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Living in a semi - is it noisy?

(52 Posts)
SunnySusie Fri 19-Aug-22 20:46:30

We are 70 and have never lived in a semi, but are thinking of downsizing and in our area its probably the only option. I am worried about neighbour noise through the walls. I am a horrendously light sleeper. What are your experiences? We lived in a flat when we first married which was pretty noisy, then a mid-terrace where we also had noise, but after that its been detached houses and bungalows. Will I be able to hear people next door in a semi? and are older houses better or worse from this point of view?

Franbern Tue 23-Aug-22 17:50:41

Have always been attached in some way to other properties, so....a Victorian end of terrace, stairs adjoining - never heard any noose whatsoever from next door.
Then into a 1972 brand new build - I could even tell when my neighbour plugged in her electric kettle and she could hear us running a bath.
Then a Edwardian solid end of terrace, (stairs adjoining). No noise whatsoever, very solid walls.
Downsized to a inner terrace 1930's house, yes stairs adjoining, but also main bedrooms adjoining. Not quite as silent as the Edwardian house, could hear a noisy dog when they used to look after their daughters one, but TBH nothing really too bad.

Finally into a flat - very thick stone walls, if anybody is doing any DIY work with a power tool it does reverberate throughout the block - but rules are in place allowing that only during daytime. Have never heard anything else at all from upstairs or adjoining flats.

karmalady Tue 23-Aug-22 09:39:38

That town house was a new build. Sound travels very well through hard materials such as walls and pipework

karmalady Tue 23-Aug-22 09:35:08

my son does not get noise, we did not get noise, old small semis. Modern town house stirs attached to stairs on the dividing wall, we could hear the teenagers thump up and down stairs. We could hear doors slam and a radio being played from their upstairs bedroom behind ours. We moved, detached nowadays, the only noise might be signs of life from a local garden ie a puppy whining or a car door

My mil was in a 30s semi, I cannot ever recollect that being noisy. Truly it depends on the neighbours

Germanshepherdsmum Tue 23-Aug-22 09:06:06

I have lived in two semis, one a C16 cottage and the other a Victorian house. There was no noise purely because in both cases the neighbours were very quiet. It’s the luck of the draw and I was very lucky. Neighbours come and go and the quiet ones may be replaced with people who have screaming babies and children, yell at each other, have the tv on at full blast or love loud parties. I wouldn’t consider a semi again, but I am very fortunate not to have to.

Farzanah Tue 23-Aug-22 09:03:42

This thread has made me feel very reluctant to downsize to say a flat or semi bungalow for my old age. ?

biglouis Tue 23-Aug-22 03:15:38

The same neighbour complained when I decorated because I had to drag the furniture away from the walls and walk up and down ladders. I offered her the opportunity to come and help me so it would be done sooner. For some reason she did not accept.

Although I dont play loud music/give parties or keep a barking dog I seem to have had my share of whining needy neighbours. Nowadays I just dont open the door to them because I know this will wind them up even more. I am a past mistress of the art of being "difficult to contact".

M0nica Mon 22-Aug-22 21:57:50

'neighbour' should read 'lady'

M0nica Mon 22-Aug-22 21:57:13

Biglouis You have my sympathy. Our first flat was rented from the house owner, an elderly neighbour. She complained about every move we made, walking round the flat. She clearly expected her tenants to spend their evenings sat unmoving in their arm chairs, watching television with the volume off. We didn't have a tv, but we did ask friends round occasionally for a meal. Usually, just one other couple. One day we asked friends round with a year old child - this was lunch time on a Sunday.

In the end we went out and bought a house, several years earlier than planned simply because we got fed up with the constant complaints. We met the couple who were following us as the tenants of the flat, and couldn't help but get some amusement from realising that they would not put up with the complaints and limits on our behaviour that we had put up with, even though in the end it drove us out and were likely to tell her that as they were paying rent for the property, they could do what they liked.

LadyGracie Sun 21-Aug-22 21:13:06

I'd never live in another semi, our last one was awfully noisy you could even hear the thundering noise of someone having a wee. We did also live in a 200 year old terraced cottage once, and you couldn't hear a thing from either neighbour.

MrsKen33 Sun 21-Aug-22 16:52:29

Yes it is. We had a lazy dad next door who whistled or shouted for his children if they were upstairs and he didn’t want to move off the sofa. One son played music very loudly whenever his parents were out, and the other rowed a lot with his girlfriend. We could hear every word. It was very stressful at times and we were very glad to move. Apparently they are still there upsetting another lot of neighbours

biglouis Sun 21-Aug-22 13:51:22

If you live in a semi with (say) two bedrooms then it would make sense to locate that of the lightest sleeper on the non attached part of the house. However it often depends upon where the stairs are as some people do not realise how elephantine they are going up and down.

Flats are probably the worst for noise.

I once had an elderly downstairs neighbour who complained about me being awake after 11 oclock. Not because I was playing loud music, entertaining and so on. Just ordinary household noises like boiling a kettle, running the shower or flushing the loo. She claimed that she could not settle until she heard me go into the bedroom because she was afraid she would doze off and get woken up by some "loud" noise.

She even whinged to the management committee (of which I was a member) and was told "sorry these are just lifestyle differences that you will have to get used to". Apparently she had whinged about the family who lived there previously because they had a young child who "ran across the floor".

Unfortunately neither the young child nor I had yet mastered the art of levitation!

Aldom Sun 21-Aug-22 13:16:35


We bought a new build 22 yes, ago, it's a bit like the old fashioned back to back ( I am at the rear)

Never again would I have a new build, my neighbour at the mo is fine, young lad about 35 ish,he's been here about 9 yrs, not noisy but does have tv/ games thingy up loud. Can hear him talking on phone. But would never complain as he is a good neighbour.

Previously we have had other neighbours, most of them really noisy all the time, well maybe they were just living normal life, but walls so thin, could hear TV, hoover, talking, door knocking, doors opening and closing etc. I would much prefer old styly semi like we used to have.

There is a huge difference in the insullation in houses built 22 years ago and houses built in the past 11 years. My terraced, 11 year old house is so well insulated that it seems like living in a detached house in the middle of a field. grin
Previously I have lived in detached houses, except for our first house (semi detached, 1960's) we could hear a little from next door, but not enough to be intrusive. My daughter's home is a four storey, Victorian terrace. They hear their neighbours', especially on the stairs and in particular, the opera singer on one side, when he is rehursing. grin

JaneJudge Sun 21-Aug-22 13:03:31

yes you hear one another but I personally think unless it is nuisance noise, you just get used to one another's routine and then start to barely notice. It is give and take I suppose with neighbours

NotSpaghetti Sun 21-Aug-22 12:57:24

My house is 1890s. It is a terrace - the middle of just 3. We were told we were not noisy by our neighbours when we had 5 children at home!
I couldn't believe it but it was because they lived so differently to us that we didn't make noise in the areas that they used for eating or quiet relaxation. I admit we were trying to be quiet in the evening.

Next door (stairs/hallway next to ours) manages to be noisy as far as I'm concerned. The other side is quieter unless they have a party.
The noisy side is a lone grandmother who had her grandchildren over a lot! It as a huge house. I think they come to play shrieky games and chase about!
There is also a noisy dog.

bikergran Sat 20-Aug-22 20:22:27

We bought a new build 22 yes, ago, it's a bit like the old fashioned back to back ( I am at the rear)

Never again would I have a new build, my neighbour at the mo is fine, young lad about 35 ish,he's been here about 9 yrs, not noisy but does have tv/ games thingy up loud. Can hear him talking on phone. But would never complain as he is a good neighbour.

Previously we have had other neighbours, most of them really noisy all the time, well maybe they were just living normal life, but walls so thin, could hear TV, hoover, talking, door knocking, doors opening and closing etc. I would much prefer old styly semi like we used to have.

Lathyrus Sat 20-Aug-22 20:04:36

My terraced house built 2011, I only heard DIY and they had babies n either side!

My 1940 semi - everything,! Conversations, music, housework. And I’m afraid children. As I said to DH I was really glad we didn’t live next door to us!

Cherrytree59 Sat 20-Aug-22 19:16:43

My sister and her then husband moved in to a semi (poss built early 70s) just after she married , having lived in a semI with our parents , she did not really expect it to be any different.
However the party wall was between their bedroom and next doors bedroom
Every morning week days and weekend at 5am the NDN alarm would go off.
The straw that broke the camel's back, was when the alarm continued to go off whilst the neighbours were away on holiday!

She and her husband used 2 by 2 and built a frame work (grid) on the bedroom party wall.
Insulation was placed inbetween the wood, plaster boarded and then professionally plastered and skirting board replaced .
It worked so well, that they also did the same to the sitting room party wall.

My DD lives in a modern terrace style house, but does not thankfully have a noise issue from either side .

Aldom Sat 20-Aug-22 19:03:41

Plenty of new builds currently being built hallway to hallway. Look on Right Move for ideas. smile

RoseeLee Sat 20-Aug-22 18:58:52

We’ve lived in 1970’s semis for the last 20 years and are trying to buy a detached bungalow. Both semis have had paper thin walls… however nice the neighbours are/have been, we can’t wait to find somewhere detached… Maybe it depends how well the houses are built?

FlexibleFriend Sat 20-Aug-22 18:45:43

I live in a large four bed semi and tbh I think it depends on how noisy your neighbours are. Mine was built in the late '70's by the previous next door neighbours. I lived next door to them for 22 years and never heard a sound coming from them. They moved last year and we got new neighbours, who whilst friendly are far noisier than the original owners. They have children but also lots of visitors one of whom loves the sound of his own voice. When he talks it's like a monologue, you only hear one side of the conversation, not that I want to hear it at all. TBF the house the other side is detached and I hear just as much noise from that side.

blossom14 Sat 20-Aug-22 18:39:58

We have lived in a 1930's semi for 35 years our lounges/front room adjoin.
Ist neighbour rather deaf 80 year old we could hear her TV.
2nd neighbour single Mum two kids only heard teenage upsets.
Current neighbour Family with 3 children, Can hear cello practice( good job I like the cello) and youngest child learning piano.
Semi on the other side (driveway in beteween) I can hear drum practice.
I don't mind a bit of noise and DH is partially deaf.

AreWeThereYet Sat 20-Aug-22 18:17:23

Depends a lot on the semi I think. In my DM's house they can hear the dog barking, people going up and down the stairs and doors all over the house opening and shutting. She lives in quite an old house (100 years+), newer houses might have more sound proofing.

SunnySusie Sat 20-Aug-22 17:52:19

Thank you to everyone who replied to my query about noise in semi detached houses, its been really helpful. The tip about looking to see how many rooms have party walls is excellent and also to take account of the age of the house. Not much I can do to find out whether the neighbours are noisy, although going round at different times of day might give me some idea. Thanks again, much appreciated.

Farzanah Sat 20-Aug-22 17:36:26

We’ve lived in a semi cottage where we could hear the neighbour’s clock tick. Two 70s semi’s both of which you could hear neighbours, an Edwardian terrace, not much noise either side. My sister lived in small terraced cottage and could hear next door on the toilet! Recently we had a week away in a holiday rental new build semi and couldn’t hear a thing next door.
I think modern building regs may ensure better sound proofing.

If you do go for a semi, one with hall and stairs on party wall best as previously stated, don’t know why all modern houses not built like this. A new build possibly because of improved soundproofing?

Pittcity Sat 20-Aug-22 08:42:54

We moved from a detached to a semi 18 months ago. We have a widow next door who is very quiet. We hear her phone ring and when she uses the socket on the wall near our couch.
This changes when she has visitors. You can hear children running and jumping and loud conversations.
We realise it must be worse for her as there are 2 or 3 of us living here.
Our house is early 70s and built with the kitchen, staircase and bathroom on the outside so only the living and dining areas are on the party wall side.
We lived in a Victorian terrace and heard nothing through the thick walls.

It really depends on the neighbours. We had noisy neighbours when we lived in a detached.
Go to visit potential properties at evenings and weekends as this is usually the noisiest time.