Author Topic: Living With Less Noise - What To Look For  (Read 750 times)


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Living With Less Noise - What To Look For
« on: February 01, 2018, 10:13:36 AM »
I have never needed nor wanted much space to live in.  I really only need a 'studio' apartment in terms of space.

This lack of housing provides a lot of benefits including low expenses and the ability to reach FIRE that much more faster.

However, one of the disadvantages to small space living has always been NOISE.

I currently own a one bedroom apartment and over the years, the noise levels have increased substantially.

First, the neighborhood got louder.  This coincided with the recession ending and more economic activity (more businesses opening around me).

Then, the neighbors slowly started shifting to being renters.  At first the renters were high quality (law school students, couples about to buy a house, professionals) but then the renter characteristics have gone down hill -- snotty kids already out of school who are just working, friends who moved in together and just drink, etc.

I have looked at buying another place only to find that most buildings now a days are filled with renters.

I'm told the only noise-free place is probably a house, but that means major expense and major upkeep.  It also might mean law mower noise, kids outside playing noise, etc.

I was thinking renting a basement in a house might be ideal but those listings have gone too fast for me to grab.  There is also a more intimate relationship with the home owner that I'm not sure I'd like.

Anyways, my point is, How do you find housing with less noise and what do you look for?

From what I can gather:
Concrete is good.
Less renters is good.
More owners is good.

What about urban vs. suburban?

Is a large concrete building with lots of people better than a small wood one with less people or not necessarily?

Thank you in advance!
« Last Edit: February 01, 2018, 10:16:03 AM by heybro »


  • Bristles
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Re: Living With Less Noise - What To Look For
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2018, 04:23:36 PM »
Huge number of factors here. A different building might be built with better soundproofing. Its definitely possible to do retrofits to improve things. Such retrofits usually also improve the thermal performance of you house as well (though, sound insulating products are usually more expensive than thermally focused ones).

For example, get a thicker, heavier front door, with batwing seals. Find all the small holes in your place...under doors, windows, gaps where electrical goes through walls, plumbing, etc. Seal them. Sound loves going through holes.

Mass. Mass is just above everything after that in stopping sound, along with vibration damping. Can you retrofit a ceiling with acoustic grade gyprock hanging from sound resistant mounts? Ditto with walls.

Window glazing is also important. Double glazing with thick glass with ideally a 100mm gap in between makes a massive difference. The frames also have to be good with good seals; avoid sliding windows, louvres, they are the two worst options. You can often get secondary windows retrofitted behind the existing ones (I did this on my bedroom and it cut aircraft noise to basically nothing) This will cut down the neighbourhood noise, and possible also noise from your neighbours a little too... sometimes noise travels out their window and back in...its complicated and not neccessarily linear (its a pressure wave).

VERY thick heavy duty curtains that go right to the top, with a heavy pelmet, all the way to the floor, and with lots of folds (size the curtain at least twice as wide as the actual window), if heavy enough (use a couple of layers of mover's blanket) will cut about half the noise that comes through as well.

Start learning online; there are lots of great sources of info. There's also some crap out there, so be careful. Eg, if someone tries to spruik a noise cancelling paint; its garbage.