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    Cheap way to soundproof an apartment? 
    #1
    Bluelighter newshounder's Avatar
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    Question
    The landlord apparently constructed one-inch plaster walls between my neighbors and I. The neighbors are not especially loud. It's the normal sounds that are coming through the walls -- everyday conversation, television, and toilet flushing.

    Soundproofing web sites are full of experts with complicated and expensive ideas, like adding padding and another layer of wall. The cheaper solution seems to be to hang a mat or carpet. Will this keep my neighbor's sounds out or just my sounds from them? Does this work? Advice is appreciated.
     

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    Bluelight Crew Dave's Avatar
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    Any soft material hung on the offending wall will help, but only a little. If you can find some low density foam, or even better some eggcrate foam to hang behind the carpet that you hang on the wall, it will help a lot. Be sure to cover as much of the wall as possible, and remember that sound insulation works like heat insulation-- the more small dead air spaces the better.
     

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    Bluelighter Akoto's Avatar
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    A carpet or something soft will only help if its on the side with the noise. Other than that, theres not much else you can do but make a ridged floating system.

    Some plywood or something really solid might help a little, but probably not much.
     

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    #4
    Bluelighter newshounder's Avatar
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    ^
    Plywood? I'm not a sound engineer, but unless there were a layer of something soft under the plywood, I'm not sure that this would help.

    One of the main issues is high ceilings (something which is also related to the heat problems that I posted about in another thread). Sound waves really seem to pick up momentum in large square rooms.

    At the very least I might hang something soft on the wall to give me some privacy, even if it doesn't keep neighborly sounds out. I don't want the neighbors to hear me talking dirty to the ladyfriend, after all.
     

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    Bluelight Crew vibr8tor's Avatar
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    how large is the shared wall that you're talking about? I wouldn't even consider adding plywood unless you first talk with the landlord, because when you move out you'll get charged for all the nail holes, if it gets torn back down. Keep that in mind with whatever you put up.

    the eggcrate foam sounds easy and affordable, but I suppose that depends on how large the wall is. But once again, if you're hanging something heavy over it (like rugs) you're going to want to consider all the nail holes. and that would have to go into the wood beams behind the drywall, or you're gonna eff things up.
     

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    Bluelight Crew MazDan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave
    Any soft material hung on the offending wall will help, but only a little. If you can find some low density foam, or even better some eggcrate foam to hang behind the carpet that you hang on the wall, it will help a lot. Be sure to cover as much of the wall as possible, and remember that sound insulation works like heat insulation-- the more small dead air spaces the better.
    Good advice.
     

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    #7
    Bluelighter JahReid's Avatar
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    Man I have the same problem only the people live above me. Its all quiet when they show me the place, I move in and there is a constant barage of noise coming from upstairs. I can hear everything they do, every single step they take, I can even hear when there cellphone rings on vibrate. It's ridiculous and uncomfortable. Not much I can do though except turn on a fan which helps with the noise (not the movement though).
     

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    Bluelighter IAMTHOUGHTS's Avatar
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    its nearly impossible to controll any sufficiant amount of sound without spending a lot of money. foam and other soft materials will absorb some of the high pitch sounds, but not to any degree that you will be satisfied. more that likely the sounds you are hearing are the undertones and low pitch sounds like , thumping, murmers of words, ect..
    these low pitch sounds are realy hard to controll. true sound proofing begins at the construction stage of a room.for example they do things such as suspend wall panels from the wall supports and use other methods to keep sound vibrations from travleing from the inner wall to outer wall.

    the walls of your apartment and your nieghbors are nailed together so the low pitch sound vibrations will travel no matter what you do.

    sorry
     

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    #9
    Bluelighter LoveStopsDeath's Avatar
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    EGG cartons.. with the cones facing into the room.. its the shape that does it..we used to use it for jammiin..works well..
     

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    #10
    Bluelighter The_Idler's Avatar
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    seconded
     

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    #11
    Bluelighter The_Idler's Avatar
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    or this shit:
     

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    #12
    Bluelighter newshounder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IAMTHOUGHTS
    its nearly impossible to controll any sufficiant amount of sound without spending a lot of money. foam and other soft materials will absorb some of the high pitch sounds,
    For the first few days, I was fairly convinced that there was a bass player living next door. In reality it was your run-of-the-mill Maroon 5 and John Mayer through some cabinet speakers. (It's like living in a time capsule from 2004!) But I'm resigned to the low-pitch stuff. I only hear it during reasonable hours of wakefullness.

    The main problem is the TV from the person who lives closest to my bedroom. I can hear dialogue, laugh tracks, and car commercials all night long. I think I'm going to try some foam. Thanks for your tips.

    Quote Originally Posted by JahReid
    I have the same problem only the people live above me. Its all quiet when they show me the place, I move in and there is a constant barage of noise coming from upstairs. I can hear everything they do, every single step they take
    And this is why every lease should require a certain amount of carpet.
     

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    #13
    Bluelight Crew SA's Avatar
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    The foam (especially convoluted/egg-crate) will only help if it's on the source side of the wall. Sticking up foam on your side may muffle incoming sounds a bit, but not by much. You'd be better of spending the money and effort persuading your neighbour to put up the foam and the carpet on their wall.

    That's the friendly way. The not so friendly is to involve the city noise bylaw office(rs).
     

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    #14
    Bluelighter rock_lobster's Avatar
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    No ones actually mentioned ensuring the building meets sound proofing regulations!?

    How old is the building?

    The first thing you should do is tell your landlord and request that he gets it checked out. If there are laws regarding sound proofing and he refuses then you should pay for it yourself and if there's a case invoice him for it ... and take it further! Or else just find a new place to crash!
     

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    #15
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    ^
    If you're in N.America, the last thing you want to do is pay for a landlord's oversight and seek compensation after the fact. I have a(n) (ex)brother in law making a living on just this sort of stuff and this is one exercise you want to avoid at all costs. Either commit the landlord to fixing it ASAP, or move. Landlords typically have more rights and power than tenants and if you start hurling actions at them, they'll likely evict you on some other pretence in no time flat.
     

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    #16
    Bluelighter Akoto's Avatar
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    Plywood? I'm not a sound engineer, but unless there were a layer of something soft under the plywood, I'm not sure that this would help.
    The only reason I said plywood was that its just something that will help make the wall more ridged.

    Soft materials would be good for absorbing sound from the air, but the sound through the walls needs to be blocked by either an airspace with foam (expensive to do),or by simply making the wall as hard as you can manage. Pushing a big bookshelf up against it, heavy pictures...anything to make the wall as solid as can be.
     

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    #17
    Bluelight Crew euphoricnod's Avatar
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    A matress works well.
     

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    #18
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    or you could just do the job right and use soundproofing mats buffered with a layer of drywall.
     

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    #19
    Bluelight Crew euphoricnod's Avatar
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    I've also heard that corpses work well.
     

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    #20
    Bluelight Crew Dave's Avatar
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    A la 300! Brilliant!
     

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    #21
    Bluelighter IAMTHOUGHTS's Avatar
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    even though you are looking for a cheap method i figgured i would give you this information anyway. there is stuff you can buy called mass loaded vinyl. it is only about 1/16 of an inch thick and can be stapled or naild to your wall. it is expensive but you can buy it in sheets or in rolls and it is very effective for blocking sound. heres some links and info



    click for info


    When used as an underlayment for hardwood floors or tile, reduces sound reflection and transfer dramatically. Can also be used on walls and ceilings. When installed inside the wall, more than doubles the STC. For instance, a standard hollow sheetrock wall, with 1/2" Gypsum board on metal studs has a STC rating of about 23. (Ordinary conversation through it can be understood). Adding the MLV can increase it to about 53! (Loud shouting is not heard). Just staple or glue the material to the wall, then cover with sheetrock- tape off and paint. Want more sound reduction? Use a double layer of MLV!
    more info

    PRICES
     

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    #22
    Bluelighter dorothyperkins's Avatar
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    I'm also no acoustic expert but i don't see that it matters which side of the wall the insulation is fixed to?
     

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    #23
    Bluelight Crew Dave's Avatar
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    If it's a shaped material it does. It's hard to explain without a picture, but take eggcrate foam for example. Sound waves hit the flat end, some are transmitted to the foam (and then onward through the wall), while the rest is reflected. The ratio of the two is a function strictly of the material.

    When sound waves hit the shaped end however, you get this same effect-- but with a twist. The shape of the surface causes interference patterns in the wavefront with the overall effect of dampening much of the sound before it hits the base of the protrusions. Different sized protrusions will be more effective at dampening different frequencies because of destructive interference. High-end anechoic/soundproof chambers use a variety of lengths and shapes of protrusions to dampen as wide a frequency range as possible. So, both shape (of the surface the source waves hit) and the material alter the degree of sound dampening.
     

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    #24
    Bluelighter Pharcyde's Avatar
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    kill the neighbors?
     

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    #25
    Bluelight Crew Dave's Avatar
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    A la 300! Brilliant!
     

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