Soundproof a Basement Shop
Two-pronged attack arrests both airborne and vibratory noise
Synopsis: The best route to noise reduction in basement workshops is twofold, but figuring out the best way to achieve it can be daunting. Mark Corke’s plan muffles both vibratory and airborne noise, and he offers handy, inexpensive tips along the way, such as installing rubber feet for his machines. He explains the importance of isolating the foundation, along with insulating the ceiling and air ducts. Directions on offsetting the drywall from the ceiling joists help as well.
From Fine Woodworking #167
Basement shops often are not ideal, but their proximity to the amenities of the house makes a good deal of sense. For instance, alterations to wiring can be accommodated more easily and inexpensively than in a stand-alone workshop. My basement shop is large, 30 ft. by 50 ft., but interrupted by support columns and stairs up to the first floor of the house. Because of the shop’s proximity to my family upstairs, my main concern was reducing the noise levels of machinery and tools.
Researching the best way to tackle noise reduction can be daunting. I came across conflicting advice, much of it from manufacturers claiming the superiority of their products. To cut to the chase, I called my friend Terry Phillips, a sound architect I worked with at the BBC in Great Britain. Who better to help me find the solutions than someone who designs radio studios?
I learned there were two types of sounds that I had to deal with: airborne and vibratory. When a large woodworking machine is fired up, most of the noise that’s heard is in the form of sound waves transmitted through the air by the motor, bearings, and cutters. Each of these components transmits sound at different frequencies, some of which are audible to the human ear. Noise also is transmitted through…