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Old 06-06-2017, 09:30 AM
 
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I'm curious about the building materials used in the floors/ceilings for some of these very old neighborhoods (Back Bay, Beacon Hill, North End). I was thinking since it was brick on the outside, it'd be something as soundproof in the floors/ceilings too, but I recently learned that's not the case. Is it safe to assume it's just some wooden slabs and drywall? None of the agents I've asked have known.

I can find a top floor apartment, but I play piano a couple hours a day, and I don't want to bother folks.

Last edited by beedice; 06-06-2017 at 10:03 AM..
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Old 06-06-2017, 02:16 PM
 
Location: a bar
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I've never lived in a brownstone in any of these neighborhoods, but have friends who have. And I believe you are correct. All wood. Not the best for sound insulation.


Most of these were build as single family townhouses, and then cut up and turned into multiunit apartment buildings later on.
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Old 06-12-2017, 07:26 AM
 
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Apartments built in the 1920s, or 30s, or before, existed prior to subwoofers, loud TVs, and video games. A little bleed-over of someone's radio playing through a 2" speaker was not as troublesome as Sammy Subwoofer who wants to turn his apartment into a nightclub and thinks everyone else is as deaf as he is.

Another reason why I am trying to avoid sharing walls for the remainder of my life, if I can.
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Old 06-12-2017, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Quincy, Mass. (near Boston)
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I lived in a simple studio on St. Botolph Street in the 1980s. Older brownstone structure.

I certainly heard my neighbor's footsteps above and the neighbor on my floor slamming pots and pans in the cupboard near a wall.
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Old 06-12-2017, 06:21 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bostonguy1960 View Post
I lived in a simple studio on St. Botolph Street in the 1980s. Older brownstone structure.

I certainly heard my neighbor's footsteps above and the neighbor on my floor slamming pots and pans in the cupboard near a wall.
Same goes for triple-deckers and 60s/70s brick boxes - you'll need to with luxury new construction if you don't want to hear your neighbors.
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Old 06-13-2017, 07:18 AM
 
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In those neighborhoods, the buildings are masonry on the exterior and wood frame on the interior. Meaning, the floors are supported by wooden joists with plaster ceilings underneath and wooden floor and subfloor above the joists. None of these buildings had any special provisions against sound traveling between floors. In Back Bay and the sunny side of Beacon Hill, the buildings are nearly all originally single-family dwellings. Many of these families would have had panos but since they were located within single-family dwellings, having the sound travel between floors wasn't a problem, and the brick party walls dampened any sound traveling into the next house. On the north side of Beacon Hill and in the north end you find very few single-family houses converted to apartments, instead nearly all the buildings were built as walk up tenements. Construction is the same: masonry exterior, wood frame and plaster interior, and no special provision for sound traveling between floors. Probably not many pianos found their way into these tenement apartments back when they were built in the 1890s and thereabouts. Back Bay has lots of apartment buildings too, built in the 20s and later. I don't know for sure, but I don't think these have provisions for sound between floors either, even though many of them were built for wealthy families who would typically have had pianos. I guess the builders didn't consider the sound pianos make – even though very loud at times – to be obnoxious the way recorded music can be obnoxious.
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Old 06-13-2017, 08:00 AM
 
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I lived in a pretty standard brick building in the North End and yeah, you hear everyone's everything.
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Old 06-27-2017, 11:44 AM
 
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If you live in a building with a lot of Berklee students, maybe they won't mind! Of course you'll have to deal with their noise though...
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Old 06-29-2017, 05:05 AM
 
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Lived in a typical Back Bay townhouse and could hear the upstairs neighbor's footsteps or slamming doors. Not really an issue for me except for the odd times when they had people over who were wearing high heels or other hard soled street shoes. Generally the upstairs neighbor was pretty respectful but it could have been different. Others in the building had complained about a dog pushing the bowl around in an upstairs apartment so I know that this was at least somewhat of an issue.

Thankfully voice and even pretty loud music or TV did not travel well between the floors...mainly just the impact noise on the floor above. Not sure about piano. Also, I have never heard anything from homes on either side of our brownstone. Walls were brick but I don't know if there was a cavity between or what.

Problem in Brownstones is that everyone wants exposed original hardwood floors (can't blame them) and that always means foot impact noise in construction of this period. It travels through the timber beams and there is very little that can be done from below.

As others have said, many were built as single family homes (including where i lived) so soundproofing between floors was not even thought of.
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Old 07-03-2017, 10:08 AM
 
Location: North Jackson
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An electric keyboard that you can turn down to a reasonable level will be fine. A baby grand being played at concert volume is a non-starter.
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