How Thick Are Apartment Walls? 4 Helpful Examples (Explained)

The thickness of your walls at home can significantly impact your living experience.

It is crucial to your comfort level at home as it affects the noise levels, insulation, and temperature control.

When your house or apartment unit has thick walls, then the insides of your home won’t have too much background noise. Thick walls can also help retain heat better, which can be quite helpful during winter.

Since the thickness of walls can highly impact your living experience at home, you’d want to know how thick apartment walls normally are, especially when looking for an apartment.

Here’s How Thick Apartment Walls Generally Are:

A lot of factors can affect the thickness of apartment walls. In general, apartment walls are between 4 and 12 inches thick, depending on how old the building is and the materials used to build the walls. Nowadays, apartment walls are not as thick as they were before.

How Thick Are the Walls in Different Types of Buildings?

The thickness of apartment walls may vary depending on the type of material used to construct them.

It can also vary depending on how new or old the entire building is.

Let’s check some examples:

1. Old Apartment Buildings

The thickness of walls in old building apartments can vary depending on the construction methods and type of materials used at the time of their construction.

Generally, the walls in older apartment buildings tend to be slightly thicker than those built recently. Old buildings usually have walls that are between 8 and 12 inches thick.

Many old buildings, typically those completed before the mid-20th century, have walls made from thick materials such as masonry or brick.

These walls are usually around 8 to 12 inches thick or even more, which makes them structurally stable and durable.

This is why many old buildings lasted so long, and some of them are still standing now.

For older buildings constructed after the mid-20th century, lighter materials were used for construction, which resulted in thinner walls. Common materials include wood framing, drywall, and concrete blocks.

These materials are still sturdy, but buildings made from them weren’t as resilient and stable as older ones.

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2. New Apartment Buildings

Compared to old buildings, the walls of newer and modern apartment buildings aren’t as thick.

This is because of the construction methods and materials used.

The walls of newer apartment buildings are usually between 6 and 12 inches thick, and some of them can even be as thin as 4 inches.

A wall that’s 4 inches thick can be adequately sturdy and durable as long as it is not too high. Higher walls need to be even thicker so that they are structurally stable.

The most common materials used for constructing modern building walls include drywall, concrete, wood, metal, stone, ceramic tiles, and plastic.

Brick is still used nowadays, but they’re not as common and popular as before.

3. Tall Apartment Buildings

The thickness of walls can also depend on the building’s height. The general rule is that walls need to be thicker if the building is taller.

A building that’s around 70 feet high, or with 5 to 7 stories, depending on the ceiling height, should have walls that are at least 12 inches thick.

For every additional 70 feet in height, the walls should have an additional thickness of 4 inches.

This ensures that the walls are sturdy and stable enough to properly support the entire building.

If the walls are not as thick as they need for tall buildings, then the building would most likely have structural issues. The walls may start to crack, and the building wouldn’t last long.

4. Standalone Houses

Because standalone houses aren’t built to be directly connected to other houses, they are usually not as thin as apartment building walls.

The thickness of walls in standalone houses can still vary depending on the specific design of the house and the construction methods used, but they are usually between 6 to 12 inches thick. They could even be thicker if the house had tall walls.

The thickness of walls can also depend on when the house was constructed. Building codes back then may be different from what’s being followed nowadays.

Older standalone houses usually have brick or solid masonry walls, which are thicker than the walls in current houses.

Modern-day houses use lighter materials to construct their walls, so they aren’t as thick as older ones.

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Does The Thickness of Apartment Walls Vary Per State?

In the United States, the thickness of walls may vary depending on the state, building design, construction methods used, and building codes.

In general, walls in apartment buildings located in colder states are significantly thicker than those in warmer areas.

The thickness of walls in apartment buildings highly impacts the level of comfort of the occupants. In colder states, apartment walls need to be thicker so that the units are well insulated.

These states have building codes and regulations that specify how thick house and apartment walls must be.

An apartment with thick wells can absorb and retain more heat to warm it comfortably. This helps regulate the temperature in apartments located in colder states.

So if you live in the coldest states in the U.S., which include Alaska, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wyoming, Montana, Maine, Wisconsin, Idaho, Vermont, and Michigan, you can expect that the walls of your house or apartment are thicker compared to those in warmer states.

The walls needn’t be as thick in warm states like Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, South Carolina, Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Mississippi.

People living in these states would benefit from thinner walls so that their houses or apartments feel cooler despite the warm temperatures in their location.

How Thick Are the Really Thin Apartment Walls?

Apartment walls are usually 6 to 12 inches thick, depending on the materials and construction methods used, but there are apartment walls thinner than this.

Some apartment walls are only around 4 inches thick, which isn’t too bad as long as the material is sturdy enough.

The really thin apartment walls are usually 2 to 3 inches thick. These walls are typically made of light materials like drywall or plaster attached to pieces of metal or wood to add stability.

Walls with this thickness can still be sturdy. However, an apartment with thin walls may be uncomfortable to live in.

If you live in an apartment with thin walls, you’d often get noise and disturbances from your neighbors, which can be quite uncomfortable.

Sometimes, funky odors can seep through apartment walls, which means your apartment may get unpleasant smells from your neighbors.

Can You Risk Drilling a Hole All the Way Through?

In most apartments, tenants are not permitted to drill holes through the walls without the approval of the landlord or building manager.

In many cases, tenants are not allowed to drill holes at all.

You can risk drilling a hole all the way through, but the biggest risk in drilling holes on apartment walls is that you may be hitting plumbing pipes and electrical wiring. The worst-case scenario is that you may even damage some structural components of the apartment while drilling.

If you simply want to hang something on your wall, you may want to consider other options that don’t require drilling hills.

You can use self-adhesive velcro, magnetic tapes, hooks, or sticky string tape to mount things on your wall. These methods are renter-friendly, and you won’t risk damaging your walls permanently.

Before drilling a hole through the wall and after securing the permission of your landlord or building manager, you have to check the location of pipes and wiring. For this, you can use a stud finder or other tools.

Or better yet, you can consult with a professional plumber, electrician, or contractor before drilling any holes through the walls in your apartment. This is to avoid damaging any structural components.

Can You Ask a Landlord to Make Apartment Walls Thicker?

You can ask a landlord to make apartment walls thicker, but whether or not they agree will depend on several factors:

  • Age of the building
  • Construction methods and materials used
  • Budget
  • Building codes in your area

As the landlord, they are generally responsible for maintaining the structure of the building. This is to ensure that it’s safe to live.

If the walls in your apartment are too thin that it’s causing a disturbance in your home, then you can bring it up with your landlord to see if anything can be done to resolve this.

They may be able to soundproof your apartment or add insulation to cancel out or minimize any outside noise. If soundproofing is too expensive, they may be able to provide alternative solutions.


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