Menu Close

How to Reduce Noise from Upstairs Floors (Noisy Upstairs Neighbors)

How to Reduce Noise from Upstairs Floors (Noisy Upstairs Neighbors)

Living in an apartment can be an interesting situation to be in. You are surrounded by neighbors in close proximity. this can result in making new friends. However, it can also mean being inundated by smells and noises from neighboring apartments. Although some smells may be pleasant, dealing with noisy upstairs neighbors is not. There are a few ways to deal with this situation.

Reduce Noise from Upstairs Floors

Before You Move In

Before you move into an apartment building, think ahead. Always try to get the top floor apartment. If you cannot get the top floor apartment, talk to the landlord about noise issues. Landlords usually know the tenants in the building. If he knows you want a quiet apartment, he is less likely to assign you to an apartment close to the noisy undergraduates. You can also explain to the landlord when you need quiet time. Perhaps you work from home or work nights. The landlord will put this into consideration when suggesting the right apartment for you.

Talk to Neighbors and Landlord

Sometimes noise pollution can be solved by having a polite conversation with your neighbors. Most people work during the day. If your neighbor is making a lot of noise during the night time or early morning hours, it is appropriate to have a conversation about keeping the noise to a minimum. Charm them with bake goods. You can then bring up the issue by asking if you have disturbed them. Chances are they will ask you the same question, and that is when you can address the issue. 

If you are to shy to address them in this way, leave a short and polite note on their door or in their mailbox. You and your neighbors can even set up a schedule together as a way to compromise if the sound issue cannot be helped. However, if you can hear everything going on in their apartment and it is a real issue, it may require soundproofing. If you are renting an apartment, you have to talk to your landlord about any type of soundproofing that involves physically altering the apartment. You may also have to reach out to your neighbor as soundproofing may involve their apartment as well. 

Your neighbor and landlord may be willing to cooperate. It can mean a quieter apartment for your neighbors. Your landlord will also benefit as it will mean less conflict and happier tenants who are willing to stay in the apartment for longer periods of time.

Keep Account of the Situation

When talking to your neighbor about the sound issue, be sure to keep track of your conversations. If the situation escalates, you can take your notes to your landlord to address the issue. Apartments have noise ordinance laws. If your neighbors are being noisy during quiet hours, your landlord will have to address it. There may be neighbors on the same floor who are also experiencing the same problem. Having them back you up can strengthen your case.

Put A Bandaid On It

Perhaps you have talked to your neighbors, and the problem with noise continues. You can solve the noise issue short term by adding rugs and tapestry to the ceiling. This adds density to your ceiling which will help block out noise. You can also use noise-canceling earphones and headphones when you are working from home. The earphones can also help you get a goodnight’s rest. A noise machine can help give you a peaceful work environment. It also helps you sleep when dealing with noisy neighbors as it may block noise from upstairs.

Find Out Where the Noise is Coming From

The first thing to do when dealing with a noise issue is to first figure out where the noise is coming from. Doing so can save you a lot of time and money. If the noise is coming from one area, in particular, you may only have to focus on that one spot. Perhaps there is a hole or small crevice that needs to be filled in. This can be solved with minimal cost and minimal time. If the noise is due to how the building is structured, then that may mean soundproofing all the ceilings of your apartment.

Impact Noise Vs Airborne Noise

There are two types of noises that may be causing the disturbances in your apartment. One type of noise is impact noise. If you can hear your neighbors dropping items on the floor or moving furniture, that is impact noise. Impaction vibrations are stronger than airborne ones because it causes both sides of a building element to vibrate. Impact noise can usually be dealt with by padding the floor upstairs. Another type of noise is airborne noise. 

Airborne noise usually takes the form of music or speech that travels from your neighbors’ apartment to yours. It travels through the air and vibrates the building element it passes through, coming out on the other side as a muffled sound. With airborne noise, it requires soundproofing as well as sound-absorbing techniques. To figure out if the noise you are experiencing is impact or airborne, put your hand on the surface where the noise is coming from. If the wall or ceiling vibrates, it is impact noise. If there is no vibration, it is airborne noise.

Density is Your Friend

The denser a surface is, the more resistant it is to sound. When soundproofing walls and ceilings, drywall is typically used. Using two or three layers of drywall can help block out any sounds. It is also important to choose the right kind of glue when installing drywall. Green Glue is quite popular, and it is pretty popular. You can also use caulks and sealants.
There may be small holes and cracks in your drywall. This can cause a noise problem to continue. You can solve that issue with acoustic sealants. You can also cover the drywall with sound-dampening paint or even some soundproof foam panels.

What Is A Drop Ceiling

Constructing a drop ceiling is another way to cancel out noise. A drop ceiling is basically another ceiling hanging below your real ceiling. The layer of air between your real ceiling and your drop ceiling acts insulation against impact noise. Drop ceilings can absorb sound waves. This prevents sound waves from bouncing around the room. Drop ceilings also can block sound from entering a room next door. You can also add acoustic tiles and panels for more protection from outside sound. Drop ceilings take a lot of time and effort and can cost money. So, really think about whether or not you need to take on this type of project.

Altering the Floor Above

You can avoid impact noise by carpeting the apartment above you. There are soundproof rugs and carpets that can be installed to deal with this issue. You can also install insulation between your ceiling and the flooring upstairs. This will help with structure-borne sounds. Again, contact your landlord before taking on a project like this. Installing acoustic underlayment under the floors of the above apartment may be a cheaper and simpler way of doing this. It is also less time consuming which will be great for your neighbors. Although it may not get rid of all the noise, it will improve the situation which is what you want.

Insulate Underside of Floor-Ceiling Assembly

There is another option for reducing noise disturbances from upstairs. This involves removing your ceiling and installing insulation such as resilient channels. Resilient channels are made out of metal, and they create small air pockets in a structure. The air pockets help dampen noise coming from upstairs. Once the resilient channels are installed, simply add drywall to replace your ceiling. Make sure any work done fits in your budget.

Move Out

Some problems cannot be solved, and that is when it is time to give up. Your landlord may know that another apartment will be free soon and may allow you to move into a quieter apartment. If you have talked to your neighbors and your landlord, and nothing is done, move out. Having a landlord who is not willing to help you is not someone you want to deal with.


Apartment living does not need to be a nightmare. If you are having problems with sound from noisy upstairs neighbors, there are a number of ways to address the issue. You should first communicate with your neighbor and landlord. Your neighbor may be able to keep the noise to a minimum. Your landlord can okay any physical alterations to the apartment you wish to do. Your next step is to find out where the noise is coming from. After that, figure out if the noise is impact noise or airborne noise. Add density to your ceiling to lessen the noise. Consider installing a drop ceiling. You can also add carpeting to your neighbors’ floor. Adding insulation between your ceiling and the neighbors’ floor is another way to deal with the problem. Doing these steps are a sure-fire way to solve noise issues.