building type & neighbor noise

iheatherApril 20, 2005


I'm specifically looking for info on noise transmittal in the type of building I'm in. This is the first apt I've had, so have nothing else to compare to. I am in one bdrm first floor apt, and have the usual problem of a stomping upstairs neighbor. I've been here almost a year and have not gotten used to it, and it affects my ability to get a decent night's sleep. I like my building, and am wondering if moving to a top floor apt would be worth it (if one ever comes avail.), b/c after reading some of the posts, I didn't realize that stomping, etc. could be actually be heard from below as well!

So, firstly here's the stats: brick 14 unit bldg w/1 & 2 bdrm apts built in 1940

floors: hardwood

walls: plaster

heat: old fashioned gas radiator

a/c: none (must get own window unit)


laundry: in basement

What I hear from upstairs: her stomping, her tv & music, if turned up loud enough, her peeing & flushing. Basically, anything that come in contact with the floor.

What I don't hear: her talking, phone ringing, cabinets shuting

What I can live with: everything but the stomping. And I've tried earplugs, fans, white noise, tv - nothing works - that stomping cuts through everything and I just fixate on it!

Now, that makes me wonder what she can hear from me, if anything. Esp. I often have to get up early for work, and my alarm goes off at 4:45 - 5 am and I push snooze at least 4-5 times (mornings are tough for me).

Is there anyone out there who lives in a similar type building who could let me know what sounds transmit up?

I'd like to know for 1) if I can get a top-floor, what I could expect and

2) when I go talk to her, since she's basically nice, I'd like to be able to offer up any "if you stop this, I'll stop that" kind of option - and would like to be prepared for what that might be.

The property managers are a colorful older down-home couple who live in a basement unit (I have storage lockers under my apt). They are good hearted, but are real talkative and tell a lot of stories about the 40 years they lived here, and I feel they'd just be more of a headache than a help.

p.s. - she knows she's a stomper. the previous tenant was her best friend, who told her she had a heavy foot. When I first moved in, she told me this herself... " I hope I'm not too loud, so-n-so told me I was always stomping around"

Thanks for any advice, etc!

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I lived on the top floor of a three-floor building similar to yours (age, hardwood floors, plaster walls) and I could hear my downstairs neighbor. His music, his TV, the cabinets shutting. But not all the time. Just when he felt the need to be loud.
I don't think moving to a top-floor unit will necessarily give you the peace you're looking for because a lot depends on who your downstairs neighbor will be.
Since you've already established contact with your upstairs neighbor, why not head up when the noise is particularly bothersome and ask her to turn it down? Or not walk so heavily (I know, a lot easier said than done). Explain that the walls/ceilings are thin and that sound carries easily.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2005 at 9:21PM
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Since it is the footfall noise in particular that disturbs you, the top unit would help a lot. Sure, you'd still hear some of your downstairs neighbor's activities, but the walking around over your head would stop. I lived in one apartment where i wasn't on the top floor and vowed "never again." This is the reason the top unit is generally the most expensive.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 8:49AM
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In 1940, sound-proofing was 100% non-existent. Even in 2005, sound-proofing is almost 90% non-existent.

Living on the top floor is much more condusive to a restful night. On the down side, is the extra cost in utility bills.

At least for me, paying more in utility bills makes more sense than not sleeping.

As I get older, owning an RV is the "ideal home." If you don't like your next-door-neighbors, just put the automatic transmission in "drive" and move 1 mile, 10 miles, or a 1000 miles.

I guarantee you with an RV you will not hear stomping noises.

Gas bills of $100, though, may have you stomping.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2005 at 9:48PM
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I hear you (no pun.) I live below someone who is a stomper--it seems unfair because I don't stomp (that aprartment is rightfully mine!) ;) I only had one place where I could hear the stomping from somebody below me and he was on the first floor! That particular place had a unique drum-like quality (sounds really resonated between the floors.) Generally I have noticed that the really old building (before 1930) don't have problems w/ higher frequency sounds like talking, tvs etc. they had problems with bassy sounds like stereo bass and stomping. It's funny though part of what bugs me is hearing somebody else's noise--I hear trucks, fire engines and people yelling outside but if I hear my neighbor's tv early in the morning it bugs the @#*! out of me. I'm a light sleeper and sensitive to noise so that doesn't make it any easier. I guess my advice to you is to politley ask her not be so noisy late at night--after 10:00 pm it's perfectly reasonable to ask people to shut the hell up (of course you don't say it like that) :) If that doesn't work sneak into her apartment when she's gone and put down thick carpeting. ;) Good luck, I feel your pain.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2005 at 11:29PM
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I have the same problem and am living under a little young couple. They're actually very nice and I specifically talked to them in a friendly way when they moved in so that if there were any problems we would already be acquainted and be on good terms. Sounds like a very similar building. Plaster, wood floors, etc.

The woman walks fairly reasonably, but the husband is a stomper. And having two people living above me in a studio apartment is annoying since it doubles the walking noises. I was hoping in a studio there would only be one person. Oh well. I didn't suspect the husband to be a stomper since he's somewhat short and not really a big guy. I think it has to do with the way he plants his foot firmly and stompingly on the ground. I guess he doesn't have much of the rolling heel-to-toe action but more of a directly down-like-an-elephant's-foot-on-the-floor action.

When I've gone to chat with them (they're always nice) I've noticed that they don't have any area rugs but have bare wood floors exposed everywhere. I actually looked at some other places in the area that were similar builds (wood floors, plaster, etc) and the landlords specified that if I moved in, I would need to put down area rugs (probably to combat the stomping noise problem). I wish my landlord here had said that to them since they don't have any arear rugs that I saw.

I'm just wondering if there is a way to suggest to them the purchasing of area rugs for their apartment? And do people know how much this would actually help? I'm not sure how to go about this and don't want to annoy them since I know they're not trying to be noisy and seem to be considerate.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 7:21PM
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Well, I feel your pain, I really do.
I live on the top floor of a 4 floor building. 1925, plaster, wood floors. People below, all I hear is ceiling fan when it is on, can be annoying if you are trying to sleep, sounds like a washer on the spin cycle for hours.

As for the stomping, boy did you hit a nerve, the people next door to my bedroon, would get home at 10 pm every night stomp till 11:30. So yes, you will hear the footsteps. They would wake up before me and it would start in the morning as well. Then they started with Howard Stern on the radio, oh that was a joy, a deep voice thru the walls. That I did call LL and complain, and it did stop. It is worse when there is no carpeting, area rugs, curtains or drapes, because there is nothing to absorb sound. They didnht have any of it, and neither do I, so the echo would just kill ya....

But then I had payback time, because my kitchen was back to back with thier bedroom, so I installed speakers from the stereo in the living roon, and on the weekends, I knew they were sleepers cause I never heard them till 11am or so, I still get up early... I would pump the stereo at 8am, well, sucked to be them........(and when the windows were open, I guess it really sucked) LOL. After a while I think they got the message.......
Finally after 6and a half years they moved, and the new people, either have rugs or they float, cause I never hear them, unless its the dead of the night and they might bang somethin accidently. They are a joy and they are just as young as the couple before.
Its funny how some people are just plain noisy in whatever they do, while others are quiet.
I no longer have to pump the steroe, I walk in socks. I dont vacuum after 8 pm, It is an apt, you really do have to have some thought of the people around you.
I have an elderly couple living under me,(language barrier) and when I saw the daughter a while ago I appoligised for the noise when I had my floors re-sanded, she said to me, I dont even think my parents noticed.... How happy was I.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 9:40AM
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I have the same problem with my neighbors. I am planning to soundproof my ceiling too.

I was planning on using resilient channel and drywall for the same. Then I heard of this product called quietrock. I was told that with some quiet glue and a layer of quietrock I should get enough soundproofing.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2010 at 2:36AM
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