When you move into a new concrete apartment, you desire a peaceful life away from worldly noises. Most homeowners are always hunting for an apartment that offers the best noise reduction. So, are concrete apartments soundproof?
Concrete apartments are not completely soundproof; they absorb some of the energy from the sound and do not prevent sound vibrations from passing into the space. However, their thickness makes them an excellent noise barrier for airborne noises, such as people talking.
In the rest of the article, I’ll explain how sound travels through concrete floors and walls. I’ll also compare concrete and wooden apartments, show you how to check if an apartment is soundproof, and give you some tips on how to soundproof your concrete apartment.
Does Sound Travel Through Concrete Floors?
Nothing is more irritating than hearing your upstairs neighbor walking around every hour of the day. Still, you might be puzzled as to why you can rarely hear them speak. So, what kinds of noises travel through concrete floors?
Sound travels through concrete floors, to an extent. Concrete floors absorb and transmit most impact sounds, like someone walking in heels. However, the same floors usually prevent airborne sounds like TV noises and conversations from passing through due to their substantial mass and density.
You’re probably wondering why impact sounds are heard through concrete floors but not airborne noises.
Sound travels via airwaves. When a concrete floor is present, it blocks most airwaves, resulting in a significant reduction in airborne noise. Still, concrete floors do not entirely block sound vibrations caused by an impact.
Can You Hear Through Concrete Walls?
Apart from hearing noises through concrete floors, most homeowners are more concerned with keeping sounds from traveling through concrete walls so that they can enjoy some privacy and prevent their neighbors from hearing anything.
However, due to the durability, sturdiness, and thickness of most concrete walls, you may think that no sound will travel through.
You can hear through concrete walls, depending on the volume and frequency of the sound. However, you can prevent sound from flowing through concrete walls by fixing any cracks and applying thick wall coatings.
The good news is that the sound will not be as clear as if you were conversing with someone in the same room.
Are Concrete Apartments Soundproof? (A Comparison to Wooden Apartments)
Now that we’ve looked at how sound travels through concrete floors and walls, you might be wondering how sound travels through other building materials like wood.
Concrete apartments are popular due to their thick and durable materials, whereas wood apartments are preferred for their color and warmth. So, is concrete a better soundproofing material than wood?
Concrete apartments are more soundproof than wood apartments because their density and thickness prevent sounds from flowing through. Although concrete absorbs sound better than wood, impact sounds like someone walking in heels or hammering can flow through it.
Additionally, concrete apartments have more benefits than wooden apartments. Here are some of the main benefits:
- Concrete is sturdier and more durable than wood. Therefore, it doesn’t degrade as quickly as the wood does.
- Concrete is fire-safe because it’s non-combustible compared to fire-prone wood.
- Concrete doesn’t rot as its resistance to fungi attacks and mold growth. These are the most common causes of wood degradation.
- Concrete is not prone to water damage or termites, unlike wood.
- Concrete requires lower maintenance than wood, which is more prone to defects and flaws.
Determining Whether an Apartment Is Soundproof
Nobody wants to rent or buy a noisy apartment, especially if you care about your mental health. So, what are some methods for determining whether or not an apartment is soundproof and free of noise?
Understand the Location of the Apartment
If the apartment you wish to buy or move into is close to a noisy area, you won’t be able to escape the noise. It would be best to find another apartment in a less noisy neighborhood.
Some of the noisiest locations are nearby the following:
- Busy road
Look for a Pet-Free Policy in the Apartment
Pets—especially dogs—can be a nightmare because they usually make a lot of vocal noise when they see someone unfamiliar. So, to avoid having to deal with pet noises, make sure the apartment you’re looking for is pet-free.
Begin by checking for a pet-free policy sign somewhere in the building. Alternatively, ask your landlord or apartment manager if pets are allowed in the building.
Talk to Other Tenants or Ask an Expert
You don’t want to make the mistake of moving into an apartment without first inquiring about if there have been any noise complaints.
The best way to approach this is to inquire about the soundproofing of the apartment from other tenants. If you’re unsatisfied with their answers, you can hire a soundproofing expert to inspect the unit.
Look for Double-Glazed Glass Doors and Windows
Whether you live in a concrete or wooden flat, the doors and windows are the most significant access point for noise from the outside. Ensure that every door or window is properly sealed with the appropriate soundproof materials to keep noises at bay.
As a result, check for glass doors and windows that are double or triple glazed, as they are 90% more effective at preventing noise from entering your apartment compared to single-paned doors or windows.
If you don’t know much about double or triple-glazed doors and windows, you can seek advice from a professional.
Hit or Knock on the Main Wall
This is a traditional method that can be a lifesaver when searching for a noise-free apartment.
It entails knocking on the main walls a few times and listening to the emanating sound.
If you hear a hollow sound or echo, the walls are not strong enough to prevent sound from coming in. However, if the knocks are denser with low vibration, the wall can be a noise barrier for most noises.
Tips on How To Soundproof Your Concrete Apartment
We have gone through some ways to check if an apartment is soundproof. So, here are several tips for soundproofing your concrete apartment:
- Fix cracks in the walls or ceilings.
- Add rugs or heavy carpets to the floor.
- Use soundproofing curtains or panels for your windows.
- Fill up your space with furniture and decor, like bookshelves or artwork.
- Add soundproof drywall.
- Use soundproofing paint for your walls.
- Install weather strips to your windows and doors.
- Install blanket insulation on your walls.
When trying to buy or rent a concrete apartment, loud noises can be a deal-breaker. Fortunately, you have the option of soundproofing your unit using the suggestions above or looking for a quiet place.
However, most concrete apartments are only soundproof against airborne noises like people talking and not from impact sounds like someone walking in heels or hammering.