If you manage or own a multi-family dwelling, you can count on noise being a top complaint from your tenants. It’s not easy living so close to one another – especially with paper thin walls and neighbors with differing schedules.
Soundproofing rental units can make a world of difference for tenants who will be more comfortable, happier, and stay longer!
There are, however, a few steps you can take to help your tenants hear less from their neighboring units.
1. Think about the floors.
Sure, carpet is quieter than tile or hardwood – but how appealing is a FULLY carpeted apartment? In 2013… not very. An acoustical underlayment that has an IIC rating, meaning it absorbs impact noise before it can travel through the floor to the ceiling below, will greatly reduce or eliminate the sound of footsteps that tenants can hear from their upstairs neighbors. If you find an underlayment with an both an IIC and an STC rating, this means it will not only reduce footfall noise transmission, but block some airborne noise like speech, music, and televisions as well.
Just like floors, airborne noise can also make its way through the walls separating units. The most effective soundproofing techniques for walls include Mass Loaded Vinyl, which is installed during construction or when the wall is open, and attached to the studs – or creating a ‘floating wall’ or ‘room within a room’ by installing resilient isolation clips and a new layer of drywall, mechanically isolated from the previous layer. You can even do both for superior results.
*Pro tip: if your walls are already finished and closed up, you can also use a damping compound like Green Glue and an additional layer of drywall.
3. Think about the doors.
Remember the 1% Rule: A 1% opening will allow up to 50% of sound to pass through a wall, door, barrier, etc. So more often than not, if tenants are hearing their neighbors, it may be coming through gaps around openings like doors and windows. Using a well-fitting, solid core door is always a good start, but if more sound attenuation is needed, an Acoustical Door Seal Kit can be attached around the existing door to make it airtight – and soundproof.
4. Think about the cost.
While you may have foreseen the necessity and benefit of soundproofing rental units, not everyone will want to, or need to, invest in all of the above soundproofing techniques. Think about what noise issues specifically your tenants are bringing to your attention, and how that noise is being transmitted between units. Addressing only the true problem areas will save you a lot of time and cash.
Need help identifying the source of your noise transmission? Give us a call for a free acoustical consultation. One of our knowledgeable Architectural Sales Reps would love to talk you through your noise issue and any possible solutions: 800 782 5742