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With rising housing costs and an emphasis on living frugally, more people than ever are opting to live in apartments and condos as compared to purchasing a home.
While condos are great options for those who are not yet ready for a house or simply desire a smaller space, the downside is that you will usually be sandwiched between other residents. This means that any loud sounds might be heard by fellow residents, and depending on the condo, you might be one of the millions of people who are affected in one way or another by their neighbor’s noise.
All condos are not soundproof. It depends on the materials used for building, and soundproofing quality. Typically, concrete and luxury condos will be more soundproof due to the higher-cost materials used in building.
While more expensive condos will typically be more soundproof than lesser ones, there are still plenty of other factors that will influence how soundproof a condo is. Whether you are lucky enough to live in a completely quiet building or if you happen to be able to hear even a pin drop next door, there are ways to help fix your noise-problems no matter where you live.
In this post, we will first go over how you can check to see if a condo is soundproofed and then discuss the methods you can use to further soundproof a condo with materials you can buy locally.
Factors That Determine How Soundproof a Condo is
There are a number of different factors relating to a condo that will determine how sound travels and, therefore, how soundproof it is. As mentioned previously, luxury condos will typically be more soundproof since the materials used in the building will usually be of higher quality.
That said, this is not always the case – just because a condo is expensive, doesn’t necessarily mean the building is made from high-quality materials. Since there are other factors that go into how expensive a condo is, you cannot assume that just because it costs a lot that it is totally soundproof.
For example, while concrete buildings are not always considered “luxury,” they will certainly be much more soundproof than a house made from lumber. This goes to show how paying more for a condo doesn’t mean you are any less likely to hear sounds from your neighbor.
You can usually gauge whether a building is loud or not by evaluating the construction and layout of the building and its rooms. While this only helps if you are familiar with how the materials and designs used impact noise travel, you can sometimes get a realistic picture of how much you will hear from your neighbors.
Simply looking at the blueprint or asking about how the building was made may reveal some valuable information to help you with your condo decision.
Some of the other elements that determine how soundproof a condo are:
- Room/building layout
- Distance between rooms
- The thickness of walls and ceiling/floors
So, whether a condo is new or old does not make a difference as the soundproofing properties of materials used in construction would remain the same with age.
In addition to the construction of the building, sound can come in through lots of hidden gaps, such as windows, outlets, switch boxes, etc.
It’s useful to perform other checks to help provide a better idea since you cannot always tell how soundproof a condo is just from these factors alone.
How To Check If a Condo Is Soundproofed
There are a few different ways to check if a condo is soundproof or not before you move in – even if you only have a limited amount of time to view the building, this doesn’t mean you can’t determine whether sounds travels or not from room to room.
Unfortunately, you cannot always tell how soundproofed a condo is just by walking in the building. Sometimes, you may need to book additional viewings to ensure you aren’t living in a building where you can hear any and every sound your neighbor makes.
The easiest way to find out if a condo is soundproof is to ask someone who lives in the building. Why would they have any reason to lie? While you may not always get the real answer from your landlord (or they might not know), fellow residents will likely give you a straight answer. If soundproofing is something you are worried about, it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Another way to determine how soundproofed a condo is to book viewings at different times of the day; as you can expect, a building will be louder on a Saturday night then it would be on a Monday morning. If your real estate agent is reluctant to show a condo at certain times of the week, it may be because they are hiding something.
When listening for sounds you hear from inside your condo room, make a note of what type of sounds they are. Is it clearly from other residents, or is it coming from outside? Hearing noise is sometimes inescapable no matter where you live, so make sure what you’re hearing is from inside the building.
It’s important to note that having a loud condo building is not the end all be all – there are ways in which you can significantly reduce sound travel so that you won’t hear anything from your neighbors and they won’t hear anything from you.
How To Soundproof A Condo
If you’ve already moved into a condo only to find out that it is noisy, or if you just want to make your condo even quieter than it already is, there are ways to dull almost all sound from either escaping or getting in.
The best ways to soundproof a condo are:
- Place sheetrock over all walls
- Add carpet to floors
- Replace wooden doors with acoustically certified ones
- Hang fabrics panels on walls and doors
- Put “Green Glue” (Amazon link) on floors, ceilings, and walls
Check out my guide on soundproofing condo walls.
All of these methods will reduce the amount of sound going in and out of your condo – especially when used in combination with one another, you will see a massive reduction in how much you hear from your neighbors (and they will hear less from you)!
Although some of these methods can be expensive, the benefit you will see will make it worth it. A soundproofed condo will improve the quality of your life greatly and will also improve it for the fellow residents in your building.
While condos typically have much fewer rules than apartments due to ownership, it is likely that noise levels need to be kept to a minimum for the benefit of all residents in the building.
Whether you are interested in a condo’s soundproof for your sake or your neighbors, there’s no harm in knowing if a particular condo is soundproofed or not – it can save you lots of stress in the future.
Before buying a condo, you can do the following to try and estimate how soundproofed it might be:
- Evaluate the materials used for the construction of the building
- Observe the layout of the rooms
- Ask other residents or the landlord
You can use the guidelines outlined in this article to find out how soundproof your condo really is – also, if need be, simply use the tips we’ve included on how to effectively soundproof a condo with materials you can pick up from any local department store.
- Express – Nuisance neighbors are plaguing the lives of MILLIONS of Brits
- Real Estate Info Guide – Are Condos More Soundproof Than Apartments?
- Rent.com – The Difference Between a Condo and Apartment: Which is Better for You?
- Soundproof Cow – CONDO & TOWNHOUSE SOUNDPROOFING
- The Soundproofing Store – Top 12 Soundproofing Myths