Question: I need help with sound proofing. Noise from the main level travels to rooms in the basement.
What can I do to the ceiling in the basement to soundproof the downstairs rooms? I am thinking I might have to take off the dry wall, put something in the ceiling to reduce sound, then put the drywall back up. Is that the right idea?
Answer: Soundproofing or sound-absorbing materials can be used without removing the drywall covering on the ceiling. Soundproofing panels can be hung from the existing drywall ceiling the same way that drop-in ceiling tiles are installed. Metal rails and cross bars are hung from the ceiling to hold the sound absorbing panels in place. The new soundproofing panels would be about three inches below the original drywall.
Another product you might choose is a sound-absorbing, fabric-covered acoustical foam panel. The commercially available panels come in a variety of colors, patterns and thicknesses and have a class A fire rating. The panels can be in the form of wall or ceiling panels, ceiling tiles, ceiling clouds and hanging baffles.
If you want to keep the basement decor as is, you could hire an insulating contractor to fill the ceiling joist cavities with a blown-in cellulose insulation. Without having to remove the ceiling's covering, holes are drilled into the drywall at strategic locations to insure that each floor joist cavity is completely filled. Once the cellulose is in place, the holes are patched and the ceiling is painted to hide the patched work.
Cellulose is an excellent sound absorbing material and is easily installed. The cellulose is safe to use and would encapsulate any wiring, pipes and ducts that may be inside the floor joist cavities. You would have to insure that exposed electrical boxes for light fixtures or for wiring connections would not be filled with the cellulose.
C. Dwight Barnett is a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors. Write to him with home improvement questions at C. Dwight Barnett, Evansville Courier & Press, P.O. Box 268, Evansville, Ind. 47702 or e-mail him at d.Barnett@insightbb.com.
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