Best Insulation for Soundproofing a Basement Ceiling
If you are renovating your basement into a guest living area or a place for band practice, you might want to consider soundproofing the ceiling. Many soundproofing methods allow you to control noise and create a quiet, private space. With the right insulation, you can significantly reduce noise transfer going to and from the basement.
Let’s talk about which insulation is the best for soundproofing a basement.
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Control the Air Flow
The most effective soundproofing method will control the amount of airflow moving into a room. Sound waves travel through the air, so stopping airflow can significantly reduce noise.
Any air gaps will allow sound waves to easily enter a space. This is why walls are insulated, windows are caulked, and sliding glass doors have weatherstripping. These methods seal any available air gaps, preventing sound waves from traveling through a surface.
R-Value Vs. STC Value
Although many soundproofing products will list an R-value in their description, the STC rating is much more valuable when it comes to controlling noise. R-value determines a product’s thermal efficiency, while STC value measures its ability to control noise.
When R-value is calculated, it is a measurement of how well a barrier resists the conductive flow of heat. Better insulation has a higher R-value. However, this may not indicate how well the insulation can control sounds.
The R-value of insulation is determined in an artificial lab environment. This does not provide an accurate measurement of the insulation’s performance in a real home. Real homes have air gaps in the exterior siding. This allows air to flow around the insulation, completely changing the R-value.
The actual performance level of a soundproofing product can be more accurately determined using the STC rating. The Sound Transmission Class shows how well a barrier reduces airborne sound. A higher STC rating indicates a better soundproofing material.
Mineral Wool Vs. Fiberglass
For many years, fiberglass insulation has been the most popular insulation to install in homes. This is because of its affordability, easy installation process, and great performance.
Mineral wool is a new insulation that has recently risen in popularity. Similar to fiberglass, mineral wool comes in batts that are easy to install. Both of these materials can be cut to fit any surface.
The differences lie in how they are made. Fiberglass consists of fine glass fibers, while mineral wool is made from a stone-based material. Mineral wool can contain basalt rock or recycled steel slag.
Fiberglass insulation is less than 1/3 of the price of mineral wool insulation. When ordering fiberglass batts, the average cost per square foot will range from $.30 to $1.50. Mineral wool is a more expensive material. The cost can be from $1.40 to $2.10 per square foot.
Although fiberglass is a very effective insulation against heat and sounds, mineral wool performs slightly better. With an STC rating between 45 and 52, mineral wool insulation is a great choice for creating a barrier against sounds. In contrast, fiberglass insulation has a lower STC rating of 36.
Best Insulation for Soundproofing Ceiling
1. Owens Corning R-19 Faced Fiberglass Roll
If you’re looking for a fiberglass insulation with the best health ratings, you can’t go wrong with Owens Corning PINK insulation. This fiberglass insulation is made with advanced fiber technology that has safe ingredients, virtually no dust, and will even improve the air quality of a room.
A great reason to use Owens Corning insulation on any ceiling is because of its fast and easy installation process. Each batt will cut easily and recover instantly. After you shape the insulation as needed, you won’t be left with a huge mess. With much less dust, there won’t be much to clean up.
This fiberglass insulation is resistant to heat, moisture, and sounds. When keeping your basement quiet and private, you can install pink insulation in the ceiling, walls, and floor to absorb unwanted noise, along with other elements.
You won’t have to worry about any harmful ingredients when installing this fiberglass insulation. Owens Corning specially formulates its pink insulation with safe, proven ingredients that are healthy for you and your home. It is GREENGUARD Gold certified as well, so this material contributes to better internal air quality.
- Safe ingredients
- Soft to the touch
- Soundproofing benefits
- Creates less dust
- GREENGUARD Gold certified
Fiberglass insulation has an STC rating of about 36. This will ensure that your basement ceiling is properly soundproofed against most loud sounds.
This material is also cost-effective. 1 unit will cover 128 square feet and costs $937.
2. Rockwool Safe ‘n’ Sound
For a more eco-friendly insulation option, ROCKWOOL Safe ‘n’ Sound offers a stone wool insulation that would benefit any home. Because this stone wool is made from recycled content, you don’t have to worry about any harmful ingredients in its formula.
Stone wool is specifically designed for insulating interior walls, floors, and ceilings. After installation, this insulation creates a great barrier against fire and sounds. Because it does not burn, this product has excellent fire ratings. It will also minimize the number of sounds that travel through surfaces.
Rockwool is resistant to many harmful elements. Because it is water-proof, it will not rot or grow mold, mildew, or bacteria. This insulation is also GREENGUARD certified, meaning that it is designed to improve indoor air quality.
Stone wool insulation is a very dense material, so it will create a friction fit between studs. However, it can still be cut very easily. This material has a similar installation process to other insulation but performs better in many areas.
Whether you need more insulation in your basement, media room, home office, or bedroom, Rockwool insulation can do the job. With superior ratings in soundproofing and fire resistance, this material can greatly benefit the quality of your home.
- Non-combustible and fire resistant
- Easy to cut and install
- Reduces noise
- GREENGUARD Gold certified
- Resistant to water, mold, mildew, and bacteria growth
On an interior ceiling or floor with 5/8″ drywall and resilient channels, Rockwool has an STC rating of 50.
For 1 unit of Rockwool, this will cost $57 and will cover 59 square feet.
3. Green Glue Between 2 Layers of 5/8″ Drywall
One of the best ways to soundproof a ceiling is by layering two sheets of drywall with soundproof green glue in the middle. Green glue was specially made for dampening sounds and is very effective in decreasing noise transmission through surfaces.
The formula for green glue is a viscoelastic damping compound. This will take sound energy and convert it into heat. When sound waves attempt to travel through the ceiling, they will be stopped by the multiple layers of drywall and this soundproofing material.
The best way to use green glue is by applying it between rigid layers of material. For this, one of the most effective options is drywall. After installing a layer of drywall, a layer of green glue, and a final layer of drywall, you can isolate the noise that travels through the ceiling. The sound waves will dissipate, leaving you with a quieter living space.
Green glue can be applied in minutes. This allows you to finish this project in one day, which is faster than some other soundproofing methods.
- Dissipates sound vibrations
- Quick and simple application process
- Peak performance 30 days after application
- Low odor
The STC rating of green glue can vary based on your wall construction. Generally, green glue increases the STC rating of a wall by about 10 points. A standard wall construction might have an STC rating of 40, but two layers of drywall with one layer of green glue would increase this to around 50.
To Achieve the Best Results
1. Remove Open Ducts and Pipes
When there are open ducts and pipes in a ceiling, much more noise will travel to the basement.Your first step in soundproofing your basement is removing this heating system. Instead of a forced-air furnace, you’ll have to transition to radiant heat flooring.
You’ll find that this extra step is a worthy investment. These interconnected pipes throughout the house will always transfer noise into each room. For the best results, it’s time to install radiant heat flooring.
2. Resilient Channels
Resilient channels thin metal strips that have many holes. These are installed in unfinished walls and ceilings to make the finished surface more soundproof. When sound waves travel through the wall, they are dispersed by the many holes in the channel.
When resilient channels are in a ceiling, they create a decoupling zone. This is a space where sound waves are trapped together and inevitably cancel each other out.
These can be effective in soundproofing a ceiling but need to be installed correctly. Resilient channels frequently do not perform well because of poor installation. It’s important to ask for professional help to see the best results.
3. Fiberglass Insulation
Fiberglass insulation is a great choice for soundproofing a basement ceiling.This material has an excellent STC rating and will significantly reduce sound transfer between rooms. Even one layer of fiberglass insulation can increase the STC rating by a few points.
This pink insulation is also very cost-effective. Although mineral wool is effective in soundproofing, fiberglass will be much cheaper and will perform similarly.
4. 2 Layers of 5/8″ Drywall + Green Glue
One of the best methods for soundproofing a wall or ceiling is by installing multiple layers of drywall with soundproofing green glue in the middle.
The extra layer of drywall will add density to the ceiling, creating a great sound barrier. With soundproofing green glue in between two layers of drywall, you can easily dissipate sound waves that attempt to travel through the ceiling.
5. Consider the Area Above Your Ceiling
You can add more protection to your ceiling by thinking about the room above it. Adding carpet, thick rugs, or soundproof underlayment can absorb noise before it travels downstairs.
Hard surfaces like hardwood floors or tile will easily conduct sound waves. By renovating the floor above the basement, you can avoid many sound issues.
Soundproofing a basement is a similar process to soundproofing any room. You’ll want to focus on controlling how much airflow travels into the basement since sound waves travel through the air. Using materials with a high STC rating is the best option because it is a much more accurate measurement than R-value.
For unfinished ceilings, install resilient channels and fiberglass insulation. These are excellent preventative measures to avoid noise issues. You should also apply two layers of drywall, using green glue in between these materials. This will create a dense barrier that will block most sounds.
Additionally, install carpeting or soundproofing underlayment to the room above the basement. This can dissipate sound waves before they ever travel into the basement.