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Do I need to soundproof this wall?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm going to finish out an unfinished room in the basement of our townhouse. I was looking at the shared wall between us and our neighbors, and it looks like the studs are about an inch away from the wall already, so I am wondering if I really need to put in any soundproofing. Take a look at the attached photos and let me know what exactly I am looking at as far as soundproofing goes.

I'm also trying to figure out how to plan my room so I would appreciate any feedback in that thread as well: http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1390754

post #2 of 16
What I see is a wall that is firmly anchored to the floor and looks to be weight bearing at the top. It will transfer vibration both ways. How do you plan on finishing your walls and ceiling?
post #3 of 16
I like this one just put a step up to riser height outside the room in that hall and build the risers from side wall to side wall. That will allow you to center up the seating and create an aisle on both sides.

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

What I see is a wall that is firmly anchored to the floor and looks to be weight bearing at the top. It will transfer vibration both ways. How do you plan on finishing your walls and ceiling?

Well, it's going to be drywall, I haven't decided what kind of sound isolation I am going to put in place yet. Sound isolation for the neighbor's wall is obviously more important than the ceiling, since it's our family room & kitchen above this room. The floor is concrete. I don't know a whole lot about sound isolation options. I've read about the blocks you can put between the studs and the drywall, and also someone was telling me about some vinyl sheet which can be put behind the drywall. Whatever I need to do I guess.
post #5 of 16
Invest an hour to read all the articles on soundproofingcompany.com. Pay attention to the topic of flanking pathways. It is not blocks you want it is whisper clips and hat channel. Double layers of 5/8 drywall with Green Glue in between.

IMHO this is the kind of walls and ceiling you need in a townhouse with neighbors. This is a video click picture

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
So I guess what you are telling me is that having the studs spaced away from the wall isn't going to do anything to help reduce noise transmission to the neighbor's wall?

Also, what about MLV? My friend had suggested MLV.
post #7 of 16
The fact that the studs do not touch the concrete is a great feature because they can't transfer sound except at the top and bottom. This is very common in residential basement finishing. By code untreated wood studs can not be in contact with concrete. So you are off to a good start, now you need to add Mass (Multiple layers of drywall), Dampening (Green Glue) , Absorption (insulation) and the final touch would be to mount the wall on springs for Mechanical Isolation (Whisper clips and Channel)

Adding an additional layer of damped drywall (Green Glue) is more effective and far cheaper than hanging a layer of MLV

Now when you build this room you don't want to cut a bunch of holes in the drywall "Bunker" for lights or electrical boxes. Figure out a design where everything can be mounted inside the room. Where impossible utilize backer boxes or putty pads.
post #8 of 16
Mass loaded vinyl:

1. The only thing MLV brings to the table is Mass. You'll get more mass for less money from drywall;
2. The vast majority of pictures showing how to install mass loaded vinyl, if followed, will increase sound transmission, not decrease it.
3. As Big said ... read about flanking paths. Doing just the wall will be somewhat helpful; but, in the end a big disappointment.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yeah I've been reading about flanking paths.

So the neighbor's wall doesn't seem to be concrete...it looks like some kind of drywall which says "type-x" on it. Is there concrete behind it?

Two walls are actually concrete with earth on the other side of them (one is facing our driveway and one is facing our patio). Do I have to worry a whole lot about flanking through concrete like that?
post #10 of 16
You are absolutely right, I thought that was concrete from first glance but it is actually drywall. The question is, is that the neighbors actual wall or a fire barrier extending from the foundation up to the roof.

Since it is not concrete it is even more important to pull out the stops on soundproofing.
If that is a fire barrier partition and not the actual wall there is another concern that once you put a wall up you will create a triple layer which has some negative ramifications. This is discussed on the web site I suggested.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure, is there any way to find out? This is actually a town house in Northern VA (Loudoun) so you might have more information since you seem to be from that area. I think it could be a fire barrier, as I think townhouses are required to have a fire barrier between them. We haven't heard anything from either neighbor since we moved in here a few months ago.

So it sounds like I need to put an isolated wall on that side, and definitely on the ceiling as well. The question arises about the other three walls (2 of which are concrete, and one of which separates this room from the rest of the basement).
post #12 of 16
You might call the local Building Inspector's office. They often are aware of common construction practices in different neighborhoods.

You said you were finishing out this room. To be a theater? Is that the kind of sound we're talking here?

EDIT: Just saw your thread.

I'd consider treating all 4 walls and ceiling.

I'd either apply clips and channels to that wall or build a new wall in front (preferable). Double 5/8" drywall or comparable mass everywhere.

Before you start framing anything, it would be good to determine your HVAC plan. Also the door plan. Both of these are big holes, and after all, life already has enough big holes.
post #13 of 16
yes I'm just down the road off 7 and Reston Avenue.

I think you might get friendly with one of the neighbors and ask them to go down to the basement and knock on their side of the wall to figure out what you are working with.

On the other three walls, you need to keep in mind that sound doesn't just travel in a straight line.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
As far as door and HVAC goes, there is already a duct coming in from one corner. This duct feeds the family room above, and also has a register to ventilate the unfinished room. The door can't really be moved from it's current location either, so I think those are things I can consider further when I get closer to construction time (a few months from now). Right now I am just trying to plan the room, and get an idea of how much it is going to cost.

I'm not concerned about an extremely soundproofed room. As long as it contains most of the noise, and doesn't bother the neighbors, I will be happy. I found this article which is pretty helpful: http://www.soundproofingcompany.com/...roofing-walls/
post #15 of 16
A room full of people and a space heater disguised as a projector will get hot even in the winter. In addition to the supply, you need to figure out a return for the room to keep the air circulating.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yeah I'm thinking about making a dead vent like this which will exit above the door: http://www.soundproofingcompany.com/...the-dead-vent/
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