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Is Your Condo Too Loud?

By: Real Estate Advisor

While condo buyers have to look into various factors before deciding on the purchase of a condo, one major aspect that remains very important is the noise factor. Condo living and noise often seem to go hand in hand. Many condo owners are plagued by noise issues. Whether it is due to footfall noise caused by hardwood floors, or the sound transmitting through the walls, condo noise could be very disturbing. This common but unlivable problem can totally disrupt peaceful living, even though the condo may be otherwise perfect.

If you are a prospective condominium buyer, then here are a few points that are worth taking into consideration before your purchase.

Condo buyers are better off inspecting the condo to check if every part of the home is noise proof before finalizing the contract. Mike Komula, is an acoustician with Dudek, a California environmental consulting firm that helps builders assess the acoustic qualities of new buildings. Here are a few tips offered by him for buyers to check for in the condo before they sign a contract.

1. Check for noise by making some - The best way to see if the adjacent units produce noise that seeps through to the rooms in your condo is to test by making noise in the units next door. Test for noise by turning on the radio, flushing the toilets and walking along the floors. One should also check for the plumbing noises made by bath and sink taps which could produce vibrations along the walls or noise when too small.

2. Check multistory floor layouts: Check the layout of the floors to make sure that rooms are placed compatibly above one another. A kitchen or bath above your bedroom, instead of another bedroom, could prove noisy.

3. Sound insulation of windows: Make sure the windows have dual panes for better sound reduction. These absorb more sound than single pane windows. The type of glass pane used for window also counts greatly. Ensure that the panes are a lot thicker for better insulation of sound. Also, larger the air cavities between glass panes means greater noise reduction.

4. Solid doors: Use firmer doors that have a solid core instead of hollow ones to keep out noise effectively.

Builders are increasingly concentrating on noise management especially in multifamily projects and it is recommended that buyers speak to the builder to know about the construction details that enhance noise reduction.

Some of the questions to put across to the builder would be to verify the following:

1. If the shared walls are double walls. A double wall instead of a stud wall of 2x4 foot absorbs more noise due to the wider air gap between the 2 walls.
2. Check for the number of layers of drywall on each side because more the number of layers, better the sound absorption.
3. Check if walls and ceilings have good sound absorbing material such as resilient metal channels.
4. Check the floor for a lightweight layer of concrete topping. It offers substantial noise reduction in airborne and impact noise by adding mass.

Another important thing that Condominium buyers should check is the STC or Sound Transmission Class rating. An STC rating of 65 indicates that the walls and floor-ceiling construction between units are of better sound proofing.

Source: REALTOR magazine online

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