How will 3rd floor renovations affect us?
November 12, 2013 5:01 AM   Subscribe

If you've ever lived on the first floor and had renovations going on on the third floor/roof (adding dormers, installing plumbing for a bathroom, etc), please tell me your story! I'm trying to figure out if this will be a minor inconvenience (eg, only distant noise) or a major headache (feels like it's happening in my apartment). The building is a 2-family condo with three floors altogether. Thanks!
posted by cider to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I live on a four story building from 1885 and every time a new family moves it there is some sort of renovation and a month or so of scaffolding, noise, construction mess, water mains being turned off, early starts on weekdays and weekends.

The first three, well, that comes with living in a multi-family building and there's not much to say or do about it. Patience and tolerance. It may be your turn someday. Both the workers and the neighbors want to get it over as quickly as possible. Ask for a heads-up when the water gets turned off, but you can hardly complain about what cannot be avoided. You can ask that they not start too early on the weekend and not toss cigarette butts everywhere.
posted by three blind mice at 5:11 AM on November 12, 2013

cider: I'm trying to figure out if this will be a minor inconvenience (eg, only distant noise) or a major headache (feels like it's happening in my apartment).

Well, both. A good bit of it will be simply inconvenient noise, but certain construction sounds (sawing and drilling especially) can really reverberate through the building. Luckily those sounds are not the majority of the sounds. I would say it will normally be the kind of disruption you can live with, but you may want to make a plan for getting out of the house on the few days when they are doing a lot of sawing or drilling or whatever particular parts of this project end up being the most annoying.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:17 AM on November 12, 2013

The roof work will probably be noisy, because a lot will be going on at ground level outside your windows. For the interior stuff, I think most of the noise may be workers tromping up and down the stairs, carrying materials and tools up and down.
posted by jon1270 at 5:23 AM on November 12, 2013

You can't work at home while it's going on. Hopefully they'll respect weekends, but don't bet on it. There will be WAY more dust, a contactor will destroy something in the common area (or an item of yours in particular) and your animals will not be happy.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:27 AM on November 12, 2013

So much depends on acoustics. I live on the lower floor of a three-story building of three flats (so there's one flat between us and the top floor flat), and I pretty much never hear anything from the top floor, including twice when there have been renovations going on. I heard a saw and maybe drill, briefly. These are smallish apartments with high ceilings (first and second floor), and an even smaller apartment without high ceilings on the top. So, we're lucky, but our upstairs neighbors (the in-betweeners) apparently hear everything from the top floor, including just walking around, and sexy and/or angry times. If you know that you ordinarily just don't hear much noise from up there for whatever reason, I'd guess there's a fair possibility that the renovations won't be super loud, at least most of the time. If you're lucky.
posted by taz at 5:59 AM on November 12, 2013

I just rode out renovations on all the apartments surrounding mine. It wasn't that bad (and I work from home). It was a redoing of floors, bathroom tile and kitchen cabinets so there was a noisy day or two of destruction per apartment, some hammering and drilling over the rest of the month. The noise was not really spread out but instead happened in pretty concentrated bursts. Our building management was pretty good about enforcing a renovation schedule - 8-5 only and no weekends. Probably the noisiest thing was the workers coming and going in the hallway bickering with each other

We had no dust problems and no paint fumes either but I also work pretty hard to maintain positive air pressure in my apartment with respect to the other apartments in general by having windows open all the time (a trick I learned from having a smoking neighbour).
posted by srboisvert at 6:00 AM on November 12, 2013

keep an eye out for damage to your apartment

I lived in a first-floor unit in a three-story building while they were doing extensive renovations on the top floor. The noise wasn't so bad, actually, but the boneheaded contractors either threw or dropped something out of a window, which bounced and smashed through my window. While I was sitting next to it.
posted by uncleozzy at 6:03 AM on November 12, 2013

In my last place, I lived in the basement of a 5 floor split level house and while I was living there, they renovated all the bathrooms. The one on the floor above my head was probably louder in my apartment than on the floor they were renovating on. The one that was two floors above my head was substantially less loud, but it still wasn't 'have a telephone conversation while they're drilling' quiet. And they cut all the tiles in the garage which was the 1/2 level in front of my suite and that was none-too-quiet, either.

My current place is a condo that I bought pre-construction, so they were still finishing the floors above me when I moved in. I'd say things were never 'can't have a conversation while this is happening' loud, even when they were one story above me, but they were pretty annoying until they were about 5 floors away and still at least vaguely audible even when they were working 18 floors away.

I work from home, so these things were more significant than they would have been if I didn't.
posted by jacquilynne at 6:29 AM on November 12, 2013

I currently live on the first floor of a four-story building (5 if you include the basement) and they're doing renovations on the third floor right now. It's generally just inconvenient because I work normal hours (leave around 8:15, home around 6:15), but one day I had a conference all at 8:30 so I took it from home and it was so noisy I had to put myself on mute. I don't know what they were doing but it felt like jackhammering underneath me. Also they seem to shut the water off a lot.
posted by radioamy at 7:27 AM on November 12, 2013

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