Reduce apartment noise: how to reduce external and internal noise

Since 2013, with the entry into force of ABNT NBR 15,575 – Performance Standard, housing constructions must meet requirements related to acoustic comfort. To reduce noise in the apartment, tajresidencia suggests some care must be taken during construction. Installing sound absorbers, replacing the floor and insulating pipes can be measures taken during this step to reduce noise at home.


However, old buildings suffer from noise problems, as acoustics have always been affected during the reduction of construction costs. Noise cases can involve the busy streets around the property or even noisy neighbors. Contrary to what many people think, it is possible to improve sound comfort in already occupied rooms in simple ways.

The types of noise

The first step before any interference with the property is to identify the type of noise. This is necessary because the source of the noise will determine the solution to the problem. Therefore, we can divide the noise into:

Impact noise

These are the noises that arise due to impacts made on the building’s structure, such as hammering on the wall or steps on the upper floor. These noises are transmitted through the structural elements of the building.

Hydro-sanitary noises

Many complaints from building residents relate to noise caused by sewer pipes. For this, the ideal is to identify the problem still in the construction stage, since its solution is simple and effective. A good project can avoid the passage of pipes through quieter rooms, in addition to providing installations with less amendments that generate turbulence in the flow of liquids. If you are purchasing an apartment in the plant, pay attention to this information.

Aerial noises

Aerial noises are transmitted through the floor, from poorly executed joints and cracks in windows and doors. In most cases, its origin is external and comes from busy streets, commercial establishments and even aircraft. In some cases, the noises may come from conversations in neighboring apartments, or from loud music or television, child crying and dog barking.

How to reduce apartment noise

After identifying the source of the noise, reducing noise in an apartment does not have to be a very challenging task. Noises such as impact and aerial noise are more common in buildings or constructions such as semi-detached houses, and for these cases, a simple conversation with the noisy neighbor can solve the problem.

Isolate one of the apartments

If the noise is really unavoidable, it is possible to isolate the apartment that suffers from the noise or to change the floor of the noisy apartment. The second option is more cost-effective, but depends on the authorization of the owner of the apartment above, which will have to undergo a renovation.

During the process of changing the floor, it is necessary to insert acoustic blankets on the subfloor. For those who choose to insulate the property itself, the process involves inserting plasterboard with insulating materials in the lining and walls. It is a procedure of high complexity and high costs, in addition to causing the loss of useful area of ​​the property.

Install acoustic windows

For properties close to busy streets, reducing noise in apartments requires the use of acoustic frames. Containing thicker glass – double or triple – and more robust frames, this window option can reduce the entry of external noise. One obstacle that may arise for this solution is that it is a structural change that compromises the aesthetics of the facade.

For that, the solution may be to order a custom made acoustic window. In this way, it is possible to meet the standards established by the condominium. In addition, there is the possibility to overlay the acoustic model on the pre-existing window. With several models on the market, this feature only works when the windows are closed which can influence the ventilation of the environment.

Install acoustic ceilings

The installation of acoustic ceilings, structured with drywall profiles, can be the solution to reduce noise at home. The solution is not very complex and does not require a very high investment. However, the integrity of the installation needs to be respected in order to be efficient. This means that if we pierce the ceiling to put light fixtures or other accessories, the insulating properties are lost.

Install reinforced doors

This tip is valid for external noises as well as for noises that are inside the apartment itself. We are talking about replacing the common hollow doors with solid wood models. If this is not a possibility, it is possible to increase the thickness of your current door by fixing an MDF sheet on it. Its efficiency will not be as great, but it helps with the loudest noises. For this case, it is important to verify that the hinges will support the extra weight.

Acoustic insulation vs. acoustic treatment: understand the difference

A very common doubt when it comes to reducing noise in an apartment concerns the difference between insulation and acoustic treatment. For the first, we talk about reducing noise, be it internal or external. In the case of acoustic treatment we talk about increasing the sound quality within the environment itself.

This means that when treating an environment acoustically, we try to minimize the reverberation of the sound. This is responsible for the noise and decreased ability to understand what is being said, for example. The process involves covering furniture and decorative objects, as well as softer materials such as fabrics, carpets and curtains.

Other than that, if the noisy apartment is yours, it is possible to cover the floors with rugs that will drown out the sounds. In addition, ottomans and cushions perform the same function and spreading pictures on the walls can be an excellent way to reduce noise. For the latter case, opt for quilted or fabric frames to enlarge the results.

The consequences of a noisy environment

Enjoying time at home is very advantageous and many want their homes to be quiet and peaceful environments. However, with the increasing verticalization of urbanization, more and more people occupy spaces that are closer together. The consequence of this situation is the increase in external noise in our daily lives.

In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic that plagued the world in 2020 has caused many companies to migrate their activities to the home office. This factor made it even more important to live in a property as quiet as possible. This is because, noise-free environments improve concentration levels, since working at home requires greater focus due to the many distractions in the environment.

The relationship between noise and the human mind is widely studied. Research shows that constant exposure to noisy environments increases the levels of cortisol in our body, causing exaggerated nervousness, a condition that can progress to more serious diseases such as anxiety, insomnia and depression.

In addition, it is not just loud noises. The repetition of noise, even at a lower volume, can cause problems such as the loss of creativity, for example. Quiet environments are able to stimulate the production of new cells in the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for memory.

Check the insulation of your future property

The World Health Organization (WHO) has already recognized noise pollution as a health hazard and recommends that the noise level to which we are exposed should be below 50 decibels. However, this is not possible in large urban centers. For example, a simple blender emits an average noise of 75 decibels.

Thus, ensuring good sound insulation is the solution for those looking for a healthier and noise-free life. However, it is a high investment to carry out the necessary works for this project, in addition to requiring authorization from the condominium to carry out some modifications. Therefore, acquiring a property that already has these features may be the solution.

The NBR 15,575, the Brazilian Association of Technical Standards (ABNT) , establish minimum levels of insulation for floors, walls, roofs and facades of residential buildings. Despite this, it is possible to find some old buildings that have excellent sound insulation because they have solid wooden doors, for example. So, opting for a used property can be a good option.