Noisy Condo

I had an interesting question posted to my website comment box today.

A man is asking if there is some kind of code that requires the builder to install any type of sound barrier.

He stated that the noise from other units echoes throughout his place and was wondering if there are any requirements at all.

I know how people now in days like the exposed brick and exposed floor joists and wonder if that may be the case here.

There are requirements in the International Codes for sound transmission and sound reduction between separate living units.

Yes…definitely…probably…maybe…heck, who knows, you’re in Chicago, right? See the attached 2003 IBC Section 1207. Now all you need are those two ASTM documents :slight_smile:

I did find this…

But thanks guys.
Looks like the guy may be in for a headache.

As we are finding out with thermal insulation, the “local” codes for sound insulation are an installation code (i.e., what they are required to install, per local code) but not how it is expected to perform.

Improperly installed insullation (sound or thermal) does not “perform” to the manufacturer’s specs.

But, unfortunetly, the codes only describe what is required for use.

Many good Architects, I have talked to, state that the builder changed their specs. Due to a loophole in the RE law, they are allowed to do so, sell the property and be blameless in court.

Maybe the NAR should look towards licensing GCs :mrgreen:

One word…Homasote!

The question was not detailed as to the type of unit,but the Downtown developments seem to be doing more than a lot of these rehabs.

Many of these lofts are stripped down and can have this type of problem also, as they have exposed brick and plumbing pipes with no real inside insulation to dampen the noise.

Trying to get the neighbors to do anything (like carpet) may be difficult once everyone is moved in.

I suggested with my link included ,that it is most likely an association problem at this point.

Thanks Scott
I made sure to save the link.

Could be a good recommendation in the future.

Insulation will make almost no difference. Sound travels through the framing. To reduce sound you need drywall hung from an isolating device like hat channel.


In many commercial buildings, sound barriers exist almost in the same manner as demizing walls; that is, double 3/8 sheetrock on both sides, metallic studs from deck to deck, and stuffed tight with fiberglass insulation. It worked quite well as a sound deadener/barrier.

Joe, long ago I recommended soundproofing be improved by pumping blown-in thermal insulation into the joist bays between the first and second floors. Miserable failure! They were pissed off! That’s my experience. I never recommended that again!
What’s a dimizing wall? And how will those reading this post understand how your recommendation worked and mine doesn’t?

It could be the floor boards,so you guys may be looking at too complicated an answer.

Open cell foam works well. Soft and sound absorbing. Sure, the studs or joists will transmit, but the vibration will be dampened by the foam. Works well in a couple of recording studios I have checked.

What’s a duffy???:p:p:p

Ha Ha…Too Funny! :mrgreen:

I like this one Linas…LOL

a person who when telling a story, never gets to the point and when he/she finally does, all audience has lost interest, fallen asleep, or killed themselves.