Blocking noise from neighbors above or below – whether it’s heavy footsteps, a loud television or stereo, or active children that keep reminding you that you’re not alone when you’re home, the best approach is to slow down or block sound waves emanating from the ceiling or floor.
Let’s start with noise penetrating the ceiling. If you already have a drop ceiling, use sound blocking material that fits easily under the ceiling tiles, within the grid pattern. If you do not have a drop ceiling and the noise is particularly bothersome, consider installing one. Since it is situated below the original drywall ceiling, the plenum space can accommodate noise abatement material to take care of residual sound before it penetrates your living space.
If you don't want to install a drop ceiling, there are other options for installing sound deadening material, depending on the type of ceiling. You can discuss your options with an acoustical expert to determine the best application and cost consideration for soundproofing your ceiling.
If noise from your downstairs neighbor is leaking through your flooring, or if they’re complaining that they can hear you walking around or playing with your children, there are a number of options to deaden noise penetrating floors.
Carpeting and padding are rarely enough to prevent sound from emanating through the floor to the apartment downstairs or room below. Noise blocking material placed under the carpeting, hardwood flooring, or tile is your best bet for soundproofing floors.
Living with noise is unhealthy. It increases stress level, disturbs sleep, and can erode one’s health over time. There are excellent options for dealing with ceiling noise, floor noise, and wall noise that can be tailored to your particular unwelcome sound problem and source, with installation options that will suit your budget and the limitations of your living space.
Do you have any nightmare memories of neighborly noise from above or below? Tell us about them, and what you did (if anything) to resolve the problem.
For anyone who has ever battled a noise issue at home - a relentless heat pump for instance, or unfortunate proximity to the airport or high speed rail tracks, or even noisy neighbors - finding an affordable and efficient sound deadening solution can be a challenge.
Whether you live in a single-family home, high-rise building or anything in between, you may be bothered by distracting noises from outside, from upstairs neighbors, or even from noisy family members.
There are different options available to deal with distracting noise in the home; some work better than others.
Window treatments can provide varying levels of noise reduction. Some manufacturers market so-called "soundproofing" drapes, which can be effective in buffering or dulling outdoor noise. The level of noise you are trying to buffer, and the acoustics of the room in which you place the window treatments will determine the level of sound abatement you will get from "soundproofing" drapes.
Another choice for windows is noise reducing window shutters that block up to 10-times more outside noise than traditional shutters or curtains. Acousticalshutters.com, an Orlando, Florida-based company makes Shut-Eye™ custom acoustical shutters in a variety of sizes and styles to fit virtually any window or sliding glass door. Comparing Shut-Eye acoustical shutters to other products shows the Shut-Eye brand provide 25-50 decibels noise reduction, where as other window noise reduction treatments only provide 5-25 decibel reduction.
The best way to reduce sound is to fit (during the construction phase) or retrofit a room with a high quality sound-dampening material installed under the drywall. As noise and privacy increase the value of real estate, more and more architects and building contractors are working noise abatement material into housing and other building designs.
If noise from the floor above is the problem, there are noise reduction materials specifically designed for these trouble areas.
Wood floors and carpet may be laid on top of noise barrier material
, which will greatly reduce sound transmission between floors. However,
the less sound infiltrating the floors or ceiling joists in the first place, the less noise will be mechanically carried into the dwelling below. Architects and builders are catching on to new ways of addressing the mechanics of noise penetrating ceilings and floors; installing appropriate sound abatement
material to the joists during construction or retrofit is going to produce the best results.