In today’s rushed world, most people don’t have the time or the money to waste taking the entire family to the movies (up to $50 to $60 per shot) so why not build out a Home Theater in your garage, basement, or spare bedroom? The construction and soundproofing of a Home Theater is much the same as would be used in building a soundproof music studio for practice or recording. The only major difference is that with a Home Theater, you are less concerned with sound coming into the Theater than you would be if you were doing recording or voice-overs for a major studio or movie production company.
The most effective method for building your Home Theater is to actually construct soundproof room within a room. Basically this means framing out new walls within the existing room. This is a lot simpler than it sounds. If you possess tool skills and are better with them than “Tim Taylor” on “Tool Time”, then you most likely are qualified to undertake this project.
You will want to frame out new walls within the existing room, this is pretty easy in a basement situation, where at least 2 of the walls are most likely poured concrete or concrete block, and are generally Earthen backed. They need NO soundproofing whatsoever.
By framing out the room within a room, you are taking all of the negatives in the room that were working against your soundproofing endeavor, and now making them more friendly in the form of “dead air space”. Dead air space (if it is sealed) is good soundproofer in itself, but you will still need a little more soundproofing horsepower if you plan to watch Star Wars or The Matrix (cranked) in your new Home Theater.
Once the new walls are framed out, it is time to soundproof. We have found that good batt insulation such as Roxul AFB or Roxul Safe is very effective when placed in the stud and joist cavities. If you are unable to find the Roxul products, then use a good quality rock wool or mineral wool to fill those cavities. The next step would be to adhere a layer of American Mass Loaded Vinyl directly to the stud structure. Attaching the MLV directly to the studs or joists allows the vinyl to resonate or move with the sound. If the MLV is able to resonate, it will work to it’s full potential and will give you the sound blocking required for a well-soundproofed theater. The MLV will be stapled (industrial air drive stapler) or nailed (using roofing nails with the large plastic heads) to the studs or joists. If you are able to over lap the seams that would be great, however, if that is not possible, you will want to butt the seams together tightly and caulk both the butted seams as well as the entire perimeter of the newly installed MLV. You want the MLV to act as a soundproof membrane on your walls and ceilings. Caulking and taping the seams is essential for effective soundproofing. The caulked seams will also need to be taped with a quality MLV sealer tape before installing your new drywall.
Now it is time to install the drywall. We recommend using 2 layers of ½” drywall for soundproofing walls as well as the ceiling. Now if this becomes too costly then a single layer of 5/8″ fire code drywall will be sufficient. This should complete the soundproofing portion of your home theater. We also carry a complete line of home theater and acoustical room treatments, so please call us for more information on those. Also check out our guide on studio soundproofing, the acoustical approach is very similar to a home theater.
In rare cases, it may become necessary to float the walls or ceiling of your new Home Theater. If you feel that floating the walls or ceiling are in order, then please call the experts at Soundproofing America, Inc. to learn about floating walls and a soundproof ceiling. It is all about your peace of mind. We know your needs and your concerns, so please don’t hesitate to call us.