Why Are Apartments Not Soundproof? Let’s Make Them Quiet!


Whenever you purchase or rent an apartment, there is a common understanding that there will be some noise.

Whether it’s coming from the outside, other neighbors, or any other source for that matter, people have come to terms that they won’t get 100% silence when living in an apartment building.

Why exactly is that the case? You might be surprised that sound ends up leaking through for a variety of reasons.

Some people are frustrated that apartment complexes seemingly can’t figure out how to solve this ongoing issue.

Even though it might seem simple on its surface, it’s really anything but. A lot of the reasons that a company comes running into you can be summed up with the following reasons why they don’t do as much soundproofing as you might want.

 

Soundproofing Cost

Most people have read about how affordable soundproofing can be in a home. So how could cost actually be a negative when looking for an apartment?

This mostly has to do with the amount of money spent on an entire apartment complex, and the intricacies that go with that.

Each unit needs its own work done to be soundproofed. Since it’s not a level of soundproofing that the vast majority will need, companies putting apartment complexes together don’t feel like it is worth the extra cost.

A lot of companies do not feel like they are going to make up that amount of money by raising the rent a lot, since it’s not a selling feature that demands as much of a price increase.

Obviously, there are unique situations where extra soundproofing might be necessary. For example, if the apartment complex is in a very noisy area in the first place, they need to make sure that they get the sound down to a reasonable level.

Otherwise, it might prevent people from ever even thinking about moving in. That’s when the extra investment into soundproofing it’s going to actually be worth it.

The truth of the matter is that companies are going to try to cut corners as much as possible. If they feel like soundproofing is not worth it, they are without question not going to invest in it.

Unfortunately, apartment complexes are only getting put together at cheaper and cheaper costs to try to maximize profit.

If soundproofing is unnecessary, they will leave it up to the renter or buyer to figure that out later on.

As long as people are more than willing to invest in soundproofing methods themselves, they won’t be putting that much pressure on companies to spend extra money.

Intricacies Of Soundproofing

 

Soundproofing is not always cut and dry when doing it on the mass level. Since companies would have to do the same to every single unit, it can get pretty complicated, to say the least.

Intricate setups for any apartment complex can become more and more frustrating, all the way to the point that they are constantly having to do a lot more repairs.

One of the most common methods to soundproof a wall is to use a decoupling technique. By decoupling the wall, The wall stud that is inside does not touch both sides of drywall.

This helps with some of the noise levels, but decoupling by itself is not going to provide the solutions that people are looking for.

It suppresses higher frequencies, but it does a bad job of blocking lower frequencies. That means not only is decoupling necessary, but so is adding extra layers of drywall, insulation, or other pieces of material.

All of this can lead to some unforeseen structural issues. It’s true that companies do this for a living and should be able to handle some of these issues, but it makes an apartment complex that much more complicated.

Sound can enter an apartment so many different ways, whether it is through lights, ventilation, and more that haven’t even been addressed.

This all becomes a very complicated issue that a lot of companies frankly do not want to deal with.

There might be specific issues that companies will spend the extra bit of money on, but everything else will be left up to those moving in.

This is where it really comes in handy if only a particular room in the apartment complex needs high-level soundproofing.

Additional Issues After Soundproofing Is Complete

If the issues caused by soundproofing are not enough, there could be some other side effects to properly controlling noise in an area.

What ends up happening is that a person moving in might not be able to do everything that they did in their last apartment to make it as warm and cozy as they would like.

A perfect place to start is to take a look at putting anything on the walls. Since the walls are decoupled, there are no studs touching both of the walls.

It’s not impossible to hang up pictures, throw up some wall art, or mount a television, but it just became much more challenging.

All of these walls become a lot more susceptible to potentially cracking, or even having serious structural damage. It takes just one water leak to become a very costly repair.

Adding extra layers and making the amount of material between the ceiling of one unit and the floor of the other is a great way to help soundproofing.

However, even if the building gets a tiny bit taller, the cost becomes a pretty big issue.

It might only seem like adding another foot or so for each level, but that height needs to come from somewhere.

Either all of the units themselves are smaller, or the company is spending a lot more money on the structure in general.

Either way, it costs money, and that makes the rent go up to a point that people might not be willing to pay.

How Important Is The Best Soundproofing Apartments?

While every person is different when they think of soundproofing, the average consumer is not putting it at the highest priority.

That’s because getting the best in soundproofing might be difficult when staying under budget and being competitive with everyone else.

Most people stress location over a lot of other qualities when shopping for an apartment. It is always going to cost more money to get a prime location, but is that money well spent compared to soundproofing? Most people will pick location over professional-grade soundproofing every single time.

The same goes for beautiful aesthetics like huge windows. Without big windows, it can feel very frustrating to get the type of open space that a person wants to enjoy views.

Soundproofing is to a certain extent important, but windows are always going to be more vulnerable.

Finally, safety is a major concern for a lot of people who are renting. This is especially true in older buildings.

Most people would rather opt for a fire prevention system that is going to keep them safe, rather than strictly soundproofing. Sometimes these two qualities can work together, so that’s not a problem.

You might be thinking that soundproofing is extremely important, and that’s why you are reading this article in the first place.

However, not everyone is going to pick that as the quality that they stress the most. In fact, most people are in the minority who think this way, so adjusting accordingly is the move to make.

How Can You Test How Soundproof An Apartment Is?

If soundproofing is very important from the beginning, there are a few ways to tell just how soundproof the walls are.

For example, the first thing to do is to look at how the floors are put together. Concrete floors or a steel joist system is going to be best for soundproofing. A wood joist system is going to be a lot more vulnerable.

The label of luxury apartments is thrown around quite a bit these days, but one thing to keep in mind is that this means that they should have at least normal acoustics inside.

It might not be the best of the best, but it’s not going to be paper-thin walls.

Pay attention to vulnerable areas when doing a tour as much as possible. Listen for any type of bathroom or toilet plumbing noises that could be complicating matters.

It’s never a good thing for people to have to hear this and can be very frustrating, to say the least. If it can be heard inside the unit, chances are the setup for neighbors can also be heard from time to time.

Finally, make sure to read as many reviews online as possible. It can be a little bit difficult to figure things out with a new apartment complex. But older ones will have plenty of people complaining about sound if it is truly an issue.

There are a lot of people who go online these days and make sure that their voices are heard as much as possible.

If there is an issue of any kind, there’s no question that a person will take it upon themselves to let everyone else know.

Best Way To Handle An Apartment Needing Soundproofing?

At this point, the majority of people are probably fed up with trying to find an apartment that has the best soundproofing.

The best way to go about it is to look for other qualities that are of importance, and then take care of soundproofing another time.

There are a bunch of different soundproofing hacks that people can use, and they are really not that expensive at all.

From DIY options to hiring a professional, getting started is fairly easy. From there, people can continue to add soundproofing solutions until they get to the point that they are satisfied.

The best thing is that a lot of methods are easy to remove, so the same soundproofing can go with a person when they sign a new lease and move to a different area.

That ends up saving a lot of money, as no one wants to constantly buy and re-purchase all this soundproofing material.

Overall, soundproofing definitely has its benefits in an apartment complex. Some apartments are always going to be better than others, and doing some research beforehand will help to cut down on any major issues.

At the end of the day, most companies are going to leave some of the soundproofing up to the tenants, so be prepared to spend a little bit of extra cash.

Martin Poirier

For the last number of years, I've Been dedicating a lot of time in soundproofing and helping people be able to soundproof their home, business, and vehicles. I also have a YouTube channel by the same name Soundproof Guide.

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