My bedroom is directly under my neighbors living room, he has crazy hours and I find myself waking up constantly. I tried talking to him and he's trying his best but it's just not good enough. What can I do (other than buying a white-noise machine which I did and is helpful but not helpful enough) to reduce noise coming from the top floor neighbor who admittedly walks around as if he weighed 5000 lbs.?

  • Three words: sleep with earplugs. Nov 26, 2013 at 17:28

3 Answers 3


During construction of multi-unit dwellings, we install homasote on top of the subfloor (in the unit above yours). In the ceiling, we will add a layer of insulation. And then before installing the drywall on the ceiling, we would install resilient channel that keeps the drywall from directly contacting the joists.

Your options post construction are very limited unless you want to replace the ceiling. Ear plugs, fans, white noise, etc, may be the best you can do until one of you moves.

Edit: If you have option to rearrange your floor plan, I'd move your bedroom to be under another bedroom instead of a living room.

  • Obviously this is post construction, and it's a fully owned condo so no one is moving out any time soon. How much would replacing the ceiling cost on a 13x14 room with the proper insulation?
    – ndubs
    Apr 28, 2011 at 16:22
  • How high are your ceilings? You maybe don't need to replace. A thought: run additional 2x4's perpendicular to the current floor joists. Add sound deadening insulation between them. Then run the resilient channel perpendicular to those, then Sheetrock. You'd lose maybe 5" of space at most.
    – DA01
    Apr 28, 2011 at 16:32
  • You could also first check to see if there is insulation above the current ceiling. If not, you could take down the current sheetrock to add more int hat space as well.
    – DA01
    Apr 28, 2011 at 16:34
  • Materials cost, maybe around $50 for the drywall, the channel is just a molded piece of aluminum, plus insulation, screws, mud, tape, and paint. I'd guess somewhere around $300. But tools (DIY) or labor (contract out) will add up quickly. Ceilings are typically installed before the walls so you'll need to adjust things around to edges to ensure the drywall is properly supported.
    – BMitch
    Apr 28, 2011 at 16:53
  • The channel is designed to run perpendicular to the joists, so you can use the stud finder to install it over the existing drywall. Only problems I see with that are moving any fixtures (lighting, fire sprinklers, air vents, etc) down.
    – BMitch
    Apr 28, 2011 at 16:58

Well, you aren't entirely out of luck, but post construction soundproofing narrows your options:

  • You can buy your loud-walker friend some thick slippers.
  • If you have hardwood floors in your room, put down some thick carpet.
  • Take your neighbor shopping for thick rugs he can put on his floor directly above yours.
  • Cut small holes in the drywall near the ceiling, between the studs. Fill the space between the drywall with cellulose or expandable foam insulation.

Check out this website soundproofing america; they sell DIY products and offer a HUGE selection of sound proofing solutions for every room and situation.

  • How would putting down thick carpet in my room help?
    – ndubs
    May 2, 2011 at 18:46
  • @ndubs glad you asked. sound requires hard surfaces to bounce off of. In the link I provided it decribed the change in dB for a room with hard flat surfaces (framed pictures on the walls, hard floors, big windows) to one with shag carpet, no pictures and a towel rack. While this is anecdotal you get the picture.
    – allindal
    May 2, 2011 at 20:44
  • oh sweet, this is indeed very interesting.
    – ndubs
    May 3, 2011 at 0:12

What kind of floors are above? What kind of noise is it?

Some options other than the proper 'install proper acoustically separated ceiling' solution B Mitch suggests would be to maybe get the landlord to upgrade the tenant's floor above. Maybe new carpet with a thicker carpet pad?

Or, turn your bedroom into a day room and invest in a really nice futon/pull out couch for your living room.

  • The building is a 4 story wood frame brick veneer. Noise is just walking around, moving furniture, basically day-to-day stuff. "Tenant" is owner, so there are no landlords and tenant won't invest in a carpet just because I am sensitive to noise ;) I wanted to see if it's possible to add some sort of insulation into the ceiling post build.
    – ndubs
    Apr 28, 2011 at 16:27

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