Dear PoP – Does anyone have any tips on soundproofing?

Photo by PoPville flickr user DCityDude

“Dear PoP,

I live in a 115 year old townhouse and rent out my basement apartment. Nobody is overly loud or plays music or TV above a civil level, but we can still hear each other through our floor/ceiling at normal volume talking voices. Although our tenant has never complained I’m sure she must be annoyed by our dog running around our place chasing his bone and us walking on wood floors. We have our floors covered as much as possible by area rugs to help with the noise, but we can still hear her and she can surely hear us. We like our tenant and don’t want her to be chased away by our noise. Also, after living in apartments for several years and recently moving to a house my wife and I would prefer not to hear our neighbors.

I’m wondering what our options may be for soundproofing an old row house. The wood floors are original to the home so tearing them up is not an option. In the basement apartment there are drywalled ceilings that likely are screwed directly to the joists. I’m not thrilled about the idea of tearing through the basement ceilings to add some sort of soundproofing materials, but I am starting to think this may be my only option. One other important thing is that my ceiling height downstairs is just above 7ft (the minimum required for my CofO) so I can’t bring this any lower. Do any of your readers have any tips for me that don’t include turning up the volume on my own speakers? Any ideas for good contractors if I must replace the drywall and add soundproofing?”

Some options were given back in Jan. ’10. Anyone else have good suggestions?

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