Living below a noisy person is difficult on the nerves and on your ability to sleep. Many homeowners have teenagers upstairs who happen to have a hearing problem when it comes to the volume of their music. Maybe your child just discovered how much they love to play the drums or a nice, new shiny trombone. You may live in an apartment or condo just under the galloping heels of the woman above who happens to leave for work at 5 am. Your upstairs neighbors might even be hard of hearing and listening to infomercials at 3 am isn’t your idea of a peaceful night’s rest. You or your family may even be the noise culprit, with little Annie practicing her new tap moves while you cringe listening to the downstairs neighbor’s baby cry because her nap was disrupted.
Regardless of where you live whether it is a two or more story single family home or a large apartment complex, noise can present a problem and create issue with neighbors. One would hope in most condo and apartment complexes neighbors would try to respect each other’s right to peace, but that doesn’t always happen. Moving away from the noise presents challenges. You may like your neighborhood, love the school system and have a great relationship with the quiet neighbors or if you have teenagers – you can’t just move away without them. In the latter case you would just be transporting the noise to a new house or apartment.
So, what can you do to limit the noise while letting Jimmy bang away on the drums to his hearts content? Soundproof or sound deaden the floors. While soundproofing and sound deadening is a highly success way of lowering the iHome by a few decibels, don’t expect your home to be without any sound except for the pin drop, but it will make a drastic reduction in noise. There are several soundproofing and sound deadening solutions to quiet the ones living upstairs. Start with the easiest solutions first and progress to the more intrusive. Some soundproofing may require the help of a professional. Even if you are a handy do it yourself type homeowner, going to a pro is well worth the investment in saving your sanity.
Limiting the Sounds and Noises with Carpet and Padding
Covering a floor with a thick padding or specialized sound deadening padding will help to limit the upstairs noise. Lay carpet over the padding to maximize the sound deadening effects. This method helps to reduce the noise, but won’t eliminate it completely. Padding and carpeting has to be installed wall to wall in order for it to be effective. The thicker the carpet or standard padding the better it will work to absorb sound. Sound deadening padding and standard carpeting are effective when trying to reduce the noise from radios, TVs, talking, musical instruments and the clomping of shoes.
Using carpeting and padding is one of the easier ways to reduce noise and is very effective, but don’t expect miracles.
Soundproofing Underlayment for Floors
If you are installing new floors or are willing to install new floors to reduce the level of noise, there is a great product to use to quiet the sounds from above.
Unroll soundproofing underlayment onto the floor you plan to cover. Equip a caulking gun with a tube of green glue damping compound. Squeeze the caulking gun’s handle to express the damping compound in wavy lines back and forth across the entire floor. Spread the compound over the underlayment in a thin layer. Lay engineered wood flooring or hardwood floors over the top of the damping compound before the damping compound dries. Sandwiching damping compound between sound deadening underlayment and the wood or engineered floor will reduce a variety of noises including radios, TVs, footsteps and musical instruments. Toss an area rug or throw rug in the room to beef up the benefits.
Double Dampening Compound Benefits
After laying sound deadening underlayment and spreading a layer of damping compound, install cork floors. Cork floors are an eco friendly, green flooring option that acts as a sound barrier. Cork flooring comes in a wide variety of colors and styles to fit in with your decorating themes and ideas. Cork offers more soundproofing benefits than hard surfaces such as wood or engineered flooring.
Soundproofing and Sound Deadening Options When You Don’t Have Access to the Floor Above
The options for laying carpeting, sound deadening underlayment and damping compounds are quite effective for noise reduction, but what do you do if you can’t exactly knock on your upstairs neighbor’s door and say you guys are way too loud and have no common courtesy. You may also not be willing to add new flooring to your upstairs rooms – don’t worry, you have some options from the other side of the floor or ceiling depending on how you look at it.
Drywall to the Soundproofing Rescue
Measure your ceiling and buy ¼ inch drywall. While you’re buying, get green glue and an acoustical sealer. Wash the ceiling with a grease fighting dish washing soap and a nylon scrubbing pad. Wipe the ceiling with a damp rag and dry immediately with a clean rag. Wait 24 hours to make sure the ceiling has dried completely. Spread a layer of green glue to the surface of the ceiling and a thin layer over the surface of the drywall. With the help of a friend, lift the drywall panel to the ceiling to sandwich the green glue in between the existing drywall ceiling and the new drywall. Drive screws through the drywall into the wood beams. Place a tube of acoustical sealer into a caulking gun. Squeeze the sealer into the gaps between the sheets of drywall and around the edges. Smooth the sealer with a gloved finger and let it set and dry. Prime, paint the ceiling and enjoy the quiet.
Acoustical Ceiling Tiles
Consider hanging acoustical ceiling tiles over your existing ceiling. Glue the tiles to the ceiling with green glue and use acoustical sealer to close the gaps around the edges and between the tiles. Typically, professional soundproofers get better results than homeowners, so if noise is a big problem, it is well worth the investment.
To achieve maximum soundproofing, walls and doors also require soundproofing measures.