Protecting Yourself from Elevator Noise

High rise apartment and condo buildings seem like great places to live and, in many cases, they really are. The problem is if you find yourself placed in a unit that happens to be located right next to one of your building’s elevator shafts. They’re noisy – and that’s bad news for you.

Fortunately, dealing with elevator noise isn’t as difficult as you might imagine it to be. You’ll need to do a bit of research to determine where the noise is actually coming from (the elevator itself or the engine room) but once you have that information you’ll be ready to start soundproofing.

So let’s start right there. Is the sound coming from cable system attached to the elevator itself? Or, are you lucky enough to have obtained a unit right next to the main engine room? The answer will help to determine exactly how extensive your soundproofing project needs to be. You’ll know whether or not you’re dealing with flanking or operating noise versus the sound of the elevator hitting the top floor of the building.

Let’s start with sound coming from the elevator shaft – sound caused by the motor and cables and movement of the elevator. This type of problem can be easily solved by simply applying a layer of mass loaded vinyl to the walls in question. Mass loaded vinyl is usually about 1/4″ thick and weighs about 2 lbs per square foot. This type of mass, when added to the walls, makes it more difficult for sound to pass through. Make sure you use an acoustical caulk to seal the butted seams before refinishing your walls.

If you’re soundproofing against the sounds created due to your proximity to the main elevator motor room you may need to do something a bit more complex. Instead of mass loaded vinyl you’ll want to use something a lot stronger and more effective, like Green Glue. You’ll apply it directly to your walls, add a second layer of drywall, seal the seams, and refinish the wall. It won’t take up much space at all and almost guarantees a viable resolution to your problem.

It may seem inconvenient to have to soundproof your apartment or condo against elevator noise but taking the time to do so will be well worth the efforts. Before you know it you’ll forget you ever had a problem.

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