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Please come and talk to me about semi-detached houses

(51 Posts)
FinallyLearntToBudget Tue 09-Jun-15 16:01:11

We're looking for houses and our budget is tight (see username).

Round these here parts, our budget won't stretch to a detached.

In the world of semi-detacheds, are any ones post-war (1950s/60s/70s) likely to have paper thin walls?

Are 1930s semis likely to be much better, and Edwardian/Victorian semis better still? (In terms of thickness of walls.)

I'm actually concerned as much for us as I am our neighbours-to-be. My husband is a musician and although what he plays isn't electronic, it still makes a fair bit of noise. Don't want to cause any neighbourhood rows confused.

CaurnieBred Tue 09-Jun-15 16:07:32

We live in a 1930s semi - the sound proofing isn't brilliant to be honest and can hear our next door neighbours at times (especially as the chimney breasts have been removed in their house). An instrument would def be heard.

There most be somebody locally that has this issue too - we live on a cul de sac next to a park and we see a bloke parked out in it some times playing a saxaphone!

WorldsBiggestGrotbag Tue 09-Jun-15 16:10:15

We're in an 80's semi and the walls are pretty thin. We live next door to a widowed pensioner who makes no noise at all. We, however have an 18 month old and are currently expecting DC2. We have by far the better deal blush

specialsubject Tue 09-Jun-15 16:12:15

unless you are on a large country estate, he is going to be heard. He needs to use whatever mufflers are available for the instrument, practice at sociable times and be nice to the neighbours. smile

VeryPunny Tue 09-Jun-15 16:12:35

We live in a 1947 semi and it is build like the proverbial outhousegrin That said, we can just about hear next door hoovering against the party wall, and they can hear our kids screaming. There is no day-to-day noise.

It's an ex-council property and for a few decades they were built to good standards.

VivaLeBeaver Tue 09-Jun-15 16:14:33

Look for a house where the front doors are next to each other.

Our semi is like this (Edwardian) and the party wall rooms are hall, kitchen, bathroom, box room. We never hear next door.

Bamaluz Tue 09-Jun-15 16:16:03

A hall - to hall semi would be better for you, or your neighbours rather, than one with rooms either side of the party wall.

mandy214 Tue 09-Jun-15 16:16:25

There have been quite a few threads about this over the last few months and I think the consensus is that older houses are better. But of course that is a generalisation. It also depends on the layout of the house (i.e. whether the living spaces / bedrooms are on either side of the dividing wall, or whether the stairs / landing are on the dividing wall).

I have only ever lived in semi-detached houses (other than my parents’ detached house).

2000s new build semi – 3 children and a dog next door (stairs in middle of houses), never heard a peep. Nothing.
1960s semi – older couple and 2 dogs next door (stairs in middle of houses) – never heard a peep.
1900s Victorian end terrace – 3 children next door (stairs between houses) – heard occasional noise and absolutely everything when our baby monitor picked up their baby monitor’s signal
1930s semi – 2 screamingchildren next door, living spaces in middle of house, stairs on the outside wall – hear quite a lot of their noise, am sure they hear ours. Have had to rearrange bedroom to put wardrobes against dividing wall to try to deaden the noise of their children waking early and us hearing the noise.

You can get soundproofing for the dividing wall (although it can be quite expensive) or you’d need to use one of the “outside” rooms (i.e. that don’t adjoin the neighbour) as your husband’s music room and keep all the doors closed!

WorldsBiggestGrotbag Tue 09-Jun-15 16:17:01

Viva I always wonder why they don't make all semis like that! Ours is the opposite so party walls are living room, dining room, master bedroom and DD's room!

FinallyLearntToBudget Tue 09-Jun-15 16:18:31

Thanks all, that's interesting. Yes, we actually live in a Victorian semi at the moment, but we live next to a widowed pensioner who makes no noise and who is deaf, so husband has had an easy ride so far!

Caurnie husband's instrument is definitely not as loud as a saxophone but I like the idea of parking him on a street corner!

Unfortunately he is addicted to said instrument and has to get at least 20 mins practice in every day.

Legionofboom Tue 09-Jun-15 16:22:13

Having lived in a number of terraced and semi detatched properties I would also add that I have always found the sound of musical instruments to carry so I would be particularly aware of that.

We had some neighbours we never, ever heard except when they played the piano or recorder.

FinallyLearntToBudget Tue 09-Jun-15 16:22:47

Those are very good tips, thank you! I'm very glad I asked MN. The hallway-hallway solution hadn't occurred to me.

I guess this means a terrace is out of the question...? (Unless end terrace.)

FinallyLearntToBudget Tue 09-Jun-15 16:28:41

Legion I remember viewing a flat to rent in a block of flats in London once. As we were viewing, someone nearby started up what sounded like their tuba practice. The look on the estate agent's face was priceless! (Needless to say, we didn't rent the flat...)

Now of course I'm worried about us being the nuisance. (Though again, it's not a brass instrument, or drums. It's a string instrument. So it could be worse!)

Golfhotelromeofoxtrot Tue 09-Jun-15 16:30:41

I live in a semi next to a music teacher- 1970s and we rarely hear her. Very thick walls!

newtonupontheheath Tue 09-Jun-15 16:31:43

We live on a new build estate. You lose the character of an older property but they are built so the living spaces are not next to each other (or, at least the ones we viewed were...) so we have garage next to living room (our own on one side and neighbours on the other side) nothing next to master bedroom and sloped roof space or guest bedroom at a push next to dd's room. Maybe worth a look smile

FinallyLearntToBudget Tue 09-Jun-15 16:32:24

Golf - that surprises me and is encouraging!

FinallyLearntToBudget Tue 09-Jun-15 16:35:32

Thanks Newton - definitely worth thinking about.

ChampagneShowers Tue 09-Jun-15 16:42:43

We lived next to a musician, our party wall was our bathroom and his living room - I rather liked listening to his guitar in the bath.

Legionofboom Tue 09-Jun-15 16:52:33

Now of course I'm worried about us being the nuisance.

But plenty of people who live in terraced and semi-detached houses of flats must play musical instruments.

It's probably less irritating than living next door to our DIY enthusiast neighbours who seem to be drilling or sanding all day every Sunday.

cestlavielife Tue 09-Jun-15 16:59:09

if he plays nicely and at a reasonable time of day then there should not be an issue...

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Tue 09-Jun-15 17:03:24

Our current 50s semi isn't terribly soundproof although I think some of that might be that our neighbours are quite noisy and antisocial. Hammering at midnight anyone? hmm

We had a halls adjoining Victorian semi before and it was like being detached. Next door had 3 teenage boys and we never heard a peep.

JassyRadlett Tue 09-Jun-15 17:09:18

Our 1929 semi is pretty good, we only really hear the neighbours when they are having a screaming match with their adult daughter.

PlainHunting Tue 09-Jun-15 17:10:45

Our Vctorian semi had paper thin walls. Out me off ever living in a semi or terraced house again.

I grew up in a 1960s semi and rarely heard the neighbours (family with teenagers).

mandy214 Tue 09-Jun-15 17:44:40

Just reminds me - was visiting my parents last week who live abroad somewhere hot. All doors and windows open.

About 11am one morning, my parents started frantically getting drinks & nibbles ready and arranging furniture on the outdoor terrace. When I asked what was going on, Mum told me that daughter of their next door neighbour was a piano teacher but practised her own playing between 11 and 12 each Saturday. They were settling down for a little concert. Mum loves it smile.

EarSlaps Tue 09-Jun-15 18:26:42

A lot of terraced houses and semis have extensions coming out of the back so that there is a room that doesn't adjoin next door- that could be a good music room (or look to build such an extension).

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