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If I'm already renovating, should I soundproof my apartment in the process?

By Virginia K. Smith  | May 8, 2017 - 2:59PM





I'm doing some renovations in my apartment, and have extremely loud neighbors. While I'm doing work, is it possible to do some soundproofing to mitigate the noise? And if so, roughly how much will that kind of work cost?

A renovation is a smart time to add some soundproofing to your apartment, say our experts, though the costs can vary significantly and may end up being quite steep.

In large part, it will depend on what kind of soundproofing you want to do, and how extensive the work will be. "First, determine where the noise is coming from in your neighbor's apartment," says Jean Brownhill, founder and CEO of Sweeten. "If most of the sound is passing through a common wall, start by sealing all penetrations, as well as top and bottom wall plates using acoustical caulk. Sound energy will always find the holes and follow the path of least resistance." To this end, Brownhill also recommends installing airtight gaskets behind electrical outlet plates to prevent them from becoming conduits for extra noise.

For more extensive work, you could ask your contractor to install double-layer sheetrock with a sound isolation channel, says Bolster general contractor Aaron Borenstein. "Depending on the type of construction of the building, the cost of this would vary between $9 and $11 per square foot," says Borenstein, though that pricing assumes that since you're already renovating, the apartment has already undergone the demolition and preparation necessary for this kind of work. (Note that this pricing applies to this type of work in both walls and ceilings, depending on whether the noise is coming from next door or above.)

Similarly, says Brownhill, one Sweeten contractor estimates approximately $2,000 to $2,500 for full installation of sound insulation and soundboard in a typical 80-square-foot wall, while another estimates this type of work on a 10-foot-by-8-foot wall as clocking in between $5,000 and $6,000. (And as we've written previously, soundproofing can often cost between $5,000 and $8,000 per wall. Sweeten also has more details on the soundproofing process on their blog.)

The bottom line is that there's a huge range of potential costs here, and it will depend on which parts of your apartment you want soundproofed, and how extensive you want the work to be. Talk to your architect or contractor about potential options, and also be mindful of the fact that if you do decide to add on soundproofing work to your renovation, it may require wading through some extra red tape. "Depending on the property location and wall type—for instance, if the wall in question is a fire wall—you may need to go through the building architect or the Department of Building," says Borenstein.

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