can reduce the impact noise. With high foot traffic on the floor above the basement, rugs and carpets help dampen the noise.
If you have existing carpets or rugs, you can add some padding. You can also use mass-loaded vinyl between your carpet and the main flooring.
See this Sonic Acoustics non slip soundproof rug pad on Amazon.
3. Install Acoustic Panels
You can also soundproof a basement apartment by placing acoustic panels on walls and ceilings. Acoustic panels help smoothen the frequency and reduce reverberations. For the aesthetics, decorative or microsuede fabric makes the panels appealing.
Acoustic panels are great for a basement recording room, a home theater, or something similar. Just make sure you get quality acoustic panels and that there are no gaps where sound can pass through. Whatever you want to do in your basement, acoustic panels can give you a full surrounding sound experience.
See the BUBOS art acoustic panels on Amazon.
4. Use Soundproofing Paint
Another affordable choice is using soundproof paint. This type of paint is thicker than the usual wall paint. There are thermacels added in soundproof paint that reduce the transfer of sound. Soundproof paint decreases the sound by up to 30 percent or the normal to mid-level frequencies.
5. Rearrange Furniture
If you don't want to spend a single dollar for soundproofing, try to rearrange your furniture. Place heavy and big furniture directly above your basement. Furniture like bookshelves, closets, and couches helps reduce sound transmission.
Other cheap options for soundproofing include:
- Covering windows with soundproof curtains
- Using Green Glue to create a decoupling zone between two-layered drywall
- Insulating the basement
Does Insulating A Basement Ceiling Reduce Noise?
It would also be great if your basement apartment has insulation. By insulating the basement, it targets both temperature and noise issues. The insulation techniques depend on the type of noise you want to address and the ceiling condition.
To learn if basement insulation on the ceiling reduces noise, read our post: Does Insulating The Basement Ceiling Reduce Noise?
How Much Does It Cost To Soundproof A Basement?
One major factor you consider when soundproofing is the cost. The cost you can incur is around $500 to $4,500. You have to account for the materials, the total area of the basement, and any extra labor costs. Aside from the walls and ceilings, you also have to soundproof the windows and doors.
If you have a big basement area, the more costs you might need for the materials. Get accurate measurements to determine the cost per square footage of material to buy.
If you buy a 5-gallon Green Glue, it is cheaper than buying a dozen caulk or sealants. Your insulation choice will also increase the cost if you wish for a higher R-value insulator like fiberglass or mineral wool.
The costs are low or even zero for cheaper options like simply rearranging furniture or using fuzzy rugs. But it's always best to brainstorm and do some research on the costs of soundproofing your basement prior to starting your soundproofing project.
Is Concrete Good Soundproofing?
To reduce sound, you need to weaken the transmission by creating a barrier. Concrete is effective in reflecting and absorbing sound waves. But even if the concrete is thick, durable, and strong, it cannot soundproof the basement area on its own.
What you can do is maximize the soundproofing feature of concrete. Here are some practical ways to reduce noise with existing concrete:
- Add a layer of drywall without tearing the concrete wall down.
- Use Green Glue between the drywall.
- Decouple the noise by using two sheets of drywall. You can also use resilient channels or sound isolation clips in this method.
- You can also add more insulation. But remember to allow as much air for absorption.
Does Soundproof Paint Work?
Soundproof paint works, but it cannot solely reduce noise. The improvements seen after applying soundproof paint alone are not that significant. The thick consistency does not add much mass to reduce the high level of sound transmissions.
If you want to reduce noise with soundproofing paint, you can proceed with these steps:
- Plan where you place your big and thick furniture on the floor directly above the basement.
- Use thick curtains on basement windows.
- You can install acoustic panels or foams before painting with soundproofing paint.
- Place some weatherstripping around windows and doors to prevent airborne noise.
A gallon of soundproof paint would cost at least $30 to $75 per gallon. You will need to apply at least two coats of soundproofing paint over a primer base. Even so, the costs depend on the quality of the paint and the basement area.
Soundproofing is beneficial for basement apartments. There are simple and cheap ways that are effective in reducing noise. Some methods involve sealing gaps, installing acoustic panels, and rearranging furniture. If you have existing insulation, this also helps in soundproofing.
You also have to account for the costs of the soundproofing technique you choose. It will cost you around $500 to $4,500 for soundproofing. The concrete structure of a basement is not enough to soundproof the space. Likewise, using soundproof paint can only reduce minimal noise.
Soundproof your basement apartment now to continue a peaceful living.