New build houses are less soundproof than they used to be, because of the cost, materials, windows, and open layout. These factors allow noise to travel freely, making the home less soundproof.
In general, older homes built prior to 1980 have been known to be more soundproof. These homes were built with concrete walls and floors and compartmentalized the rooms. With less open space and fewer windows – older homes were known for their sound-deadening abilities.
The materials used for building a house have changed considerably in the last four decades. For example, with energy-efficient rated drywalls and better requirements for insulation – newer homes are more energy-efficient. However, this does not mean newer homes are completely soundproof.
Here are a few reasons why new build houses are less soundproof.
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Why Are New Build Houses Not Soundproof?
The majority of new construction homes built today are done so with costs in mind. Home buyers are more concerned about the cost, size, and features of the home – rather than how soundproof the home is.
If you live in an attached row townhouse, semi-detached home, or stacked condo – you may notice sound travels throughout the home very easily. While you have the option to add soundproofing to your home, it would be nice to have a newly built home that is completely soundproof from the onset, right?
Cost of Soundproofing Features
Builders who construct homes in subdivisions aim to keep costs low while meeting efficiency targets. In this process, the cost of the build is a large factor that is at play.
In order to build a home that is completely soundproof – builders will need to double up the walls or use thicker sound-deadening drywall. In addition, the use of concrete walls and floors will assist to lessen the amount of noise that travels in the home.
The additional cost to make a home soundproof can range in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Quality of Materials
The quality of materials used to build homes today is better for energy efficiency, but they may not be the best for soundproofing. New construction homes are built with costs in mind, and the soundproofing quality of drywall, windows, and insulation is much lower.
In a brand new home, you will notice the drywalls are thinner than they used to be in older homes. Interior framing is also built with 2 by 4 studs, rather than 2 by 6 studs. However, if you are building a custom home from scratch using your own house plans – you can choose to make soundproofing upgrades.
When you increase the thickness of the drywall, studs, and exterior walls – you can lessen the amount of noise that travels into and around the home. It is common for new homes to have lightweight framing and masonry, which meets building code – but can cause noise to travel almost freely.
Quantity of Windows
The quantity and size of your windows will also impact how soundproof your new construction home will be. Newer homes are known for their many windows, many of which are larger in size. The majority of new homebuyers prefer larger windows as it brings in natural light.
With larger single-pane windows, it is common for exterior noise to travel into the home. For example, if your neighbor starts their vehicle on their driveway and you are hearing this from your home – it likely is the window that is bringing in the noise.
If you are interested in having soundproof windows – ask your builder for double-pane windows. These windows are thicker and have two layers – reducing exterior noise. After installation, your builder should also make sure there is no draft around the window frames and openings.
If your new build house plan has an open floorplan, it means there are fewer walls in the home. Soundproofing may not be the best with fewer walls and fewer compartmentalized rooms.
An open floorplan has become very trendy in newer homes, and builders are less likely to enclose areas such as the kitchen, dining room, and guest room. The best way to soundproof your home if you have an open floor plan is to include carpeting throughout the floor.
On this topic, we should also discuss protrusions. These are extensions to your build – typically seen in many new homes. These exterior protrusions can cause sound to travel easily into the home.
Homeowners understand that hardwood floors increase a home’s value, so they tend to choose this option at the design center. With minimal carpeting in the home, soundproofing will be reduced considerably. The hardwood floor in a home can cause noise to bounce off the floors and travel in multiple directions.
If soundproofing is a concern, you should consider keeping the carpet in a new build and avoid upgrading to hardwood floors. This can also help you save money in the short term, as hardwood floors are expensive to install.
Carpeting is included in most new build construction homes – but you will have the option to upgrade the quality and color of the carpet.
Densely Built Homes
If you look at new build homes today – most of them are built very densely together. Real estate developers are being very cost-efficient in their buildings and packing as much living space as possible into an area.
For example, a stacked condo or an attached row townhouse will share multiple walls with neighbors. If soundproofing is a concern, you should consider other types of properties.
A detached single-family home would offer the best soundproofing from neighbors. However, if the build quality is not on par with soundproofing requirements – you may still hear exterior noises.
With an increase in the number of people working from home, and starting at-home businesses such as podcasts, video-recording, etc – soundproofing has become more important for some.
In order to soundproof your rooms, you should consider the following:
- Add carpeting to your floor
- Add soundproof curtains to your windows
- Add soundproof foam to your walls
- Add sound-absorbing artwork to your walls
These basic tips will help minimize the sound distribution in the rooms in your new build home. On average, it costs $1000 to effectively soundproof a room in your home.