Soundproofing a Basement Suite

6 Replies

Hello BP,

I have a 1969 Bungalow with a basement suite downstairs. We are currently living upstairs and have tenants in the suite. The upstairs has original hardwood that I re-finished and oiled. The floor has been pretty quiet over the past few years but lately has started to squeak and is quite loud when you walk upstairs. We are looking to buy a new house hack and want to try and soundproof the floor as well as the ceiling in the suite before we move, to minimize sound and potential headaches with the future tenants. 


The basement suite's ceiling is spackle so it cannot easily be removed to add insulation or spray foam. There are sections of the ceiling that I could stuff insulation or soundproof materials along the joists, but i'm just wondering if anyone has any soundproofing suggestions to keep noise levels to a minimum between a main floor and a basement suite, as well as stop hardwood floors from squeaking? Can companies come in and drill small holes to spray insulation? Is spray foam insulation a good idea if in the future you may have to pull wires etc? Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks and have a great day,

Travis

@Travis Hewlett

If you have a full apartment in the basement (with kitchen) then the basement ceiling / main floor assembly would/should be fire rated (1-2 layers of 5/8" Fire-X sheetrock).    At the time the ceiling was fire rated was the easiest/best opportunity to sound proof - it's always more challenging after the fact and often produces poorer results.   We normally place a layer of Roxul safe-n-sound in the joist cavities which both improves the fire rating of the assembly and provides a degree of sound deadening.     You can also hang the ceiling sheetrock using resilient channel which will further reduce the sound travelling through the assembly.

I would not inject close/open cell foam into the joist cavities - where the assembly is a fire barrier, it would be neither appropriate nor permitted.  There are versions of fire retardant treated wet-packed cellulose and/or rock wool that can be blown into the joist bays ... check for acceptability / availability in your area.

If your basement ceiling is not properly fire rated, it should probably be redone and that would be your opportunity to sound proof the assembly as well.

Hey @Roy N. , Thank you for the suggestions. I'll look into the close/open cell foam option. I know it would be nice to pull the ceiling down and do it properly, but it's not in the budget right now. Thanks again for the suggestions,


Travis

Until you are prepared to remove the existing basement ceiling and do the job right I would not advise you waste any money on a band aid approach to sound proofing. It will be a waste of money.

@Travis Hewlett

I don't think you are going to find an acceptable solution without taking the basement ceiling down.  As @Roy N. mentioned, The ruxol safe and sound with a double 5/8 sheet rock should cut down on most of the echoing and sound transmission. You will most likely still get the "thumping" of someone walking heavily on the floor above or heavy bass sounds like a sub-woofer.  

For squeaky floors, there is a product called Squeeeeek No More which are screws with weakened head/shaft that will snap off, leaving just the threads and hole the diameter of the screw.  You put these down through the flooring and into the subfloor (and Ideally the beam or joist) to lock them all together.  You will need to plug the holes with filler or putty (or just leave them) and possibly re-poly the floor.

I've also heard of people spreading talcum or baby powder on the floor and working it into the cracks of the floor to act as a dry lubricant and reduce squeaking.  I think this only works on board on board squeaks, not nail or subfloor squeaks.

Originally posted by @Travis Hewlett :

Hey @Roy N., Thank you for the suggestions. I'll look into the close/open cell foam option. I know it would be nice to pull the ceiling down and do it properly, but it's not in the budget right now. Thanks again for the suggestions,

Travis:

If your basement ceiling is not properly fire-rated, then you pretty much have to pull down what is there and do it correctly ... or run the risk of the fire-marshal revoking occupancy rights for the apartment.   It may not be in the budget, but that's why you have a contingency fund.

If your ceiling is already fire-rated and/or you absolutely cannot swing redoing the assembly properly, I would concur with Thomas that you should not through good money after bad.

Hey @Matt Leonard , @Roy N. , @Thomas S. ,

Thank you for your comments and suggestions, it's appreciated. The ceiling does have 5/8 fire proof drywall, I was just hoping there was something I could do to minimize sound in case I rent to a family or potentially louder tenants.  I'll definitely try the Squeek no more screws to help with the hardwood squeaking. Anything that helps to minimize potential tenant disturbance. We haven't had any issues with sound while we've lived here with tenants, but they may be less likely to complain to the owner than with another tenant. Thanks again and happy investing.

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