Old Home- Party Wall Sound Transfer


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Old 11-12-14, 07:55 PM
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Old Home- Party Wall Sound Transfer

Hi everyone,

I recently purchased a Twin Home that was built in 1910. Most of the home has been renovated (refinished floors, new drywall, brand new bathroom) however I would like to focus my attention on the party wall between the two twin homes. Our staircase and our neighbors staircase both share the same wall and I can very easily hear them going up and down the steps, as well as some noise coming from the air return vent near the wall. I can also hear them upstairs stomping around. To me, the noise sounds very hollow and I feel like there isn't insulation between the two walls.

To me, I like my living space to be reasonably quiet, and while I know the space will never be dead silent, it's quite a bit over what I find to be reasonable.


Does anyone have an experience with this or any insight? What would be the best plan of attack to figure out where to start?

Just to mention, I silicone caulked under the baseboards and it seems to help slightly but the issue still persists.

Thank you in advance, any comments are appreciated.
 
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Old 11-12-14, 08:36 PM
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Also, to share a few pictures under the return duct. It almost looks like that is their floorboard? Or would it be the flooring under the gap in the wall? I don't have a flashlight handy so I used my iPhone. I'm hoping that there's more of a gap than that between the two walls, but it wouldn't surprise me due to the sound.





 
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Old 11-13-14, 12:19 AM
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Sound attenuation construction was not used in 1910. For any significant amount of sound reduction you need to consider decoupling your side from the other side AND installing sufficient mass to reduce the sound transmission. That would mean you need to remove the stairway, cut any members that are connected between the walls and floor and then add sound deadening mass to the "other" wall, reconstruct "your" wall and finally, re-install the stairway.
You might be able to do a bit less and achieve acceptable results but I would not expect much of a reduction.
 
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Old 11-13-14, 10:07 PM
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Yikes-that sounds like a huge project. I have access to the underside of my stairs as well as the wall where the stringer connects to the party wall. With this access, do you still think I need to remove the whole staircase?
 
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Old 11-13-14, 11:40 PM
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It IS a huge project and with very little guarantee that things will be any better after completion. Low frequency noise is much harder to reduce than high frequency because the low travels through the structure rather than the air.

I really have nothing more to offer. Sorry.
 
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Old 11-14-14, 07:47 AM
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Adding mass helps so sometimes another layer of drywall can make a difference. That said, if the structures are connected, sound will travel across that connection.

As Furd said, this is no small project and no guarantees if you can't address all the ways the sound is being transmitted.
 
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Old 11-14-14, 03:57 PM
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I appreciate the help. I am going to see if I can get some heavy insulation and see if I can decouple the air vent from the floor with a rubber gasket or silicone. I think I can get some sort of insulation pad for inside of the return vent.
 
 

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