• Soundproofing for Rental Apartment

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  • Do you have any recommendations/pointers on soundproofing?

    It sounds basic, but it's harder than one might think. My wife and I rent for now. We lived in San Francisco, NYC, and now Boston. Landlords buy the cheapest materials to build the houses and only patch them. Therefore, lowest sound proofing.

    Problems with most sound proofing:

    • Too heavy to put on the ceiling (e.g. Mass Loaded Vinyl -- 1 lb/sqft!)
    • Too gaudy to hang anywhere (e.g. foam panels)
    • Too invasive to install (e.g. Mass Loaded Vinyl subflooring)
    • Alternatives are noise-reducing at best

    What would be perfect:

    • Lightweight rolls of insulation (e.g. soundproof tape)
    • But very inexpensive since it won't be permanent (that tape is $14/roll!)

    This site is great: soundproofing.org, but I can't find anything on just basic, rental-type of homes.

    We have lived in many rentals. Each seems to have some version of this problem. So, I'm sure we are not alone.

    4 0
    Question by wsutton
    04/28/2015

I looked into this about a year ago for a friend of mine. I found pretty much the same thing that you’ve found: not much. As far as I can tell, nobody has invented a thin, cheap, stylish wall covering that significantly absorbs sound. Short of gutting your apartment down to the studs in the wall, and rebuilding it following soundproofing design concepts and using expensive soundproofing materials, you’re not going to achieve an overall noise reduction level that could be described as ”soundproofing”. If you can lower your expectations a bit, some combination of Sound Cancelling Machines, White Noise Machines, and Noise Cancelling Headphones might give you enough peace to keep your sanity.

Street noise: I have a friend who taped 2 layers of clear bubble-wrap and a layer of clear plastic sheeting to his windows for the winter, to save on his heating bill. It still let plenty of light in, and was unobtrusive because the window was covered by sheer curtains. He left them there when spring came, because they made his living room a bit quieter. Not a LOT quieter, but enough that he didn’t want to give it up.

Answer by monte
05/03/2015

You don’t need to spend a fortune ripping your apartment down to the studs to help sound proof your apartment. If it’s neighbor nose you’re worried about you can simply sister (attach) a 2×2 to each stud (right onto the drywall/plaster), install 1 1/2” rigid foam insulation (or another type of insulation as long as it’s no thicker than your 2×2’s and then cover that up with wall panels or drywall board, paint and add trim and your shared walls are at the very least sound suppressing if not sound proof.

This could work in the ceiling and the floors as well, obviously those applications would be far more expensive considering the flooring and electrical work that might be involved. 

This is what my neighbor did ever since I started working from home because I choose to work in my spare bedroom/home office late at night ;)

Answer by The Gadget Guy
05/04/2015

You may be able to build panels using 2×2’s and soundproofing material as above. But instead of permanently attaching to the studs you may be able to use some sort of adjusters or maybe even Pool Noodles stuffed along the tops to hold them up. Not particularly attractive and you might not be able to hang stuff (or people (wicked grin)) on the walls but you could build freestanding racks for that. The main thing is how attractive you want it to be.

You may want to check out some industrial websites. Or possible look for something like a portable hearing testing booth. I’m guessing that there is a need for portable applications of soundproofing. Portable would mean light weight.

Answer by bluecat57
05/11/2015

Check out Green Glue.  I was told when I bought it that it is a soundproofing technology used in Trident submarines.   I haven’t seen any confirmation of this but I used it in my rental and got good feedback from my renter.  You apply the product to the affected wall and install a second layer of drywall over the top.  According to the Amazon description you don’t even have to finish the drywall.

Answer by woodcrst
05/20/2015
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