Super Soundproofing Community Forum

Soundproofing Forum Topics => Soundproofing your Condo, Townhouse or Bed & Breakfast => Topic started by: Erica Stetson on September 05, 2004, 08:55:57 PM

Title: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: Erica Stetson on September 05, 2004, 08:55:57 PM
I recently purchased a second floor condo (three story building) and I am having major issues with noise coming from the unit above mine. The biggest problem is footsteps on my ceiling all hours of the day and night, and I have literally been woken up every night since these people moved in. I can also hear their stereo and the slamming of closet doors, particularly in my bedroom. I have spoken with the occupants (renters) but they do not seem to care. For a while I put up with it by wearing earplugs but I've recently learned they block out sounds that I need to hear, such as people 30 feet away from my sleeping head screaming "fire." Earplugs are no longer an option.

I filed a formal complaint with the condo association, which sent a violation letter to both the owner and renter. They also gave me a number for the noise enforcement division of the county police, but I question whether heavy footsteps constitute a call to them, it seems so drastic. Has anyone else done this?

I have heard of floating ceilings but, considering the cost, I want to know if they are worth it. How can I go about finding someone who can give me an estimate? I live in the DC metro (VA) area. How much ceiling space would I lose? Do they really work? Are there any other options?

I am losing my sanity. This issue is literally destroying my quality of life, I walk around tired all day and feel I cannot enjoy a single quiet moment in my own home. This is my first home, I love the neighborhood and do not wish to move. I rented another unit in the same building for almost two years before buying my place and not once had a noise problem with my neighbors. Any advice?
Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: Diane on September 07, 2004, 07:17:17 PM

You are definitely my twin when it comes to being disturbed.  I am going through the same shit as you and have been for nearly two years.  I am constantly tired, sleep deprived, and depressed over my situation.  I am a few months away from moving.  It will be a breath of fresh air for me.  

I also hear footsteps across every room at every hour of the day and night.  I am woken up late at night and early EVERY morning to the sound of drawers opening and closing.  I am woken up by heavy footsteps at 5:30 AM when my neighbor prepares for work.  I walk around sleep deprived and exhausted.  I can even hear them using the bathroom and dropping the lid when they are done.  Pathetic, isn't it??

I literally hear every step and move that they make.  I feel as though I am never alone in my apartment--and can you believe this is with full carpeting and padding in their apartment?  

I have exhausted all of my possibilities and have decided to move in order to improve my quality of life.  If you are in love with your home, or have spent a good deal of money investing in it, you may want to try a drop ceiling.  After researching this option for the last few months, I have decided to move since I do not want to put another dime into this place.

Good luck in whatever you choose to do.  It seems like there is virtually nobody who is happy with apartment life.  Can you believe that we pay good money to live under these conditions that are so disturbing?  It is sickening.  take care and I hope that things improve for you.  Actually, things don't just improve as I have found out, you must take drastic steps for them to improve.


Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: Dan on September 08, 2004, 08:05:34 PM
I would recommend moving!

I was in a similar situation and I tried both a dropped ceiling and a floating floor and neither made much difference (10-20% reduction for both). Sometimes a construction is so thin that no matter how much you spend on soundproofing it won't make very much of a difference.

Just move and save yourself the thousands of dollars and weeks of time it will take to *maybe* get a suitable solution.

I ended up moving and am much happier as a result. I just wish I didn't waste all that money!!!
Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: Esme on January 06, 2005, 01:46:46 AM
I hear you. Unfortunately, I also hear my neighbors constantly. Because of the unreal estate market of New York, it was actually cheaper for me to invest in a floating ceiling than it was to move. With state-of-the-art decoupler clips, insulation, mass-loaded vinyl, and another inch of sheetrock, the result was a reduction of maybe 30-40 percent. The good news is that I can't hear their music or their telephone anymore, but low-frequency footsteps are still a big problem. I still might move someday... >:(
Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: Scott on January 06, 2005, 01:44:53 PM
I hear you!  Unfortunately, not to sound too pessimistic, but people living in houses and even in the country have noise problems too, not just people living in apartments!  It's a universal problem all over the world, I think.   You may have to move, but don't be surprised if you still have to deal with noise issues however different they may be.   It will never go away--kind of like death and taxes.
Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: Ben on January 07, 2005, 01:47:38 AM
Just do what I do--keep a big, good quality air purifier on in the apartment the whole time (night too) when you are home.  The nice blowing sound will drown out all the noises you hear and it's a blowing sound that is not annoying at all.  And as an added bonus, it will clean your air.  A white noise machine or fan or air conditioner will also work, but won't clean the air at the same time.  Good luck to you!
Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: philip on February 08, 2005, 09:27:28 PM
hi, i just had my ceiling soundproofed.  sound clips were used and they droped the ceiling 3 in. i got rid of the impact sound. i still hear but it is better.karl erickson did the job-845-7422174. i live in manhattan . they have a office in va

Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: supersoundproofing on February 09, 2005, 05:31:49 PM
the complaints about neighbors and the need for soundproofing are often very emotional.
Sometimes the best solution may be to up root and move. At best, moving or staying is a hard decision.
All you can do is gather information, educate yourself and make a decision in you best interest.

Here is a thought. If you can remove the existing ceiling or walls, the foundation of your soundproofing will be better. The most basic elements of your noise control are barrier,absorber and mass. Also, follow the correct installation guidelines.There are a wide variety of barrier materials as well as absorbing products.
The floating ceiling method is effective. But, each case must be adressed individually. Yours may include thick absorbent mat between the joist, two pound Mass Loaded Vinyl(MLV). Maybe two layers of drywall are required.
Additional pitfalls may occur if you are renting.
The problem of noise from an upstairs living area is very common. It is best resolved upstairs, unfortunately.
So, we understand your frustration

Please hang in there.

Speak to companies that have experience with sound proofing that is proven to work.  


Marc Saldana
Super Soundproofing Inc
Telephone (760)752 3030
Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: kodye57 on March 30, 2005, 03:02:06 AM
Wow, its pretty dicomforting to come to Super Soundproofing and hear an admin say maybe its best to move. I guess that really says something about the state of soundproofing, or maybe it just says something to the state of neighbors.

Either way my apartment has hardwood floors, I like em and I dont want to move. I mostly only hear the high-heels and clomping, bass from stereo, maybe some low 400Hz range? Can't hear conversation, normal TV, or phone ringing.  I think I want to inveset in something, but I cant see spending over $800 to do something. I am handy, so I can probably do it myself. However it looks like my material cost on vinyl alone would break the bank.

I have 2 rooms about 14'x14' each. I was thinking of mass vinyl alone (painting the surface), but after spending some time at your site it looks like resilient channel is a better option for me.

What do you think?

Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: melinda on June 19, 2005, 06:58:18 PM
has anyone else used the air purifier route to help eliminate noise from neighbors? if so, does it work to cover up the noise from stampeding footsteps on hard wood floors above your head? what brand would you recommend?

please write back here or email me direct. we're at our wits end with the college girls above us.  >:(
Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: supersoundproofing on June 21, 2005, 06:32:05 PM
Impact noise of people walking and clumping about on your ceiling is one of the most difficult of sound control  problems.  Noise should be dealt with as near the source as possible- This means the floor above.  It would be cheaper to buy them some carpet and have it installed than try to hang more sheetrock from soundclips to create a floating ceiling.

Unless that was the only option:

BJ Nash Super Soundproofing Co
Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: Bob Silverstein on August 01, 2005, 03:18:30 PM
Wow, can I relate to this issue.  I have been living in my 2nd floor condo in a 3 story building, for 18 years.  This is a somewhat older building (translation: poor soundproofing), that was made even worse after a large So. Calif. earthquake ten years ago.

Even with a carpeted upstairs unit, the clomping around and TV/stereo noise was terriblly annoying, and resulted in many complaints to the home owners association.  In most cases, the upstairs neigbors attempted to modify their behavior.  Now, the above unit has been resold, and the new owner installed hardwood floors throughout.  The problem is now so much worse, I'm ready to jump off my balcony head first.

Moving is not an option.  With median housing prices over 1/2 million, and retirement only 10 years away, I cannot afford to move.  My plan has been to finish paying my mortgage and retire here.  Now, I'm completely devastated.

What can I do?
Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: silverbob on August 02, 2005, 02:12:51 PM
This is a continuation of the above post.

As I continue to research this topic on the web, I am learning about things like mass loaded vinyl barriers.   Is this the way to go to soundproof my ceiling?  Is it a messy and expensive venture?  I have about 1000 sq. ft. of ceiling.  What about the sound that travels down the walls?  Impact noises, like footsteps sometimes make pictures on my walls rattle.  
Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: supersoundproofing on August 04, 2005, 03:28:41 PM
No, MLV will not help impact noise problems, even though it's great for airborne sound.  Wht's need is a "dis-connect" of the sound vibration down trough the floor above into your ceiling.  A "false" ceiling will do this, but will take out a lot of headspace.  Better to use the the info and see the diagram at:


SoundClips will work better than the RC-2 channel shown above.
BJ Nash

Super Soundproofing Co
Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: KashMan on January 05, 2006, 04:09:25 AM
I have the same situation as Erica, brought a new condo back in August in Jersey City, NJ. I have been doing some research one option is foam blown in the ceiling so I wanted to know if someone has any experince with this approach any success? does it work? My condo ceiling are very low around 9.5-10 feet. Any suggestion/feedback will be appriciated.
Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: meg on January 19, 2006, 02:49:01 PM
To answer the question about blown in Foam Insulation.  We just had this done to our ceiling, along with a layer of cork, and 2 layers of drywall.  With all of that and $6,000 poorer, we are still hearing the sound of footsteps above us.  Our reasoning for this was to dull the sound of our 4th floor neighbor above us.  It didnt work - maybe reduced it by 20-30% but since we live in a condo with all hardwood floors and wood framing - there's no hope unless the neighbor above is willing to shell out the money to replace her flooring with some soundproofing.... that is impossible - esp. since that neighbor above has no clue what it sounds like and doesnt affect her.  

Anyway - dont waste the money unless you want only airborne sounds to cut out - but if it's footsteps you're trying to prevent --- nothing will help.  :(

I feel your pain, and I too am emotionally upset about this whole situation - I'm just glad that I'm not alone.

Title: Re: Silencing the Parade Above My Head
Post by: Guest on February 12, 2006, 08:52:56 AM
two and a half thousand views - that says you're not alone.