Page 12 - New Jersey Cooperator January 2019
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D  o you remember when you were   a kid that the closest thing you   had to a cell phone at the time   was two cups with a string tautly at-  tached between them, and then speaking   into one cup to see if your friend hold-  ing the other could hear you? That long-  ago game worked because sound travels   along rigid pathways. If you let the string   between the cups go slack, the sound   doesn’t travel. That’s all you really need   to know to understand soundproofing –   and you had already learned it in kinder-  garten.  The ABC’s of Sound – and   Soundproofing  Sarah Marsh, President of  MAAI   Marsh Archi-  tects in New   York City, says:   “There’s  no  such  thing as   soundproof-  ing;  rather the   proper term is   sound attenu-  ation.” Sound   attenuation is   the  effective  reduction  of  sound  –  not   necessarily its   elimination.  M i c hel e   Boddewyn and Alan Gaynor, President   and Founding Principal respectively   of the New York City firm Boddewyn   Gaynor  Architects, explain that noise   in multifamily buildings can be broadly   divided between two general categories:   airborne noise and structural noise. Air-  borne noise filters in from adjacent units   and outside. It includes things such as   music from a  stereo,  raised  voices, or   the rumble of the garbage truck at 6:30   on a Saturday morning. Structural noise   has to do with reverberations that come   through  the  actual  building  structure  –   so the reviled ‘footfalls’ of your upstairs   neighbor’s children and her high-heeled   shoes clacking against the floor at the   same time every day count as structural   noise.  Solutions for these different types of   noise vary in approach. In reality, the   underlying science behind the solutions   is pretty much always the same: relax the   string.  An Unintentional History  Urban  multifamily  housing  can  be   pretty much divided into three categories   as far as sound is concerned. The first pe-  riod stretches from World War I through   the pre-World War II construction boom,   and then on to the mid-1960s, when   construction methods began to change   for both economical and technological   reasons. The second period covers the   years from the late 1960s and early 1970s   through the early 1990s. The third period   begins in the 1990s and brings us to the   present.   Older buildings (of-  ten referred as prewar)   were heavier, built with   more layers and solid   materials. “Sound was   less of an issue be-  fore World War II,”   says Boddewyn. And   adds Gaynor: “They   had  plaster walls  and   used gypsum block,   and had high ceilings.   They also used lots of   concrete fill, which   is like rubble, so it’s   pretty quiet. There are   many layers.”   Kevin White, Owner of Brooklyn In-  sulation and Soundproofing, which has   offices in New York, New Jersey, and   Florida, says: “The old buildings were   soundproofed by density. Everything   back in the day was built solid, and ex-  tremely dense. The denser the floor or   wall, the harder  it is for that sound to   transmit through.”  Mid-Century Change  From  the late 1960s  onward, “build-  ers went for lighter-weight materials like   sheetrock and studs, so you have much   more  sound transfer,”  Boddewyn says.   This has led to more issues with both air-  borne and structural noise. And accord-  ing to Marsh, the level of noise in a build-  ing “has to do with math. And developers   aren’t using math in their projects. They   build as they do because they can – it’s   all about the cost of the materials. A lot   MAINTENANCE  12 THE NEW JERSEY COOPERATOR   —JANUARY 2019  NJCOOPERATOR.COM  Soundproofi ng   Multifamily Silence Technology   BY A J SIDRANSKY  “Th  e old buildings were   soundproofed by density.   Everything back in the day   was built solid, and ex-  tremely dense. Th  e denser   the fl oor or wall, the hard-  er it is for that sound to   transmit through.”                 — Kevin White  You get what you inspect not what you expect  Professionally Managing Properties in   New Jersey and New York for over 25 years  Transparency  Accountability  Proven Systems   Experience   Cervelli Real Estate & Property Management   1 Marine Plaza, Suite 304  North Bergen, NJ 07047  P:201.868.6300  F:201.868.6055

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