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Dealing with cast iron and copper pipes when soundproofing basement
Old 26th January 2012
  #1
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Question Dealing with cast iron and copper pipes when soundproofing basement

I'm beginning a project to build a "soundproofed" rehearsal space in my basement and I'm hoping to get advice on dealing with pipes near the ceiling. My goal is to prevent as much sound as possible from traveling upstairs... but I know I won't achieve absolute soundproofing... I just want to jam with a band in the basement and not disturb my wife and kids upstairs.

The room is 11'5" x 11'5" and the ceiling is about 6'7".

There are several large cast iron pipes, as well as a few smaller copper pipes that travel on or close to where the ceiling will be. The cast iron pipes have a pretty sharp angle jutting down from the ceiling, and then they travel lengthwise across the room at about 6' in height (i'm shorter than that, so I don't care). I am planning to use resilient channel clips and two layers of drywall with green glue between the drywall for the ceiling. The pipes, however, would have to come through that drywall at a few points in the room. I don't care about the way the pipes look in the room, but I care about soundproofing and preventing as much sound as possible from traveling through the ceiling.

Questions:

1. With the cast iron pipes running through the room (just above my head), will they carry sound throughout my house? If so, how can I prevent that from happening?

2. What is the best way to allow the pipes to come through the drywall without "ruining" my attempts to reduce transmission of sound through the ceiling? I've read that you can carefully caulk around the pipe where it meets the ceiling, but I'm skeptical.

3. If the pipes themselves make noise, what is the best way to prevent that noise from creeping into the room? Wrap the pipes with mass loaded vinyl? Spray them with something? Foam insulation?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I can provide more detail if anyone needs it.

Thank you!

Last edited by agarlan; 26th January 2012 at 08:03 PM.. Reason: clarifying
Old 26th January 2012
  #2
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Hi argarian.

In electrical, there are terms like water or weather proof. (and dust...)
There are also terms like water or weather tight. (and dust...)

Proof,,, things could still get moist or wet.
Tight,,, they should remain dry.

Not knowing.............
But your talking soundproofing. I don't think you will be able to make it sound tight.

As far as your questions, there are measures you can take (which you probably have a good understanding of) in order to sound proof or deadened....
Sound tight is questionable.

Good luck with it and all the best.
Old 26th January 2012
  #3
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Thanks for the response.

I should clarify - I'm looking to prevent as much sound as possible from traveling upstairs. I can't aim for totally "soundproof" or "tight", but I'm intending to spend good money and I want to make sure the pipes penetrating the ceiling aren't a huge mistake that will negate my attempts to block sound from traveling upstairs.

Is caulking around the pipe where it meets the ceiling the best I can do? I don't want to "box in" the pipe with drywall because it will look worse, cost more, and screw with the room acoustics.

Thanks again!
Old 26th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agarlan View Post
Is caulking around the pipe where it meets the ceiling the best I can do? I don't want to "box in" the pipe with drywall because it will look worse, cost more, and screw with the room acoustics.
Would think so.

Wrap the pipes or box them (I'm with you, just wrapping them).

Sound will be going up stairs not just from the pipes.

It should sound like someone's playing a radio if your loud in the studio, and much less, if not almost quiet, if monitoring a reasonable levels (83-85db).
Old 26th January 2012
  #5
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Thank you for the response!

Sound like a radio upstairs is fine.

But do you think the pipes will contribute a lot to the amount of transmission? Would the pipes meeting the ceiling have a big effect on sound transmission? What would you recommend I use to wrap the pipes?
Old 26th January 2012
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agarlan View Post
I am planning to use resilient channel clips and two layers of drywall with green glue between the drywall for the ceiling.
Don't know much about the green glue (but have looked into it alittle). It seems expensive but in certain applications it's the way to go (maybe not yours),

Someone may offer some more here and your design might be on the money. But I might suggest the surface facing you not being sheet rock.

It will be very bright, ear splitting.

Check into some type of sound board...... The type I'm thinking about (which I used many years ago if they even make it anymore) was like compressed cardboard,particleboard...was brown 4x8 1/2"thick.


Helped out big time in my moms basement as a kid playing loud R&R music.
Old 26th January 2012
  #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agarlan View Post
But do you think the pipes will contribute a lot to the amount of transmission? Would the pipes meeting the ceiling have a big effect on sound transmission? What would you recommend I use to wrap the pipes?

The steam pipes are definitely going to help the sound going up.......but it is what it is. Wrap them with pipe insulation. They make wrap type and sleeve type.

And no High Hats (down lights). Use surface mount fixtures.

You could also mount a track light or two, or if you like a special type of track light fixture but would rather not have a 4 or 6 or 8' track on the ceiling, you can use a regular lighting outlet box for surface mounted fixtures and strategically place them around so no one will hit their head on them, and use an adapter for the track light to ceiling box. Or you could also consider wall sconces.

And insulate in the floor joists.
Old 26th January 2012
  #8
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Great advice. Thanks.

I'm wondering if it would be worth paying a plumber to move the pipes to reduce the sound transmission. It might be worth a grand if it means I can be loud... Depends on the change in transmission.

Any thoughts?
Old 26th January 2012
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agarlan View Post
Great advice. Thanks.

I'm wondering if it would be worth paying a plumber to move the pipes to reduce the sound transmission. It might be worth a grand if it means I can be loud... Depends on the change in transmission.

Any thoughts?
Relocate the pipes for a grand is doubtful. If so....I would do it for the head room and not necessarily the sound. And he probably couldn't do it anyway as it needs gravity for the return.

Thats if it's black pipe "steam". Check at the boiler, it might be water. If you see a circulator pump it's water and he may be able to do something with it.
Old 27th January 2012
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ritelec View Post
Relocate the pipes for a grand is doubtful. If so....I would do it for the head room and not necessarily the sound. And he probably couldn't do it anyway as it needs gravity for the return.

Thats if it's black pipe "steam". Check at the boiler, it might be water. If you see a circulator pump it's water and he may be able to do something with it.
Yeah, we've got a circulator pump and it's water... a plumber took a look and said it was very doable. But the question still is whether it will make a big difference for sound transmission. If not, it's not worth it for headroom or aesthetics.

Do you think it'll make a big difference with the sound? I would greatly appreciate any advice about that, as well as the technique to pass them through the ceiling drywall.

Thanks!
Old 27th January 2012
  #11
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[QUOTE=agarlan;7491145
Do you think it'll make a big difference with the sound? I would greatly appreciate any advice about that, as well as the technique to pass them through the ceiling drywall.
[/QUOTE]


Water cool!

If he can work them to an area that you could soffit around them (across the joists) and then bring them within the floor joists to go up thru the floor..so you could cover them....I think that would help big time..!!!

Just quickly. In my basement because I wanted to get the height and sheetrock the ceiling.....

Rather than go from the end of one baseboard (I put in hot water baseboard system from steam) back down to the basement across the ceiling joists and back up to the end of the next baseboard (as the smart man would have done),and so on.....instead, as I came down from the baseboard, I would run that pipe inbetween the joists to the main beam in the house to go across the joists then back up in the joist to come back to get to the next baseboard heat. Back and forth and back and forth. Did it with the water lines too. I was able to sheatrock to the floor joist (realize, if the baseboard was 6' away from the next one, I had to use 25' of copper to get to it instead of 6 ' of copper). Note: I'm anal... I was a drinker at the time and put down many beers and copper was a bit cheaper.
Old 27th January 2012
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ritelec View Post
I was able to sheatrock to the floor joist.
That's what I've been hoping to do - run the pipes between the floor joists and then attach the two layers of drywall (with green glue between them) to the floor joists (well, probably to resilient channel clips). The part I've been struggling with is whether it's worth it to move the pipes, or if I could get away with the same idea, just with the cast iron pipes poking through the drywall in a few places.

It sounds like you are saying that the pipes penetrating the drywall will actually make a big difference in sound transmission... So maybe it's worth it to pay to move the pipes if it will make that much of a difference?
Old 27th January 2012
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by agarlan View Post
It sounds like you are saying that the pipes penetrating the drywall will actually make a big difference in sound transmission... So maybe it's worth it to pay to move the pipes if it will make that much of a difference?
Depends how much $$$ to have someone do it.
Depends on your intensions with your project and your house in the future.
It will help to have the ceiling closed.

Look at it and imagine that area without the pipes visible.
Clean?

It will help acoustically I think (not an acoustician here)....and also make for a cooler basement without the pipes running through...........But..it's a basement.
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