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Portuguese flats: is this the norm?

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Posts: 24
Community Member
Topic starter
(@thr238)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago

Hi

I’d like to ask everyone: are thin walls between Portuguese flats the norm here?

Since being here, I can hear the neighbours talking, their kids, dogs, etc., while inside my flat. The wall and floor design here seems really thin. I’ve lived in other countries (like Germany) where the walls are thick you can’t hear a thing from next door.

Are there places in Portugal you can rent where the walls are thick enough you can’t hear your neighbours? Is that even possible?

Thanks for your thoughts.

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Posts: 191
Ask our Expat Consultant
(@thomasribatejo)
Estimable Member
Joined: 5 years ago

I wouldn't say it's the norm, however it is not uncommon, notably noise entering from common areas and through walls, generally less through floors.

Build quality of apartments is very variable (and 70s-90s places can be particularly poor, as expansion happened rapidly, and in advance of improved standards).

The issue is not helped by hard materials which lead to echoing, and this is common even in better quality buildings. 

It is not inevitable, however. It's something to consider when looking at apartment buildings.

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Posts: 2591
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(@martin)
Famed Member
Joined: 17 years ago

be happy you don't have an apartment in spain...i mean!!

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Posts: 24
Community Member
Topic starter
(@thr238)
Eminent Member
Joined: 2 years ago

Thanks Thomas.

“Not uncommon” is just semantics though, it means the same as “the norm.”

You can get noise through floors - the Portuguese are not a lightfooted people.

It is not inevitable, however. It's something to consider when looking at apartment buildings.”

If it’s not inevitable - then what should renters be looking for in ads and with agencies to avoid renting these types of places?

You mentioned the 70s-90s, so would that mean post-90s buildings are better?

Is it even possible to find quiet accommodation anywhere in Portugal (aside from a house in the middle of a field)? Surely there are some Portuguese who hate the noise too.

You don’t indicate where you live, so not sure if you're the right person to ask.

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Posts: 191
Ask our Expat Consultant
(@thomasribatejo)
Estimable Member
Joined: 5 years ago
Posted by: @thr238

If it’s not inevitable - then what should renters be looking for in ads and with agencies to avoid renting these types of places?

You really need to visit, or have someone visit for you - an ad or an agent is unlikely to flag noise clearly. If possible, visit at the kind of time when other occupants are likely to be home, and perhaps focus on noise travel from communal areas into the apartment in question (which you could simulate with one other person) as a guide to how percussive and airborne noise moves around the building in question. 

Posted by: @thr238

You mentioned the 70s-90s, so would that mean post-90s buildings are better?

Building standards improved markedly in the early 2000s, and again around 10 years ago (with other minor changes at other times). Insulation was a significant factor, and whilst this was focused on thermal comfort/efficiency, this typically has a benefit in sound terms, too.

 

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