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Old 04-16-2019, 07:02 AM
 
37 posts, read 16,697 times
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In another post, I talked about the noise my brother is facing from his neighbors in his recently purchased townhouse in Fairfax. He can hear the next door neighbors talking, walking, running and noise from doors, closets and drawers opening and shutting.

I wonder how common this is. It seems like about 50% of the residents of Northern VA live in a townhouse and there must be lots of stories about townhouse noise (or lack of noise) from people on this board.

If you live in a townhouse, or have lived in one recently, can you answer the following questions:

On a scale of 1-10 (10 being totally quiet and 1 incredibly noisy), how is your townhouse?

Can you hear your next door neighbors talking, walking, running and noise from doors, closets and drawers opening and shutting?

Can you hear a dog bark through the walls?

Does the noise bother you or impact your sleep?
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:43 AM
 
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I wonder the same. I noticed that condos/apartments in Reston that are built with wood frames are significantly less expensive than those built with concrete. I am not sure whether owner-occupancy ratios have something to do with the use cases that I saw but I also have suspicion that noise is an issue in those buildings. I saw at least one comment about "razor thin walls" from someone renting out one of those wood frame condos.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:57 AM
 
Location: The Port City is rising.
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Its been a few years, but I don't recall it ever being a big problem. There is some variance in how they are built, and also of course huge variance in behavior of neighbors.
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Old 04-16-2019, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
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I think it really depends on the quality of construction - The ones that are mostly brick and built from the 60s- 80s seem to have few issues. I lived in a large townhouse in N. Arlington from 2008-2009 and never noticed more than a thud or music every now and then. Considering there were three other guys living in the house, with our girlfriends and other friends in and out, etc I could never tell if it was the neighbor or one of us.

The newer ones you find out in Fairfax and suburbs beyond appear to largely be built quickly and cheaply. A lot of vinyl siding, cheap construction appearance, etc. I think it also depends on the neighbors as well. Most of the people in the townhouse complex I lived in were similar age and largely young professionals who never really brought parties back home and all without children- one full of families with little ones running around or full of weekday party warriors could be a different story.
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:09 AM
 
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my parents could hear their neighbor go up and down the stairs (basement)..that's what 450K gets you in 22152...those were built in the 80s..and units built in the 60s are much quieter.

Last edited by Hal Roach; 04-16-2019 at 10:36 AM..
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC
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I had a townhouse built by Pulte in 2012, never heard a peep. One neighbor was a gamer and had a surround system when he played Call of Duty, the other regularly had several people over. Never heard a noise. The newer TH's are made pretty well and are very soundproof.
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Old 04-16-2019, 02:03 PM
 
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I assume it also makes a difference on the type of townhouse (i.e. on how many sides you have neighbors).

Traditional townhouses have neighbours on the side (or one side only if its an end unit). "Stacked" townhouses (also called loft town homes, or whatever other catchy name a developer uses) have neighbors on top and/or in the bottom as well. I think the stacked ones would be at the greatest risk of being noisy.
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Old 04-16-2019, 03:07 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NOVAmtneer82 View Post
I think it really depends on the quality of construction - The ones that are mostly brick and built from the 60s- 80s seem to have few issues. I lived in a large townhouse in N. Arlington from 2008-2009 and never noticed more than a thud or music every now and then. Considering there were three other guys living in the house, with our girlfriends and other friends in and out, etc I could never tell if it was the neighbor or one of us.

The newer ones you find out in Fairfax and suburbs beyond appear to largely be built quickly and cheaply. A lot of vinyl siding, cheap construction appearance, etc. I think it also depends on the neighbors as well. Most of the people in the townhouse complex I lived in were similar age and largely young professionals who never really brought parties back home and all without children- one full of families with little ones running around or full of weekday party warriors could be a different story.
^^^^This post is spot on

Older townhouses that were built up until the 70s had concrete firewalls between the units. During the 80s, from what I've read, builders started lobbying the state and demanding that they not have to build them like that. The townhouse that we bought new in the late 80s had a metal sheet between the units. In the 90s when we upgraded to a single family home, townhouses were also being built in the development. While under construction, we took a look at them and noticed that they now use fireproof drywall between the units.

It is correct that in the older units with good firewalls, one rarely noticed any noise. Also, they were good fire deterrents. A friend of mine owned one of those older townhouses. The house next to her was rented out to Section 8 tenants. She never heard any noise from any of them. Her complaints had to do with their kids trespassing onto her property and causing problems. When one group of tenants moved out of that house, my friend said that they had been bikers (as in motorcycles) and parked them in their living room. The wall between my friend's unit and theirs had a huge scorch mark on the wall Her house wasn't in the least harmed.

IMO, I wouldn't buy a condo that's of all wooden construction. I'm sure that the older ones don't have any fire barriers between units. All it takes is one unit catching fire and there goes the whole building---and that has happened around here. For example, some years back in Centreville, someone in such a condo building put the ashes from her fireplace outside on her wooden balcony. The ashes weren't fully extinguished and several units were destroyed.

Then there is the noise factor. When, years ago, we lived in an apartment that was of wooden construction, for a while the people above us had small kids who ran around the place. It was really bad to the point where our apartment would shake!

Plus with all wooden construction, you hear a lot of noise. Another set of tenants who lived about us used to have huge fights with a lot of yelling back and forth---and we would hear it all.
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Old 04-16-2019, 11:42 PM
 
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Dont be fooled by the bricks..they are simply facades, and are all style, minimal substance. A vinyl siding TH, with the reinforced cinderblock firewalls in between will be better than a newer TH with the brick facade. the frame supports the brick, not the other way around. I recall a friend buying brand new in 1992 for 230,000 in the Lorton part of Fairfax Station..a SFR..pretty nice..but he said a burglar could simply break into his house with a box cutter..probably worth 750K, today.
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:55 AM
 
86 posts, read 78,505 times
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Our townhouse was built in '84 and I'd give it a 10 in terms of noise from neighbors. Neighbors on both sides each have a dog and we've never heard them bark. Never really heard any kind of noise from our neighbors at all.
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