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Old 01.11.2020, 22:42
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What year should a building be built for good sound isolation?

Hi all,
I'm looking to move flats sometime in the coming months, and one constant in the last 2 flats I've had is being able to hear the upstairs neighbors... breathe basically. Doesn't help that they've both loved playing loud music in inopportune times (luckily the current one is much more reasonable and can actually be asked to stop ).
I can also hear footsteps, talking, they hear me coughing, etc..
My current flat is built in 1940, the one before in 1899. The current flat literally has ceilings made out of paper it seems.

The flats I've had built more recently (1950, 2000, etc.) do not have this problem.

Is there a cutoff year for all ceilings(/walls?) being made out of a sound-resistant material? (My experience seems to indicate 1950.) Is there another way to tell if this will be an issue in a building?

Thanks for any help!
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Old 02.11.2020, 06:13
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Re: What year should a building be built for good sound isolation?

Underfloor heating very often allows sound to be carried to the next floor, look for radiators instead.
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Old 02.11.2020, 07:26
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Re: What year should a building be built for good sound isolation?

Well my apartment was built in 1981 & it’s definitely not sound proof!
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Old 02.11.2020, 08:30
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Re: What year should a building be built for good sound isolation?

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Underfloor heating very often allows sound to be carried to the next floor, look for radiators instead.
Where did you get this from?

Underfloor heating is generally laid in a concrete base, I can't see why that would carry sounds between floors. Whereas radiators hang on the wall and are designed to radiate - if anything is going to absorb and project sound it would be these.

The only thing you can really see that makes a big difference to sound proofing is the windows, everything else is pretty much hidden in the structure.

The best thing you can do is visit at a busy time, and take a friend who can talk loudly outside to check noise from public areas.
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Old 02.11.2020, 09:18
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Re: What year should a building be built for good sound isolation?

If you really don't want noise from above look for an apartment on the top floor.


Units without a lift have less of a demand.

Last edited by Mrs. Doolittle; 03.11.2020 at 02:55.
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Old 02.11.2020, 10:35
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Re: What year should a building be built for good sound isolation?

You can't really tie it to a year, to be honest. My neighbours have a 2007 build that is much more insulated than my 2011 build. Both are "Eigentumswohnung", so one would expect a good standard but mine is slightly less well built. Different building companies have different standards.
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Old 02.11.2020, 11:14
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Re: What year should a building be built for good sound isolation?

I've had some discussions with my neighbors about noise. The issue was not sound insulation, it's that in summer windows are open. No amount of sound absorbing material on the ceiling/floor will stop the sound entering through an open window.
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Old 02.11.2020, 12:01
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Re: What year should a building be built for good sound isolation?

I've found there are various reasons for lack of sound insulation

1) The architect did not make it a priority when designing the building
2) The owners did not want to spend money to improve sound insulation
3) The builders made grave errors in their construction which allowed noise to travel through wiring, pipes, etc.

It all really has less to do with the year than the building itself...and that's a luck of the draw.
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Old 02.11.2020, 14:16
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Re: What year should a building be built for good sound isolation?

Thank you for the very helpful thoughts and data points, everyone!
I guess one additional question: if an old building is renovated, is the sound isolation between floors and flats often something that is often improved as part of the renovation? Or does it also "just depend" on architect, building company, and priorities? Or is this super uncommon, and likely a renovated older building will have poor noise isolation?

Re: windows and so on, completely agree, but in the case of both of the last flats the sound passes entirely through the ceiling. Outside noise I have quite a high tolerance to but I honestly sometimes feel like I'm sharing a room with my upstairs neighbor, sound-wise, even with all doors/windows/etc. closed.
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Old 02.11.2020, 14:20
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Re: What year should a building be built for good sound isolation?

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If you really don't want noise from above look for an apartment on the top.

Units without a lift have less of a demand.



I live in a top floor apartment and we hear neighbours from floors below as if they were above! The noise in the bedroom from a neighbour having a shower is actually louder than it is from someone showering in our own apartment! 'Modern' build - concrete walls.
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Old 02.11.2020, 14:30
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Re: What year should a building be built for good sound isolation?

1600s.

It'll be a goat shed in the middle of nowhere, so no neighbours to worry about.
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