The short answer is yes. Apartment noise is always a concern, but apartment soundproofing is feasible. However, the success of the soundproofing effort depends on many factors, including your budget. The devil is in the details.
We usually associate renovation work with houses, but condo apartments (condominiums) can be renovated too. However, you have to be aware of a few issues that simply don't exist in a single-family home.
Do you get apartment noise complaints?
A common problem in condominiums and apartments is noise transmission between adjacent units. There is no such thing as a perfectly soundproof apartment. There is no building code requirement in Canada for any specific level of impact noise insulation in condominiums. Most buildings are substandard in this aspect. Noise complaints in apartments are common, as illustrated in this article.
Soundproofing of a condo apartment can be done only in conjunction with of a major renovation. There are no shortcuts when it comes to apartment soundproofing. Therefore, when you plan a major renovation, ask yourself if soundproofing could or should be part of the project. It is best to consult with a soundproofing consultant at the planning stages. He will help you to clarify the following questions, among others:
- Do you get apartment noise complaints? Are you disturbed by your neighbours? From which direction, above, below or next door?
- Can you hear hum, vibration, elevator, garbage chute or other unwanted noises in your apartment?
- Do you have complaints that your loud music playing disturbs a neighbour or neighbours?
- How much extra would you need to spend on effective condo apartment soundproofing, in addition to the renovation you are planning to do anyway? You may be surprised, it could be quite affordable. It is worth it to get rid of apartment noise.
Here is an example of an apartment soundproofing project from YouTube. Internet is full of myths, misconceptions or plain nonsense. However, this video describes well executed soundproofing of a concrete ceiling.
The job looks simple enough, but success of the effort depends on details that are not shown. For example, how should you deal with ceiling light fixtures? How is the perimeter of the new ceiling to be finished? How to address air ducts and ventilation? If you hire a contractor experienced in soundproofing, you will get all details of the job done right.
Also consider the following factors that are part of any condo renovation.
Condo Board approval for apartment soundproofing
You and your contractor must decide if the renovation you're planning will require approval of the condominium board. If you decide it does require approval, you will have to present your plans to the board before you begin. You will find more information on this topic in this newspaper article, or just search the web.
Ask your contractor to help you prepare an outline of what you'll need to submit to the board. Be sure to include any building plans and, if your renovation requires a building permit, make sure those plans are professionally prepared. If no permit is required, an informal drawing that shows exactly what you plan to do may suffice.
Building and apartment access
It may be a challenge for the tradesmen to access the building and the condo apartment unit. Be sure to make arrangements in advance, including the use of the moving elevator for materials, which usually involves posting a cash deposit to the condo management. Your contractor must also comply with the building's regulations regarding when the elevator can be used and control apartment noise caused by construction. You may also want to remind your contractor that building materials must be packaged so they can fit into the elevator.
Condo apartment construction methods and materials
Condominium construction and apartment soundproofing will be quite different from typical wood-frame home construction. Make sure your contractor has experience in dealing with condominium construction.
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