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I think internal wall soundproofing is very important and could convince me to build a smaller house

I am in the research phase for building a house in MA (would be my first), and find myself on board with almost all of the consensus best-practice ideas here on GBA: super-insulation, air-tightness, simplicity of design, small buildings, etc.

I see a fair amount of discussion regarding the bonus benefits of insulation with regards to soundproofing from the external environment, but I haven't seen much talk about how soundproofing the interior walls could convince people to build smaller houses. I find myself much more likely to build a simple and small house if I know that the sleeping areas will have an acoustic break from the central living area.

It's soundproofing that has really drawn me to products like Durisol/Faswall/ICF-in-general as a wall solution despite the seemingly near-consensus opinion that it's easier and cheaper to get a well insulated wall using wood-based approaches.

What do you all think? Am I out to lunch, or do I maybe have a point?

Asked by Ethan Fahy
Posted Jul 11, 2014 1:27 PM ET


3 Answers

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It's your house, and you get to build it any way you want.

If soundproofing is a high priority, there is no reason you shouldn't choose materials with soundproofing in mind.

Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted Jul 11, 2014 1:39 PM ET


I suppose I could/should rephrase to say that I wonder if the importance of soundproofing is underestimated in a more general sense when it comes to getting people to live in smaller environments closer to each other. I grew up in Boston and have lived in several apartment buildings, none of which have had any insulation or soundproofing at all, and besides the terrible heating bills, it's the lack of acoustic privacy and stress that comes with it that has led me to want to build a single family house to begin with vs living in an apartment building in an urban setting, which is what we all agree is best for long-term sustainability. I would be much more likely to drop my idea of building a single family house if there was urban apartment/condo properties available that put an emphasis on superinsulation both for thermal and acoustic reasons, and I don't think I'm the only one. I pose the question here because I don't think it gets talked about enough when most of the building science talk focuses on thermals and forgets about acoustic.

Answered by Ethan Fahy
Posted Jul 13, 2014 7:40 AM ET


You're right, of course. Multifamily properties need to consider soundproofing. I think newer properties do, but older properties didn't.

Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted Jul 13, 2014 8:16 AM ET

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