a question about basement HT ceiling

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Rob Michaw, Jun 12, 2004.

  1. Rob Michaw

    Rob Michaw Stunt Coordinator

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    I am moving in a couple weeks to a 35 year old 2-storey home. I am putting my HT in one part of the basement (12x20). I am putting a door up (with a lock...to keep the little ones out when unsupervised). The basement is "mostly" finished. The ceiling however, is open. When we move in, I am ripping out the carpets upstairs, and laying hardwood. Downstairs is where I am perplexed.

    I want it to sound great in the HT, and I want little sound to travel to the second storey to disturb or wake my family. I have read about a room within a room etc, but I think I have decided on stuffing the joists with insulation and screwing up drywall. I guess I would then seal the seams with caulking. Now this is where I am stuck.

    A) Do I put a resilient channel and drywall again...and then hire someone to tape, sand and finish?
    B) Do I drop 6 inches and put in a suspended ceiling?

    Although technically capable of finishing the ceiling, I am going to be too busy these next months to do the finishing within a reasonable timeframe. If I get someone to do it professionally, how long would finishing a 240 sq. ft. room take? Would I need to remove everything out of the room to do the work? Can I reduce sound transmission with the insulated drywall & suspended combo?

    At the end of the day, I want something that will keep the sound in the basement...that looks good...is a quick solution...and disrupts the HT (and rest of the house) the least.

    Thanks.
     
  2. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    If you want a sealed room, you're gonna need a solid ceiling like the resiliant channel + drywall idea, a drop ceiling won't do much for isolation.

    Then you'll want to deal with in-room acoustics as well, so if you have the headroom to build a good ceiling structure, I'd do it. I did not (low ceilings), so It's a simple drywall ceiling.
     
  3. BrianKR

    BrianKR Second Unit

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    With my basement HT room I stuffed my joist with insulation, used resilient channel and double drywall (hang drywall left to right, tape mud, install 2nd layer of drywall front to back, drywall glue/adhesive caulk, tape and mud.

    The only thing you can hear on my first floor is bass, but only when I am playing at very high levels (reference or above).

    It should not take more than 3 to 4 days for a contractor to drywall, mud and finish your room. If you go with a skim coat or texture coat it will take even less time.
     
  4. Mike V

    Mike V Stunt Coordinator

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    Rob,

    My ceiling is also sheetrock (1 layer 5/8")no Resilient Channel, with fiberglass insulation (R13)between the joists. When the volume is cranked up I can only hear the bass slightly upstairs. I have carpet in my living room which is directly above so I'm not sure what your proposed hardwood installation will add or subtract to your equation.

    You also may want to consider any HVAC ducting that you may have as this can be a great source of sound transmission from your theater to the upstairs rooms.

    It's also easier to remove everything possible from the room before the project begins than it is to clean it afterwards as this is a dirty/dusty job.
     
  5. Mike V

    Mike V Stunt Coordinator

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    Rob,

    My ceiling is also sheetrock (1 layer 5/8")no Resilient Channel, with fiberglass insulation (R13)between the joists. When the volume is cranked up I can only hear the bass slightly upstairs. I have carpet in my living room which is directly above so I'm not sure what your proposed hardwood installation will add or subtract to your equation.

    You also may want to consider any HVAC ducting that you may have as this can be a great source of sound transmission from your theater to the upstairs rooms.

    It's also easier to remove everything possible from the room before the project begins than it is to clean it afterwards as this is a dirty/dusty job.
     
  6. Rob Michaw

    Rob Michaw Stunt Coordinator

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    Will one layer suffice?
     
  7. Rob Michaw

    Rob Michaw Stunt Coordinator

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    Will one layer suffice?
     
  8. Jim WI

    Jim WI Auditioning

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    Hello, I'm a newbee too. Could someone please tell me what a Resilient Channel is? Thanks...
     
  9. KenA

    KenA Stunt Coordinator

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    Its a metal channel that seperates the drywall from the lumber. Check this out.
     
  10. Colin Goddard

    Colin Goddard Stunt Coordinator

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    Just one thing to keep in mind if you do go with a drywall ceiling in your basement. Will you ever, ever, need access to anything up above in the floor joist such as plumbing or HVAC?

    If your answer is "no" to that question and you do go with a drywall ceiling, then don't forget now is a good time to install speaker wires for your surrounds. Even xtra wire for future rear channels.
     
  11. Colin Goddard

    Colin Goddard Stunt Coordinator

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    Just one thing to keep in mind if you do go with a drywall ceiling in your basement. Will you ever, ever, need access to anything up above in the floor joist such as plumbing or HVAC?

    If your answer is "no" to that question and you do go with a drywall ceiling, then don't forget now is a good time to install speaker wires for your surrounds. Even xtra wire for future rear channels.
     
  12. Rob Michaw

    Rob Michaw Stunt Coordinator

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    I think I have made my mind up (at least as of today). I think I am going to do a drop ceiling. My main concern is having a quiet second floor when watching and listening late at night and good in-room acoustics. I am going to put up a solid core door and I should be fine for sound containment(I have a suspended ceiling now with no insulation or drywall now and I listen at -10 dB and I don't wake anyone). I was worried that this newer house is a little more open, but I think the insulation should help alot. I am not sure if the insulation AND drywall is needed, but I am not against that step. But this way, I can bring my electrical lower than the drywall for future work, and I can also run wires and speakers into the EX position (which I currently have). Any other suggestions or points I may have missed?

    Thanks.
     
  13. Rob Michaw

    Rob Michaw Stunt Coordinator

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    I think I have made my mind up (at least as of today). I think I am going to do a drop ceiling. My main concern is having a quiet second floor when watching and listening late at night and good in-room acoustics. I am going to put up a solid core door and I should be fine for sound containment(I have a suspended ceiling now with no insulation or drywall now and I listen at -10 dB and I don't wake anyone). I was worried that this newer house is a little more open, but I think the insulation should help alot. I am not sure if the insulation AND drywall is needed, but I am not against that step. But this way, I can bring my electrical lower than the drywall for future work, and I can also run wires and speakers into the EX position (which I currently have). Any other suggestions or points I may have missed?

    Thanks.
     
  14. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Rob, know that putting in a drop-in cieling and insulation won't really make much of a difference in preventing sound from getting upstairs. If it's good as it is, then that's ok, but if you are looking at improving things, you need a good ceiling structure; drop-ceiling tiles and insulation won't really do squat for bass, it'll cut right through as it likely does now.
     
  15. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Rob, know that putting in a drop-in cieling and insulation won't really make much of a difference in preventing sound from getting upstairs. If it's good as it is, then that's ok, but if you are looking at improving things, you need a good ceiling structure; drop-ceiling tiles and insulation won't really do squat for bass, it'll cut right through as it likely does now.
     
  16. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Stunt Coordinator

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    Rob,

    > My main concern is having a quiet second floor when watching and listening late at night and good in-room acoustics. <

    Unfortunately, those are mutually exclusive. Or at least opposing. Construction that increases isolation - making the walls and ceiling massive and rigid - makes the low frequency response in the room worse. You can have your cake and eat it too, but it's more expensive and/or labor intensive.

    > I have a suspended ceiling now with no insulation or drywall <

    That's fine, but I suggest you lay fiberglass batts above the ceiling tiles. The thicker the better. If you can pack one foot thick batts up there you'll help the isolation (a little) and improve the low frequency response in the room a lot. Especially put thick batts along the ceiling edges where the walls and ceiling meet.

    --Ethan
     
  17. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Stunt Coordinator

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    Rob,

    > My main concern is having a quiet second floor when watching and listening late at night and good in-room acoustics. <

    Unfortunately, those are mutually exclusive. Or at least opposing. Construction that increases isolation - making the walls and ceiling massive and rigid - makes the low frequency response in the room worse. You can have your cake and eat it too, but it's more expensive and/or labor intensive.

    > I have a suspended ceiling now with no insulation or drywall <

    That's fine, but I suggest you lay fiberglass batts above the ceiling tiles. The thicker the better. If you can pack one foot thick batts up there you'll help the isolation (a little) and improve the low frequency response in the room a lot. Especially put thick batts along the ceiling edges where the walls and ceiling meet.

    --Ethan
     
  18. Rob Michaw

    Rob Michaw Stunt Coordinator

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    I am a little confused. When I started looking at this for a new house, I was thinking we were going to get a ranch style. I was figuring that my son's bedroom would potentially be directly over the home theater. The house we ended up buying is a two storey. The living room is directly above, as is an office above that. The bedrooms are off on another side. I have been reading, and I am guessing that a drop ceiling and some sort of insulation should be good enough (provided I can do something about my vents if I need to). Should I pack the ceiling with insulation, then drywall, then drop the ceiling...and then put insulation on top of the tiles? Or forget the drywall part and have two parts insulation (in joists and on tiles)? Or just the drop ceiling and lay insulation on the tiles?

    I realize that the double drywall + resilient channel will be the best to stop sound, but won't insulation and drywall AND the drop ceiling be much better than just a drop ceiling?

    Thanks.
     
  19. Rob Michaw

    Rob Michaw Stunt Coordinator

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    I am a little confused. When I started looking at this for a new house, I was thinking we were going to get a ranch style. I was figuring that my son's bedroom would potentially be directly over the home theater. The house we ended up buying is a two storey. The living room is directly above, as is an office above that. The bedrooms are off on another side. I have been reading, and I am guessing that a drop ceiling and some sort of insulation should be good enough (provided I can do something about my vents if I need to). Should I pack the ceiling with insulation, then drywall, then drop the ceiling...and then put insulation on top of the tiles? Or forget the drywall part and have two parts insulation (in joists and on tiles)? Or just the drop ceiling and lay insulation on the tiles?

    I realize that the double drywall + resilient channel will be the best to stop sound, but won't insulation and drywall AND the drop ceiling be much better than just a drop ceiling?

    Thanks.
     
  20. Ethan Winer

    Ethan Winer Stunt Coordinator

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    Rob,

    > The bedrooms are off on another side. <

    So does that mean you're no longer concerned about sound getting upstairs? If so, you'll do well to not apply sheetrock to the ceiling. If you want the look of a hung ceiling, then do that, but first pack the space between the joists with foot-thick fluffy fiberglass. If you don't want to lose any height at all, pack the fiberglass between the joists and then staple fabric to the bottoms of the joists.

    > won't insulation and drywall AND the drop ceiling be much better than just a drop ceiling? <

    Yes. Adding drywall is what helps stop sound. A drop ceiling and fiberglass insulation help only a little.

    Personally, I'd go with no sheetrock at all unless sound transmission is a real problem. I suggest you bring a big boombox down there some quiet evening, crank it up, and see how bad it is upstairs. That will tell you right away if it's worth all the hassle - and worse sound in the room - to apply sheetrock.

    --Ethan
     

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