Silent Solutions for Noisy Neighbours

December 1st 2015
Silent Solutions for Noisy Neighbours



As I’m sure you can imagine, we have many homeowners coming into our South Surrey office looking for home improvement advice. 

Last week a couple who had just taken a major step in their lives came into our office. They had decided to sell their current home, and move into a nice condominium unit. Many of us are looking to downsize our homes so we have less upkeep, maintenance, and more time leftover to focus on our lifestyles rather than spending our free time maintaining our homes.

This couple had just moved into their retirement condo and had already run into a major issue. While lying in their bed to go to sleep the first night they spent in their new condo, they were awakened by loud footsteps in the unit above. The homeowner who lives directly above their unit more than likely had no idea their footsteps could be heard in the unit below them, and that it would be loud enough to keep his new neighbors awake at night.

The new owners approached the strata council about their concern, and were told by the strata council NOT to approach the homeowner above them to address their complaint. When speaking with other residents in their building, they found out that the people above them had just installed new hardwood flooring.  That being the case, you wouldn’t expect them to put carpet over their brand new hardwood flooring so it would be quieter for the couple living below them. If they were to put down area rugs, that would only help reduce noise in the areas where the area rugs were placed. So what can be done to help this homeowner? Unfortunately their problem is ‘Not’ just that easy to resolve.

Unfortunately this couple did not do their proper homework prior to purchasing a condo. When you are shopping for a condominium, no matter what floor it is on, make sure you include a provision that you want to check the sound emissions into the suite from the units directly above and below it. This is the best way to ensure that your lifestyle will not be interrupted due to noise from neighboring units.

It is important to check for all different types of sound transmission such as:  footsteps, television, radio, voices, and so on. This is due to the fact that different sounds transfer in different manners. For example you may not be able to hear someone’s footsteps in the unit above you, however you may be able to hear their radio. To do this, split up the duties between yourself and your partner. One of you should stay in the unit, and the other should go into the unit above and below to create the sounds you would like to check for. Walk around with shoes on, bring a radio to check if that can be heard between the units, and make any other sounds you think may be caused by everyday condominium living to see what can be heard in the suite. This is the ONLY way you will be able to judge the quality of sound control between the condominium units.

If you find yourself in the same position as this couple, there is a sound proof drywall product called ‘QuietRock’, avaialble through Dryco that can help remedy the situation of sound transfer between condominium units. This is a drywall product that can be placed directly over your ceiling. QuietRock is a drywall board that has amazing soundproofing characteristics. In fact if you were to perform a “sound transfer” comparison, one sheet of ½ inch QuietRock provides a soundproofing equivalent to stacking 8 sheets of 5/8” drywall together.