4:03 PM 05/11/2012
My partner and I recently purchased a renovated townhouse that is relatively close to the BQE. Although we absolutely love our new home, we do experience frequent vibrations in the floor that we assume are related either to BQE traffic or the trucks on our street and are wondering if there is anything we can do to mitigate this. We've also noticed that the vibrations that the vibrations created simply by walking throughout the house carry over such that you feel them if you are in another room on the same floor (to a degree that is more noticeable than in other residences I've lived in). Although this doesn't interfere with our home life, I would love it if there were something we could do to reduce this effect. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to tackle this? Should I have a structural engineer come over to assess the situation?
A couple things to note:
Both kinds of vibrations are more noticeable on top two floors, both of which have original flooring and no sub-flooring. I definitely do not want to change the flooring as it is one of the more beautiful features of our home, but I did notice that the vibrations are significantly less on the ground floor, which has new flooring w/ subflooring.
Some secondary walls were removed from the main floor during the renovation process to make the space feel more open. We are wondering if it might help to install a column or two.
Steel studs were used in much of the renovation process. Does anyone know whether or not steel (vs wood) is more prone to transmitting vibration?
We talked with one fellow about this and he suggested that the source of some of the (presumably BQE-source) vibration might be acoustical in nature, which I think meant that the motion of the air created by the passing cars may actually be more a factor in creating the vibration than shaking of the ground below. He seemed to think that adding some kind of insulation or acoustical buffering could help.
Please share with me your thoughts and suggestions! - Either here or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
is there a corelation between the vibration and the heavy trucks passing on BQE? Maybe it is not BQE but your neighbor getting busy.
10:58 PM 05/11/2012 | 0 Votes
We had a similar problem w vibrations when trucks hit a pothole on a nearby street. Portions of our joists and main beam had been eaten by termites and the house had fallen several inches in the rear. To make a long story short, the floors weren't really touching the joists and the joists weren't really touching the beam. In fact, parts of the beam weren't really touching the columns either.
We had basement work done twice, and a second, more careful job with lots of shims made a big difference.
We also have unbelievably creaky floors and not a few floorboards that end where there is no support, but fixing that would require tearing up the floors and ceilings, which we're not going to do. Rugs help.
Removing interior walls without replacing with appropriate support will definitely cause structural issues. I would definitely recommend you consult an engineer.
11:06 PM 05/11/2012 | 0 Votes
Having just come from a structural engineers office, I can safely say, that your answers lie elsewhere. They love spending other people's money, and they don't honestly have a lick of sense.
We are located the block adjacent to the BQE, where it is below grade. For twenty years, when the 61 bus would go up Columbia St., it would hit a poorly fitted manhole cover, that would shake our block worse than the BQE rumble.
I can tell you that BQE noise is line of sight. If we are referring to the "trench" segment of the BQE, then a houses lower floors are shielded from highway noise by the tench's walls. But the upper floors are much worse. I don't know if your location/situation is similar.
The "fellow" you mention clearly is "challenged" in his grasp of physics. Where do they dream up this stuff?
Your suspicion that you are insufficiently supported, and if only you could be stronger, you would be better off is exactly opposite the truth. The stronger you make your home, the more rigid it would become, like tightening a snare drum.
Instead what you want to do is "de-couple", and put goo or rubber between you and the thumping. You are trying to damp, or muffle the shock. Is the effect more pronounced nearer the windows, or more in front than in back?
12:48 AM 05/12/2012 | 0 Votes
Thanks all for the feedback. Brucef to answer your questions, we're near the elevated section of the BQE. I haven't notice specific differences wrt places where the vibrations are stronger but now that you mention it I do tend to feel it more in the front of the house, where we have more windows. The experience at times is not dissimilar (although much milder) to what it feels like when you are in a car and are passed closely by another car heading in the opposite direction, which makes me thing that something about the movement of air might be a factor.
Perhaps an inspection just to make sure there aren't any structural issues with the framing wouldn't be a bad place to start...
3:00 PM 05/14/2012 | 0 Votes
The secondary windows, completely separate from the existing windows have the most dramatic effect on noise. I have been in some condos opposie the BQE, and when you open the inside window, the difference is dramatic.
Spend money on structural inspection, but it truly is a waste. The trouble with getting sidetracked on dead ends, is that you run out of interest/money before you solve the actual issue. Your problems are not caused by a structural deffiicency.
Sound on a physics level, is vibrations transmitted through a medium. Sound has frequency and modulation. The frequency of a passing vehicle is too low to be considered. The roar of a diesel truck's exhaust brake has much more modulation.
6:31 PM 05/14/2012 | 0 Votes