A semi-detached home is a home that has shared common space with another home attached to it. Unlike a townhouse with multiple walls between the dwelling units, a semi-detached house only has one separating wall. This shared space in the home leads many people to wonder if living in this home-style will be too noisy.
Because of the open design on the bottom floor, a semi-detached home can be noisy depending on your neighbors. TV noise, slamming doors, and cooking can all be heard from your neighbors when downstairs. However, the upstairs wall in semi-detached houses is thicker and can help silence the surrounding noise.
If you are planning on owning a semi-detached house or are curious about the experience of owning one, this article will help.
Are Semi-Detached Houses Noisier than Detached?
One of the main concerns of everyone looking at semi-detached homes is the noise. In a detached home, you will have no open areas with different occupants, and you will have a greater sense of privacy. If you have a semi-detached home, rowdy neighbors can make your daily life challenging.
However, semi-detached homes are usually split into a more insulated second floor to block out the noise. Many of the older semi-detached houses have a solid brick wall that separates the two homes. Brick is an excellent insulation material, and you will have no problems with noise affecting you.
However, in most cases, a semi-detached house will be noisier than a detached house. In townhouses, the newer-built versions have thinner walls, and it may be noisier than an older semi-detached house. Most of the concerns with semi-detached walls are more directed towards having loud neighbors.
Are Semi-Detached Houses Soundproof?
When constructing a semi-detached house, the soundproofing process is very similar to that of an apartment building. Filling the walls with high-quality fiberglass insulation will help to protect against noise traveling through. Additionally, new buildings have “resilient clips” that help prevent sound from transmitting.
For semi-detached houses, there is a greater emphasis on soundproofing the ceilings of the home as well. When you walk above your neighbor, the added soundproofing will silence your footsteps. In older homes, the soundproofing can be a little tougher with the squeaking on the old wooden floors.
Homeowners will likely want to redo their home’s soundproofing to improve it after years of use. Installing new fiberglass insulation and sealing any holes can work wonders in improving the soundproofing of the home. Your neighbor will also thank you for the reduced noise that enters their area.
How Thick Are the Walls in a Semi-Detached House?
To offer adequate protection and privacy for the owners, the middle wall in a semi-detached house is thick. According to Berry Lodge, most walls will be 250mm to 300mm in a semi-detached home. These walls will sit directly between both homeowners, being split in half on length.
The outside walls of the home will be the standard thickness of any other detached house. What’s most important is the “party wall” that joins the two homes together for the noise-canceling effects. The thicker the middle wall is, the easier time you will have avoiding any unwanted noise.
If you feel that the thickness of the walls in your semi-detached houses is not good enough, you can also add more to the walls. Placing additional drywall sheets or plaster can help to improve the overall soundproofing of the home. A builder can complete this home improvement project for a relatively low price.
Are Older or Newer Semi-Detached Houses Better Sound-Proofed?
Since the 18th century, semi-detached houses have been a popular house design in many parts of the world. When first constructed, these homes were built from brick and had a sturdy design that lasted for decades, if not centuries. The density of the brick blocks out the noise and is a preferred method of soundproofing.
However, in newer construction, brick has become more uncommon on the inside of houses. Houses today have interiors that are built from drywall with fiberglass stuffed in between the walls. Unlike brick, these walls need more extensive soundproofing to offer a comfortable living for the occupant.
Brick can prevent sound from passing due to its sheer weight and density. When stacked together, double brick walls do an incredible job at soundproofing. An older brick wall semi-detached home will do a better job at soundproofing than a newer home with standard drywall walls.
How to Avoid Sound Issues with Semi-Detached Houses?
If you live in a semi-detached house and want to improve the soundproofing of the space, you can make some additional adjustments. There are several degrees to which you can avoid sound issues, going all the way up to disconnecting the floor joists from the nearby neighbor’s walls.
To avoid sound issues, you should first talk to your neighbor about their habits during certain times. If they watch TV at 4 AM loud, ask them to turn the volume down for you. Unfortunately, some neighbors are not as understanding, and you will need to adjust your soundproofing yourself.
The most effective way to avoid sound issues in your semi-detached house is by improving the insulation. Many of the homes built in the 1900s lack proper insulation and don’t do a great job preventing noise. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of installing insulation is $0.30 to $1.50 per square foot.
The insulation should be installed in the walls and flooring to prevent noise from entering the room’s bottom. After proper soundproofing, the noise in the house will be much more manageable. If the noise in the home is still not up to your liking, you can take more drastic measures, such as:
● Disconnecting Floor Joists: You will no longer receive the vibration that transmits into your room by disconnecting the floor joists.
● Soundproofing Window Walls: To improve the overall soundproofing of the space, insulating the window walls connected to the part wall will help.
● Soundproofing Chimney Stacks: If your semi-detached home has a chimney, you should also insulate it to prevent noise from affecting your space.
Check out this very useful video showing 7 easy ways to soundproof a wall:
How to Avoid Noise Complaints with Semi-Detached Houses?
Avoiding noise complaints is not something you can prevent completely, as the complaints are up to your neighbor. However, you can do your best to keep the noise level down and make living in a semi-detached house beneficial for both of you. As mentioned previously, improving the insulation will be the top way to avoid noise complaints.
You may also need to adjust your lifestyle choices to make the living situation easier for both of you. Have the common courtesy not to play loud music or have parties in a joint living space that could affect your neighbor. Many people accept there will be some noise level in the home, as that’s the nature of the living arrangement.
Semi-detached houses are a less expensive homeownership option that includes a shared living space with another occupant. While the noise in the house is insulated in the upstairs bedrooms, noise from downstairs can still pass through your flooring. Ensuring the insulation is up to quality standards and agreeing with your neighbor to keep the noise down is the most crucial part of this living arrangement.