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QUESTION: will Owens Corning R-11 EcoTouch PINK Unfaced Fiberglass Sound Attenuation Insulation Batt help significantly with the sound transmission?

I live in town homes, so they are 2 story units side by side. Upstairs are the bedrooms while downstairs are the living room, dining room, kitchen and a 1/2 bath. My neighbor has decided to place his bed in his living room and sleeps in complete silence throughout the day and night. That means my living room is next to his living room/bedroom. I have an exercise machine (Bowflex M5). I workout 30 - 45 minutes a day on it. When I work out there is a faint sound that makes it through to his unit. The sound is half as loud as if you where to lightly touching your hands together and rubbing them lightly.

The walls between units have a 1/2 dead space in between. They consist of studs, plywood, R25 insulation and 2 layers of drywall.

The 1st floor is raised 27 inches on pillions.

So far I have placed 2 sets of 4 Camco Olympian Aluminum Stack Jacks. Which completely canceled out any of the impact sound that used to accompany the swooshing sound and they reduced the over all sound that was transmitted by 70%.

Someone said that the Owens Corning R-11 Sound Batt would really help with the sound transmission, but I always like to get advice from more than one source. This is especially true because I don't want to throw away $600 if it isn't going to work. On a raised 1st floor will this product help significantly reduce sound to the neighbor 1st floor area if I place it between the floor joists?

Thank you for your time and I look forward to your answers!

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    Where exactly are you planning to put the insulation? In the floor or in the 1/2 inch of dead space in the wall? – Peter Mar 13 '20 at 4:22
  • I am planning to place the insulation in the floor below the workout machine, wall to wall. So about 6 food wide from one side of my unit to the other. I will also clarify in my post through editing it. Thank you – Bryan Mar 13 '20 at 4:24
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    Buy your neighbor a white noise machine. You won't win with insulation. – isherwood Mar 13 '20 at 20:08
  • @isherwood - I did and he said, "I don't want anything electronic in my house." But great idea. I am now using the white noise machine I bought him. I love it and I switch between my fan and that. – Bryan Mar 14 '20 at 5:20
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Fiberglass insulation helps more to reduce high frequencies than low. Since the sound made by exercise machines is primarily low frequency (i.e., dull thuds), such as the impact of feet, he insulation would not be very effective.

Some ways to decrease low frequency noise include:

  • Increase mass of surfaces: Add a layer of board to the floor.
  • Increase damping: Add a rubbery, elastic, layer, such as a rug or carpet padding.
  • Seal the edges and openings with elastic padding.
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  • I really appreciate your point that insulation reduces high frequency sounds. It gives me some ideas. Ill try them and come back here to update. Thank you for your response. – Bryan Mar 14 '20 at 5:23
  • Do you think if I made a solid concrete base that I placed below the machine, on top of the floor [increasing the mass], with a rubbery material below that would be effective then? I have the supports below the floor that would easily handle the load. – Bryan Mar 15 '20 at 6:48
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    Bryan, that sounds like an excellent way to reduce low-frequency noise and vibration! You might get even better isolation with a layer of carpet, carpet padding or inexpensive rug both above and below the concrete. – DrMoishe Pippik Mar 15 '20 at 20:55
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Adding insulation to the floor will definitely reduce the sound to some extent, but that extent is hard to know without knowing everything about your exact situation. Your raised floor is acting kind of like a drumhead, amplifying the vibrations from your exercise machine. So the insulation can absorb some of that energy, but the sound will be reduced mostly significantly in the basement (or whatever is below your floor). It is hard to know in advance how much this will change the sound in your neighbor's unit; it may eliminate the noise or it may do nothing.

Before you invest all the time and money into insulating the floor, you should do everything you can to investigate the source of the noise transfer. You will need your neighbor's help to do this properly because you will need to go into his townhouse while someone is using your exercise machine and search very meticulously around the living room to find where the noise is the loudest. It may help to cover one ear, cup your hand around your other ear, and walk slowly along the conjoining wall while listening for variation in the volume level. If you find that the sound is clearly louder in one spot, then you can try to seal or insulate those spots. Also try moving up and down to see if the volume changes. If it seems like the sound is transferring through the floor, then maybe the insulation will be the key.

Overall, it will be more economical to attack the specific points of sound transfer than to go after the whole floor.

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  • Thank you for your advice. I tried going over there one time and noticed that the sound came from closer to the floor, although I did not walk back and forth through the room. I tried to stay still and quiet seeing as the sound was so faint that my neighbor had to unplug his refrigerator for use to be able to hear it and still it was faint. But I should try again and I will use the ear cupping and locating the loudest area. Thank you. – Bryan Mar 14 '20 at 5:24

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