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  • Writer's pictureJustine Rowbotham-Belot

Soundproofing and Noise Pollution

There are so many pros to owning or renting a condominium, the security features, the convenience of living in a city or dense suburb, the minimalism, the amenity spaces, the list goes on. But have you ever considered what it takes to soundproof a space that so many share in proximity? Or have you been stuck in a situation where the noise pollution is too loud, or the sound from your neighbour carries straight into your unit? This is a common occurrence, especially in older buildings.

Newer buildings are less likely to be noisy because of their up-to-date building materials and standards. Most, if not all the walls, will have been installed with sound barriers. Adding more mass such as drywall and insulation will help with this. The thicker the wall – the harder it will be for sound to travel through.

Other ways builders have improved noise pollution:

  • Use Decoupling – This involves separating two sections of a wall to make it more difficult for sound to pass through. You can then fill in the gaps with insulation.

  • Dampening – This method reduces sound vibrations by adding absorbent materials to your walls such as wood or fabric.

  • Floor underlays – Adding an extra layer under your flooring such as a mass loaded vinyl will help dampen the sound coming from below. This will also help the noise that you make above, helping whoever lives in the unit under you.

If you live in an older building, you may not have as much soundproofing. If this is a problem, have no fear, there are some tips and tricks you can do to help it.

Some temporary solutions that may help with noise pollution:

  • Add sound absorbing materials – Wall hangings are a great way to absorb sound. Large textiles or hanging carpet is aesthetically pleasing and great at pulling in those unwanted frequencies. The heavier and larger the material, the better it is at absorbing sound.

  • The music studio effect – Music studios must be very neutral, they can’t have any unwanted sounds coming in, nor can they have reflective surfaces for the sounds within the studio to reverberate. In other words, it needs to be incredibly dampened. This is done by covering the walls of the studio in sound absorbing material such as carpet or fabric and adding natural materials such as wood.

  • Soundproof curtains – Yes, these do exist!

  • Soundproofing doors – This is easy to do if you want to block the sound coming from your hallway or even the bathroom door. There are attachments you can buy that dampen the sound coming from the gap between the floor and door frame, like putting a rolled-up blanket under the door jam.

Noise pollution can be incredibly annoying, use these simple tips to remove some of that unwanted sound. But for now, have faith that as time goes on and building methods and standards improve, you will hear less and less.

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