Author Topic: Same problem as most on this board  (Read 3611 times)

Scott Hall

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Same problem as most on this board
« on: June 24, 2005, 03:37:28 AM »
I just moved (last month) into a new condo. Well, not exactly new. It's actually an old house that was gutted to the studs and redone.

The problem is that the noise carrying from outside my unit is intense. I have three sources of it.

First, I get a tremendous amount of impact noise from above. My upstairs neighbors are not necessarily noisy, but simply walking across the floor is travelling through the ceiling considerably. The guy who lives upstairs has heavy footfalls and I hear every one of them when he's in the kitchen (above my living room).

There is no insulation between the ceiling and floor, and no airspace to block the impact noise. The problem, though, in solving this issue is two-fold:

1. My floor-to-ceiling height is currently only 7 feet 3" (how much could I really lower it before feeling like I have to duck??).  If I tried to do the entire condo, the issue is worse in the other rooms ... just under 7'2" in the kitchen and 6'11" in the bedroom.  The living room is the major issue, however.

2. Cost. More on this below.

The second source is from the set of stairs outside my unit which allow access to the upper unit. They are old wooden stairs attached to the external wall of the house just outside my living room wall. Part of the issue is that the upstairs neighbor runs -- bounds heavily -- up and down these stairs. He likes working in the garage, so there is constant traffic moving back and forth up and down -- him, his girlfriend, and their friend that lives with them. It is the single loudest sound in the whole house.

The seller is replacing the stairs staring July 1 (they are old and at risk of falling down). I'd like to hope that the new stairs, properly attached to the house, will be more quiet than these, simply because they won't be so loose, however, I'm fairly concerned that the impact noise will still exist. There is insulation in this wall as it is an outside wall. It provides no insulation from the noise.

The challenge with this is three-fold:

1. My living room is just over 12' wide. I'd like to not reduce the dimensions much if I don't have to.

2. There is a window in this wall. Bringing the wall out even an inch would require the window to be re-framed.

3. Cost. More on this later.

The third source of noise is from the unit next to me. I border this unit primarily in one place -- my bedroom. We share a wall. The owner of that unit redid the bedroom when he moved in, and, according to him, added insulation in the wall. However, as already stated, insulation does nothing for sound. If they have a conversation in their bedroom, I can hear it. Easily.

I'm thinking the easiest thing to do here is to add the spacing on their side of the wall, as they have a shorter wall without obsticles. However, they just had a baby and I'm not sure whether I can convince them to have the work done on that side as it will impact their living while the work is in progress. On my side, the problems are:

1. The manner in which the door is situated on the wall perpindicular to this one (it's close to the wall with the issue).

2. The cross distance of the room is only 12'. I'd hate to shrink the room, even by an inch if I don't have to.

3. Cost.

I suppose I could mention the basic noise from outside (which also can be noisy at times (AM rush hour), but I think I can get used to this ... short of redoing every wall and ceiling in the entire condo).

I bought a reasonably priced condo but I fear to rip down ceilings and walls and add resilient channels and sound-reduction mats will cost thousands of dollars (or tens of thousands of dollars) that I do not have the equity or cash  for (thus all but guaranteeing a loss on this property when I sell). Plus to decrease the amount of living space vis a vis lowered ceilings and closer walls worries me.

I'm concerned that I'm already out thousands of dollars if I'm forced to sell due to an uninhabitable condo. I might be able to sell the unit for what I bought it for, but I'd be out thousands in closing costs, etc.  not to mention the higher interest rates I'd be forced to pay.  Moving really isn't an option.  This is not an apartment -- I own the @#$% thing.

I'd really like to find a reputable contractor to come in and work on a solution with me, but I don't know where to begin. Joe Smith, Handyman isn't going to cut it. Neither is Joe Brown, Builder. I need a noise control expert.  I can recommend that your products be used, but I need a live person to assess the problem, quote a price, work with me on the most cost effective solution, and utlimately do the work.

Any ideas?

Please help! I fear I've made a big mistake -- a big, $200,000 mistake.