How much to build a basement?

Posted on

The Quiet Minded
Member Since: Jan 01, 2003

How much expensive is it to build a besement?
A have a house in the countryside and I wanted to build a small rehearsal studio there. I was wondering if instead of building a two wall structure I decided to build a basement to ensure sound isolation, as it is the main concern. To dig a hole into the ground may be less expensive than to raise (expensive) double tick walls with (expensive) isolation materials?

[ Back to Top ]

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Mar 29, 2004 04:50 am

Don't underestimate the expensive of digging a hole in the ground. Good excavating can be expensive. Also, earth is a better conductor of sound than air. Unless you are thinking about opening your studio up as a pro facility, what you are asking about will be a sizable expense. Putting up two walls, if you do it yourself, won't bee that expensive, depending on the size. Having somebody build it will be incredibly expensive. Digging a hole into the ground will be even more. And digging the hole you would still want double walls. For insolation, isolation, and than keeping your sound from getting out, also from other sound passed throught he earth from getting IN.

If you are "in the countryside" I read that as tho you are kind of alone and have a long distance between houses...why worry about it at all then?

...bringing sexy back
Since: Jul 01, 2002

Mar 29, 2004 06:09 am

a shed would be cheaper...

The Quiet Minded
Since: Jan 01, 2003

Mar 29, 2004 12:43 pm

sound isolation is the main issue. there are houses nearby and it is a very quiet place, where every louder sound is noticeable. If I decided to build double walls should both be made of thick bricks?

I still cant figure how a basement can let more soud leak than a standard (even doubled walls)structure.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Mar 29, 2004 12:47 pm

cuz sound travels through earth very well...just the low booming stuff. Just like any solid object, it conducts vibration.

The best way to do the double wall thing is a room within a room. Build a building that has a good structure, insolate it and double sheetrock the inside, then, leave about a 4 inch gap between the wall and ceiling and build another wall and ceiling insolated and double sheetrocked.

Also, there is often a second floor put in that is spaced up from the original floor and sits on hard ruber footings or some other vibration dampening substance.

Don't have any of the walls perfectly parallel and double-pane any windows and keep them out of parallel as well.

Czar of Midi
Since: Apr 04, 2002

Mar 29, 2004 06:31 pm

Bruno, escavating under an allready built structure is not cheap at all. They must brace the house that is there as they go. Then you have to take into account they will be building that same structure underneath instead of next to your original house. I would definately think it would end up more expensive then doing the addition with double walls.

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Since: May 10, 2002

Mar 29, 2004 09:25 pm

Noise nailed that one. Digging under and proping as you go is mega expense. The other real pain is lugging equipment into and out of a basement. If you have a natural hill you could build into that may turn out to be more cost effective and easier to transport equipment into and out of. But even with a basement the neighbors will be able to hear you if they are close. Experience has been the neighbor kids will be peeking into the the little ground level windows in about 20 minutes. I record Project Dead at the shop for two reasons; room and the industrial zoning. They create bonified hurican strength winds when they fire up the Marshals, SWR's etc. We have a train track 100 yards or so behind us that is silent when they play.

Db's idea is the best. Room inside a room. And if you do the "barn raising" yourself the expense won't be anywhere near as bad, depending on your zoning rules. Their are a lot of nice looking pole barns for sale as kits nowdays that you could put a room inside of, if your zoning permits.

The Quiet Minded
Since: Jan 01, 2003

Mar 30, 2004 07:16 am

I would not be digging under a structure, I would bhe digging under empty ground.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Mar 30, 2004 07:20 am

still a big expense to get the backhoes and other implements of destruction out there to dig. My wife used to be the office manager for an excavator...they charge a lot of me. plus then there is the surveying and permits and crap depending how big you wanna dig...

Eat Spam before it eats YOU!!!
Since: May 11, 2002

Mar 30, 2004 09:45 am

When my dad was a kid him and his brothers dug a basement under his parents house... took a few months and generally sounded like a remodeling nightmare. I don't know if it can be amaturely done and be in code because if you screw up the walls will collapse and take the house with it.

Sure you could dig a cellar in the center away from foundations pretty easilly on your own... could probably still find fallout shelter plans someplace... but the other problem you'll have to deal with is water... very few houses don't need a sump-pump ...and all of them need the little pit it goes in... and trickeling water is _really_ _loud_

Remember if you try digging under the house your wife will kill you after a week when the ammount of mud you find becomes apparent. ...and I'd love to see the look on your face when you hit 5 feet of shale and flint mix 2 feet down.

If you hire it done I think they will only dig next to the house...and you'll still probably have to "finish". Last basement me and my dad did we spent a few days going over with a pickaxe after the backhoe left because the walls were crooked and out of square :P ...found a couple of neat plant fossels though :)

In anycase noise still comes out through the roof so a snare drum will still be heard for a good block or so.

Since: Mar 24, 2004

Mar 30, 2004 11:38 am

Exactly how loud will you be playing ???
Standing outside of a rehearsal room, I
can minimally hear the bands play.

Anyway... build a standing structure and
use Rigid Foam Insulation.

(Don't forget, heat, electric, ect)


... just curious, where do you live ?

Since: Jan 08, 2004

Mar 30, 2004 12:33 pm

I'm sorry, but earth as we know it is very good at absorbing freqs due to its consistency. Contrary to belief the earth is not a solid. It has many factors in it like branches, roots, air pockets, water, rocks, etc. When a sound wave is created it has a certain momentum or strength and when it hits another object such as steel it will conduct quite well. The denser the object and the closer the molecules are together then the less energy the sound wave will have to have to travel farther.

When a freq hits a certain object it basically has to change energy to get through that object and when it hits the air on the other side it again has to change its energy.
When an energy hits many different consistencies, the more it has to change it's energy the weaker the signal will become, (why do you think double walls are used so much in pro recording studios?) when something that has a porous texture such as cement or earth it insolates freqs very well due to air pockets, rocks, roots, etc (different consistencies). When you build a basement you also have cinder blocks for walls, which in turn are very good at dissipating low freqs.

This theory they also use in the two panes of glass between the control room and the live room. (Glass has a very good co-efficient in disrupting lower freq)They will actually use different thickness of glass on either side.

They also do this with a floating floor to cut down on vibrations going through the solids such as wood.

When a subwoofer produces powerful low-frequency acoustic energy, that wave front travels through the room and then collides with the wall & ceiling surfaces. Upon collision, much of that kinetic energy of the wavefront is converted into mechanical (vibrational) energy, which sets the thin, flexible wall surface into vibration. This vibration is easily conducted through solid surfaces it is in contact with-such as the studs, joists and flooring. The vibration travels up and through the framing of the house--vibrating the walls, floors and ceilings as it passes them. What you get, is a quaking house full of noise. This is what is known as Structure-borne Sound Transmission.

The fact of the matter is, conventional wall & ceiling construction methods easily conduct low-frequency sound, and are poor at blocking them out.

-The Solution-
There are three ways to keeps sound from traveling through a structure:

1. Block the sound by increasing the mass (thickness & density) of the walls.
2. Minimize the transmission paths for vibrations and sound to travel through.
3. Dampen the vibrational energy

In order to prevent the passage of low frequency sounds such as traffic noise, aircraft noise, etc., the recording enclosure is often isolated from the main structure with a double wall. Since low frequency sounds are much more efficiently borne by solid structures than high frequencies, the suspended "room within a room" strategy minimizes the structural linking of the recording room to the foundation of the building. Careful sealing of the enclosure and careful design of the heating and air-conditioning system are necessary. Sometimes additional bass traps are employed to further reduce low-frequency background.

Hope this made sense. When I build a house my studio is going to be in the basement for sure. I've played in basements and I've recorded in basements in close housed subdivisions and NEVER got a complaint. Earth is one of the better sound dampeners out there.

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Mar 30, 2004 12:38 pm

Well that was a long-winded way of stating basic common sense, and is exactly what I's the low frquencies that vibrate and pass thru the earth.

Obviously the basement IS the best place to put your studio, but in his situation the expense would be huge compared to building a double walled building.

The Quiet Minded
Since: Jan 01, 2003

Mar 30, 2004 02:36 pm

thank you all for the feedback. just to clear some things. I have a house in the country, where I spend some weekends and holydays. The structure that I was thinking was an underground studio, that would be nothing more than a studio built into a hole in the ground and build the room whithin it. I really dont know how much qould it cost to build that hole, but after all gregor said, it sounds like the amount of earth between the "cave" and the nearer house would be more than enough to dissipate all the frenquencies. I will look for someone who can help me estimating the price of the hole.

by the way, I live in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

and you may listen to two of my pieces here:

Since: Jan 08, 2004

Mar 30, 2004 03:53 pm

Well that was a long-winded way of stating basic common sense, and is exactly what I's the low frquencies that vibrate and pass thru the earth.

I wasn't trying to offend you db. It should be stated that lower freq move through things "easier" but earth is one of the better dampeners,and seems to block lower freq transmissions better than most any other substance. Your comment on "low freq passing through the earth" are not entirely accurate that's why I posted. At a basic level, yes lower freq do pass through the earth but someone might misunderstand this and think you're saying earth really doesn't dampen the lower freq passing through it. I thought I already said this??? Am I losing my mind? Why does it seem that you get offended so easily when someone disagrees with you?

Just because something is common sense to you and me and alot of other people that frequent this board doesn't mean that everone finds this as "commomn sense".

Since: Apr 03, 2002

Mar 30, 2004 05:10 pm

I wasn't offended. And yes, "common sense" is one of the more uncommon that's a fair point.

Of course, now we could get into what type of area he lives in, is it rocks, sandy, dirt and mud or what, cuz that would also have an impact...a BIG impact actually, but something are just not worth going on and on about in my mind, and this was one of them.

When it comes to building a studio it's not only keeping sound from getting out, of equal concerns should be sound getting in...and this seems to be concentrating on keeping sound from getting out. In underground studios I have been in (only a couple admittedly) the bigger problem was sounding getting in the studio from custructions sites close by, train tracks and other heavy, low high-powered machinery like that.

Again, was not offended. This is just a topic that is really getting beat to death...there are much more important things he could be concerning himself with than the merits of underground or not, either is doable, underground would be substantially more expensive.

Where I am from is rock-hard clay and it's a terrific conductor...

Since: Jan 08, 2004

Mar 31, 2004 11:23 am

Fair enough! :)

Related Forum Topics:

If you would like to participate in the forum discussions, feel free to register for your free membership.