Renovation Tips to Soundproof Your Multifamily Property

One of the major concerns of renters living in multifamily properties is the noise coming from neighbouring units and the surrounding of the building. Prolonged exposure to high-frequency noises may lead to various health related problems, such as hypertension, hearing impairment, and sleeping disorders. As a property owner or investor, it is your responsibility to take proper measures to soundproof your apartment when taking up your next interior renovation project.

In this post, we discuss five key ways in which you can soundproof your multifamily property.

1. Improve your Walls’ STC Ratings

STC or Sound Transmission Class is defined as the ability of a material (denoted as an integer) to block sound between two spaces. According to International Building Code, new multifamily property constructions must have at least STC 50 for walls.

To enhance the STC value of your property’s walls, there are a number of methods including:

— Addition of mass (a layer of drywall) to the sound barrier, which can improve STC rating by as much as 5dB or more.
 — Provisioning an air pocket of 1–½ inches or more between the layers of drywall, to improve the wall’s STC by 3dB or more.
 — Usage of fiberglass or any other sound absorbing material to insulate the wall cavity, which increases the STC rating by 4–6 dB.

2. Use Weatherstrip Gaskets on the Doors

High STC doors may leave empty spaces, especially around the corners that allow sound to propagate. To fix such issues, you need to seal the corners of the doors and windows using weatherstripping gaskets and thresholds. In addition, you need to be on a lookout for old/torn weatherstripping bulbs and replace them immediately. By replacing hollow core doors with solid ones, you can also help block unwanted noise.

This might interest you: Home Improvement Ideas to Maximize Returns on Multifamily Acquisitions

3. Add Layers to Your Gypsum Wallboard

Interior renovation specialists, especially in Texas and surrounding areas, employ the strategy of installing a gypsum wall board, to reduce the transmission of noise in a building. Adding a single layer of gypsum wallboard however, can help you achieve limited success only, in blocking sound distractions. You must, therefore, ask your renovators to include an additional layer of gypsum, as the degree of sound insulation increases proportionally with the density of the material. In addition, you can also install fasteners between the board and the wood framing to keep an effective check on noise transmission levels.

4. Repair Noisy Plumbing

The noise produced by squeaky plumbing pipes is one of the most concerns that renters in multifamily properties have.

There are various factors that can give rise to this issue, such as:

— The vibration of pipes against framing members when water is traveling through them. In such instances, you need to get the problematic point located and get foam pipe insulation sleeves installed.
 — Chattering of ill-fitted faucets, once you turn them on. You need to replace them at the earliest. 
 — Improper sealing of the pipes passing through the walls. You can ask your renovator to use mortar or any other appropriate acoustic sealant to seal the points. 
 — Interruptions at the outlets, causing the water supply to be erratic. You need to make provisions for chambers at such outlets to ensure uninterrupted water flow.

5. Install Resilient Channels

Resilient channels are thin metal channels that help isolate the drywall from the framing studwork in the doors. This arrangement blocks any sound waves that hit the wall, therefore, reducing their intensity. Interior renovation specialists in Texas and nearby areas, usually recommend resilient channels, especially for buildings that primarily have wood frame construction. Most resilient channels are approximately ½ inch thick and made from 25-gauge steel sheets.