Soundproofing Your Condo

By: Quinn Kiet

While condos can be the most convenient way to own a home, they aren't without their challenges in some areas. Whenever a large group of people are living adjacent to each other, issues will come up. Excess noise from their neighbors is a frequent complaint for condo owners. Thankfully, this is completely fixable with some careful soundproofing.

The first step is to figure out exactly where the noise is coming from. Once you determine where soundproofing is most necessary, it is wise to contact your Condo association. If noise is a consistent problem throughout the building, then perhaps a consolodated effort can be put into conducting soundproofing throughout. If not, you will be financially responsible for your own work. Be sure not to make any structural changes without permission.

For ceiling sound insulation, mass-loaded vinyl is often recommended. This material is denser than conventional vinyl, and therefor blocks sound waves from passing through it. Products made of this material can be easlily applied to almost any ceiling, and often come with adhesive backing for a convenient application. It is cut-able, and so can be installed around corners and ceiling or wall features. Some sources highly recommend creating an air layer between your drywall the sound proofing material, as this will greatly increase sound blocking performance. This can be done with furring strips. Metal furring is best when fire-proofing is a concern.

The only drawback to the mass-loaded vinyl is that these products are usually black in color, so another layer of drywall and paint will probably be desired. There are more expensive and less expensive versions of this product, and both will greatly reduce sound transference. There is also accoustic foam on the market for sound insulation, although used on its own, it is less affective than mass loaded vinyl.

If the problem is that you are the noisemaker, and the tenants below have complained, the last thing you want is to live your life like you are walking on eggshells. Insulating your floors may be a worth while solution. In fact, if both floors and ceilings are soundproofed, the chances of a noise complaint ever occuring again are extremely small.

When installing mass-loaded vinyl, or any other soundproofing material, it is strongly recommended that you seal all cracks and seams using a silicone adhesive. For best results, look for an adhesive or caulking specifically formulated for sound proofing.

Ideally, soundproofing should be done during initial construction, applied to the back of the drywall going into the walls and ceiling. However, for whatever reason, enough is usually not done to ensure condo neighbor's peace and privacy. Thankfully, the methods described above can help you eliminate the problem of noise transferance in your suite, no doubt increasing your quality of life.

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