House construction & detached vs semi/terraced - general advice

Discussion in 'Builders' Talk' started by Larches, Jun 7, 2021.

  1. Larches

    Larches New Member

    I'm wondering if someone in the building trade or just experienced in these things can offer some general advice when it comes different house constructions, or whether it's all way too variable to be worth generalising about.

    To give a bit of background - for one reason or another, I have mostly lived in detached properties so haven't had to worry too much about direct noise transmission, party walls and so on. However, as a family we are now expecting to move in the next year or so to a more expensive area (school catchment issue) and most of the property in our price range is likely to be semi-detached or terraced.

    Unfortunately I am a light sleeper (and don't get on that well with ear plugs), so the first concern I have is over potential noise when sharing a wall with a neighbour. I appreciate each house is different, but wondered if there are any general rules of thumb, like beware houses built between X and Y dates or by certain builders because the sound insulation was usually poor. Our current Barratt house was built mid-nineties and internal soundproofing isn't great, but I suspect isn't as bad as some.

    I'd also appreciate any other relevant tips on adjoined properties vs detached, and more generally on any characteristics to be aware of when looking at homes of any particular era... whilst we'd love a property with bags of character, it's ultimately more important in our case to have something that is reasonably low-maintenance. Again, maybe there's too much variation out there for anyone to really be able to say, but I thought it worth asking the question (the area we're looking at is in Yorkshire, in case that makes any difference).

    Lastly, I'm also wondering if there are any common themes with new builds these days, again on the noise front but also any particular modern construction practices to be aware of - good or bad - which may influence our decision on whether to consider a new build (I remember how a friend bought a new home and drilled into the wall, unaware that the pipes are not only plastic and therefore not picked up by a pipe detector, but also run diagonally across the wall so unfortunately he was unlucky enough to drill just at the wrong point!). I tend to be wary of brand new housing given some of the quality and snagging nightmares I've heard about, but I don't think we could or should rule out the idea completely.

    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.
  2. Oscarthecat92

    Oscarthecat92 New Member

    In my experience you can always hear the neighbours to some degree in a semi detached or a terrace, the variability is how much you can hear them.

    I currently live in an Edwardian Terrace that isn’t too bad, can’t hear talking or TVs but can hear loud door slamming or loud dog barking.

    I grew up in an early 90s semi detached house which wasn’t great, could hear the neighbours talking normally if there was no background noise.

    The worst I have experienced is a late 70s/early 80s terrace where you could hear everything, particularly people going up and down the stairs.

    One tip is to look at which way the corridors are laid out and the rooms. For example my current Edwardian house has a corridor running to the right of the main rooms on every house in the terrace which provides a degree of noise insulation between the rooms.
    Larches likes this.
  3. Larches

    Larches New Member

    Thanks @Oscarthecat92, that's all useful. I know there's always a risk of generalising but the more feedback we get, the more we can see if a pattern emerges (and that's a handy tip regarding layout).
  4. Red Star Boats

    Red Star Boats Active Member

    Well that’s a first world problem if ever I heard one. Please let us know how you get on.......not!
  5. Larches

    Larches New Member

    o_O Hmm, OK - thanks for your contribution, and do feel free to find another thread if you're not keen on this one.
  6. Offshore

    Offshore Active Member

    Quite a lot of new build semis are now configured in such a way that the living areas are at detached side of the house, leaving the connecting wall side for the circulation spaces i.e. halls, stairs, landings etc. I've lived in plenty of semis in my life and, as commented above, you hear doors slamming etc but not much more than that in my experience. Mutually considerate neighbours is the main thing.
    Larches likes this.
  7. Peter208

    Peter208 Active Member

    One thing we have noticed is if your next door have wood and not carpet flooring. Noise will travel as it’s not being dampen by loss of carpet.
    Larches likes this.

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