Should I insulate both the basement walls and ceiling?

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Posted by: from Edmonton
3/6/2015 at 1:34:10 PM

I live in a cold climate and have an unfinished basement in a new duplex. I'm in starting phases of finishing my basement and am uncertain if I should have the ceiling insulated. This would be more for sound proofing purposes rather than heating since we will be using the basement as a media room - we actually don't mind if it's cold. Setting aside the cost issue, different contractors are giving me different advice as to whether it's even a good idea.

The builder already installed the usual insulation and vapour barrier in the walls but the ceiling is currently exposed. There are no mould, moisture or flooding issues in the basement thus far.

Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you!

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Derek or Rene from Rene Rozon Construction in Saint Lazare
Date/Time3/6/2015 at 2:28:52 PM

Hello Anne,

Assuming that its a living space above the future Media room your best bet is a product called SAFE and SOUND made by Roxull available any big box store. If you want to get even fancier have your contractor install Z bars before installing the gyprock. As a side note if you are planning on putting pot lights you will need to install insulated box for every light. This is the only approved method for pot lights in a insulated ceiling.

Hope this helps.


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Lisandro from L.P.Donan Construction in Waterloo
Date/Time3/6/2015 at 3:32:31 PM

Hi Anne,

For finishing your basement, the City of Edmonton will have min. code requirements for the R-value of insulation you need to install in your basement walls. The builder's installed insulation might or might not meet the code requirement. Here in Ontario, the code requires a min. of R-20 insulation for basement walls.

For your basement ceiling, you are not required by code to insulate; unless you are creating a sound/fire separation between two dwellings. In your case, since you are using the basement as a media room, it is mainly a matter of personal choice. I would personally recommend, if your budget allows it, that you sound insulate the ceiling. This will ensure that the noise in the media room, does not inconvenience any other activities going on in the upstairs areas.

I hope this helps. Good luck with your project.

Lisandro Donan

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Date/Time3/6/2015 at 4:17:11 PM


You have two answers that should provide you with some information to consider. I like the Safe & Sound insulation by Roxul, and it works. Having said that, it isn't totally sound proof because the wood floor joist also transfer some sound and vibrations through the floor.

You might also consider a dropped ceiling, in addition to the insulation, as this would provide a finished appearance and there are sound proofing (or lessening) panels that would absorb additional sounds. The dropped ceiling would also allow speaker wires, lighting, and access to the floor joists for any additional adjustments or additions.



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Date/Time3/6/2015 at 4:30:11 PM

Hello Anne,

Both contractors previously have given great advice and also with what Rene said that adding z-girts or resilient channel to break contact between the drywall and floor joist I find achieves the best result.

You may also want to contact a open cell foam dealer in your area to get a quote to spray your ceiling in lieu of roxul as I personally find its more effective in dampening any sound.

Thank you,


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Date/Time3/6/2015 at 8:01:47 PM

Hi Anne,

All of the answers that you have received so far are excellent. Another choice that you may want to consider is the Owens Corning Quietzone Accoustic Batts.

These acoustic batts are acoustically designed to control noise transmission between rooms, absorbing sound vibrations within the wall cavity to control noise in your home. They would be perfect for your movie nights! When installed properly the accoustic batts can improve Sound Transmission Class by 4 to 10 decibels. They're ideal for home theaters and family rooms.

Depending on your choice if you don't want to go with a Batt system, spray foam is also an excellent choice. As you don't need closed cell sprayfoam you could use the open cell as it's more economical.

As well ensure you have your movie/media room designed well before you start insulating so you can run all your cords and wires as you won't be able to access them once you are done insulating and dry walling.

Good luck:)


Expert Insulation

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Anne in Edmonton
Date/Time3/27/2015 at 11:53:50 AM

Thank you so much!

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