Soundproofing Solutions for Walls, Windows and Curtains

Dealing With Your Noisy Neighbours Upstairs

Now, there’s nothing worse than having to deal with noisy neighbours especially when they’re right above you. How do you deal with the annoying feet stomping (you can’t ask them no to move around in their apartment, can you?) and perhaps, singing or shouting. You may not be able to do much to stop the sound from reaching you.

However, there are things you can do to protect yourself against disturbing sounds.

You may have to soundproof your ceiling to protect yourself from stomp noises as that’s the ideal way to go about it. If you’re on a lease, the soundproofing options available to you are somehow limited as you probably won’t be able to take actions that’ll involve restructuring.

Not to worry, there are other ways you can limit disturbance from your neighbours upstairs without destroying and rebuilding anything. They are also pretty effective in ensuring you enjoy some peace and quiet in your own home.

What Can You Do About Stomp Noises?

You’ll need to identify what kind of noise you need to be protected against before going through possible soundproofing solutions. Observe where in your home you get disturbed the most. Walk around your home to locate this area. Once you’ve done that, have a quick look over the walls in the area as well.

 

How to Deal With Noisy Neighbours Upstairs
This is important because you want to make sure you fix the most vulnerable spot so you don’t waste time and resources for nought. So take the time to locate the noisiest area before you adopt a soundproofing technique.

Different kinds of noises could find their way into your home. You have to ensure that the solutions you take will work for the kinds of sounds you’re exposed to. Let’s examine the different sounds.

Airborne Sound

Air is the major sound conductor through which sound travels and gets to you. Sound from music or people talking are examples of airborne noise. Sound waves travelling in the air can be stopped in their tracked and absorbed by soundproofing materials such as fibreglass.

Impact Sound

Impact noise or sound is what you get when two objects or surfaces contact each other. The force with which the collision happens determines how much noise is generated from the impact. The impact usually transfers vibrations through the floor and this is a legit source of a nuisance as well.

Examples of impact noises include stomping one’s feet on the floor, throwing objects on the floor, or hammering a wall. When dealing with these kinds of sounds, soundproofing techniques should be focused on absorbing the vibrations and prevent their transfer.

Various techniques exist to help you deal with noise problems depending on what kind it is. Once you’ve discovered the most disturbing noise made by your neighbours, you are better prepared to begin tackling the issue.

The methods below will prove useful in dealing with noise from upstairs neighbours.

10 Ways To Deal With Noisy Neighbours Upstairs

  1. Soundproof Your Ceiling

If you have other humans living right above you, then their floor is close to your ceiling. This is where you should start to protect yourself from undesirable noise.

To limit the sound you’re exposed to from above, creating a floating ceiling is a great idea. This means you’ll need to place some soundproofing layer or barrier between your plasterboard and the ceiling. The soundproofing layer will absorb sound and this will significantly decrease the number of sound waves reaching you.

You can do this alongside other soundproofing insulation methods to get a more satisfactory result. Installing additional joints to your ceiling will add extra insulation which will, in turn, equal better results.

The floating cover will protect you from both airborne and impact sound as it forms an extra barrier between you and the neighbours above.

  1. Use of Soundproofing Sealant

Most building structures today rely on plasterboard for corners formed by walls and ceilings. The plasterboard does little to prevent sound vibrations from being transferred into your humble abode. Sound is still able to penetrate the plasterboard and get through to you.

To solve the problem above, you need a sealing compound and acoustic glue will do great. Acoustic glue is a soundproofing sealant that acts to block noise which limits the sound going through the plasterboard. Use together with other soundproofing methods on weak areas to get significant results.

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Sound waves will travel through any small space they can find. If you notice small gaps or cracks at edges where your walls and ceiling meet, know that little spaces allow airborne noise to seep through. Seal all gaps and cracks you find.

  1. Acoustic Foam Panels

Acoustic foam panels are soundproofing materials that do a decent job of limiting noise. You can fix this right on your ceiling and they will dampen vibrations and noise that’s being transferred through the ceiling.

To fully soundproof your ceiling, you need to get its exact measurement so you and ensure that foam is installed to already tailored cardboard panels. This will enable you to conveniently change later on without affecting your main ceiling.

The foam can be easily attached using an adhesive spray and fix the panels with some pin nails.

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While this option will dampen sound significantly, it might not be aesthetically pleasing to look out so this might discourage you. However, you can carefully find a design that’ll blend in with your room’s design.

  1. Acoustic Fixtures & Ceiling Clouds

You may have noticed acoustic and ceiling clouds in public places like restaurants. They are a bit on the expensive side.

Also, if you’re not staying at your personal property, you’ll need to obtain permission from the landowner before going ahead to install these.

 

 

 

In addition to being effective at reducing sound, ceiling clouds are aesthetically pleasing unlike acoustic foam panels, they can be found in various cool designs and they’re fixed parallel to the existing ceiling. They absorb sound made in the room as well as external noise trying to make their way into the room.

The use of floating panels is also ideal especially because it makes use of fabric face and back panel. Acoustic fixtures can also be fixed alongside sound panels for a better outcome.

The key thing is to not fix it close to pipes, sprinkler heads, or any lighting fixtures that are on your ceiling.

  1. Acoustic Ceiling

Also known as popcorn ceiling, they are white tiles which can either be painted or sprayed if you desire a more stylish appearance.

The acoustic ceiling will help dampen noise in your room as well as improve acoustics. Maintenance is also pretty simple so it’s a convenient option to go for.

It’s definitely worth the investment.

  1. Extra Plasterboard Layer

More mass equals a better soundproofing effect and that’s what an extra plasterboard layer will do for you. Fixing the additional layer to your ceiling will increase its ability to limit the movement of sound waves and vibrations via the ceiling.

Just add that extra layer and you’ll be pleased with the results.

It’s ideal to form a space within the layers with resilient channels. Also, use soundproofing sealants between them as well. This method will dull down sound as the extra barrier will block the transfer of impact noises. You’ll observe a significant difference once you try this method.

Just coat the extra plasterboard layer with a sealant like green glue before attaching to the current ceiling. You can add more layers for a higher effect.

If you go for multiple layers, use decoupling mounts to ensure sound does not vibrate through the new layers.

While you may need to spend a good amount and some time with this fix, it’ll be worth it due to its effectiveness. The extra mass you’ll add to your ceiling will keep the transferred sound down to a very low minimum.

  1. Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)

MLV comes in various types and the prices vary as well. They work well for soundproofing ceilings too so you might want to give it a try. Although it’s quite flexible, it’s also dense enough to provide some mass that’ll fight against airborne and impact noises.

MLV of high quality may contain polymeric plasticizers to provide additional strength and thickness to the product. How you choose to install this product totally depends on you and your ceiling’s requirements.

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Whether you install in a slack manner or fix directly to your ceiling in specific areas, it’ll work to limit sound effectively. It can also be used between plasterboard layers and framings as well.

A most desirable outcome will be gotten if you use MLV on the original plasterboard alongside Green Glue to join layers together. This will form protection against any kind of noise and significantly interfere with its transfer.

  1. Drop Ceiling

Setting up a drop ceiling is another step you can take to wade off noise from above. This simply means you’ll have to fix an additional or second ceiling right below the current one. This means the drop ceiling becomes the first visible one.

You can create this attachment using tiles to form a sound-blocking barrier. Sound waves[1] coming from upstairs will be met with the obstacle which will prevent it from reaching you. The space between both ceilings is called the plenum area. Its compressed nature will contribute to limiting the transfer of sound.

The transmission of vibrations in the drop ceiling similar will be less compared to your main ceiling.

To get even better results, an extra thin rubber layer can be installed on the ceiling afterwards. Fix the drop ceiling when you’re done. This will create insulation in the plenum area. Insulation and resilient channels are components of drop ceilings and that makes them efficient at soundproofing.

Installing the drop ceiling might fix your issue completely as it’s highly effective. However, it is a costly method to go for. It will take up a lot of your time and resources.

  1. Insulate Ceiling Using Blow-in Method

For this method, you should employ the services of a professional as it’ll require expertise and precision. However, the process isn’t too time-consuming and it’s affordable as well.

If you’ve installed a drop ceiling, then drill in holes with about 16 inches between them. When you’re finished, the holes should be filled. The two common insulation used is fibreglass and cellulose. The latter is a more eco-friendly choice.

The holes created on the ceiling are patched up using a special machine. Blow-in insulation comes in different densities and sound limiting abilities vary as well.

The blow-in method is effective for controlling air-borne noise by creating additional mass on the ceiling which increases its ability to absorb sound. This means airborne noise that makes its way from the floor above will get absorbed and dampened.

  1. Soundproofing Paint

Yes, there is such a thing as soundproofing paint. It consists of sound-absorbent resins, ceramic microspheres, and fillers. The application process is no different from that of regular paint. You can apply this directly to your ceiling.

With your paint roller and angled brush for special areas, you should be able to apply this paint to your ceiling. For impressive results, paint at least two layers to create a thicker layer which results in a higher level of sound dampening. This method will significantly limit noise levels.

Final Words

Before using a soundproofing option to solve your noise problem, calculate how much it will cost you. Your budget should influence the decision you make. The methods above are effective for controlling noise from upstairs. However, some methods are more expensive than others. They’ll also require your time and energy as well.

These methods can be used in combination with others to reduce noise generally. If you wanted to soundproof an entire room you wouldn’t just focus on the ceiling. Your door, windows, and even walls will have to be taken care of too.  Including important soundproofing elements such as mass, absorption, damping, and decoupling will ensure you get the best results.

Remember you have to first identify the nature and type of the most disturbing noise as well as its most affected location. This will enable you to select a more effective method and focus on the weakest areas. It’ll help you plan your budget.

You don’t have to endure loud noises or constantly block your ears to try maintaining serenity. With a few soundproofing techniques, you can put an end to irritating noise levels creeping into your space. I’m sure you’ll find the tips above useful.

 

Glossary

[1] Sound waves – Link