Do you wake up in the middle of the night because your neighbors are stomping? Are you looking for advice on how to reduce the noise from upstairs neighbors?
It’s scary – Recently published studies show that 30 million Americans are subject to noise pollution. That category also includes dealing with upstairs neighbors’ loud footsteps.
If you struggling with noises from upstairs – loud footsteps, muffled conversations, or even loud music the people living upstairs from you play – you’ll love this guide, then.
Below you’ll find four amazing ways to deal with your loud neighbors and reduce the noises they make so you can relax and sleep peacefully.
Intrigued? Let’s dive in.
What to Consider When Picking a Solution to Reduce Noise From Walking Upstairs
Look, I get it. It’s hard to focus on whatever you need to do or relax at the end of the day when you can hear everything your upstairs neighbors are doing.
I know that it’d make me rage.
But before we discuss how you can reduce the impact of those noises, and soundproof your room from upstairs neighbors, we need to cover some background information. It will help you understand how the sound enters your apartment, and what you could do to stop it.
First, we need to understand what is the sound that bothers you.
What Is Sound and How It Works
Sound is nothing else but energy. It travels through the air and any other medium, including solid objects, gasses, and liquids.
That energy is created by vibrations which in turn create sound waves. And that’s what we hear.
What’s more, each sound wave has a specific frequency, and they travel or ripple from the object and bounce off different surfaces. This is why your neighbor can hear their own footsteps when they walk on their floors, by the way.
Unfortunately, that’s also the reason why you can hear their footsteps too. As they walk around, some of the sound waves travel through the floorboards. Then, they multiply or echo in the hollow space under the floorboards, where you can find pipes that separate their floor from your ceiling.
The result? All those noises enter your apartment, often at a high volume.
Is It Normal to Hear Every Step My Upstairs Neighbor Takes?
Yes, hearing your upstairs neighbors walking throughout the day is quite normal. Regardless of the level of soundproofing you implement, there might always be sounds loud enough to get in.
But things can get out of control if you hear even quiet footsteps.
Unfortunately, things often don’t stop there. Every sound that comes from the top floors, from the sounds of arguing to them blasting loud music or having sex, can affect your daily life.
You might try complaining to your landlord, but, usually, this problem is quite challenging to address. After all, how loud is too loud? Only you can feel that it’s bothering you or affecting your well-being.
This is why you need to come up with a practical solution to guarantee your peace of mind. But first, you need to know why you can hear your upstairs neighbors’ footsteps so much. And there are four good reasons, unfortunately:
- You both might be at home for most of the day. According to statistics, more than 70% of employed adults currently work from home. This means that both you and your neighbor are spending more time at home, and naturally, you can hear their footsteps for a longer duration.
- Your neighbor might be walking too loud without meaning to. If your neighbor suffers from Cavus Foot or high arched feet, they’ll be stomping around the house instead of walking normally, and this means that you can hear their loud footsteps all the time. You’ll also hear louder footsteps if your neighbor uses a cane or a walker.
- Choosing the wrong material for flooring can be the culprit too. Hardwood floors, stone, and tiles have a low IIC or impact insulation class rating, which means that they’re more likely to transmit sounds to the lower floors. This is why these flooring options are more suitable for ground-floor apartments.
- Finally, your neighbors might not be aware that they’re that annoying. Most people don’t realize that they’re that noisy unless someone tells them. You might want to talk to your neighbors or landlord and tell them that you can’t sleep or sit comfortably because they’re walking too loud.
OK, I Can’t Live With the Upstairs Neighbors’ Loud Footsteps. What to Do?
Have you tried talking to your neighbors but they’ve ignored your requests? There are several things you can do next. But before considering the different solutions, there are a few factors that you need to consider.
Type of Noise
Before thinking about how to drown out upstairs neighbors’ noise, there are two types of noises that you might be dealing with in your apartment.
Impact noise is when you hear your upstairs neighbor walking, rearranging the chairs in the living room, or working out in the morning. This noise happens because something physically impacts or affects the floor in the upper floor apartment.
This type of noise creates waves that travel through the space under the floor and eventually through your ceiling, depriving you of sleep.
Airborne noise is the other type of noise you might be dealing with. It happens when your neighbor creates noise in their place while doing the dishes or watching TV. Although nothing gets in direct contact with the flooring, the noise can still disturb you.
Both types of noises will affect your mental, emotional, and even physical state. Because you can’t sleep well at night, you’ll feel stressed in the morning or might not be able to do any of your house chores throughout the day. Noise can also be the main reason for your beloved pet’s distress and discomfort.
Source of the Noise
Once you know the type of noise that’s bothering you, you need to find out from where it is coming into your apartment.
The reason for investigating the source of noise is simple – Without understanding how the noise enters your living space, you might end up wasting money on methods that won’t work for that particular problem.
The good news is that most of the time, there are only several potential sources of the noise:
- A small hole or a crevice in the ceiling might be increasing the noise from upstairs.
- Noise might be coming from a particular area of the ceiling only.
There are different ways to address the noise problem, but they’re not all that simple. Some of the solutions are easy to implement, and you can quickly enjoy the peace and quiet in your home. In other cases, you might have to hire a professional to do some renovation work in your house to make it soundproof.
Choosing the right solution depends on the noise level and how it impacts you. If you’ve already talked to your neighbors and they have responded by being more careful while walking around, you might not have to take great measures to dampen the noise coming from the upstairs apartment.
However, in some cases, you might have to do something drastic that involves more planning and more professional execution to get rid of the high noise levels. This is true, especially if your neighbors have multiple kids or aren’t responding to your pleas.
Of course, there’s always the question of how much you’re willing to pay. In a perfect world, you’d be able to do whatever you like whenever you like. But, unfortunately, this isn’t the case, and you need to plan carefully before choosing a solution to deal with your noisy upstairs neighbors.
Because we appreciate your need, we’ve listed several solutions that work for multiple situations, and we’ll explain what exactly they’re good for. This way, you can choose the most appropriate solution that helps you deal with the noise and still lies within your budget limit.
How to Deal with Noisy Neighbors – 4 Methods to Try
Now that you understand the reasons behind the noise and the factors that you need to think about, it’s time to choose a suitable solution to deal with this problem. If talking to your neighbors doesn’t work as much as you’d like it to, or if they didn’t respond at all, you can take matters into your own hands by finding a solution that makes your space more comfortable and less annoying.
#1. Use White Noise Machines
We’ve previously explained that every sound has a frequency that makes it audible. This is exactly the science behind white noise machines that people use to help them sleep better.
White noise machines produce all the frequencies audible to the human ear simultaneously, eventually covering your ears with a calming sound that can mask the noise coming from your loud upstairs neighbors.
These machines boost concentration and can help you sleep better. They’re one of the best solutions that can help keep babies and kids asleep throughout the night.
You can buy a machine or use a streaming app on your phone to stream white noise as you’re sleeping. This is probably more affordable than buying a machine that produces white noise. A machine or an app is efficient because you can use them wherever you want.
Another option is to use pink noise. This also combines all of the audible frequencies, but there’s an emphasis on lower frequencies, so the sound is more even. Examples of pink noise include the waves crashing on the beach.
Some people also use some of the appliances they already own at home. These include fridges, vacuum cleaners, and washing machines. Think of an appliance that you already have at home, and you won’t have to wait for long or spend much money to get rid of the noise.
#2. Use Soundproof Paint
Soundproofing or acoustic paint is a fast-drying paint that can reduce the noise in your home. Once you apply this paint, you’ll notice an improvement in the nuisance of the loud footsteps coming from your upstairs neighbors.
This type of paint is both water and UV-resistant, so it’s safe to apply in all rooms and locations. Usually, every layer you apply will dampen the noise levels by 2 to 4 decibels.
In most cases, these latex paints contain polymers that combine together to create a seal that acts as a barrier in front of the sound waves. Some soundproofing paints also contain fillers that improve the paint’s ability to dampen the noise. Ceramic spheres are the most common type of fillers.
You can use soundproofing paint with different colorants to reach the desired shade, and most of the time, you can use a brush, roller, or hopper gun to apply paint. Then, once it’s dry, you can apply another coat and repeat the process until you’ve reached the desired level of noise insulation.
Before you consider this option, you need to understand that it only works if you’re dealing with moderate noise. It’s also a time-consuming job if you decide to do it on your own, but it will work for you if you’re on a tight budget.
Here’s a short video showing the effect of soundproofing paint in a room.
#3. Buy Them a Carpet Or Rug (Or Install One on the Ceiling)
I’m not joking here.
Dealing with upstairs neighbors who don’t seem to care about your well-being is extremely frustrating. But if you’ve already tried talking to them and to the landlord or management and don’t plan on going through legal issues with them, you can start investing in your own sanity.
By buying your neighbors a carpet or rug, you’ll make their floor more soundproof. Sound waves travel through the space that exists between their floor and your ceiling, and installing a carpet will absorb these waves.
Although this solution can be a bit more expensive than buying a white noise machine or using an app, it might work for you if the noise comes from a specific room. For example, this might be the right solution if the neighbor’s kids are running in their room all day long or the neighbors have a stone floor in the room that exists above your bedroom.
Not only will this dampen the noise, but it will also make your neighbors realize that you’re a nice person. As a result, they might try harder to reduce the noise they’re causing.
What if the neighbors refuse your gifts? Don’t despair because you can install a rug or carpet on your ceiling.
Carpeting your ceiling might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when it comes to reducing the noise from the upper floor. But it adds to the aesthetics of your place and makes your room look extra special. This can be a home improvement project that you can do on your own or hire a professional to finish the job on your behalf.
#4. Increase the Density of Your Ceiling
The thin density of your ceiling might be the main reason why you can hear the noise coming from your upstairs neighbors. If there’s no action on their side, it’s time to take matters into your own hand as the downstairs neighbor by installing a drop ceiling or soundproofing panels.
Drop ceilings come in all types of materials, including drywall, wood, and composite. Your choice depends on your personal preferences and budget. You can also choose a plain design or something that adds a slight edge to your room.
This type of ceiling comes in panels that suspend from the main ceiling and act as a second layer that the sound waves hit before traveling to your space. The space between both ceilings helps dampen the sound waves, so they almost diminish by the time they reach you.
One of the perks of drop ceilings is that they’re pretty easy to install. They also provide good insulation, so they’re energy-efficient.
TIP: Use green glue, one of the best acoustic sealants on the market today. It will help you seal those additional layers of sound insulation. Not only will it hold your drywall or composite ceiling in place, but it will also add extra soundproofing to the mix.
Here’s where to apply it when adding extra density to the ceiling (note – the same method works for floors and walls.)
Another option would be to install acoustic tiles. Wood, fiberglass, polyester, and soundproof foam are some of the materials that manufacturers use to make acoustic tiles. You can install them in any pattern to dampen the noise in your home. They also allow you to conveniently access the plumbing or wiring because these tubes and wires pass through the area between the two ceilings.
Installing an acoustic ceiling can be part of your remodeling project because you’ll have to get permission from your landlord, although you might not have to get a legal permit. In most cases, this can be a project that you can finish on your own if you have the right tools, or you’ll have to hire some qualified professionals to finish the job. It’s a time and energy-consuming project, but it’s totally worth it if the noise level is unbearable.
Enduring the loud walking upstairs neighbor can be quite daunting, but you don’t have to deal with this issue forever. Luckily, there are several solutions that you can try without getting into the hassle of legal issues, especially if your neighbor doesn’t comply.
Each solution will work for a specific situation and has its pros and cons. So, you have to weigh your options wisely before picking one.