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Old 03-31-2015, 02:03 PM   #1
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Wood frame condo. How was your experience?

I've been going through a long journey of finding a place to buy as a starter home and weighed a lot of possibilities from type of home to location etc etc

Up until now, concrete was a must have if we were to do condo but our not willing to budge on location has made things a bit difficult. I know we can't have it all so in doing my due diligence I want to find out more about wood framed condos.

What are some peoples experience with wood framed condos in terms of noise and maintenance? Noise above you, below you, beside you? Any common big maintenance issues and approx how long until they happen? 5 years? 10 years?

Was your building more recent or older? I'm sure that the wood framed has probably come a long way in terms of sound proofing and all that.

I know a lot depends on the types of materials used and all that but generally speaking what are your feelings.

When compared to concrete I know wood framed is cheaper to buy, resale not as high, higher maintenance costs down the road, more noise. Is there anything I'm missing?

Thanks for any input.
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Old 03-31-2015, 02:31 PM   #2
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where are you getting higher maintenance costs from? as long as the roof and exterior cladding are maintained, the structure will never need to be touched

mechanical equipment (boilers etc) are similar in any structure type

as for noise, a newer building will have added noise barrier systems....ask the developer what was used. All suite to suite and suite to corridor walls will be insulated. The only "extra" a builder can use is using sound bar on the joists prior to installing the ceiling drywall. Ceiling insulation would be nice but no ones going to pay for that.
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Old 03-31-2015, 02:51 PM   #3
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I lived in a brand new low rise wood frame condo for 5 years, noise was almost non-existent from the walls of my neighbors, once in a while there would be some noise from the ceiling. I now live in a 70s townhouse, much more noise from the walls of my neighbours in comparison to my condo but still very faint, doesn't really bother me
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Old 03-31-2015, 02:57 PM   #4
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noise barrier systems on wood frame apartments wont stop noise if the people above you have elephant feet and move around like kangaroos.
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Old 03-31-2015, 03:12 PM   #5
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Ceilings are typically insulated in the wood frame condos currently being built, but poorly so don't give that fact to much weight in your decision.
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Old 03-31-2015, 03:22 PM   #6
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concrete building new in 2005 i never heard anyone downstairs or upstairs maybe it was just the building but the hallway was like there was no walls you could hear everyone in the hallway and it was loud as fuck
new wood frame built in 2010 i hear some sound once and awhile below and upstairs, sometimes it can be a piss off but in this market what the fuck can you do?
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Old 03-31-2015, 03:26 PM   #7
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You will hear noise even in concrete buildings, especially if the slabs are narrow and if your neighbours have hardwood/laminate. You will hear noise even from people across the hall through the door, especially if they have pets.

Noise is pretty much unavoidable in any multiplex building.
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Old 03-31-2015, 03:27 PM   #8
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I've priced more of these things then I'd like to remember, this is pretty typical but usually it's fiberglass insulation as opposed to mineral wool. I don't know how anybody except maybe the developer makes any money doing these, there is no money in them.

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Old 03-31-2015, 03:28 PM   #9
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Colleague bought a wood frame condo in surrey several years back. She's in the process of selling it because of problematic neighbours above. Kids were running everywhere late at night and they were losing sleep; strata won't do shit.
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Old 03-31-2015, 03:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapioca View Post
You will hear noise even in concrete buildings, especially if the slabs are narrow and if your neighbours have hardwood/laminate. You will hear noise even from people across the hall through the door, especially if they have pets.
Concrete low raise built in 2006.
I can hear upstairs. Always sounds like she is walking about in high heels.
Every now and then you hear them drop something that sounds like a marble or golf ball.
Middle of the night, I can hear the guy use the toilet.
I can hear the neighbour listening to his rave music in the day.
The unit at the end of the hall had a yappy dog. It was as clear as if it was in our unit.

As Tapioca said, noise will always be there, it's just if you have good neighbours or not.
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Old 03-31-2015, 04:05 PM   #11
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Something to consider is what the strata's bylaws are on modifications, such as hardwood or laminate. Also, if you're looking at used units, review the minutes to see if the strata has a history of investigating noise complaints. Some proactive strata will force owners to rip out hardwood installations that weren't installed with proper underlayment, for example.
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Old 03-31-2015, 04:49 PM   #12
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Loud as fuck. Live on the ground floor of a 2013 unit. There are pretty strict noise restrictions in our building so they are quiet Sunday to Thursday nights, but the guy above me goes balls out til 3AM Fri and Saturday nights. I don't really mind since we're night owls, but certainly something to keep in mind. I would think resourcing the strata council would be more effective wrt noise issues in wood than looking into the building construction or any sort of noise dampening mechanisms.
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Old 03-31-2015, 04:54 PM   #13
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Live in late 2002 built wood frame. Unless the people tip toe you can hear everything.
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Old 03-31-2015, 07:02 PM   #14
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My mom lives in a 10 year old wood frame built by Onni. Pretty sure it's just dry wall between the units with no sound deadening at all because the noise is pretty bad. In addition, when the downstairs neighbour has her grand kids over, they run back and forth and it actually shakes the floor of my mom's condo. What the fuck. Worst quality building I've ever seen. If you plan on buying, stay the fuck away from Onni built condos.

I live in a concrete building and it's far more quiet. Nothing is perfect though. I still hear faint noises from other units (like some idiot who just moved in with a subwoofer. Who the fuck uses a subwoofer in a condo and plays music past midnight?) and sound travels a lot more so what sounds like noise above me could be coming from a unit elsewhere.
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Old 03-31-2015, 07:10 PM   #15
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Old 03-31-2015, 08:12 PM   #16
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I live in a 2 year old wood frame low rise condo. When people in the hallway walk by, the floor shakes. I can hear my downstairs neighbor walk around. I live on the top floor too. Despite that, I still hear all the noise.

Other than my stupid neighbor on the right and her dumb barking dogs, my other neighbors are reasonably quiet.

Nonetheless, I do not at all recommend moving into a wood frame apartment/condo no matter what floor it is.
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Old 03-31-2015, 09:39 PM   #17
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I live in a low rise, wood condo. I can't hear downstairs or next door (unless it's the odd time they have their music up loud) but upstairs can diaf. Not only can I hear them stomping around, but I can hear him talking on his phone, them yelling at their young child, etc, etc. I can hear EVERYTHING from them. And it's fucking irritating.

If my landlords weren't so amazing, I'd have moved the second these assholes moved in upstairs. I miss the Filipino family that lived up there before.
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Old 03-31-2015, 09:48 PM   #18
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Do not move into a wood frame multi-family, period.

in the last 6 years my company has built roughly 400 multifamily units, majority being townhouses with buildings ranging from 2-12 units in 1 building. As well, we also built 2 low rise wood frame buildings, both 4 storey in different configurations.

me and my parents bought 2 units in the first wood 4 storey as an investment 7 years ago. Every single renter we have has complained about noise from adjoining units and it was so bad 2 years ago with super rowdy partying drug dealers that cops were getting called nightly and our tentants moved out in the middle of the month. Any sort of music/noise/talking during the night when its otherwise "quiet" can be easilly heard. While we were building these units cars would drive by with their systems bumping and it would shake the structure of the unit i was working in.

The townhouses we built are no better. So say you live in a unit in the middle of the building with a unit on either side. Typically, and this is somthing no one really clues into, at LEAST one of the adjoining bed rooms is overlapping into your unit. so the layout switches from unit to unit and typically the master bed room floor is overlapping into YOUR living room ceiling, it's just to expand the space and keep a building square with the feeling like your living space isnt just a box.

In all these units the divider is a double 2x4 interior wall, a batt of insulation in either side of the stud space, and a single sheet of 1'2" drywall on both interior walls.

This may sound like it would provide a noise barrier.. and "technically" it meets spec, but it does not block -anything-

When building the townhouses i often do a little test, I have the small job site makita radio, listening to AM radio, litterally no vocal or bass sounds i'll leave it in one finished unit, go out the deck, and go into the neighboring unit closing each patio door. Without any other sound around the voice of the radio is clearly audible through the wall.

Crying baby? Parties? Stereos with Subs?

lol..

Honestly, from what i know, have heard, and have seen, you couldnt pay me to live in a wood frame building. I'd prefer to rent a basement suite and risk dealing with the 1 home owner than roll the dice and have 1-6 adjoining neighbors and pray to jesus that they are "good" neighbors.

In comparison, and as others have echoed, me and le GF now own in a complete concrete high rise. This building was built in 1988, which is a benefit because structurally, this building has more concrete in it than most new buildings twice the height. I've been trying to get info on the thickness of the slabs and walls but it's hard to track down.

Anyways, our direct neighbor down the hall has 2 kids who are under 6, sometimes when you come home at night the kids are fucking SCREAMING, very audible in the hallway. Go into our unit with a steel fire door, close the door with a tight sweep on it, which is litterally 6 feet away from their door, 95% of sound eliminated.

Walk another 10 feet down the hall into my office, zero sound, -ever-

our bed rooms, living room, and kitchen? We've never heard noise from surrounding neighbors once. Yea, of course if somone like drops somthing heavy etc you'll hear a thud, but often when i'm just relaxing, reading etc. not once does the thought of neighbors cross my mind.

Weigh your options, but like i said, for me, never, ever.
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Old 03-31-2015, 10:24 PM   #19
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I wouldn't move into a wood frame building. Friend just bought a low raise 4 storey wood frame (she lives on the 4th floor) You could hear ppl from other units and downstairs. But then the developer is known to cheap out on things. I was thinking of getting a unit myself there as well and I am sure glad I didn't lol.

So I guess your developer is pretty important. Always check the developers history.
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Old 03-31-2015, 10:38 PM   #20
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I have been living in my condo since 2006. It's a 4-floor wood-frame complex in Langley. When I bought it, I did so with the intention of getting something that would be easy to resell. So, I was either going to go main floor, or top floor. I had experience living in a concrete high-rise in downtown, and sometimes I could hear the occupants above me. So, I went with the top-floor, corner unit, because I knew I wouldn't be able to tolerate footsteps above me, and I didn't want to be surrounded.

Overall, it's been great. Initially, I was the jerk that had his music/bass too loud, but I've learned to live without the subwoofer. This is my first home purchase, and I think I lucked out in a lot of ways. There are a lot of factors that can make or break one's enjoyment of their domicile, and I'm fortunate in where I ended up. I talked to some neighbor's that had a place facing a road on an incline, and they complained about the noise of vehicles accelerating up the hill. Then, there's the side of the building that's near a pond, and it sounds like there are millions of crickets and frogs rocking out their ballads all night long.

It's really important to do research, and get opinions of other condo owners. Look into how the strata is being managed. Don't be fooled by low strata fees on new condos. Buy with the plan of reselling... ...and other stuff I can't remember at the moment.
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Old 03-31-2015, 11:00 PM   #21
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I saw some cool plywood for jimmy pattisons yacht. Approx 1" thick with alternating layers of lead in between. Super heavy but quiet as a mouse. Just don't lick it
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Old 03-31-2015, 11:05 PM   #22
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Thanks everyone. Always looking to talk to as many people who've experienced things first hand as I can. Looks like what I assumed stays true which is noise is generally unavoidable in a multi family building and it's the luck of the draw with neighbors that really make or break it. Thanks RS once again.
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Old 03-31-2015, 11:54 PM   #23
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Same topic.. What about those big houses "chopped" into 3 or 4 units in Kits? They are $900k for a ground floor suite.
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Old 04-01-2015, 12:37 AM   #24
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Quote:
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I was the jerk that had his music/bass too loud, but I've learned to live without the subwoofer.

First they came for the subwoofers
and I did not speak out
because I was in a wooden building
Then they came for the 6 speed manual
and I did not speak out
because I was a daily commuter
Then they came for the sweet dank bud
and I did not speak out
because my significant other doesn't like smoking
Then they came for my testicles
and there was nothing left
keeping me feeling young
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Old 04-01-2015, 05:56 AM   #25
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I saw some cool plywood for jimmy pattisons yacht. Approx 1" thick with alternating layers of lead in between. Super heavy but quiet as a mouse. Just don't lick it
Yea at $30/sq foot probably lol
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