1

In that old building with wooden floors where I live, a loud noise can be heard once or twice during the night from a closet in my bedroom. I finally understood the neighbor downstairs is slamming a door after a bathroom trip and that door must be right below my closet. A note asking to stop only made it worse, and now I can hear it as loud as if the door were slammed in my own bedroom. How do I quench that noise?

I've put weight on the closet floor, and also in front of the (hollow) closet door. To my surprise, none of this is doing anything. Suggestions welcome.

2
  • 5
    As the upstairs neighbor, you should take up clogging, or some other activity that makes loud noises on the floor since your downstairs neighbor is the sort of jerk that slams the door harder when asked not to slam it at all. ;^)
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Apr 27 at 12:07
  • 2
    Get one of those thumpers from the movie DUNE and set it up in your bedroom
    – Forward Ed
    Commented Apr 27 at 14:12

1 Answer 1

4

You cannot expect to solve this problem in your apartment. The sound is conducted through the building structure, which spreads it over so large an area that you cannot reduce it much if at all.

I’m assuming there are no common air ducts or holes between floor - around pipes, for example - that would permit sound to travel through the air. You can plug gaps with caulk, but not air ducts. Ducts can be lined with sound absorbing material, which may help, though probably not a lot. You can temporarily block a vent with a heavy blanket to see if it’s worth pursuing.

I work with sound and acoustics. The rule of thumb is that sound conducted via building structure is very hard to reduce if measures were not taken when it was built. Air pathways, on the other hand, can usually be treated with a degree of success that depends on the details (like whether air flow must be maintained).

The door slam is different from the noise generated by, say, a person speaking in the closet below yours, where their ceiling/ your floor was the main sound path. Then covering the closet floor with something dense and inelastic (e.g.,, Mass Loaded Vinyl Sound Barrier) would help. So would closing your closet door and weatherstipping the gaps (and, as you suggest, replacing a hollow lightweight door with a solid oak one.)

A further note on doors: What surprises most people about sound reduction is the importance of sealing every gap. I seal doors on all but the bottom with compressible closed cell rubber or EPDM weatherstrip. On the bottom, I add either a flexible rubber door sweep ($) or an automatic acoustic door bottom ($$). There are many DIY-friendly solution providers that address a variety of common problems, for example here and here. (I do not endorse either, but what I have skimmed over seems reasonable.)

2
  • There is no air duct. Weight is known to dampen noise, however. That's why solid door are better than hollow ones. By the same principle I was hoping that piling heavy things on the floor would attenuate vibrations and make a difference.
    – JeanB
    Commented Apr 27 at 17:40
  • Thanks for adding to your answer. I ordered more MLV. I tried nailing MLV on my hollow doors before and it didn't do much though.
    – JeanB
    Commented Apr 29 at 13:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.