Soundproofing?

Our apartment is sandwiched between 2 others, with only 11cm wide walls between them. There was an absolute ZERO insulation, zero soundproofing, so anything said in the other apartment was heard almost as being there in ours and vice versa! Initially we thought the neighbors are very noisy, but soon after we figured out that nobody lives on the other side… we realized that the “noisy ones” are just living and unaware how super annoying they are. As how super annoying we must have been for them as well.

Either way it was something I could not accept without at least trying to come up with a solution. I checked the videos I was able to find on youtube, read as much as I could and basically spent a few weeks chewing on the problem. The final conclusion was: we are fucked and we will have to live with this forever, as all the youtube experts and soundproofing wizards out there were telling us: what you want to do is useless, just a waist of money.

Fuck the experts… again.

I do understand if a company comes and offers me a soundproofing solution, with the results I got… probably some people won’t be to happy. But I didn’t wanted a perfect, professional solution, all I wanted was a reduction of day to day noises to an acceptable, bearable level. And my friends… this solution does EXACTLY that.

Now we can watch TV at night, at normal sound level – we can hear what they talk in the movie – without the neighbors banging on the wall. We can hear the neighbors pushing the furnitures around – why the hell do they do this a few times a week it puzzles me – but we CANNOT hear the normal level of speaking in the other room.

We can hear if somebody is very sick, and coughing like a donkey, but even that is coming from “far away”, compared to before, when we got waken up by the “somebody is coughing here” sound!

Yes, it was worth every cent, and all the effort to figure this out. We have 2 different solutions.

Solution 1, more expensive, not sure if it’s worth the difference

The Chova Viscolam, glued to the wall. (glue is in the can)

Materials used:

  • Membrana Autoadhesiva Chova Viscolam 120x100cm 4mm Espesor – glued to the wall (bricomart)
  • Maestra 80/15mm 3m – screwed to the wall, on top of the membrane, every 60cm (bricomart)
  • Banda Acústica Autoadhesiva Para Perfil Elastoband70 7x100cm – glued to the metal elements (bricomart)
  • Panel Poliuretano 80kg/m3 Multiaislante 200x100cm 4cm Esp – just slided them between the plasterboard and wall (bricomart)
  • Placa De Yeso Laminado Acústica Placo Pph 2500×1 200mm 13mm – plasterboard, screwed to the metal elements. (bricomart)

The outside wall was insulated as well, with a layer of “Poliestireno” (the thinner we could find), and some plasterboard on top. We had no idea if this will work, we tried it in the hope to create a “barrier” between the exterior and interior and keep the walls dry, without mold. (It worked, although we switched the heating to infrared panel as well – dry heat)

We put up a fake ceiling too, in order to have all the electrical wiring going there, and not having to cut the canals trough the walls, and we also put a layer of insulation on the top of the plasterboard. It may not help to much, who knows, was not expensive and same logic followed: must be better than nothing! (about 5° Celsius was the difference between the bedroom (insulated) and the living room (not insulated)

Solution 2

Since the above solution is not perfect, but it does work to bring an acceptable level of comfort, for the next areas we tried something else. These are not so sensitive areas, basically there is a small office, a very long corridor, the living room and the kitchen that require soundproofing. The small room is the only one without any common wall with neighbors, so that was only insulated a bit.

Materials used:

  • Chova Placa absorbente acústica ChovACUSTIC 65 (bauhaus) – is basically a 2 -in – 1 solution for the inner layer. We glued this to the wall, a
  • Maestra 80/15mm 3m – every 60cm, screwed on top of the absorbent layer (bricomart)
  • Chova Cinta de insonorización Elastoband bajantes – instead of buying the “Banda Acústica” from the Solution 1, we went with this and cut stripes. One big roll will be almost enough for the entire apartment.
  • Placa De Yeso Laminado Acústica Placo Pph 2500×1 200mm 13mm – plasterboard, screwed to the metal elements. (bricomart)
ChovACUSTIC 65, maetras, Cinta insonorization, Placa yeso Acustica

Ah… and the quirks of our apartment: we had to cut each plasterboard right in the middle. Our staircase is so narrow and small in the first 2 turns, we could not fit in a full sized plasterboard! I mean … we could, the very first one, took us about half an hour to bring it up between 2 people and we managed to smash all the corners as well.

Conclusion

Not a perfect solution, but it’s way way better than it was before.

From “solution 1” side we cannot hear any normal speaking, light coughing or the click from turning on/off the light. We can hear some coughing once in a while, but it’s faint, coming from “far away”. We can of course hear all the banging noises ( sometimes I have the impression they are not aware they have walls), banging of the doors or shutting the windows violently(I know, our windows had to be forced shut to close before as well), and when the talent is on the youngsters, we also hear some of that.

From solution 2 side – we usually don’t know when the neighbors are at home – only notice them when the open the balcony, no normal speaking sounds come trough, the wall stopped from vibrating even from the lightest touches, again, massive improvements.

Solution 3

We still have the living room to be finished where we will have tv and entertainment system. Here we have some other ideas to maybe improve the insulation/soundproofing a little bit more, however I am not sure if it will worth the effort. There won´t be a perfect solution anyway, and while I am super happy with what this type of solutions offer, I don´t want to spend hundreds of euros to experiment and be disappointed at the end.

Solution 4

Move away to a house that doesn´t have neighbors and has a fair amount of land around 😀 My favorite one. To bad we don´t have a budget for this one. I would start over the whole renovation tomorrow!!!

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