Help – I Have Noisy Neighbors!

There really isn’t anything worse than having noisy upstairs neighbors. As a matter of fact, I write this as I listen to the kids upstairs dropping what can only be a bowling ball onto the floor above my head over and over again. The noise is, for lack of a better word, unpleasant.

If you live in an apartment or condo then chances are you have a noisy neighbor or two as well (unless, of course, you ARE the noisy upstairs neighbor). Before you can do anything about your problem you need to determine what type of noise you’re dealing with. Is it impact noise or is it airborne noise? Knowing the difference will help you determine what soundproofing materials you need and what techniques you’ll ultimately need to use.

Let’s start by understanding impact noise. Impact noise is sound that is caused by people, animals, furniture, toys (you name it) running or moving across a floor. The impact of their feet hitting the floor vibrates and travels through the floors and joists, allowing you to hear their every move. The kids in the apartment above me dropping whatever it is they’re playing with over my head is creating a form of impact noise.

The most common and effective sound proofing solution for impact noise issues is to float the wall or ceiling – adding an extra layer of drywall to form a sealed off crevice to block the sound from traveling through.

The second type of nose, as mentioned above, is airborne noise. Airborne noise is the type of sound created by televisions, radios, voices, lawnmowers, etc. The noise doesn’t travel through the joists of the building itself but through the air instead.

If you’ve already floated your ceilings or walls because of impact noise you shouldn’t need to take any further action to protect against airborne noise. Otherwise, your best option is to add a layer of mass loaded vinyl to your existing drywall, seal it with acoustical caulk and gasket tape, add a second layer of drywall, and refinish the wall.

The situation may seem hopeless at first but soundproofing a room or apartment against noisy neighbors is not as difficult as you might have at first believed. Check out some of our other soundproofing articles for more information on sound, soundproofing, and how to best protect your condo or apartment from unwanted noise. You deserve to live a peaceful life!

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