Are you one of those people who are planning to soundproof basement ceiling without drywall, but are unaware of the options that you can use instead of drywall? Guess what, you’ve just come to the right place.
In this article, I’m gonna discuss with you the options that you can use instead of using drywall to soundproof your basement ceiling.
But before we start, there are some primary things that you need to do before soundproofing a basement ceiling.
When we are talking about the basement, the primary source of sound will always be the ceiling and the floor of the room above it. Hence it is essential to make some changes to the floor of the room above your ceiling.
Since we are not using drywall, we will first have to soundproof the floor which is above your basement ceiling. Hence, I’m gonna discuss some methods by which you can soundproof the floor.
Once we’re done with discussing the methods to soundproof a floor, we will see how we can soundproof a basement ceiling and I will also share some options that you can use instead of a drywall.
So let’s begin.
Methods That You Can Use To Soundproof A Floor Which Is Just Above Your Basement Ceiling
Actually, in this article we have to soundproof the basement ceiling and that too without the drywall, so we have to first soundproof the floor which is just above your basement ceiling so that less noise goes into the basement.
1. Filling Up Spaces And Gaps Of Ceiling
The primary thing that you can start with is by filling up gaps and spaces of the ceiling if any. Gaps are the source through which sound waves can travel. Hence it is a must to fill gaps in the ceiling.
We know that sound waves can travel through the medium of air. Hence, if air can pass through gaps, so can the sound. Check your ceiling for small gaps and spaces and start filling them. You can use a green glue noise-proofing sealant for this purpose.
You can also use other items such as caulking. But I will suggest using green glue noise proofing sealant since green glue itself is a soundproofing compound. It will give you optimum benefits.
Make sure that there are no small gaps left in the ceiling or in the floor of the room above the ceiling.
2. Using Carpet, Rugs, Or Mats On The Floor Above
This is another essential & rather low-cost basic solution for decreasing the sound entering and exiting the basement of your house.
Laying down thick carpets, rugs, mats or any such items on the floor which is right above the ceiling will result in a sound reduction in the basement.
These mats, rugs, or carpets will add mass to your floor. Adding mass to your floor will result not only in overall sound reduction but also will reduce the impact noise since it will absorb sound and won’t let sound pass through it.
3. Re-arranging Your Furniture On The Floor Above The Ceiling
As we know there are some thin spaces in each room from which sound easily passes. These thin spaces need to be treated either by adding mass to them or else putting something on them which will not allow sound to pass through them.
Re-arranging furniture on the floor above your ceiling will do the trick for you. Find the areas of the floor through which sound passes.
For this, you’ll need to spend some time in your basement and identify the weak spots through which sound is heard in your basement.
These weak spots will be the places on which you’ll keep your furniture. Cover these weak spots by re-arranging your furniture. This will also help you in soundproofing your basement.
4. Using Mass Loaded Vinyl
Mass-loaded vinyl is a common method that can be used almost everywhere when there is a need for soundproofing.
MLV is a good sound barrier. It has an STC rating ranging from 20 to 35. The STC rating of an MLV will depend upon its mass which is usually measured in lb. The higher the lb of the MLV sheet, the higher will be its STC rating.
For example, a 1lb MLV sheet has an STC rating of 26 whereas a 1.5lb MLV sheet has an STC of 29. You can choose accordingly. MLV not only reduces the transmission of noise but also reduces impact noise. Hence it can be used as a method to soundproof a ceiling without drywall.
There are two places where you can use MLV sheets. One is on the floor below your carpet. You can also place the MLV sheet directly on your floor, but it will not look that good.
Hence, I’ll suggest you place it on your floor and cover it with a carpet or a mat of the same size. Another place is on the joist of your basement ceiling. You can directly install the MLV sheet on your joist using an air stapler or screws.
5. Using Underlayment
By the name, you can figure out that it is something that is laid under something. Underlayment is usually a thin layer of material that is sandwiched between two things.
Generally, underlayment is placed below the vinyl sheet or vinyl planks of your floor or under the flooring on your wooden joists.
As you can see in this image, Underlayment is used below the vinyl planks. You can also use them below vinyl sheets. A similar method is used while creating floating floors in laminate flooring.
If you do not want to use a vinyl sheet, or vinyl plank, or floating floor then you can simply place the underlayment on your subfloor, and then you can cover it with the help of a thick carpet.
Underlayment has a high STC rating and hence can be used to soundproof a floor. Also, the IIC rating of underlayment is also high. Therefore it reduces impact noise as well.
Hence if you want to use underlayment, it can be placed above the subfloor and below your vinyl that you’re gonna use on your floor.
These were the methods through which you can soundproof the floor which is above your basement ceiling.
Now we will have a look at how to soundproof the basement ceiling using Rockwool. As here we are not using drywall, soundproofing the basement ceiling should be done using Rockwool since it is the most common, widely used, and effective method of soundproofing.
Let’s see how to soundproof a basement ceiling.
Soundproof Basement Ceiling Without Drywall
You saw above how to soundproof a floor Now here we will see how to soundproof a basement ceiling with the help of Rockwool. Then further I will also share some options that you can use instead of a drywall.
This is by far the most common and the most widely used method of soundproofing. Rockwool insulation batts are highly effective when used for soundproofing.
Now that you have to soundproof a basement ceiling without drywall, Rockwool insulation will play an essential job here.
Rockwool has a high NRC rating & hence it will absorb the sound which comes down into the basement as well as the sound which will travel upwards from the basement. Therefore, I recommend you to consider doing this since this will provide optimum benefits.
To use Rockwool on your ceiling, you’ll need to cut Rockwool batts according to the size of your joist cavity. After this, you will have to push the Rockwool batts in your joist cavity. Be sure to fully cover each cavity of your joist.
Now you might also be concerned about the Rockwool batts falling down from the joist cavity due to vibrations generated on the floor above your ceiling.
For this, you can either staple the Rockwool onto your ceiling using packing straps or can use insulation wire mesh.
Insulation mesh can be placed just below the Rockwool batts. But your insulation mesh should be attached to your joists on both sides. This will stop Rockwool from falling from the joist cavity.
Now it is high time to apply drywall on the joist. But here we are not using drywall, hence we will see some other methods that we can use instead of drywall.
Stuff That You Can Use Instead Of Drywall
Let’s have a look on the alternatives which can be used instead of a drywall.
When I say Thermocol, you might be thinking that I’m joking, right? Well, I’m not joking. If you don’t have enough budget to complete your ceiling project or if you have an unfinished ceiling, you can use Thermocol sheets on your ceiling.
Let’s look how:-
Thermocol ceiling is a type of false ceiling that you can create in your basement if you don’t want to use drywall. For creating a Thermocol ceiling you will need the following:-
a. Aluminum “T” & “L” channels
These channels will create a base for your Thermocol sheets on which the sheets will be kept in a rested position. Now since these channels are made up of aluminum they are not very expensive.
By using these channels, you will have to create a frame on your ceiling just under your joists frame.
The left one is an L channel and the right one is a T channel. L channels will be installed on the corners of your room and T channels will be installed in between these L channels. I’ll show you a reference image:-
In this frame, L channels are placed into the corner of the wall, and in between them are T channels placed. The rectangular space that you see will be the place where you rest your Thermocol sheets.
This is how your ceiling will look once you start placing Thermocol sheets on the aluminum frame.
b. Thermocol Sheets
Once you have created the frame, you can place Thermocol sheets in the frame. Thermocol sheets are the cheap alternative to drywall and hence this method can be used on your ceiling.
A finished Thermocol false ceiling will look like this.
Hence this method is a cheap option in order to soundproof a basement ceiling without drywall.
Yes, you read that correctly. This is a type of a DO IT YOURSELF task that you can do without taking any professional help.
There are many creative ideas that can be taken into consideration if you’re using fabric on your ceiling. You can use normal fabric sheets on your unfinished ceiling in place of drywall.
Check this image out. Simple fabric sheets are used to decorate this ceiling. In this method, all you will have to do is create a base using bamboos or any kind of thick wooden sticks which can hold the fabric sheets well.
After that, you can hang these sheets on that base. Now about the corners, if you’re opting for this method be sure to staple the corner of the sheets to your joists using an air stapler.
You can also use tapestry instead of fabric sheets. Tapestry is a thick textile fabric that has pictures and designs embroidered on it. Being a thick fabric, it will also provide some additional soundproofing benefits. You will have to staple the tapestry on your joist ceiling using an air stapler.
This is how you can soundproof a basement ceiling without drywall by just using fabric sheets.
3. Foam board
Foam board is a type of board that is usually used for making crafts. Now you might think that will the foam board be durable for a ceiling?
After doing some research, I came to a conclusion that if you don’t use your basement frequently and if you just be there for a couple of hours or every once in a while, you can consider using this method.
It is lightweight but is indeed a strong material. It is cheap too, hence it can be an ideal choice for your basement ceiling. Also being a lightweight material, there is no need to get into complicated ways of installing this foam board.
To install a foam board on your ceiling,
- Insert Rockwool batts in your joist cavity first.
- Then measure the area of your ceiling.
- Then purchase the foam board sheets according to the area of the ceiling. Buy 1-2 additional sheets in case any damage occurs. Also, while buying a foam board buy a board that is thick than usual.
- Once you have the foam board sheets, you can either glue them to your joists using hot glue or you can also use command strips to stick them onto your joists.
- Make sure that the corners of the foam board sheets match.
This was one method by which you can place foam board on your ceiling. However, if you want, you can also create a false ceiling just like we did while using Thermocol on your ceiling.
You can create a similar frame that is made of aluminum and place foam board sheets on that frame. Refer to point 1 “THERMOCOL” for the procedure.
Using carpet on your ceiling is another cheap method that you can opt to soundproof a basement ceiling without drywall. They are widely used on the walls & hence they can be used on a ceiling too.
Carpet is also a thick material fabric and hence it will provide additional benefits of soundproofing too.
Installing carpet on your ceiling is also an easy-to-do job that doesn’t require any professional help.
- To begin with, measure the area of your ceiling.
- Calculate the number of carpets that you are going to need according to the area of your ceiling. If the area of your ceiling is less, you’ll hardly need 1 or 2 carpets depending upon their size. However, it is advised to purchase a single carpet according to the size of your ceiling.
- Using an air stapler, start stapling the carpet from the corner of your ceiling. Staple 3 to 4 areas of the carpet to the corner of the ceiling.
- Once you have stapled the carpet on the corner of the ceiling, stretch the carpet towards the next joist. Be sure that it remains tight as it will look good only if it is tight and not suspended.
- On the next joist, staple the carpet again using an air stapler and continue stapling the carpet by moving to the next joist till you have covered the whole area.
Using carpet will not only save your money, but will also aesthetically look good.
5. Acoustic Wood Wool Panels
Wood wool is widely used in packaging, for making the cooling pads that you use in your home as well as sometimes used in the stuffed toys that you purchase.
But did you know that wood wool is also used as a raw material for making acoustic wood wool panels? Sounds interesting, right?
Acoustic Wood wool panels are used in areas that have acoustical needs. Since you have to soundproof your basement ceiling without drywall, this can be considered as a good alternative.
Acoustic wood wool panels, depending upon their thickness, have an NRC rating ranging from 0.60 to 0.80.
It means they can absorb 60-80% of the sound by themselves. Also, acoustic wood wool panels are available in different shapes, sizes, and colors to choose from.
To install this acoustic wood wool panel on your ceiling, you can opt for two methods. They are:-
A. Screwing Panels On Ceiling
you can screw these wood wool panels directly on the joists of your ceiling. To do this, Measure the area of your ceiling. Calculate and order the number of panels that you’re going to need.
Place the acoustic wood wool panel on the joist and directly screw the wood wool panel on your joist using drywall screws.
If you have higher acoustical needs, you can sandwich an MLV sheet between two Acoustic wood wool panels to get premium results.
While doing so, be sure to use a green glue compound for the purpose. Since green glue itself is a soundproofing compound it will give more soundproofing benefits too.
When people screw these panels onto their ceiling, the gap between two panels is usually left untreated and it looks unfinished too. For this purpose, you can mud your Acoustic wood wool panels.
Mudding is a procedure that involves the application of a drywall compound or an all-purpose compound to the ceiling to make it look smooth and finished.
First, apply mesh tape or paper tape on the gaps between two panels and then apply the drywall compound all over the acoustic wood wool panels. Spread the compound evenly and plain the compound to achieve a smooth look.
However, if you want a premium or more finished look, and if you have a high budget as well, you can opt for another method of creating a false ceiling.
B. Creating A False Ceiling
As we saw earlier in the Thermocol ceiling, you can create a false ceiling by creating an aluminum frame using “L” and “T” channels.
To do this, measure the area of the ceiling and accordingly with the help of a professional, install these “L” and “T” channels to create a frame on which these panels can be rested.
You can refer the first point of Thermocol ceiling of this article for the procedure.
As we know that Acoustic wood panels come in different colors and shapes, you will have to choose them and also create a frame according to those shapes of panels. I’ll show you how a finished false ceiling of Acoustic wood wool panels looks like.
This is a finished false ceiling of which the frame is made of aluminum channels and wood wool panels. Hence, you can plan your method accordingly.
Also known as wainscoting, this is another alternative to drywall. Beadboard is made of medium-density fiberboard (MDF), wood fiber, and resin. When these three things in different proportions are melded under pressure, beadboard is formed.
Beadboard is a sturdy material that is commonly used in the renovation of your old house, renovation of the bathroom, etc. These panels typically come in a size of 4ft*8ft where their height is 4ft and 8ft wide.
Installing these is a quite costly process. A beadboard costs around 1-2 $ per sq ft. And also additional installation charges that a professional will take.
However, if you have basic carpentry knowledge, you can install these on your own. But if you don’t, I’ll suggest you hire a professional for this task.
Installation of bead board consists of the following processes:-
- Measure the area of your wall and order beadboard according to the required sizes. As I told you, beadboard usually comes in a standard size of 4ft*8ft. But you can buy customized bead boards according to the area of your ceiling.
- Cut the beadboard according to the size of your ceiling. You can either use a full-size beadboard or can cut planks of it and install those.
- If you have a finished ceiling, you can first apply caulking on the beadboard and then place it on the finished ceiling. After this, you will have to nail the beadboard panel on your ceiling using standard drywall screws or ceiling screws.
- However, if you don’t have a finished ceiling, you will first have to mark points of your joists on your beadboard. These marked points will be the points on which you will screw your panel onto the joists. Then you can screw the panel onto your joists using drywall or ceiling screws.
Above mentioned 6 methods are those that I shortlisted according to your comfort. These are the methods that are not that costly and some of them are easy to do too.
However, there are many more expensive and complicated methods such as creating a drop ceiling, installing ceiling planks on your ceiling, Using cement boards, doing brick and masonry on your ceiling, Using lath and plaster, etc.
If you want you can opt for these above-mentioned expensive and complicated methods as well if you want.
I hope that you have got all your answers regarding the “soundproof basement ceiling without drywall”. ALL THE BEST FOR YOUR PROJECT! ADIOS!