Author Topic: Condo Noise Questions  (Read 5910 times)

stm

  • Guest
Condo Noise Questions
« on: September 14, 2008, 06:15:01 PM »
Hi,
Forgive me if this is on the verbose side. My predicament is an all-too familiar one here. About 8 months ago, I purchased a place
in a 40 storey so-called luxury condo (concrete, roughly 20 years old). I have bounced around various buildings for over a decade
and had pretty good luck with soundproofing before taking this plunge. Soon after moving in to my place,
I noticed a lot of impact/footfall noises coming thru my ceiling. From the scraping and pounding and thudding, you would
have sworn they had a hardwood floor up there with inadequate underpad. One night the
folks living upstairs had a party and the effect was unbearable. I not only heard a din of heels, but all of the party-goers' conversations were easily audible from my suite.
I subsequently asked the building czars if they had footfall/soundproofing problems here and if other people were having the same problem. They said no, I shouldn't be able to hear such sounds if no changes had been made to
the original carpeted floor. They said I might hear the odd sound thru the tiled foyer, kitchen, bathroom, but if I amhaving such problems in the living room or bedrooms either unapproved changes must have been made or the people upstairs are behaving
insensitively. The powers-that-be looked into my grievance and subsequently told me the place upstairs still had the original carpet. They
lost much interest at this point. They went on to say there was nothing that that they could do beyond asking the occupants to keep their downstair's neighbors in mind when moving around.
They also gave off the impression that I was some kind of delicate crank who couldn't come to grips with multi-family living, even though
I have been living in multi-family buildings for over 10 years and never had a problem. They told me to accept life in a condo environment ! This even though they previously stated sounds shouldn't be traveling down to my place from upstairs, and even though other people in the building I have spoken to generally have no issues with impact noise from above.

The matter got even more problematic when the original upstairs neighbors moved out only to be replaced by a family with twin 4 years olds who run wild thru the apartment 12 hours a day. The unholy cacophony is driving me batty. I now realize that the previous owners were not especially noisy, it's just that the soundproofing conditions between their floor and mine are so poor that every step is audible. Now that I have people who are stomping and running around, it is beyond the pale.

I have spoken politely to them but they feel their kids are entitled to be kids and nothing can be done other than to ask them to not run early in the AM.

My building expressly forbids changing to drop-in ceilings.
Short of moving, I am at a loss for options.
I could your feedback, particularly on the following:

a) I was thinking of acquiring a sound level meter and documenting the noises so as to substantiate my claim that the sounds I am hearing are not simply par for the course in a multi-family dwelling. I can't find an acoustic engineer where I live and even if I did, I suspect the cost of a visit/test would be too much. Is there a commercially available meter that would work well in this instance ? While it varies from place to place, is there a sound level at which point I can argue effectively that I am being subjected to excessive noise, either do to noisy behavior or poor soundproofing or both ?

b) I've noticed there is no difference in the volume/intensity of the impact noise generated in areas with carpet vs tiles up there. Is it possible that the age of the carpet and underpad are such that they are no longer doing the job of absorbing sound ? The material up there was installed 20 years ago when the building was first constructed. Does underpad eat away after 2 decades of constant traffic ?
I've always wondered if this could be a factor and could never find an answer. How much of an improvement could I expect if I chipped in and convinced the owner to replace his carpet and underpad ?


c) The place I bought had been renovated by the previous owner in 2006. One of the changes he made was to get rid of the original popcorn ceiling so as to give it a more contemporary look. In scraping the ceiling, could something have been done which created or exacerbated this soundproofing problem ? If I continue to press the board, I want to be ready if someone attempts to make that counter-argument.

Sorry for the length of this post, but I am pretty much at the end of my rope. Any input would be immensely appreciated.
Thanks so much in advance

Mark Daveis

  • Guest
Re: Condo Noise Questions
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2008, 10:38:54 PM »
Ordinary carpet and pad dont absorb much.
Special more expensive dense rubber compounds will cut most of the noise if installed under carpet.
You have got my vote as no one should have to tolerate this.
Get a sound meter to see just how much is coming through.
I would move to a better place unless you want to do expensive changes. :)

Randy S

  • Senior Soundproofing Technical Specialist
  • Global Moderator
  • *****
  • Posts: 788
    • Super Soundproofing Co
Re: Condo Noise Questions
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2008, 07:38:53 PM »
I agree with Mark on this one, the underlayment would give you a reduction.
http://www.soundproofing.org/infopages/flooring.htm
Marked "Best"

But I think due to the age of the building they did not have to meet certain IIC rating therefore I dont think you will have any recourse with your sound meter results it will only measure airborne sound.
You will need to do an impact test to determine IIC Rating for footfall. They do this test with a meter but also with the Hammer machine to determine IIC Rating.
Randy Sieg

Super Soundproofing Co
www.soundproofing.org
888-942-7723
Ph. 760-752-3030
Fax.760-752-3040

amy1971

  • Guest
Re: Condo Noise Questions
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2008, 07:45:54 PM »
I am in exactly the same predicament.  I feel it is a nightmare I can't wake up from and cannot move because of this horrible housing market.  I am wondering if anyone has used thouse sound absorption sheets/blankets on their walls or ceilings to block out noise from neighbors? I know it would look like I live in a rubber room (which probably isn't far from the truth...LOL), but if they work I'd do it. They are temporary, which I want.  I do not want to be ripping into my ceilings or walls. Can someone comment or know someone who has used absorption sheets on ceiling and walls to get rid of noise from condo neibors?

johnbergstromslc

  • Guest
Re: Condo Noise Questions
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2008, 10:32:13 PM »
I am in exactly the same predicament.  I feel it is a nightmare I can't wake up from and cannot move because of this horrible housing market.  I am wondering if anyone has used thouse sound absorption sheets/blankets on their walls or ceilings to block out noise from neighbors? I know it would look like I live in a rubber room (which probably isn't far from the truth...LOL), but if they work I'd do it. They are temporary, which I want.  I do not want to be ripping into my ceilings or walls. Can someone comment or know someone who has used absorption sheets on ceiling and walls to get rid of noise from condo neibors?


(I'm assuming you're talking about MLV - mass-loaded vinyl)

A treatment like that can work, but you need to have the sheets as independent from the walls and ceiling as possible, and there can't be any gaps.  The sheets need to installed carefully and the gaps need to be caulked - not an easy thing to do. 

 

anything