In a previous post we discussed the solution to noise transmission through flooring in multi-level apartments. While you’re renovating your floor, however, it’s probably a good idea to consider other factors contributing to noise transmission. The most problematic areas for noise pollution besides the floor are the walls and windows. These are the causes of Side-to-Side and Building-to-Building noise pollution, respectively. In this post we’re going to cover each of these issues, and what remedies are most cost effective.
Side to Side
Side to side noise pollution is due to the drywall being too thin. The thinner the drywall, the more decibels are transmitted between units. Thankfully, the solution for this problem is fairly simple: install thicker drywall. Drywall thick enough to block most sound is fairly inexpensive, and is installed the same way as thinner drywall.
Another contributing factor for noise transmission is the insulation. The most important factor to consider when installing insulation is the R-value. The R-value is a number assigned to various building materials based on their resistance to thermal energy. Though it may seem unrelated, insulation with a higher R-value will also protect better against noise transmission. So, when choosing insulation you will want to select material with the highest R-value. Like drywall upgrades, better insulation only costs slightly more than material that doesn’t work as well. Upgrading both the drywall and the insulation will provide you with the greatest value.
Building to Building
There are a number of contributing factors that can affect noise transmission between buildings, with exterior walls and windows being the most common. In the case of exterior walls, just as in the interior, you want to look at the materials involved. Wood siding may be aesthetically pleasing, but it can also transmit noise fairly easily. If you want to better insulate your exterior against noise, we recommend stucco siding.
As for windows, it comes down to whether you want them single or double-paned. Single-pane windows do little to mitigate noise coming from adjacent buildings. Even a loud conversation on the sidewalk outside can easily be heard inside the unit. Luckily, this is one of the easiest problems to solve. Replacing single-pane windows with double or even triple-pane windows can dramatically cut down on noise transmission. If you replace the older aluminum panes with vinyl, it will look more aesthetically pleasing, as well. Double-pane windows can also increase energy savings by leaking less air outside the unit. This makes the unit warmer in winter and cooler in summer. Upgrading is only slightly more expensive than getting a new single-pane window, saving you money and retaining happy tenants.
A Win-Win Solution
When renovation time comes around, your best value is in tenant retention measures like noise reduction. The additional costs, if any, are for the materials upgrades only. The materials themselves are very inexpensive to upgrade, costing only a fraction more than their inferior counterparts. All other labor related cost factors are unchanged. So, for pennies on the dollar you can substantially reduce or eliminate the costs associated with tenant turnover. If you need help renovating your units to include sound insulation, contact us using the toolbar on the left. We can answer all your questions, and formulate a solution that fits your needs and budget.