Maybe you have experienced and or lived in a apartment building or slept a few nights in a hotel where you had the joy of hearing everything that was going on in the rooms and units all around you. In a well-built apartment building, hotel, motel, condominium, or duplex, sound should not travel easily from one unit to another. There are several methods construction engineers and you yourself can do for retarding the movement of sound. So when your looking for your next place to live, ask about sound control.
Heavier materials block sound better than light materials. Therefore, adding another layer of gypsum wall board will make a wall more soundproof. As a general rule, every doubling of the weight of the wall increases sound transmission loss by an additional 5 to 6 decibels.
BREAKING VIBRATION PATHS
Another efficient way of controlling sound transmission is to break the vibration path. This can be done by staggering the studs. The wall of one unit is then attached to one set of studs, and the wall of the other unit to another set of studs. Another approach is to use metal studs. They are more resilient than wood studs and reduce the transmission vibration between one wall and the other. With wood studs, metal clips can be placed between the gypsum board and the studs to break the vibration path.
ABSORBING SOUND IN THE WALL
Sound transmission can be decreased by filling the wall cavity with sound-absorbing material such as building insulation. Insulation is a good way to absorb sound without adding significant weight or mass to the partition.
ABSORBING SOUND IN THE UNIT
Another method of reducing sound transmission is to add sound-absorbing material in the unit itself. For example, rugs could be placed on the floor, or sound-proof ceiling tile can be added to the ceiling.
OTHER METHODS OF SOUND CONTROL
Some other ways to reduce the passage of sound include:
- Installing an air seal around the perimeter of the wall to create a proper acoustical seal.
- Reducing the window area by using fewer and smaller windows.
- Installing electrical items on a well-insulated interior wall-never on a party wall.
- Insulating the plumbing from the adjacent structure so that the pipes will not carry noise.