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Poor Party Wall Sound Isolation

  • 26-08-2020 10:59pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 6,179 ✭✭✭


    Moved into a new end of terrace house a few months ago. Having issues with the noise from the house beside us as we're hearing everything. In our bedroom we could hear the guy having a normal conversation, soneone plugging something in, hear footsteps constantly, doors slamming all day, things banging etc.

    I was upstairs and could hear the guy shouting when he was downstairs at the time. Even if I move to the other side of the house I'll still hear it. I'll be in the office on the furthest side of the house and still hear them.

    My girlfriend had some friends over in the living room the other day and I could barely hear them from upstairs with the door open. The sound within our own house is very good but we hear absolutely everything from them.

    Some of our neighbors have said they don't hear anything from their neighbours. One of them had a newborn and the neighbor heard nothing. Someone also said a neighbor had a karaoke party and barely heard anything, but I can hear nornal talking.

    It's 215mm block laid flat on the party wall, that's all I know. Is there anything I can do to find out if the wall is done properly? A neighbor had an issue where the house next to him could hear his water pump anytime he used the taps (which is surprisingn as they're very quiet).

    I imagine I'll have to get someone out to have a look at the wall?


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Comments

  • Subscribers Posts: 40,953 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat


    Any chance of a pic of the property from the front?

    Assuming your living rooms are to the front


  • Registered Users Posts: 695 ✭✭✭JimmyMW


    DaveyDave wrote: »
    Moved into a new end of terrace house a few months ago. Having issues with the noise from the house beside us as we're hearing everything. In our bedroom we could hear the guy having a normal conversation, soneone plugging something in, hear footsteps constantly, doors slamming all day, things banging etc.

    I was upstairs and could hear the guy shouting when he was downstairs at the time. Even if I move to the other side of the house I'll still hear it. I'll be in the office on the furthest side of the house and still hear them.

    My girlfriend had some friends over in the living room the other day and I could barely hear them from upstairs with the door open. The sound within our own house is very good but we hear absolutely everything from them.

    Some of our neighbors have said they don't hear anything from their neighbours. One of them had a newborn and the neighbor heard nothing. Someone also said a neighbor had a karaoke party and barely heard anything, but I can hear nornal talking.

    It's 215mm block laid flat on the party wall, that's all I know. Is there anything I can do to find out if the wall is done properly? A neighbor had an issue where the house next to him could hear his water pump anytime he used the taps (which is surprisingn as they're very quiet).

    I imagine I'll have to get someone out to have a look at the wall?

    I have had this issue before in my brothers old house, the builder put plaster board on the party wall using the plaster dab method, this resulted in a small cavity each side of the block work causing sound to reverberate. Ideally a party wall should be directly plastered to the block work and a small cavity is certainly not in accordance with the building regs. If you have plaster board on the party wall I would suggest this is your issue, if you screw off one of the socket faces on the wall (turn off Mains First for safety) you should be able to tell if this is the problem or not.


  • Subscribers Posts: 40,953 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat


    Or just tap on the wall and see if it sounds hollow


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,272 ✭✭✭✭Atomic Pineapple


    Had the same issue in a new build, we were able to hear next door pulling the cord to open and close their blinds! We could hear conversations, but couldn't make out the words unless there was shouting. Sounds from TV's and music was coming right through our house. We even asked the neighbours to keep it down, they agreed, but even at lower volumes it still came through.

    We spent months trying to get the builders to prove that our house was tested as part of the regulations, and get them to perform a sound test. However, they just kept fobbing us off saying they had the certification for the estate, which is all they needed.

    When we tapped the wall it sounded clearly hollow so there must have been as significant gap there. We cut our losses and sold the house because in addition to that, there were other quality issues that the builders were washing their hands of. In addition, the estate committee had started organising meetings to discuss the general build quality, or lack of, every month.

    I assume had we stayed we would have had to put significant money into getting it addressed?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,179 ✭✭✭DaveyDave


    Here's a picture of the house and the party wall in the attic. The walls don't sound hollow. Previous house I lived in I could hear the kids in the next house screaming sometimes and in the bathroom you'd hear their shower but that was it and that was the first house I've lived in that had that much noise coming through until now.

    I'm constantly hearing doors closing and footsteps all night, it's incredibly frustrating because they don't have jobs and are up til 2-3am when we're trying to sleep. This is absolutely not acceptable noise but my biggest fear is that the house is built to regulations and nothing will change but there's clearly something wrong if some of the neighbors aren't hearing everything but I hear doors closing or footsteps.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,173 ✭✭✭✭Calahonda52


    can we have a picture of the roof rafter/block wall line, to see does it go all the way up to the felt

    “I can’t pay my staff or mortgage with instagram likes”.



  • Subscribers Posts: 40,953 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat


    so they actually have a hallway and presumably a stairwell between their living space and your house ??....

    the locations of the wall vents arent great, but not the main issue in my opinion based on that photo.

    the party wall being 'dot n dab' would be must more significant


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,179 ✭✭✭DaveyDave


    sydthebeat wrote: »
    so they actually have a hallway and presumably a stairwell between their living space and your house ??....

    the locations of the wall vents arent great, but not the main issue in my opinion based on that photo.

    the party wall being 'dot n dab' would be must more significant

    Staircase is between the living room and kitchen, so it's just their hallway between the living rooms. Main bedroom at the front of the house is the whole width of the house so back to back with them. I was hoping the hallway would help with noise as I have surround sound, but if I can hear them talking from their living room, across the hallway and into my living room I feel that something is off. I'm hearing doors closing every 5 ****ing minutes in their house.

    I'm hearing them talking now as I'm sitting in the living room in silence but my washing machine in the utility room beside the living room is barely audible when it's on. It doesn't make sense to me that I can barely hear things in other rooms of our house but can hear these people talking through a brick wall.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,569 ✭✭✭Yellow_Fern


    DaveyDave wrote: »
    Staircase is between the living room and kitchen, so it's just their hallway between the living rooms. Main bedroom at the front of the house is the whole width of the house so back to back with them. I was hoping the hallway would help with noise as I have surround sound, but if I can hear them talking from their living room, across the hallway and into my living room I feel that something is off. I'm hearing doors closing every 5 ****ing minutes in their house.

    I'm hearing them talking now as I'm sitting in the living room in silence but my washing machine in the utility room beside the living room is barely audible when it's on. It doesn't make sense to me that I can barely hear things in other rooms of our house but can hear these people talking through a brick wall.

    No expert but there is probably a gap in the party wall somehow, such a gap might exist in between your own rooms even if they are all drywall and skim.

    may need to open the wall.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,569 ✭✭✭Yellow_Fern


    One thing that you could do, it won't solve the problem but it could help a litte. This is it to fill the gaps in the blockwork in the attic with sand and cement. You could easily have gaps going right the way through.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,179 ✭✭✭DaveyDave


    No expert but there is probably a gap in the party wall somehow, such a gap might exist in between your own rooms even if they are all drywall and skim.

    may need to open the wall.

    That's what I have to figure out, I think I'll have to have someone out to look at the wall somehow before bringing it to the developer. Don't know what kind of person would need to come out though?


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,173 ✭✭✭✭Calahonda52


    what part of the world are u living in?
    .
    One option is to have a negative pressure blower door test done and either use thermal imaging camera to try spot leaks behind the plaster board.
    .
    Its not cold enough at night yet to be effective but I have seen it work.
    .
    The other option is to have a positive blower door test done and ramp it up to maybe 75 pascals and introduce theatrical smoke into the house and see does it come out next door.
    .
    Those of you here who saw that in SAS's house will know what I mean:D:D

    You need to find the problem before shelling out on what might be snake oil solutions

    “I can’t pay my staff or mortgage with instagram likes”.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,569 ✭✭✭Yellow_Fern


    Had the same issue in a new build, we were able to hear next door pulling the cord to open and close their blinds! We could hear conversations, but couldn't make out the words unless there was shouting. Sounds from TV's and music was coming right through our house. We even asked the neighbours to keep it down, they agreed, but even at lower volumes it still came through.

    We spent months trying to get the builders to prove that our house was tested as part of the regulations, and get them to perform a sound test. However, they just kept fobbing us off saying they had the certification for the estate, which is all they needed.

    When we tapped the wall it sounded clearly hollow so there must have been as significant gap there. We cut our losses and sold the house because in addition to that, there were other quality issues that the builders were washing their hands of. In addition, the estate committee had started organising meetings to discuss the general build quality, or lack of, every month.

    I assume had we stayed we would have had to put significant money into getting it addressed?

    The wall sounding hollow isn't necessarily a problem. The cost depends on the solution naturally but the biggest expense is often plastering as the sound proofing is not too hard. The problem is plastering is a real art and is expensive.
    DaveyDave wrote: »
    That's what I have to figure out, I think I'll have to have someone out to look at the wall somehow before bringing it to the developer. Don't know what kind of person would need to come out though?
    Sound engineers could do a test very quickly if you can access the other side. Calahonda52's ideas are also a good idea.


  • Registered Users Posts: 695 ✭✭✭JimmyMW


    DaveyDave wrote: »
    That's what I have to figure out, I think I'll have to have someone out to look at the wall somehow before bringing it to the developer. Don't know what kind of person would need to come out though?

    Establish if the cavity exists or not, you can do this easily yourself, if it does it is a large portion of your problem if not all of it, it is against the TDG's for this reason, i managed to get the developer of my brothers house to resolve this issue 8 years after it was built by just showing him it was against the regulations, all plasterboard removed and the wall was properly plastered


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,182 ✭✭✭housetypeb


    Depending on the house layout...
    It could be the wall supporting the stairs on the neighbors side.
    There could be a 4 inch block wall on edge up to the landing extending 4 inch's onto the 9 inch block on flat party wall, not always sealed off properly with mortar by the blocklayer when it's being tied in, it's a weak point.
    If that wall bridges the hallway to the living room/kitchen wall by a concrete lintel and a course of block or two, it might explain why you hear the living room sounds in your room.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,179 ✭✭✭DaveyDave


    The neighbors aren't friendly people so I think access will be an issue, that rules out the sound test. How would an air tightness test help? There's a built in wardrobe covering about 90% of the party wall in the bedroom which will possibly be an issue.

    Something tells me this is going to be an expensive diagnosis.


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,173 ✭✭✭✭Calahonda52


    DaveyDave wrote: »
    The neighbors aren't friendly people so I think access will be an issue, that rules out the sound test. How would an air tightness test help? There's a built in wardrobe covering about 90% of the party wall in the bedroom which will possibly be an issue.

    Something tells me this is going to be an expensive diagnosis.
    .
    The neg A/T test works with a thermal camera as the reduced pressure caused increased air flow through any holes and generally the increased velocity of the air flow causes a lower temperature which the thermal camera will pick up.

    With the built in wardrobes that wont work for that section of wall.

    The positive pressure test will drive the smoke out through any gaps.

    Looking at the front picture again.
    where is your wall vent for the small window like next door?
    Whats the buildup of the external wall?
    are the vents ducted all the way through?

    “I can’t pay my staff or mortgage with instagram likes”.



  • Registered Users Posts: 6,179 ✭✭✭DaveyDave


    .
    The neg A/T test works with a thermal camera as the reduced pressure caused increased air flow through any holes and generally the increased velocity of the air flow causes a lower temperature which the thermal camera will pick up.

    With the built in wardrobes that wont work for that section of wall.

    The positive pressure test will drive the smoke out through any gaps.

    Looking at the front picture again.
    where is your wall vent for the small window like next door?
    Whats the buildup of the external wall?
    are the vents ducted all the way through?

    The vent near the small window is on the side of the house. The external wall is cavity, 100mm insulation, block work, timber frame, plaster. Vents are ducted all the way through, either 100mm or 120mm diameter I believe.


  • Subscribers Posts: 40,953 ✭✭✭✭sydthebeat


    DaveyDave wrote: »
    The vent near the small window is on the side of the house. The external wall is cavity, 100mm insulation, block work, timber frame, plaster. Vents are ducted all the way through, either 100mm or 120mm diameter I believe.

    the external walls are drylined???

    highly unusual if the party wall isnt also drylined as well then... are you sure its not hollow when you tap on it?


  • Registered Users Posts: 12,173 ✭✭✭✭Calahonda52


    DaveyDave wrote: »
    The vent near the small window is on the side of the house. The external wall is cavity, 100mm insulation, block work, timber frame, plaster. Vents are ducted all the way through, either 100mm or 120mm diameter I believe.

    Do you actually know, have you taken down an internal wall vent and looked?

    “I can’t pay my staff or mortgage with instagram likes”.



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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,106 ✭✭✭thomas anderson.


    Have the same problem in my house, only 15 years old.

    My plan is to put another layer of plasterboard up on the party wall with some Green Glue in between the sheets,

    Will lose some width in the room but will be worth it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,576 ✭✭✭✭listermint


    Have the same problem in my house, only 15 years old.

    My plan is to put another layer of plasterboard up on the party wall with some Green Glue in between the sheets,

    Will lose some width in the room but will be worth it.

    Itll still have to be plastered, why not tear it down and install proper insulated board and then plaster.


  • Registered Users Posts: 361 ✭✭Dont Be at It


    Have the same problem in my house, only 15 years old.

    My plan is to put another layer of plasterboard up on the party wall with some Green Glue in between the sheets,

    Will lose some width in the room but will be worth it.
    listermint wrote: »
    Itll still have to be plastered, why not tear it down and install proper insulated board and then plaster.

    Similar problem, old red brick house.
    Had also planned on putting another layer (or 2?) of high density plasterboard on party wall. Then possibly built in storage in front of that.
    Interested to see if anyone else has done similar and what are people's thoughts on it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,569 ✭✭✭Yellow_Fern


    OP, have you any technical drawings? Often the the builder can provide them. If they can be obtained and maybe one the of the professionals here could give their thoughts


  • Registered Users Posts: 33,576 ✭✭✭✭listermint


    OP, have you any technical drawings? Often the the builder can provide them. If they can be obtained and maybe one the of the professionals here could give their thoughts

    technical drawings are what was signed off.

    What was done in individual units is another thing...


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,569 ✭✭✭Yellow_Fern


    Similar problem, old red brick house.
    Had also planned on putting another layer (or 2?) of high density plasterboard on party wall. Then possibly built in storage in front of that.
    Interested to see if anyone else has done similar and what are people's thoughts on it.

    As I mentioned I am not expert but I think high density plasterboard is not enough, but do use it. Aim to install it on studs attached to the wall with decoupling fixing eg genie clips and fill the gaps with dense rockwool slab (not roll). if that is too much hassle there are DIY rubber mats that can slapped onto the wall. But first try to narrow down the noise and if its from joists or just general wall etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 361 ✭✭Dont Be at It


    As I mentioned I am not expert but I think high density plasterboard is not enough, but do use it. Aim to install it on studs attached to the wall with decoupling fixing eg genie clips and fill the gaps with dense rockwool slab (not roll). if that is too much hassle there are DIY rubber mats that can slapped onto the wall. But first try to narrow down the noise and if its from joists or just general wall etc.

    Joists run the opposite direction, so fairly confident they're not an issue. Noise is just coming through walls. They'd be relatively thin and old bricks aren't that dense either.
    There's a chimney breast in each of the rooms on the party wall, which doesn't help I'd say. I was just going to fix plasterboard straight to wall, either side of chimney, with mushroom fixings. Skim wherever it'll be visible...


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,106 ✭✭✭thomas anderson.


    listermint wrote: »
    Itll still have to be plastered, why not tear it down and install proper insulated board and then plaster.

    Because I'm a casual diyer with very limited skill. So what do you reckon would be the best option.? Teardown, re plaster, new insulated board, re-skim?


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,179 ✭✭✭DaveyDave


    Hi all,

    Couldn't get a good picture in the attic unfortunately, attic isn't floored and I don't trust myself to walk over on the beams. Regarding the wall vents it's a duct straight out (also not a great picture, should have took the foam out).

    Regarding the party wall being solid, compared to the plaster wall beside it (front of the house) it's definitely solid but going out to the landing on the stairs the wall feels every so slightly more solid than the one in the bedroom but only just. The spare bedroom next to that feels ok and noise isn't really better there.

    I'll contact the developer to get better specifications.

    Gr5PYYn.jpg

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    DlMX15c.jpg


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,643 ✭✭✭wersal gummage


    listermint wrote: »
    Itll still have to be plastered, why not tear it down and install proper insulated board and then plaster.


    Presume to do this properly you'd be lifting skirting and removing coving yeah?

    We did internal insulation recently and the coving all had to be handmade to put back, cost a fortune. If party wall is the dab method, would it be a complete gunter job to just cut the plaster away below the coving line, put some kind of slim sound board in and plaster? Would that even be possible anyway or would the wall then extend out beyond the coving line.... And presumably all of the noise would just come through the weak point??

    Hmmm.


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