Soundproofing Solutions for Multi-Family Building Construction

Soundproofing Solutions for Multi-Family Building Construction
August 18, 2023

Multi-family buildings are designed to house several families on the same property. This type of building usually features shared interior walls or floor and ceiling assemblies. The physical connection between the neighboring units can create various opportunities for noise transfer.

Residents of apartment buildings, duplexes or townhouses are familiar with sounds that come from their neighbors’ voices or loud speakers. In cases where one person’s ceiling is another person’s floor, footsteps can also be an issue. Fortunately, noise pollution in multi-family buildings can be significantly reduced by implementing the right soundproofing solutions during construction.

How Does Sound Travel in a Multi-Family Building?

Two types of noise pollution affect multi-family buildings — airborne and impact noise.

Airborne noise encompasses sounds that travel in the air through gaps, cracks or any form of opening and enters into a neighboring unit. Impact noises occur when an object makes contact with a surface and the vibrations produced pass through. This type of noise often arises in multi-family housing through sounds such as banging on shared walls or moving furniture.

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Building Considerations for Multi-Family Building Constructions

During the design and construction phases, it is crucial to consider how you will provide acoustic privacy to occupants in the building. While multi-family constructions need to meet sound insulation building code requirements, it is fairly common for designers and builders to fail in this regard. This lack of adequate soundproofing is especially prevalent in some community building inspection departments where field testing for the minimum criteria of soundproofing is not conducted before the issuing of the certificate of occupancy.

Getting involved in the building’s design and construction ensures those in charge of these stages consider acoustic performance. Prioritizing acoustics in the early stages can prevent the building from requiring soundproofing additions and installations in the future when noise complaints start becoming prominent among occupants. Good acoustics and sound control suggest quality building construction to anyone looking to buy or live in the building.

How to Incorporate Soundproofing Into the Design

When incorporating soundproofing into the building’s design, think beyond the minimum building code requirements. Consider the following soundproofing solutions to ensure your building offers residents the ultimate acoustic privacy:

Shared Walls

When building or constructing shared walls, you have many soundproofing options to ensure the acoustic isolation of each unit. In a multi-family building, the best solution is to use concrete walls since they offer more sound isolation. Regardless of the materials you choose for shared walls, thicker, denser walls are best for minimizing noise transfer. In addition to your building material, you can use a combination of sound isolation systems and Mass Loaded Vinyl Barriers (MLV) to reduce noise pollution further.


Placing underlayment like our PROFLEX™ 90 beneath tile, hardwood or stone flooring can help reduce impact sounds that come from common sources like footsteps and moving furniture while lessening airborne noise as well. The rubberized membrane with high-quality and durable laminations also bridges cracks, preventing sounds from seeping into the unit below.


When designing floor and ceiling assemblies, you can soundproof the ceiling by installing materials to add mass and absorb, decouple or dampen the sound. The isoTRAX™ Soundproofing System can be installed inside the ceiling to absorb vibrations from the units above and below. MLV barriers can also be installed directly in the ceiling’s drywall to add mass and prevent noise transfer from the unit above.

Soundproofing Multi-Family Buildings With Soundproof Cow

Soundproof Cow offers a wide selection of quality soundproofing materials to help you achieve excellent acoustics for your multi-family construction. Purchase your soundproofing materials online to get started.

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About Kellen Beaver

Soundproof Cow Representative Kellen

Kellen has been a member of the sales team for over a decade. Prior to delving into the soundproofing realm, he was a jack of all trades in the service industry, working both front and back of the house jobs to various degrees. This diversity in experience makes it easy to relate to the needs of a large customer base. He understands noisy environments as well as the importance of aesthetics in a space. Adding something that doesn’t fit the look can be intrusive, so knowing that acoustical needs must fit the interior design is something he’s become very well-versed in. Most of this planning comes from working with both the owner/operators as well as their design team and architects. He has been able to adapt his knowledge in the restaurant industry into projects involving schools, office buildings and large medical facilities when the situation calls for it.

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