How to Soundproof an Apartment: A Guide to Wall Materials for Your Future Home

A recent study conducted by Montreal’s Public Health Agency shows that the average noise level in the city surpasses the recommended limit, especially in areas around the airport and railways. Putting this study aside, if you live in this city, you know for certain that noise pollution is a major problem. This emphasizes the need to invest in properties that prioritize high-quality wall soundproofing. But how can you actually tell which soundproofing material is the best for blocking out unwanted sounds outside your home?

In this article, I am going to equip you with comprehensive insights into soundproofing materials and how to differentiate high-quality soundproofing materials from low-value ones. Whether you’re a renter or a buyer of a new apartment, you’ll know exactly what to look out for when it comes to soundproofing your  home. And for developers, you’ll learn which wall materials are best for soundproofing, along with their estimated prices.

 

Soundproof your home
Is it really important to soundproof your home?


The Symphony of Soundproofing in Your New Home

Imagine this: You close from work after a long day, looking forward to a peaceful, serene, and relaxing moment all to yourself or with your loved ones. However, upon arriving home, it feels almost like you’re living right by the roadside, surrounded by bustling city sounds and a whole lot of unwanted noise in your room. Sounds devastating, right? Well, that is how it feels to stay in an apartment with low-quality soundproofing. 

Whether you’re a renter, buyer, or developer, it’s crucial to always look out for the type of soundproofing material in a building before investing in it.

Buying an apartment with a poor soundproofing system is one side of the story. Now, imagine sharing this space with other people, and the only thing keeping you in your zone is a thin wall incapable of absorbing any sound. That sounds even more horrifying, right? As a buyer of a new apartment or if sharing an apartment with someone else, you need to first think about soundproofing because a good soundproofing system enhances living experiences by; 

  • Promoting privacy and comfort
  • Increasing focus and productivity,
  •  Improving the quality of rest or sleep
  • Reducing stress levels. 
  • Additionally, for developers, it can significantly increase property value.

 

Navigating Wall Materials: A Buyer’s Guide for soundproofing your home

 

 1. Drywall: One of the most used materials for soundproofing

Drywall bedroom
The Power of Drywall for a Serene and Soundproof Bedroom Retreat

Drywall, also known as gypsum plaster or plasterboard, is a popular building material for ceilings and walls in residential and commercial construction. There are several reasons why I  recommend layering an apartment with drywall. First and foremost, its soundproofing ability is top-notch; it possesses excellent insulation properties that help reduce sound transmission between rooms or from outside.

Secondly, drywall is very easy and fast to install. As a developer, you don’t want materials that take forever and require excessive manpower, and drywall fits the bill perfectly. Additionally, it is very affordable compared to other soundproofing materials on the market. Drywall also provides a smooth, aesthetically pleasing finish to the interior of your apartment, and it offers fire-resistance properties.

One main reason at Samcon we choose drywall is its greenhouse advantage. Drywall uses recycled materials produced from environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, promoting the sustainability of the environment.

 

What to look out for when purchasing Drywall for soundproofing your home?

  • Thickness

Drywalls come in varying sizes, including 1/4-inch (6.35mm), 3/8-inch (9.52mm), 1/2-inch (12.7mm), and 5/8-inch (15.9mm). Each thickness has its benefits and is best suited for specific purposes. The 1/4 inch is the most affordable type and is best suited for curved surfaces or overlaying a new surface with new plaster. However, this type is the least durable and, if not handled with care, is prone to bending or breakage.

The 3/8 inch is best used to fix patches where plaster has been removed or for remodeling purposes. The 1/2-inch drywall is considered the standard type used for residential ceilings and walls. Finally, the best option for soundproofing effects is the 5/8 inch. Therefore, when buying drywalls for soundproofing a building, keep in mind that the thicker the drywall, the better it is at keeping noise away. Usually, 5/8 inch drywall is recommended for commercial buildings due to its thickness, while 1/2 inch plasterboard should be ideal for soundproofing residential properties.


2. ICF: A good soundproofing material for your home

 

Insulated Concrete Form System | Premier ICF
Insulated concrete forms combine ease of use, exceptional strength, and long-lasting durability

 

Another robust soundproof option for buyers of new apartments  is Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF). Layering both the inner and outer walls with ICF does not only boosts the energy efficiency of the building but also promotes sound absorption, thereby reducing noise pollution within the building. The ICF industry association has found that only about one-quarter to one-eighth of noise can penetrate a wall coated with ICF compared to a wood-frame wall.

So, the next time you are checking out a house as a renter or buyer of new apartment, and you see one made of ICF, you can be sure that you’ll enjoy some peace within the house.

 

   3. Mass Timber’s Appeal: Soundproofing your home and benefit the enviroment

 

Mass timber constructions
Mass timber buildings can meet the acoustic performance expectations of most building types

Steel, concrete, or wood? Which do you think is a better option for construction concerning soundproofing? The answer depends on what you are looking for as a buyer of a new apartment or a developer. If you are looking for well-soundproofed and aesthetically pleasing buildings, then wood takes the lead. 

Lately, most constructors are using wood as their primary building material, specifically mass timber, because it minimizes noise transference. Here is how: the sheer thickness and heavy mass of wood, for example, cross-laminated timber (CLT), reduce small open spaces in walls, thereby reducing sound penetration. Aside from its soundproofing property, mass timber has an aesthetically pleasing finish, making your home an absolute pleasure to live in.

Another advantage of mass timber over steel and concrete is that it is much more cost-effective because it requires smaller foundations and fewer building materials. For example, CLT is priced at $50 per square foot on average, which is $14 less than concrete and steel. Also, wood is environmentally friendly and encourages sustainability, which cannot be said for concrete and steel.

 

4. Stone Wool

 

Stone wool
Stone wool creates an incredibly effective insulation with sound-absorbing and fire-resistant properties.

Another insulating material I recommend for a high-quality soundproofing of a building is stone wool. This is because wool has viscoelastic properties that enable it to absorb more sound than any other material. It is a great choice not only for acoustics but for thermal control as well. Its viscous and elastic qualities convert sound energy into heat energy


Questions You Should Ask Your Broker  For Informed Decision-Making

Here is a comprehensive checklist of questions you can ask your broker regarding wall materials:

 

1.What are the primary building materials used for this building?

The use of wood, particularly mass timber, is more efficient in soundproofing than concrete or steel.

 

2. Is there an additional layer of insulation to enhance soundproofing?

Attaching additional building materials like drywall, ICF, and stone wool provides more insulation, hence making the building more soundproof.

 

3. Are there any special construction techniques that were employed for sound reduction in the walls?

Adding an extra layer of drywall or acoustic panels, sealing visible holes or cracks, and so forth assure you that these constructors prioritized privacy and comfort when building.

 

4. What is the thickness of the materials used for building?

Take drywalls, for example; the thicker they are, the more they absorb sounds and prevent noise pollution. Before investing in a property, make sure to affirm that the building materials are thick enough to protect you from unwanted sounds from your neighbors.

 

5. What is the STC rating of the building?

This is the final yet essential question to ask before settling for a building. Sound Transmission Class rates or STC rating is the score given to a building according to its ability to reduce sound penetration. It ranges from 25-65, where 25 is the lowest and 65 is the highest score for sound blocking. You should aim for a score above 35 for good soundproofing of residential buildings. 

 

Asking these questions is very necessary.  It helps you assess the soundproofing status of the building and helps you make informed decisions before investing in any property. 

 

What Are The Cost-Effective Choices for Developers: Soundproofing

As a developer, when it comes to sound, you need materials that offer high absorbing properties while minimizing cost. Some of the best yet affordable soundproofing materials are:

 

  • Acoustic Sound Sealant

This is a cost-effective way of fixing cracks or holes in walls and floors to reduce sound penetration. You should use acoustic sound sealant over ordinary sealant because it provides additional wall soundproofing for the building.

 

  • Layering with Dry Walls

As mentioned earlier, layering the interior of the walls and flooring with drywalls is a very easy and affordable method of wall soundproofing a building.

 

  • Fiberglass Insulation

This is one of the developers’ favorites because it is an eco-friendly solution for insulating ceilings, walls, roofs, attics, and literally any surface. It is also very easy and cheap to install. The average cost to install fiberglass insulation starts at $0.88 to $1.64 per square foot. Its sound-damping properties are top-notch, it is fire-resistant, flexible, and energy-efficient as well.

 

Positive Impacts Of Using High-Quality Materials By Developers For Client Satisfaction

Using high-quality materials in construction has several positive impacts on client satisfaction. Here are some advantages:

  • It ensures the durability of the building and reduces maintenance costs.
  • It enhances the efficient use of energy.
  • Ensures optimal functionality and comfort for tenants or occupants.
  • It improves the aesthetics of the building.

 

Long-Term Benefits Of Prioritizing Soundproofing In Construction

  1. Cost-Efficiency

The value of a property is influenced by soundproofing, as prospective buyers and tenants are willing to invest more in buildings that offer a serene living environment. Additionally, it minimizes expenses associated with maintenance and repairs.

 

  1. Tenant Retention

Opting for top-notch wall soundproofing materials not only attracts but also retains residents. 

 

  1. Promotes Greenhouse effects

Some wall soundproofing materials, like mass timber, are eco-friendly and promote environmental sustainability. A prime example is opting for wood over concrete in construction.

 

TAKE AWAY

If you’re in search of a tranquil apartment living experience, prioritizing efficient wall soundproofing is key. Using high-quality soundproofing techniques, such as drywalls, ICF, mass timber, and stone wool, ensures a private and serene home well worth the investment. Don’t forget to ask the right questions, as suggested above, to make informed decision-making.

 

For developers, considering materials with superior sound-absorbing abilities that are also budget-friendly is crucial for maximizing investments. Options like acoustic sound sealant and fiberglass insulation fit the bill. Effective wall soundproofing not only enhances property value but also contributes wholesome living experience. 

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