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Old 04-08-2015, 07:29 PM   #1
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Noise between my condo walls


I can hear almost everything that goes on in the condo next to me. What can i do without tearing down walls?
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Old 04-08-2015, 07:32 PM   #2
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Do you own this unit?
How old is it?
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:01 PM   #3
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Condos are (usually) owned. Based on that principal, there are a few things you can do without tearing down the wall but none of them will be very pretty(or if pretty, not cheap). Noise is vibration of air, remove the air or vibration will eliminate the noise.

I have seen people staple egg cartons or egg style foam pads to their walls to reduce noise. It helps some, doesn't look pretty though. Cork board is also a good choice.

You could place your TV or entertainment center on the wall between you & your neighbor, then the perceived noise is lower since you will be hearing the TV blaring instead of your neighbor (atleast when it is on)

a semi-cheap & professional looking solution that is not hard would be remove the drywall & install a decoupled staggered wall between you & your neighbor. I am trying to find an article on how to do this (with little success) but basically you remove your sheetrock, place a 2X2 strip along the top & bottom plate then toenail new studs 16" OC between the current studs, flush with the 2X2 strip you installed. This way your wall is separated from your neighbors when you screw your drywall back up. Requires remodeling of course but it is an easy project that shouldn't run you over $100 in materials, maybe 200-300 for labor depending on what contractor you get. While you are back there, feel free to put in some sound dampening insulation. Blown in insulation works well but anything would help. Hopefully another member can find a link to what I am talking about.

There is a whole wealth of noise reduction materials out there you could look into. You could simply get a few sheets of quiet rock & green glue, glue a second sheet ontop of your current drywall & call it a day.

Search online, there are tons of options to help. As mentioned, this is based on you owning your unit. If you dont however, check with your manager on what you can & can not do. Landlords do not enjoy having their property modified without their permission.
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Old 04-08-2015, 08:08 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diy2015 View Post
I can hear almost everything that goes on in the condo next to me. What can i do without tearing down walls?
Nothing you can really do, unless you physically own the condo you are living in. There are techniques to decouple walls and ceilings, so that vibrations and sounds are dampened.

Majority of the apartments & condos out there are built to be throw away. They build them so cheap, do not care about the psychological factor that happens when humans have to live together and be disturbed by smells, sounds, temperature changes.



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Old 04-08-2015, 09:19 PM   #5
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google "staggered stud wall". fill the void with roxul.

the condo i used to have, built in 96. was solid concrete/brick. if taken care of, would last well over 2000 years.
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Old 04-08-2015, 09:22 PM   #6
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thank you for all the great suggestions I thought it was going to ne a lot more expensive!,,,!

I do own the condo i think it was built in the '70's it is a three story building with 34 units it is in Mississauga i am on the ground floor with a neighbour on each side, the bedroom walls are the ones that are joint.

Doing the work myself is not really an option,,,,,, i am a girl,,,,, no real construction experience here..

Thanks again for all the advice
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Old 04-08-2015, 10:36 PM   #7
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well, the work isnt really hard, even for a girl. Even the decoupled suggestion, hardest part is probably going to be lifting a sheet of sheetrock into place to be screwed in, for that you could grab a few buddies to help out. Green glue & quiet rock (both products to look into) would be the easiest/quickest solution. Just slap glue on the rock, glue into place then screw it down over the old sheetrock. Done.

Only way the price is going to run over say $500 is if you want to do something very expensive (like try to put up a brick wall) or if the contractor runs into something serious in the wall, such as the studs inside are ate up with termites or there was fire damage that needs to be replaced or the wiring is FUBAR & not to code, ect.

Other than that, a decoupled wall+insulation shouldn't be more than 100-200 for a 15 FT wall. Quiet rock & green glue might cost more, dunno on prices but shouldnt be hard to find out.
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Old 04-09-2015, 07:24 AM   #8
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Careful with the advice you get here. Just because you own the condo doesn't mean you own the party wall (common wall). In some instances ownership begins at the studs in the wall, others begin at the finish of the drywall. Check with the condo association before you modify the wall.
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:28 PM   #9
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The other thing... It may not be possible to decouple the floors that provide another path especially for low frequency vibes. I had some issues with my latest townhouse neighbors kids running and banging on walls and stuff all hours. After about 6 months of complaining, negotiating and cajoling things are tolerable. But It really should be a crime to allow this sort of cheap construction....
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Old 04-09-2015, 03:37 PM   #10
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If you share a floor and / or wall, "cheap construction" often isn't the issue. I mean... if you can hear people talking at conversation volumes, sure, that's just cheaping out on insulation, but footsteps or low-frequency stuff.... not much you can do besides be consciencious of your neighbors. Or buy a freestanding home.
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Old 04-09-2015, 04:27 PM   #11
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I guess by cheap construction I mean modern construction where these units are all coupled and merely have a couple extra layers of drywall as the fire break. When I was growing up the time we lived in a townhouse it had concrete block firewalls that effectively isolated it from the neighboring units. I don't remember any sound issues but then I was a kid and more prone to create them instead of be bothered by them. Just don't see those concrete firewalls anymore...

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If you share a floor and / or wall, "cheap construction" often isn't the issue. I mean... if you can hear people talking at conversation volumes, sure, that's just cheaping out on insulation, but footsteps or low-frequency stuff.... not much you can do besides be consciencious of your neighbors. Or buy a freestanding home.
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Old 04-09-2015, 08:46 PM   #12
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I guess by cheap construction I mean modern construction where these units are all coupled and merely have a couple extra layers of drywall as the fire break.
What do you mean "extra" layers. Usually, from what I have seen in cheap apt/condo. It is coupled walls with 1 layer of drywall on each side for the divider. Not much in terms of sound insulation. I mean, 1 sheet per side seems like the bare minimum, not sure how that could be considered extra.
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Old 04-09-2015, 08:52 PM   #13
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should be a fire rated wall which would have sheet rock in between walls, right? You own from your studs in and as long as you don't destroy the fire code wall between, you should be OK.
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Old 04-09-2015, 09:58 PM   #14
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I agree walls should be built with something like fireboard instead of standard drywall. However, I have seen many a cheap & even upscale place's built cheaply with nothing but studs & a layer of standard drywall between you & your neighbor. All about costs, not about standard of living. The mentality is, no-one is ever going to see what is in the walls, so make it as cheap as possible. The "pretties" go on the outside. If a fire happens, thats what insurance company's are for. It would be hard to distinguish fireboard from regular gypsum board after the inferno turns it to ashes.
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Old 04-10-2015, 04:48 AM   #15
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Agree, Hick. I think it is ridiculous in this age where we have building codes for almost everything that they ignore simple quality of life factors. Well, I guess ignore isn't the right word... the regulators have caved in to developers and allow all sorts of stuff that just shouldn't be. In our area it is thin walls with inadequate sound insulation/decoupling and inadequate parking and green space in multi family situations. Let 'em build every square foot... maximize profit for the developer and tax revenue for the municipality. Too bad if folks find that a lot of unecessary conflicts and frustrations come built in standard with their nice new house.
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