Soundproofing a Condo

Noisy Neighbors No More: Soundproofing Your Condo or Multi-Family Dwelling

Whether rented or owned, condos and multi-family units have become increasingly popular for their budget-friendly living costs and other additional benefits, such as outsourced landscaping services or round-the-clock security. However, the benefits of living in these types of dwellings can be quickly forgotten when you have got obnoxiously loud neighbors not to mention those paper-thin walls, floors and ceilings. In fact, a recent study concluded that the number one complaint that condo and multi-family unit renters and owners have is that they live next to a noisy neighbor.

Want to turn your condo or multi-family unit into a sanctuary of peace and quiet? Let Trademark Soundproofing help you reclaim your peace and quiet today through our innovative soundproofing solutions.

For builders who are in the building process there is that much more that you can do for sound proofing the apartments. If the studs are still exposed make sure that the bays are filled with insulation (R-19 for 2x6 walls and ceilings, R-11 for 2x4 walls). Now is the perfect time to install our Whisper Clips, a high-performance sound isolation clip that will create a floating wall and ceiling system that separates the drywall from studs or joists. This will prevent sound vibrations from traveling through your studs, giving you immediate and remarkable results. You can then proceed to install 2 layers drywall with Green Glue, a revolutionary soundproofing product that's easy- to-use and cost-effective. This process alone will catapult your ordinary wall from an STC of 34 to an STC of over 60!

However if you are in an existing home with finished walls your best choice by far is installing another layer of drywall with Green Glue. Green Glue is a high-performance viscoelastic material that is remarkably tolerant to real-world conditions making Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound one of the best noise reduction products on the market today, as there is no other alternative that can reduce flanking noise from walls, ceilings and floors as quickly and effectively. Pick up a few tubes today and see how quickly you'll forget that you even have noisy neighbors!

Many times Condo owners are not allowed to do construction in their units. If you can convince your upstairs neighbor to put down carpet or if you are putting down carpet consider using a premium sound control underlayment as your carpet pad. If you can do construction and the the noise from your upstairs neighbors makes it seem as though they are living right in your own condo or unit, you will need to soundproof your ceiling in order to silence their pounding footsteps. You would have to remove your drywall from the ceiling and install Resilient Sound Clips which are even more effective when installed in your ceiling then they are in your walls as they decouple your ceiling from the floor joists (Read more on Decoupling here). This process coupled with a double layer of drywall and Green Glue will restore your peace and privacy. Read our Soundproofing Basics article for a more detailed explanation.

If you live in a noisy condo or multi-family unit, you don't have to suffer through another agonizing day or night. Order our innovative soundproofing products today, or let our friendly experts at Trademark Soundproofing help you in deciding what best fits your needs and never have another noise complaint again!

Customers Questions and Answers

1) Migdalia : How do I stop snoring sound from going to the other side. We have 3 layers of soundboard and 2 layers of drywall but the snoring sound is still loud on the other side. Please help

Trademark Soundproofing Reply: Hi Migdalia, If the sound got better with each layer you added than you may want to take it apart and start by installing clips channels and adding Green Glue between each layer. If the sound did not get better when you added all your layers than it is flanking, most probably through your ceiling.

2) Suzanne: Dear Friends, I live in a condo in Los Angeles and whenever my neighbor right above me uses his heater, I hear a quiet hum that disrupts my sleep, concentration, and peace of mind. I have tried to resolve this noise problem, but there is nothing wrong with his heater; apparently, I am just sensitive. And since it is more of a vibrational hum, ear plugs won?t work. What can be done? Thank you very much.

Trademark Soundproofing Reply:

Is it a portable heater? In that case you can see if they would be willing to use a piece of our premium carpet underlayment beneath it (it can be covered with a throw rug). Otherwise you are looking at serious renovation in to your room on the ceiling and the walls.

3) KATE: My upstairs neighbor has 2 little boys and a lot of running and jumping. Any materials that can help with that? Please advise! Thank you.

Trademark Soundproofing Reply:

Having them install carpet with a soundproof carpet underlayment would be your best choice at this point.

4) Kate: The owner/ landlord above me only want to spend $99 for Costco carpet !!!!! If I do , have to do from my unit below . I willing to invest if the result is close to 100 % If you have any advice please let me know . Thank you

Trademark Soundproofing Reply: You can still supply the underlayment. Will be a lot cheaper than trying to redo your ceiling. Whatever you do at this point will not give you a 100%, however you can dramatically cut down over what you have now.

5) Eric B: Hello. I am planning the construction of 10 small loft apartments in two connected historic buildings. One building is Heavy timber construction.3 1/2 inch thick by 6? wide floor joists in one building spanning 9? and currently exposed on the 1st floor with open exposed beams and posts. the other building has steel Bar joist floors with historic hardwood on top. We have lots of issues to address with impact noise, but can?t afford the lightweight gypsum pour and acoustic mat 3 for this help with impact noise below to the 1st we plan to build a room within a room on the first floor..ceilings not touching the floor joists to the 2nd floor and blow in cellulose above the first floor ceiling..but unfortunately that will hide our beautiful beams from below..but sounds seems to be much more important here.. the other building has a drop acoustic ceiling with insulation between the bar joists. So...I have a few questions.. 1. should the ceiling on the first floor with the blow in loose fill cellulose help a lot with the transmission of impact noise from above as well as airborne sounds from below..or would I be better off installing a channel to the ceiling and using type x 5/8x2 w green glue? I also plan to install a floating floor above with a dampening underlayment..most likely cork. could the space I am creating by dropping the ceiling down with framing apx 16?, installing 5/8 then filling with insulation be helpful or could it create a problem with amplification of impact sound from a box for a subwoofer? 2. interior architect designed a staggered 2x4 wall on 2x6 plates with r11 and one layer of 5/8 drywall for my corridor walls..just doesn?t seem like enough to me. would I be better off with two layers of 5/8 with green glue or a 2x4 walls with whisper clips on one side..then two layers of 5/8 and green glue on one side with one layer on the other...How do you frame adjoining walls into walls with whisper clips and channel? traditionally? do the intersecting wall connect to the wood framing with a T? I can?t find anything online about how to frame intersecting walls into corridor walls with channel and clips..nothing. Let?s end it there...see where this can go... thanks for any advice..we may need to actually chat on the phone. Eric

Trademark Soundproofing Reply:

Hi Eric. I would suggest that you call our office and schedule a consultation phone call with our in house expert. The cellulose alone will not be enough, not for the airborne and definitely not for the footfall. You need proper decoupling using resilient sound clips. For an underlayment you are better off with a high quality rubber underlayment than cork. Adjoining walls are not a problem when using Whisper Clips and channels the drywall meets as in any standard wall.

6) Mary C: I'm considering buying a house I really love (1,200 sf, 2 br, 2.5 bath) but a 92-unit apartment complex is going to be under construction a few doors away for the next year. Is it possible to soundproof an entire home, and if so, can you give me an idea of the price range? I just want to know if the potential cost would make it completely unrealistic or not. Thanks so much.

Trademark Soundproofing Reply:

If you are buying an existing condo and want to entirely soundproof it. I would say it is most probably unrealistic. You should consider soundproof window panels.

7) Mary I : Hello, I recently bought a newly constructed condo, I can hear footfalls, chairs sliding etc. from my neighbor above. My bedrooms, baths, kitchen and living room have recessed ceilings, if I soundproof those areas will it help with my situation? I'm unable to soundproof the halls. Also can I go over the existing drywall? Any help would be appreciated! Thanks, Mary

Trademark Soundproofing Reply:

Soundproofing an entire room ceiling without doing hallways will help, except if those are hallways in the room itself. You mention recessed ceilings usually that is in the part of the ceiling and the outer edges are not recessed, in that case you would need to do the recessed part and the outer part and the kneewall between them. Yes you can go over existing drywall please see this soundproofing ceilings article.

8) Andy: Good day, My condo suite is on the second floor, and a disturbing humming noise is evident in the suite even when the windows are closed. The humming noise seems to resonate from interior walls. It is also heard in the public corridor and the ground floor lobby (albeit it is masked by other lobby sounds). There is a mechanical and electrical room on the ground floor, and the humming noise is likely coming from an electrical transformer in this room. How do we tackle the equipment or the room containing this equipment to eliminate the noise? Alternatively, what interior solutions in the suite are able to block the noise? Thank you, Andy

Trademark Soundproofing Reply: Easiest would be to soundproof the equipment room. Sounds like the mechanical machinery needs to be remounted on spring isolators and the entire room soundproofed.

9) Mark N: I'm looking at purchasing a condo that isn't complete. They are side-by-side units. They have 2 2x4 walls for a fire break between the units and they fill each wall with fiberglass. The 2 2x4 walls are about 1" apart with an air gap. The side of each wall facing into the condo has standard drywall, but the sides facing the air gap have some paper like product to hold the fiber glass and it's extremely flimsy. Is that sufficient so I really wouldn't hear neighbors and they won't hear my stereo? I'm an engineer and the builder has said their open to other options. I don't think clips or rails would do much since there's already an air gap to cut vibration coupling.

Trademark Soundproofing Reply:

Hi Mark. Double check that they did not put any blocking between the 2 walls which would couple them again. If they didn't and it is a true double wall than you are correct and you would not need clips and channels. What you should do is make sure the outlets are sealed with Acoustical Putty Pads and add a 2nd layer of drywall with Green Glue to your walls.

10) Richard S: I own a first floor Condo in an older 3 story building of a Senior Community. Neighbors above are killing me with day to day noises and refuse to change their way of life. My ceilings are popcorn finished over drywall attached to steel girders inside a 2 ft dead air space, contacting the 6 in. concrete and steel floor above. What is the solution to easing those irritating noises with out major construction, or would it be more economical to purchase the unit above and allow it to stay empty?

Trademark Soundproofing Reply:

Without major construction you will not achieve proper results. At a minimum you need to remove the ceiling. Insulate. Install Resilient Sound Clips and Channels. Drywall. Green Glue. Drywall. Seal with acoustical caulk and paint. You can read more details in our how to soundproof a ceiling article.

11) PW: Dear Trademark Soundproofing: We live in a 1944-constructed end unit condo w/ plaster walls. Thin--very thin--walls to adjoining unit. Does 'green glue' work w/ plaster? Can we seal over the existing wall w/ green glue & sheetrock? Any possible solutions appreciated! Thank you, Paul Arlington, Virginia

Trademark Soundproofing Reply: Hi Paul. You can, provided that the plaster is smooth. It is not the ideal we would much prefer that you remove the wall, properly insulate and use 2 layers of drywall. However we know how difficult it can be to remove these plaster walls........

12) Paul: Yes, taking out the plaster would be disruptive, need a permit and possibly crack the plaster next door. The wall itself is quite smooth--great condition for as old (75 yrs.) as it is--I wish they'd used a decent brick b/w the walls. Question--would 'green glue' on the back of the board, should we try to place it on the plaster wall, help to make a difference? Thanks, Paul

Trademark Soundproofing Reply: On back of the drywall is fine. You can get better results if you use 2 layers of drywall on the plaster wall. Plaster wall, layer of drywall, Green Glue and the 2nd layer of drywall.