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Soundproofing For Apartments And Condominiums

from Jesse Barron of American Micro Industries, Inc.

Do you have a loud neighbors? Does the lady upstairs stomp around her apartment? Do the folks next door play their TV too loud, or do their kids constantly scream?  If you answered YES to any of these questions, I will give you step-by-step do-it-yourself instructions on soundproofing your apartment.

Soundproofing your walls...

The key to soundproofing an apartment or condominium is to block sound transmission. This is most easily accomplished with a mass loaded vinyl barrier. More effective than a sheet of lead for stopping sound, vinyl barrier uses its weight (up to 2 lbs. per square foot) to stop sound transmission dead in its tracks.

The easiest and simplest way to soundproof your walls is to apply furring strips to the existing drywall and then apply the vinyl barrier. It is important that an air gap be left between the existing drywall and the vinyl barrier, as this will maximize the sound deadening properties of the mass loaded vinyl barrier. After applying the vinyl barrier to the furring strips, you want to seal up the seams using a silicon adhesive. This is a critical step, as sound will pass through any opening. Add another layer of drywall after you have applied and sealed the vinyl barrier to notice a dramatic decrease in sound transmission.

There are situations where you might not want to use furring strips or add additional drywall.  For example, apartment dwellers might want the benefits of sound reduction but may not want to invest too much of their own money.  In that case, use vinyl barrier foam composite which will provide the separation necessary for adequately blocking sound. The treatment above for walls may also be used for ceilings to keep sound out from the dear lady upstairs that stomps around her apartment.  This can be attached to the walls with nails or staples... which means you can even take it with you when you go!

Sound insulation for the ceiling...

If you are lucky enough to have a drop ceiling in your apartment, soundproofing the ceiling is quite simple. Simply purchase mass loaded vinyl barrier for placement above the ceiling grid. The air space between the grid and the actual ceiling above will be the air barrier necessary to stop transmission, while the vinyl barrier laid over the ceiling tiles will provide the mass to block sound from transmitting. Another alternative is to apply the vinyl barrier to the rafters if they are exposed. This will prevent the grid from having to support the weight of the vinyl barrier, as well as making future removal and replacement of ceiling tiles a breeze.

Should vertical space be available, you may want to soundproof your apartment by adding acoustical ceiling tiles. If a grid is already in place, purchase acoustical ceiling tiles to replace the existing tiles. This step alone will help greatly reduce sound transmission. You can take it one-step further by adding a layer of mass loaded vinyl barrier above the ceiling tiles, providing the utmost in soundproofing.

Soundproofing your floors...

You may have read this far, thinking “what about the floors?” Soundproofing your floor is just as easy as your walls or ceiling. To do this, you will want to pull up the existing carpet and padding. Once you have the sub-floor exposed, use a layer of vinyl barrier foam composite, with the foam side facing the floor. After laying the vinyl barrier composite, use a silicone adhesive to seal the creases. When finished, simply relay your padding and carpet.

All of the soundproofing products mentioned in this article are available online or by phone from American Micro Industries. Their Web site, offers more information on soundproofing as well as the ability to order securely online.

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