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Sound proofing question regarding ceiling

rotren

Member
Messages
2,907
I have a room in the basement that I plan on using for recording. The main problem is the ceiling (which is also very low). I need to find a way to minimize sound going through the ceiling up to the room above.

I realize the best plan for a studio is to make a room within a room. However, that's not an option for me. So, I'm wondering if I can add something to the ceiling that will block the sound a bit from going upstairs? At the same time, since the ceiling is already low, I can't add a lot of extra thickness to it.

Any tips appreciated.
 

wopr

Member
Messages
442
Room treatment and sound proofing often get confused and are two different things.

For soundproofing, besides building a "room within a room", you have to add mass. I've only found two drywall products that are easily usable for home. The first is QuietRock http://www.quietsolution.com/ . I drywalled my garage with it, and it works well, but is REALLY expensive. The other product, which I wish I knew about earlier, is GreenGlue http://www.greengluecompany.com/. Both of these products can lower your decibles through a wall.

All the foam stuff people talk about is for room treatment, ie. controlling sound reflections within the room. While these products make a room seem "dead", with little echo, they don't do anything for soundproofing. If you are interested in room treatment, most people recommend Owens Corning 703 fiberglass board or Rock Wool. The best deal that I found was from http://www.readyacoustics.com/ . I bought their OC 703 and their DIY ReadyBags. They were easy to put together, and look good. But, you should also check out http://www.gikacoustics.com/ . At ready acoustics, I bought 6 panels which were 2" thick for a total of $80. For me that made 3 broadband traps.

Hope this helps,


steve


Hope that helps,

steve
 

drbob1

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
29,328
Here's what I'd look at:

1. Stuff the space between the joists with rockwool.
2. Get the wood backed, rockwool type panels (there's another thread in here about sound treatment that has the location, can't remember) and cover them in burlap. Glue and screw a layer of 3/4" sheetrock to the ceiling joists with green glue and as few screws as you can. Glue a layer of the acoustic panels to the bottom of the sheetrock. That way you have two air gaps, absorption and deadening. You'll lose 3 inches of headroom. It won't be perfect but it'll help...
 

rotren

Member
Messages
2,907
What is MLV?

Thanks for the replies. It seems this will be difficult for me to do well, because the ceiling is already very low.
 

jmoose

Member
Messages
5,003
I hate to say it, because I always say it... but in this case since your talking about a ceiling, the absolute BEST thing to do is consult with a professional.

To block sound you need mass. It could be a few layers of drywall... sheetblock... air gaps, R graded insulation or some combination of the above.

Unfortunately, with mass comes weight and when adding mass to a ceiling, you need to be absolutely sure that the structure will support the additional weight and not come crashing down.

You'll also need to consider access to pipes & HVAC... and deal with how sound is getting into those and being distributed throughout the rest of the structure.

But really, the weight is the main point to consider. It'd really suck to have a ton of rock fall on your head.

Its not uncommon to have to reinforce joists. Depending on the size of the ceiling & plan of treatment... materials, you'll be adding thousands of pounds that the house wasn't intended for...
 

Matticus

Member
Messages
1,250
What is MLV?

Thanks for the replies. It seems this will be difficult for me to do well, because the ceiling is already very low.
MLV is short for "Mass-Loaded Vinyl" and refers to heavy vinyl used for sound-deadening applications. So, it can be kinda heavy depending on how much you use of it (i.e., 1lb/ft^2). There are probably other options to consider before deciding on this one as mass is only one aspect of soundproofing (damping, decoupling, etc.).


A couple of questions that come to mind:
1. What's in between your ceiling and floor (i.e., wood, drywall, concrete)?
2. What type of flooring is in the room above?
 

cram

Member
Messages
13,961
Rotren - feel free to pm me with any particular things you're looking for info on. I know I've gotten a lot of inspiration from your lessons! :)

I hate to say it, because I always say it... but in this case since your talking about a ceiling, the absolute BEST thing to do is consult with a professional.
Things a professional will be concerned with -
Standing load on the floor above - this should be calculated by an engineer. If you got to a lumberyard with the span, information about supports, they can give you estimates for what you're dealing with - what you could add for mass that would pull down on the deck (floor assembly).
Codes are in place to restrict standing load, which is what is in the room for furniture and other stuff. Live load is... people and room traffic.
FIRE
I can't stress this enough either... Fire rated compressed rock wool and caulking has to be in place for structures in a room within a room. If an outlet bursts and catches flame, it will rip through it like a tinder box.

height -
conus (you're in canada and I believe it's the same) - has 7' ceiling limits for basements. you can have soffets that hang down and there's gray area around that too. (I had to deal with this)

You'll also need to consider access to pipes & HVAC... and deal with how sound is getting into those and being distributed throughout the rest of the structure.
There are so many options for supporting proper HVAC for the room. Ask a professional in this area. Input and output is important. You can build isolation boxes that act as mufflers if you're dealing with forced air.
You can even use small tubes (many of them in sections of the wall which feed the air... I know a company in the US is advertising this to people with energy problems who want a non invasive method of acheiving forced hot air in their house.


But really, the weight is the main point to consider. It'd really suck to have a ton of rock fall on your head.

Its not uncommon to have to reinforce joists. Depending on the size of the ceiling & plan of treatment... materials, you'll be adding thousands of pounds that the house wasn't intended for...
I did this all around - JMOOSE: great points!

What follows is my refernce post from some of my past work on what we call the Rookie Room!


From my build (same deal - basement)
Beef up the mass in between the joists -



You must get all sides of exposure - Including the butt end of the joists, near the sill plate -


Nails poking down from tile or flooring work?
Put a buffer in against it with that pink rigid foam:


as JMoose indicates: getting around HVAC/Plumbing is something to consider.


 
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cram

Member
Messages
13,961
Note all the attention to calking detail - this is key and will kill all hard work you may do to isolate.

More -


I had to mitigate dealing with a 7', 5'' inch ceiling.
code in most of the conus is 7'.

my solution for a fully free "room within a room" was to rearrange the stringers (lateral supports for keeping joists from kicking)


This freed me up to have the room's ceiling joist be placed UP within each joist. I gained about 5'' on this move.

My hack sketch -


Small Details - MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE!
This is fire retardant puddy that is wrapped around a steel housed outlet box. Note the cable work too. this is important.



My other ceiling has isolation clips for hat channels -





Find my thread (same username) on this domain forum.
 

cram

Member
Messages
13,961
Here's what I'd look at:

1. Stuff the space between the joists with rockwool.
This will not help unless the Mass Air Mass principle is followed. This is why I suggest beefing up in between the joists. It was a huge factor in isolation. During construction, I was doubtful - I could hear foot traffic clear, but when the ceiling was put in (with rockwool/insulation in between the two Mass sections) - wow.
 

rotren

Member
Messages
2,907
Wow, that's well done work, cram!

A couple of questions that come to mind:
1. What's in between your ceiling and floor (i.e., wood, drywall, concrete)?
2. What type of flooring is in the room above?
1. Drywall and insulation
2. It's basic vinyl flooring, cheapo stuff. I could redo this floor some day soon too... it's the kitchen, and I hate that cheapo vinyl. I would like ceramic tiles, but I guess that would not be so great for my sound transfer issue, would it?
 

cram

Member
Messages
13,961
1. Drywall and insulation
2. It's basic vinyl flooring, cheapo stuff. I could redo this floor some day soon too... it's the kitchen, and I hate that cheapo vinyl. I would like ceramic tiles, but I guess that would not be so great for my sound transfer issue, would it?
In terms of being effective in helping with the MASS of the floor,
Good:
Tile - with proper wet/wonderboard backing. Note; some backing is filled or dispersed with styrofoam to keep the weight down. There are varying types of boards like this and if you have an option for something more dense - do it.
MDF - very dense and good if used as sub flooring.
Hard wood flooring

You are bringing up another consideration - adding to the mass on the top of the deck/floor. This helps as well, so if you're going to put tile in that room, it would help. Just make sure that your tile guy does a good job of putting in the mortar so there are no hollow spots under the tiles. This is actually the mark of a good tile guy - you shouldn't be able to tap any of the peices and hear a hollow sound. This leads to cracking and shifting later in the life of the floor.

Reference: The ultimate book for a beginner and continuing research for me has been Rod Gervais' book. Look him up on amazon or whatever and you'll see it. It's his main book.
 

rotren

Member
Messages
2,907
I will work with what I have, and see how loud it gets upstairs. My room isn't ideal, but it will have to do for now. Most of my concern is someone walking upstairs with shoes, while I'm recording a video. I'd hate to have footstep sounds show up in the video as I'm talking on the video!
 
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Matticus

Member
Messages
1,250
I will work with what I have, and see how loud it gets upstairs. My room isn't ideal, but it will have to do for now. Most of my concern is someone walking upstairs with shoes, while I'm recording a video. I'd hate to have footstep sounds show up in the video as I'm talking on the video!
Which is why I asked about the flooring upstairs. Nothing quite like the experience of being in an apartment complex with hard flooring and hearing the footsteps of those above you right through the bracing and drywall.
 

jmoose

Member
Messages
5,003
You are bringing up another consideration - adding to the mass on the top of the deck/floor. This helps as well, so if you're going to put tile in that room, it would help. Just make sure that your tile guy does a good job of putting in the mortar so there are no hollow spots under the tiles. This is actually the mark of a good tile guy - you shouldn't be able to tap any of the peices and hear a hollow sound. This leads to cracking and shifting later in the life of the floor.
Ideally you'd want to go with something "soft" as a sandwich layer... like carpet matting or sheetblok to absorb some of the impact. Going with hard materials, like tile & MDF as a subfloor sure works for adding mass... but it also transfers vibrational energy.

In other words, it makes the amps quieter but probably won't do squat for foot traffic coming downstairs.

Either way... adding mass is adding mass.

At the VERY least you should check with an architect or master carpenter before doing anything.

Putting up a single layer of drywall should be fine in most structures... But using 2 or 3 with other materials in between... and more weight on the floor above could lead to serious problems.

While I didn't see it myself, a drummer I know has a friend who built out a basement room and had a major problem. Several months, maybe a year after it was finished he noticed things above "slanting"... like the TV and bookshelves. Went on a long vacation & came home two weeks later to find the floors in his house had collapsed into the basement.

Apparently there was also a mess with insurance because of permits & code... they didn't want to pay.
 

cram

Member
Messages
13,961
Ideally you'd want to go with something "soft" as a sandwich layer... like carpet matting or sheetblok to absorb some of the impact. Going with hard materials, like tile & MDF as a subfloor sure works for adding mass... but it also transfers vibrational energy.
I believe Robert is looking to replace flooring above the room.

Flooring is slightly more perminent. If you're in this house for the forseable future and plan to do something good for isolation down there.

Go with mass.

This would do well enough.

-----Tile----------
-----CompositeConcreteBacking----------
-----Subfloor----------

-- Insulation of some sort-

-- Dropped ceiling of compressed fiber board - even if only 1''.

Would be better than having something thin on the floor above or something to pad in between. It is not a true Mass - Air - Mass setup, but helps to get rid of the high heals from above on the floor because of all the insulation on the inside. Now if you then add a layer below in place of that drop ceiling... You could have people walk through with ski boots and be ok. ;)

Insulation - if going with fluff insulation like owens corning R30 - go with more thickness than standard construction calls for. If you compress it in there, it's more beneficial. with compressed fiber board like owens corning 703, it is already compressed so this isn't necessary.

The insulation between my double wall frame are 2, 2x4 frames with 2 layers of r19 which should work for 2x6 frames in standard construction:



Note - I've also done drywall work for a while around college for friends of mine that had started companies. We have done drywall in hotels near highways and even doubled up layers with acoustic caulking like greenglue (there are others too) help a great deal. We've even done meeting rooms for government contracts and went with 3 layers of 5/8'' drywall with caulking in the middle.

If I knew then what I've learned after applying this to my room and other friends, I"d have made my buddy's company a lot of money.
:)
 

dumbell78

Member
Messages
4,967
I built a room within a room in the basement along with two layers of drywall and green glue between the drywall. That would be my first suggestion. It seems you want to avoid that much work, so I would suggest just adding an additional layer of drywall with green glue in between. The only issue you might have is that the extra weight may not be supported by your ceiling. I really dont think there is a easy solution and if youre not certain a pro may be needed.

My room looks very much like Cram's. I pretty much used the same method's Cram used from the pic's he put up, its a good amount of work but it's the best way imo.
 
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2,728
Either way... adding mass is adding mass.

At the VERY least you should check with an architect or master carpenter before doing anything.

Putting up a single layer of drywall should be fine in most structures... But using 2 or 3 with other materials in between... and more weight on the floor above could lead to serious problems.
Don't get caught on this guys...DO YOUR HOMEWORK before you you start pounding nails and driving screws. If you have an older home with solid wood joists, measure them up to determine their size, and spacing, and length, then consult a loading chart to determine what the maximum live and dead loads are for the materials you have. If you have a newer home with engineered joists, you'll need to get in touch with the builder to find out what kind they used, and what their loading specs are.

Consulting an engineer, or some other professional would be even better. Don't forget about all the stuff on the floor above (piano's, appliances, furniture, people, 2nd stories ).

BTW, for the footfall problem you need dead air...it's a mechanical coupling problem, and the best way to tackle it is with isolation hangers, or a room-within-a -room construction. This is a classic example from Alton Everest's books. There's even a nice chart in there where he indicates what the frequency content of the footfall noise is based on what the flooring above is.

Cheers

KRis
 
Messages
15,738
Good luck to you on your project. I face a similar decision in a few years.

My roommate is also my bandmate, so I don't have to worry as much about preventing sound from escaping the music room in the basement, as there's no one upstairs to be annoyed by our sound, or is there anyone upstairs walking around making noise.

There's no question though I'll have to replace much of my basement ceiling. The plan to transform the basement from two smaller rooms into one big room will probably call for the elimination of ducts that are running through the current ceiling - ducts that will no longer be needed. That's where the opportunity to create a ceiling that is isolated from the floor above comes from.
 

ganttmann

Member
Messages
587
There are a lot of good suggestions in this thread. I don't have much to add except to say that if you already have low ceiling and can't get behind it or add to it you are, to some extent, SOL. When we built my studio we gutted the basement and started from scratch. The height to the joists was 8' before hanging ceiling. We stuffed R19 insulation between the joists and suspended steel rails from little motor-mount-like hangers all the way across and hung two layers of 5/8" drywall. Ideally we would have had walls not actually touching the ceiling and floating floors to de-couple as much as possible but, as one design professional with whom we consulted said, getting the last 10% of isolation can end up more than doubling the cost of construction. As it is, except for low freq stuff (loud drums) more sound gets thru the HVAC system than thru the floor in my studio. But, as a I said - we gutted the basement and started from scratch. Anyway, here are a couple of links to sites that I've found to be pretty useful:

http://www.johnlsayers.com/phpBB2/index.php

http://www.ethanwiner.com/acoustics.html

And the most practical guide I've yet seen:

http://malcolm.bignoisybug.com/
http://malcolm.bignoisybug.com/rsdp/

Malcolm Chisholm wrote some great, down-to-earth stuff about studio design. I highly recommend you read it all! Malcolm knew his stuff and had years of practical experience to draw from.

One thing I haven't seen here - What do you plan to record? Loud drums? You're gonna have a problem containing the noise. Heavy metal guitar? Use little amps - you'll get better sound anyway, no matter how big or sound-proof your room? String quartets? Probably not a big problem. It's loud low stuff you're going to have problems with...

Good luck!

Gantt

I have a room in the basement that I plan on using for recording. The main problem is the ceiling (which is also very low). I need to find a way to minimize sound going through the ceiling up to the room above.

I realize the best plan for a studio is to make a room within a room. However, that's not an option for me. So, I'm wondering if I can add something to the ceiling that will block the sound a bit from going upstairs? At the same time, since the ceiling is already low, I can't add a lot of extra thickness to it.

Any tips appreciated.
 




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