Re: How to soundproof ... floors/ceilings
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2008 12:44:04 -0800 (PST)

On Jan 28, 2008, at 1:19 PM, Lynn Nadeau wrote:

It would be good to hear more about up-down soundproofing.

An acoustical person told me that it is much easier to stop sound at the source. What you have to do in your unit to keep the sound out is much more extensive because the sound is amplified by the spaces between your units. Rubber mats on the floor, foam rubber on the walls, etc., in the unit creating the noise is most effective.

I like opera, as my renter plays thundering piano and sings coloratura at 3
am! (My bedroom is another floor up, anyway.)

There is a treatment designed for music studios -- Studio in a Box, about $600. Not beautiful but I would tell her about it.

Other acoustical information and products:

I have had huge problems with people playing very loud music in the units below me -- not in cohousing -- but in condos elsewhere. The position I finally took was that I own/rent my unit. You do not. Any sound that comes into my apartment from yours is an invasion of my space and my privacy. If you want to use my apartment to play music, I will charge you rent for every hour that it is unusable to me.

People seem to understand it when you explain it that way. They are using more space than they have a right to use.

Incidental sounds are understandable but I don't think people need to loudly play music or listen to TV. Or use exercise equipment that vibrates the floor. They can rent music studios, use ear phones, or go to the gym.

But people do not always know the noise is coming through. My neighbor has suffered for 7 years with the man upstairs. He actually runs laps around the living room and lifts weights in the den, over her bedroom, at 5 am. And we have an exercise room. She has finally gotten serious about complaining and discovered that he had not a clue that she was hearing him. His response when she called to ask him to stop running laps, or to at least take off his shoes, he said, "Wow, you should be a detective. That's exactly what I was doing!"

Also, is there anything that reduces the sound effects of shared plumbing?

When we moved in they were a problem but when people got their towels and stuff in, they seemed to stop. The odd thing is that the tub draining caused the composer below to go nuts while composing. The resident above agreed to let the water out slowly and that solved the problem.

Other sounds seem to be very hard to stop. I can hear the vacuum upstairs so well that I knew when they bought a new vacuum cleaner. They have hardwood floors, but don't vacuum that often.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing,Washington DC

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