Best Housing To Avoid Noise

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heybro
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Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by heybro » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:51 pm

We started talking about avoiding noise on the 'When does renting make sense' thread.

Many mentioned that owning a house does not mean less noise. They pointed out how hard it is to go through the process of selling a house if you get loud neighbors as well as the common experience of seeing that home owners next-to-you feel they are entitled to be loud since they live in a house.

Apartments can have paper thin walls with neighbors being loud. Upstairs neighbors can be loud. And downstairs neighbors can be loud. Concrete was mentioned as being better. Would one want concrete walls and floors?

Condos and Townhouses were thrown in the mix as well. Right now, most people in the US are inclined to rent. I have seen many condos and townhouses full of renters. Are renters louder than owners. I've looked at a lot of 'end units' and they still always have the bedroom share the common wall. haha.

What is an ideal housing type and characteristics thereof to look for when finding a place that is not loud but doesn't break your bank either?

JGoneRiding
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by JGoneRiding » Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:54 pm

10 acres in the country is pretty quiet. That said I can actually still hear my neighbors chickens (and mine I can tell the difference) and their kids out playing basketball but its fun sounds.

HIinvestor
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by HIinvestor » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:07 pm

For us, having polite owner occupants is great--we have a single-family home in a quiet neighborhood. Tenants tend to be a bit less considerate.

I rented an apartment for many years that had poured concrete walls. I couldn't hear any of my neighbors, except when they socialized in the parking lot the noise came right in!

My SisIL had a neighbor in the townhouse she owned--you could hear the little kid run up and down the stairs but otherwise the neighbors were polite. S rents a condo and has not had any issues with noisy neighbors either.

adamthesmythe
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by adamthesmythe » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:16 pm

Assuming that there is some noise outside- and even in the country you can probably assume that there is-

Then it comes down to noise transmission which is construction-dependent. And there are several distinct transmission routes so one may be highly attenuating while another is not.

Windows- double windows help a lot, triple windows even better. Of course this assumes air conditioning.

Walls- some constructions of adjoining walls will be very highly attenuating. Think cement block or better a double layer of block with insulation in between.

Floors and ceilings- there are materials out there for sound deadening. In general hard surface floors will be a problem.

Camouflage- the white noise associated with air movement goes a long way toward masking any residual noise.

Probably the best- a truly high-quality purpose-built condo with triple pane windows.

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Watty
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by Watty » Mon Aug 14, 2017 11:42 pm

When you are looking at buying a house one thing to do is to go back to the neighborhood and walk around at different times of the day to hear how noisy it is. You would also want to talk to people that are out working in the yard or walking their dogs to get their impression of the neighborhood.

You also want to consider the time of year. My old house was at least a mile from a highway and during the summer you could not hear it when you were sitting outside. During the winter when the leaves were off the trees you could hear it a bit as a background noise.

HIinvestor
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by HIinvestor » Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:18 am

Agree that it's good to walk around the neighborhood and talk to the neighbors. Is it near a school? Park? Busy road? Will you be having windows open or closed? How old are most of the residents? Are there lots of renters? Lots of loud parties or bands practicing? Is someone doing autobody work in their yard? Woodwork? Other business?

Sometimes you just take your chances as things can change after you purchase--neighbors may sell and move, roads may widen, etc.

jlcnuke
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by jlcnuke » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:39 am

I've owned 2 houses and lived in 9. I can't recall having any kind of problem with noise from neighbors happening more than maybe once a year on average (and that's not to say it was "actually" a problem, just a time when I could have been bothered by noise such as when throwing a July 4th party or something).

I've been in my current house for 9 years and have never even had to ask a neighbor to "keep it down".

In the 7 years I lived in apartments, I can't recall a month where I wasn't annoyed with the noise from neighbors.

SFH, decent size lot (so houses aren't 4 feet from each other), and reasonable build specs (most modern homes will have things like double pane windows, decent insulation, etc). That's all I've needed. That and not living in a shitty neighborhood with crap neighbors...

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Tamarind
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by Tamarind » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:47 am

I lived in a rural area when I was young with acres between me and nearest neighbors. Still had barking dogs, big rigs on the road, neighbor's target practice, and the dirt derby in the next county being funneled by the shape of the valley. :)

Now I live in an urban neighborhood with 20 feet to neighbors on each side. Some barking, highway noise, occasional sirens, and the teenager across the street.

The only thing you can control is your own walls and windows.

Rupert
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by Rupert » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:53 am

jlcnuke wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:39 am
In the 7 years I lived in apartments, I can't recall a month where I wasn't annoyed with the noise from neighbors.
Apartments are much worse than houses for noise, generally speaking. At least in most parts of the country (I recognize that this statement probably does not apply to large cities), renters tend to be younger people who keep odd hours and haven't yet learned how to be a respectful neighbor, e.g., they haven't learned that inviting your quiet neighbors to your party does not absolve you of any responsibility for the noise and disruption that your party causes.

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sunny_socal
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by sunny_socal » Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:04 am

This is one of my biggest reasons for wanting to own a home. I went through years of apartment living and you're bound to end up with the odd neighbor who thinks it's a great idea to play "thump thump" music @ 3AM.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:40 am

JGoneRiding wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:54 pm
10 acres in the country is pretty quiet. That said I can actually still hear my neighbors chickens (and mine I can tell the difference) and their kids out playing basketball but its fun sounds.
Well, we're sort of in this situation with over 13 acres that I forest manage with the house in the middle of it. We do still hear when one neighbor lets his huge dogs out and they go nuts because they can't get out of the fenced in yard to chase foxes. Other neighbors have a pool so we can hear when the grand kids are over. None of this is too much of a bother. I'm probably annoying at times with the chain saw, but I do wait till mid morning on weekends and purposely go to the center of my property to keep the noise level a bit lower.

We don't hear chickens but neighbors have some that roam free until they don't (note above my mention of foxes). They do show up in our back yard from time to time, but they're not noisy....especially after a fox gets one.
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Nyc10036
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by Nyc10036 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:46 am

I rented a 2B2b apartment that was laid out very nicely.
The bedrooms were on the second floor directly above my own living room, dining area, kitchen.
In addition, the common wall was closet and a bath and my apartment's stairs from the first to second floor.

The only noise problem came when they started relaxing the income rules and some of the neighbors loved coming out on their deck at 11 pm, midnight, 1 am on a work night "relaxing" eg heavy drinking etc

I have a friend who has a farm in rural Georgia. Lots of gunfire with people shooting whatever on their acres.

Right now I live in SFH with about 25 feet to my neighbors. Fortunately no loud parties. The HOA paying for lawn care means no early morning lawn mowers. LOL.

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prudent
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by prudent » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:30 am

Topic moved to Personal Consumer Issues.

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lthenderson
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by lthenderson » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:39 am

To avoid the noise in town, I suggest finding a neighborhood popular with the retired crowd. On our street there are only two houses with kids, ours and another on the far end and all the rest of the people are retired and traveling six months out of the year. We also have 2 to 5 acre lots. I rarely hear noise outside of wildlife.

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englishgirl
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by englishgirl » Tue Aug 15, 2017 10:42 am

Avoiding noise was one of our big requirements when looking for our current house. Single family/detached home was a given for us, as we've done apartments and townhomes and you can definitely hear through the attached walls. We ended up going with a home in a gated neighborhood (yes, restrictive rules may mean you can't do whatever you want, but importantly, your neighbors can't do whatever they want either). We are close to the neighbors as the houses are all zero lot lines, so no big yards here, but they are quiet. Sometimes there's a dog barking in one house when he's left on his own, but the sound is pretty muffled. I am hoping that at some point we will upgrade our windows and then won't hear a darn thing.

We carefully screened locations to be away from the flight path of the airport, away from train lines and away from highways. We are also fairly deep within the neighborhood away from the local busy roads. Luckily for us there is also a massive park/nature center on one side of our neighborhood which cuts down on noise too, although there is one small area that is a recreational park with a baseball court that we can sometimes hear.
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NotWhoYouThink
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by NotWhoYouThink » Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:06 am

Good windows help, although the tiny little wren on my patio can let loose a song that can't be ignored. The same song. Over and over.

I used to think the ideal situation was to have a neighbor with a pool - if you get along with your neighbor you can visit and use the pool sometimes, but you don't have the maintenance cost. Our friends at the other end of the subdivision have corrected my understanding of that. The house next to them has kids and a pool, and the kids of course are unable to play in the pool without screaming.

So good luck. Maybe invest in good windows and a good sound system.
Last edited by NotWhoYouThink on Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

pghpens
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by pghpens » Tue Aug 15, 2017 11:14 am

I live on the lower level of a duplex in an urban area and noise was definitely a problem- my upstairs neighbor would get up early and i could hear every movement. Also, I didn't have air conditioning so I kept the windows open at night so I would hear other neighbors, cars zooming by, dogs barking etc.

What helped me the most was buying a white noise generator. It's not loud but it's just the right volume to block out other noise and I haven't had a problem sleeping since then. Ideally, I wouldn't have to use it but i think it makes the best of the situation.

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Jazztonight
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by Jazztonight » Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:25 pm

I hate to say this, but it's virtually impossible to avoid noise, no matter what you do or where you go.

I'm very sensitive to noise, and I've all but given up. When we lived in a house in the hills, I could hear dogs barking from a mile away, since this sort of sound travels through the canyons. I once walked a long way looking for the dog, and found it blocks away--the owners had left it in an enclosure next to the house and gone away; the dog just barked once every 10-15 seconds; this went on for hours. I left a note in their mailbox sympathizing with the dog's situation and threatening to call animal control if they did this again. Lots of luck.

Airplanes, motorcycles, trucks backing up with the accompanying beep-beeping, and the bane of the world's existence: car alarms.

When we moved into our new co-op apartment, we gutted the place and had double-pane windows installed, plus Quietrock Sheetrock https://www.quietrock.com installed on walls and ceilings. But we live in a city, and therein always background noise from construction (never-ending), trucks, motorcycles, people laughing and partying blocks away, loud intrusive music, airplanes, trains, you-name-it. (The middle of the night is my favorite quiet time.)

Frankly, I've given up on trying to find "quiet." A sad situation.
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ReadyOrNot
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by ReadyOrNot » Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:39 pm

Not practical for everyone, but while looking for prospective places, senior communities seemed a lot quieter than equivalent general population communities. I considered townhomes and top-floor condos (to avoid upstairs neighbors). A few older condos had single-story buildings with no upstairs or downstairs neighbors and only one shared wall (maybe not all buildings in the complex, but for the units under consideration). For some reason, most listings do not accurately distinguish townhomes (no upstairs or downstairs neighbors).
Last edited by ReadyOrNot on Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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weltschmerz
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by weltschmerz » Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:44 pm

One thing I have noticed is that some neighborhoods are actually TOO quiet. I once lived in a house that was away from all the major freeways, on a quiet dead end street. At night it was perfectly silent, but during the day, all the noise from the dogs and the kids in the neighborhood interrupted that perfect silence, and it was quite disrupting. Now I live near a freeway. The sound of the freeway is like a river, it never stops, 24/7, but it does act as a white noise, which tends to filter out a bit of the regular neighborhood noises. I don't love living near the freeway, and I would never buy this place (I rent), but I have come to appreciate that freeway noise a little bit.

My solution for when the noise gets too bad: earplugs in the ears, then Bose noise-cancelling headphones over the ears. This may sound ridiculous, but it has saved my sanity on numerous occasions. Hearing my neighbors is actually bad for my health, I can feel my blood pressure rising when the kids start yelling and the dogs bark. I guess I am just overly sensitive.

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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by Iliketoridemybike » Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:49 pm

We've been through a variety of construction techniques over the years with townhomes. The quietest was when the walls did not touch and had an air gap between them. We also owned a townhome that had the air gap and the adjoining floors also did not align with the neighbor. Rarely if ever did we hear noise from the neighbor under these circumstances.
The worst were when we shared a wall, no air gap and the basement walls were framed and not cider block. All the noise, especially base tones and water, traveled throughout the house. Horrible construction.

PugetSoundguy
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by PugetSoundguy » Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:08 pm

So much is neighbor-dependent, and we have been lucky.

Even though our house, bought pre-kids, is getting a little tight with our two boys, moving is unthinkable because we can't bear the thought of leaving our neighbors.

Unfortunately with two wild boys, we usually are the source of noise rather than the recipients. And our neighbors' response when things are particularly out of hand? One of them will disappear into their house for a moment, and then come over to the fence separating our backyards and hoist two ice-cold Margaritas over with a simple "Here you go."

See why we can't move?

Doom&Gloom
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by Doom&Gloom » Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:37 pm

PugetSoundguy wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:08 pm
So much is neighbor-dependent, and we have been lucky.

Even though our house, bought pre-kids, is getting a little tight with our two boys, moving is unthinkable because we can't bear the thought of leaving our neighbors.

Unfortunately with two wild boys, we usually are the source of noise rather than the recipients. And our neighbors' response when things are particularly out of hand? One of them will disappear into their house for a moment, and then come over to the fence separating our backyards and hoist two ice-cold Margaritas over with a simple "Here you go."

See why we can't move?
Winner! :beer

We live in an area where lots range from an acre to 50+ acres, and our house is set nearly 100 yards off the moderately busy road. All "neighborhood" kids, including ours, are now grown. The only two who ever presented noise problems were going through "four-wheeler and dirt-bike phases." The worst noise we get now are lawn-mowers. Occasionally we hear one guy down the road who likes to work on his pickup truck and a couple of others down the road when they ride their Harleys. In the evenings we can hear owls when our TV and stereo are off.

For us, what works is a comfortable distance between houses, reasonable distance from busy streets, and more mature, reasonable neighbors.

kg7
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by kg7 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:36 pm

I own an end unit town home in a nice community in FL. Been there with my wife over 10 years now. It's 3 bed, 2.5 bath, 2 car garage, about 2k square feet. The first floor is concrete block with insulating foam inside; the 2nd floor is frame. I purchased a town home because it had everything we needed space wise, cheaper on mortgage, insurance, and property taxes; and HOA takes care of everything outside of the house + pool for $200 per month.

It's relatively quiet downstairs. Our neighbor is in his 50s with grown kids who no longer live home; really nice guy. He moved in maybe 3 months after we did, it was a brand new development. As neighbors, we have always been mindful of each other, and not once have we had to go over to complain about noise, or vice versa. It's been great.

We only ever heard him over the years when he was entertaining (which isn't often), and he didn't mind us when we had a few get togethers when we were in our mid / late 20s; now slightly past mid 30s. Even at that, we really only heard noises when we interrupted whatever we were doing (turn off tv or music or talking) to hear what he was up to, but it's never been an issue. On week days, it's quiet by 9-10pm, and weekends, by 12 or 1am.

For the last 8 months however, he got himself a younger girlfriend who comes and goes during the day while he is at work (and I work from home). She can be a bit loud sometimes, but it's usually for a few hours until she has to leave. I've tolerated it and haven't told my neighbor about it yet. Upstairs, her living space shares a wall with our master bedroom; and frame construction lets in a bit more sound so that's been a bit annoying because there are days where she stays up late with the TV on loud enough for an extra hour or so past our bed time.

It hasn't gotten unbearable to the point where I'm losing my mind yet, so I'm giving it until the end of the year to see if she lasts before I go rat on her to my neighbor that she's being a bit loud when he's at work, or late at night by our bedroom; I work from home and I'm there all day, and sometimes I like to go to bed early for a 4AM to my days.

All in all, I think it's all about knowing you neighbors, neighborhood, and community. When I scout for homes, I like to drive around neighborhoods I'm interested in at the most random times: Between 6-8am to check traffic patterns, or after 7pm to see how quiet it is, or on weekends around 10-11pm to see if there are any crazy parties or loud neighbors at any given times.

mouses
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by mouses » Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:42 pm

I lived in a nice, quiet neighborhood for years and then the house next door sold to the neighbors from hell. Just before I went insane from the noise, someone told me about Bose Quiet Comfort 25 noise cancelling earphones. I do feel badly for my cat, who is subjected to this.

So you can do due diligence, but there are no guarantees.

If I were going to build a new house, I would consult sound engineers or whatever they're called, and make the house as sound proof as possible. I recall an article somewhere, maybe in the nytimes, about construction methods for doing this.

THY4373
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by THY4373 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 4:51 pm

In general mass is going to do the best to reduce sound. For example my old brick sided house had very little sound transfer through the wall. My current vinyl sided rental transfers a lot of noise through walls (I can hear my rather quiet neighbor when he is working on his driveway quite easily through the walls (no windows on that side)). Doors and windows that are air tight and for windows double glazed will reduce sound greatly. In apartments concrete constructions will beat out wood any day. Basically you are looking for "good construction". For houses in the US that might be hard to find outside of custom since we tend to put the emphasis square footage over construction quality.

heybro
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by heybro » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:06 pm

Noise Canceling Headphones: I tried these. All they did was block out white noise and amplify disruptive noise. So, I could hear my neighbors better while wearing them. Aren't they for airplane repetitive noise? They seem to be for patterned noise only.

Senior Citizens: Don't they get up at the crack of dawn and blast their TVs? Also, don't they have the grand-kids over early mornings on weekends?

Jazztonight: I appreciate you saying there is no answer. That saves me having to move 100 times. If loud neighbors would accept money to be quiet, it would be cheaper to pay them a fee per month than to move so much.

I also like the quiet of very late at night. I actually don't mind loud music at night as I can simply stay up with it. What kills me is when these people who have partied all night GET UP at 8AM and start banging around. Can't you sleep in with me after partying, at least?!

squirm
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by squirm » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:38 pm

heybro wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:51 pm
We started talking about avoiding noise on the 'When does renting make sense' thread.

Many mentioned that owning a house does not mean less noise. They pointed out how hard it is to go through the process of selling a house if you get loud neighbors as well as the common experience of seeing that home owners next-to-you feel they are entitled to be loud since they live in a house.

Apartments can have paper thin walls with neighbors being loud. Upstairs neighbors can be loud. And downstairs neighbors can be loud. Concrete was mentioned as being better. Would one want concrete walls and floors?

Condos and Townhouses were thrown in the mix as well. Right now, most people in the US are inclined to rent. I have seen many condos and townhouses full of renters. Are renters louder than owners. I've looked at a lot of 'end units' and they still always have the bedroom share the common wall. haha.

What is an ideal housing type and characteristics thereof to look for when finding a place that is not loud but doesn't break your bank either?
Been there... That's why we live in the boonies. We don't hear much, and we don't get any solicitors either. There's not much you can do, you're at the mercy of your neighbors. Of course the good ones move and the bad ones stay next to you. We hated being at their mercy when we lived in the subdivisions.

I call bs on the earplug, noise cancellation... It doesn't work, it's still an irritant when your neighbors are having loud parties, earplugs or not.
Last edited by squirm on Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

AlwaysBeClimbing
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by AlwaysBeClimbing » Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:39 pm

Sensitivity to noise is somewhat subjective. My wife can sleep through anything, myself not, I need dead quiet. My experience with condo/apartment living was mixed, some quiet some not. I found out the magic of earplugs combined with quality ear muffs. White noise generators/fans can be of help. Also, if you have good management, that can sometimes help with noisy neighbors.
When purchasing a house, I walked the neighborhood at various hours, listened for highway/train noise,etc. Also, do not neglect reading up on your CC&Rs for any clauses relating to nuisances which can be used if necessary in a legal action. And be sure to check your prospective burg’s noise ordinance and if it’s enforced. Are some of your neighbors renters? That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as you can (as I once did ) complain to the property management company or owner if they become a nuisance. In my experience they dealt with the situation expeditiously. Having the option to close windows(double pane minimum) and run A/C when necessary is nice to have as well. Some noise is unavoidable, but chronic nuisances shouldn't have to be suffered.

Jim180
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by Jim180 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:04 pm

Living in the mountains somewhere is the best way to avoid noise. Living in a 55+ community probably isn't bad either if you are that age. If you are still young you could just live in a development somewhere where people must keep their dogs inside instead of out. Make sure a fire department or railroad tracks are not nearby. If you decide to live in a rural area make sure that country road isn't really a shortcut between two major roadways.
Last edited by Jim180 on Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

michaeljc70
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 6:05 pm

I live in a very urban environment. My townhome has drywall, insulation (not sure of the rating), 6" thick concrete block (well, nominally..it is really 5 5/8"), another layer of insulation, and then drywall to get to my neighbor's unit. If they are pounding nails in the wall, you can hear it, but most everyday tasks (vacuuming, tv, music) you cannot hear.

Where I live, most cities require a cement/brick fire barrier between units for townhomes.

likegarden
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by likegarden » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:05 pm

I once lived in a 'modern' apartment where there seemed to be absolutely no insulation in the walls to the neighbor.
We live now in a well insulated one-family house in a quiet neighborhood , no noisy neighbors, except when they run lawnmowers, but we all do.

CheeseFlip
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by CheeseFlip » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:31 pm

New Housing.

Noise attenuation is now part of many municipal codes. STC50 is the baseline requirement. As premium high-rise condos replace old apartment blocks the reputation of noisy-apartment-living will change.

As others have said, concrete walls are the best. Great noise attenuation, just a bit pricier than steel stud walls.

mouses
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by mouses » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:38 pm

The people who are saying noise cancelling earphones/headphones don't work should read the thread about them. Some of them do work.

michaeljc70
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by michaeljc70 » Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:39 pm

mouses wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:38 pm
The people who are saying noise cancelling earphones/headphones don't work should read the thread about them. Some of them do work.
But who wants to be wearing those everywhere in your own home?

staythecourse
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by staythecourse » Tue Aug 15, 2017 9:48 pm

CheeseFlip wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 7:31 pm
New Housing.

Noise attenuation is now part of many municipal codes. STC50 is the baseline requirement. As premium high-rise condos replace old apartment blocks the reputation of noisy-apartment-living will change.

As others have said, concrete walls are the best. Great noise attenuation, just a bit pricier than steel stud walls.
Agreed. We built a home in a metro city and could here a pin drop. Rarely even hear a car or either neighbor (which is surprising since each of their properties are less then 10 feet from mine on either side).

Guessing it has to do with the spray foam insulation in walls and around windows and the quality of windows.

In general, the more walls/ ceilings you share with others the louder it is going to be. Also, the more expensive the neighborhood the quieter it is going to be. The more affluent areas are not going to have young adults having their friends over at 2AM. At those price points it usually self selects white collar mid career professionals who realize it is important to be a good neighbor and generally are tired from working all day and ALL just want some peace and quiet. :D

Good luck.
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by jabberwockOG » Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:01 am

In apartments and condo buildings concrete floors and walls make a world of difference but these kinds of buildings are usually only found in giant urban centers that come with their own non stop noise pollution.

I recall some long nights in big hotels in major US cities where if you listened carefully is was possible to hear one or more police, fire, and/or ambulance sirens going non stop every minute all night long. Amazes me that so many folks can get used to living in that enervating din.

As others have posted buying a single family home in the best neighborhood you can afford goes a long way to finding a relatively quiet area and quiet neighbors. Noisiest part of that environment is the landscape crews working around the neighborhood all week long.

littlebird
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by littlebird » Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:21 am

heybro wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:06 pm
Senior Citizens: Don't they get up at the crack of dawn and blast their TVs? Also, don't they have the grand-kids over early mornings on weekends?
Not where I live, no.

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celia
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by celia » Wed Aug 16, 2017 2:25 am

AlwaysBeClimbing wrote:
Tue Aug 15, 2017 5:39 pm
Having the option to close windows(double pane minimum) and run A/C when necessary is nice to have as well.
The A/C is the primary noise that bothers me. I'd rather open the windows and hear what's going on outside.

I second the idea that a high ratio of seniors helps keeps it quiet. Some may be out of town for an extended period or sleeping in or at the doctor's. Before we moved into our "older" neighborhood, we checked it out at various times of the day and weekends. One neighbor told us that a lady once bought a house on our street but sold it and moved a few months later since it was too quiet for her. Just what we were looking for! :D

And a former elderly next-door neighbor would ask us occasionally if her typewriter was too loud for us! (She was writing her novel, but we never heard the "noise".)

IMO
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by IMO » Wed Aug 16, 2017 3:04 am

Don't forget about street/highway noise. There is the noise of cars/trucks of various levels, and then there is the dreaded noise of hearing some "kid" blaring their stereo at levels that will result in that kid needing hearing aids in the future. There is the noise of cars going over speedbumps, on hills the sounds of truck airbrakes, and the river-like sound of a freeway within a stone's throw.

Which is worse? Personally it's the kid with the stereo blasting that bothers me the most. But if possible, avoid them all.

OnTrack2020
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by OnTrack2020 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:09 am

A house in the country on many acres away from a main highway.

tim1999
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by tim1999 » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:53 am

Look at a map of the area of the house and see if there is an airport capable of handling jets within say 5 miles or so. "Draw" lines straight out from either end of the tips of each runway for several miles. Avoid buying a house within a mile or so of each line. I am amazed at how many people buy homes right by the end of a runway and then later complain about it, just because the wind favored a different runway when they were checking out the house and planes weren't flying over that day.

Go on your local property assessment/GIS website and check the neighborhood to see how many of the houses have their tax bills going elsewhere. This is an indication of the number of rentals in the neighborhood. More rentals usually = more noise.

cherijoh
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by cherijoh » Wed Aug 16, 2017 5:54 am

heybro wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:51 pm
We started talking about avoiding noise on the 'When does renting make sense' thread.

Many mentioned that owning a house does not mean less noise. They pointed out how hard it is to go through the process of selling a house if you get loud neighbors as well as the common experience of seeing that home owners next-to-you feel they are entitled to be loud since they live in a house.

Apartments can have paper thin walls with neighbors being loud. Upstairs neighbors can be loud. And downstairs neighbors can be loud. Concrete was mentioned as being better. Would one want concrete walls and floors?

Condos and Townhouses were thrown in the mix as well. Right now, most people in the US are inclined to rent. I have seen many condos and townhouses full of renters. Are renters louder than owners. I've looked at a lot of 'end units' and they still always have the bedroom share the common wall. haha.

What is an ideal housing type and characteristics thereof to look for when finding a place that is not loud but doesn't break your bank either?
There really isn't one IMO. Some otherwise acceptable choices can be miserable with bad neighbors.

I had a downstairs condo unit and rarely heard my first upstairs neighbors. I thought my unit was well insulated, but later decided that I had just had quiet neighbors. The upstairs unit had high turnover and subsequent owners (tenants?) sounded like they were constantly stomping grapes in combat boots. Then there was the woman who played the piano, very badly. She practiced the same piece of music over and over again - but always at a reasonable time (like the middle of a Saturday afternoon) so I didn't feel like I could complain.

Eventually I got tired of it and moved to a single family home. My biggest problem now is neighbors who let out their dog for hours at a time - it barks all the time.

Quickfoot
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by Quickfoot » Wed Aug 16, 2017 7:44 am

heybro wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:51 pm
We started talking about avoiding noise on the 'When does renting make sense' thread.

Many mentioned that owning a house does not mean less noise. They pointed out how hard it is to go through the process of selling a house if you get loud neighbors as well as the common experience of seeing that home owners next-to-you feel they are entitled to be loud since they live in a house.

Apartments can have paper thin walls with neighbors being loud. Upstairs neighbors can be loud. And downstairs neighbors can be loud. Concrete was mentioned as being better. Would one want concrete walls and floors?

Condos and Townhouses were thrown in the mix as well. Right now, most people in the US are inclined to rent. I have seen many condos and townhouses full of renters. Are renters louder than owners. I've looked at a lot of 'end units' and they still always have the bedroom share the common wall. haha.

What is an ideal housing type and characteristics thereof to look for when finding a place that is not loud but doesn't break your bank either?

Look at insulated concrete form, exterior walls are 6 inches of concrete which blocks almost all sound and makes the house very thermally and energy efficient. Traditional siding materials are used so you can't tell it's an ICF house by looking at it.

carolinaman
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by carolinaman » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:05 am

I live on 2 acre lot, 350 feet from road, a dead end street. I do have a couple of neighbors on one side, but it is really quiet. Most single family homes today are built on tiny lots that do not shield from noise of neighbors.

Call_Me_Op
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by Call_Me_Op » Wed Aug 16, 2017 8:15 am

Interesting topic for me, as I am dealing with this right now. I am quite sensitive to noise and a light sleeper. I have had to speak to a couple of neighbors about their noise, but I have come to the conclusion that the only reasonable long-term solution is a home on many acres, at least a few hundred feet from the nearest neighbor with trees in between.

I think it is also better to live in a more pricey neighborhood, but cannot prove that.
Best regards, -Op | | "In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity." Einstein

Valuethinker
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by Valuethinker » Wed Aug 16, 2017 11:49 am

heybro wrote:
Mon Aug 14, 2017 10:51 pm


Condos and Townhouses were thrown in the mix as well. Right now, most people in the US are inclined to rent.
This seems to be a strange assertion.

c. 60% of US households own their own homes?

Is there any evidence that Americans don't want to own homes, i.e. that they can, but choose not to?

I think the evidence is very much that they do, but cannot afford to/ credit too badly damaged/ too many other debts like student loans.

chevca
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by chevca » Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:14 pm

What I gather from this is, there is noise everywhere... choose what kinds of noise you can tolerate and then choose where to live accordingly. :happy

My family sold a house this year where the road noise was the primary reason we left... a 4 lane 35mph road where folks cruised more like 45 and about 35 feet from our back door. It was horrible. Also tiny lots, but we had good quiet neighbors.

We are waiting on the next house to be done and that will have a 1/2 acre lot, space between house, and is on a loop that will have minimal traffic. Can't wait.

For the in between, we are staying at the in-laws and they have a 5 acre wooded lot. Barely hear a sound out there. But, when a bunch of coyotes start howling at 11 pm or a woodpecker is doing what they do at 6 am, there's plenty of noise. I will take that any day though compared to constant road noise.

Unless one goes completely custom on building a home, I doubt they get all the sound deadener materials mentioned.

squirm
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by squirm » Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:22 pm

Before we bought our first house i walked the neighborhood at all hours and even introduced myself to the immediate neighbors to make sure we weren't going to live next to aholes. Things seemed fine so we bought.

Well after a year of turns out the one on the left was an ahole and had loud parties, the other side left and the new owners were weird and has loud small dogs. Oh, and the people directly behind had a pool and their kids would play in it for hours.

Of course during the week it was relatively quiet, but of course we were at work. I remember when some complete idiots at house that was about two blocks away decided to have a wedding reception, of course on a Sunday night, complete with a dj. It was so loud, i called the cops multiple times since it was after 9pm.... Around 11 things got better.

This was all at a pretty affluent place, you can't plan for this... We decided to move and now have many many acres.... Interesting our renters have never complained of any noise... It's all subjective i guess.

chevca
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Re: Best Housing To Avoid Noise

Post by chevca » Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:45 pm

Very subjective.

As I mentioned, road noise is a deal breaker for me. Never lived near a busy road before, so never knew. Knowing that now, I'm more observant of how many houses are on busy roads... I work in a big city and see all the houses and apartments on busy streets. Obviously, a lot of folks can handle road noise no problem. Makes me feel like a wussy. :happy

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