Soundproofing Plus: How to Sound Proof a Condo or Co-op Apartment: Part 2 of Series

How to Sound Proof a Condo or Co-op Apartment: Part 2 of Series

This is part 2 of our advice on how to soundproof your apartment or if it can be done. If you missed Part 1 of this article, you can find it here: How to Soundproof Your Apartment, And Why It Is Hard to Do Well.

After you've decided that the expense of soundproofing an apartment (or any space where walls and structural elements of the building are shared with others), we recommend you answer these key questions before you consider buying any product:

• What is the issue?

• Are your expectations realistic?

• What are the possible solutions?

Define the issue: Are you generating the noise, or is it coming from outside? Apartment soundproofing is most effective when installed at the sound source, and the effectiveness of any solution will depend on the available installation options. If noisy neighbors are your problem, installing acoustic treatments in your space probably will not resolve the situation to your satisfaction.

Set realistic expectations: The expectations of any apartment soundproofing project have to be in line with the reality of apartment life. Reductions in sound transmission are certainly possible, but due to building design, construction requirements, and expense, a fully soundproof apartment may not be an attainable goal. Even a moderately soundproof room installation may cost $800...not including labor. Determine what success sounds like, and then examine your chance of success and the cost and practicality of installation.

Evaluate possible solutions: Sound barriers and sound absorption options are your two main types of treatments to consider. A sound barrier, like Peacemaker, isolates a wall, ceiling, or floor from the rest of the building. True soundproofing would require barrier installation on every interior surface and sealing all air gaps, but selective installation on shared walls may reduce transmitted noise. Although barrier products are effective, they require permanent installation and may not be a viable solution for a rented apartment (but it never hurts to check with the landlord).

Sound absorption products, like Audimute sound absorption sheets and wall panels, are another way to reduce transmitted noise. Although not designed as sound barriers, they can lower the amount of mid- and high-frequency sound that escapes an apartment, and they require no permanent alterations to the unit. Our page on sound dampening materials provides more detailed information, including the limitations of absorption in dealing with low-frequency.
The cost and effort of soundproofing an apartment may simply be impractical for a renter; for the resident-owner of a condo or co-op apartment, the investment may well be worth it for the improved quality of life.

Finally, as much as we hate to say it, sometimes the only practical way to handle an apartment noise problem is a good set of earplugs or a moving van.

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