When you are living in apartments, you may find yourself in middle of noises from your neighbours living upstairs or downstairs.

Your neighbors may like to play loud music in the morning or evening which may interfere with your beautiful mornings and evenings. Instead of praying for them to stop, you can soundproof your room and have some peace of mind.

People have different definitions of soundproofing a room but for most people, it is achieving that point when you can only hear the muffled sounds from up above or downstairs.

Soundproofing a room between floors is quite similar to soundproofing any other room. Same principles and similar techniques are applied to soundproof the rooms. But to do any kind of soundproofing, you first need to understand how you get that noise.

How do you get noise in your room?

You need to know that sound is basically vibrations, it needs a medium to travel, the medium can be air or solid surfaces. When you are trying to soundproof your room between floors, you need to tackle noise from both air and solid surfaces. I like to classify the noise into two categories so that it becomes easier for me to explain.

Airborne noises: These are noises that travel to you from air gaps like ducts, wire holes, windows, ventilation pipes etc. To deal with these kind of noises, you need to either block the pathway for the noises or absorb the noise as much as you can using different sound absorbing materials.

Impact noises: These are noises that you get due to direct impact with a surface. For example someone’s footsteps upstairs or when children upstairs are jumping in their rooms, etc. These are usually harder to soundproof against.

Now that you have a basic understanding to work with, let’s explore how you actually get the soundproofing done.

1. Soundproofing the ceiling

A lot of people ignore the ceiling while considering soundproofing a room. But your ceiling may be giving you a lot of noise from upstairs.

The first step to soundproof the ceiling will be to block any gaps in the ceiling. Look for any holes due to wires or air ducts. For small holes, use an acoustic sealant to fill the gaps.

The next step for soundproofing,is to put a thick layer of sound absorbing material that can absorb most of the sound if not all of it.

You can use thick foam panels for your ceiling. Foam panels come in different designs, so while soundproofing you can have fun decorating your ceiling. Foam panels have added the advantage of improving the internal sound quality by preventing internal reflections of sound in the room.

The most effective way to soundproof a room is by using drywall. You can use double layering for better results but make sure it is installed properly. Any air gaps can compromise the effectiveness of the drywalls.

Another good material that you can use is plywood. It has good properties to muffle the noise, just take measurements of your ceiling and screw it to the ceiling. You will feel a noticeable difference.

Depending upon your specific needs, you can choose panels, drywall or plywood for soundproofing your room against airborne noises.

To tackle the impact noise you can use something called resilient channels. Resilient channels are basically metal rods that aim to minimize the contact area between the drywall and the ceiling. This ensures that minimum vibrations travel through the ceiling to you.

I found a video online that will help you understand the process of soundproofing.

I will summarise the video for your reference.

To soundproof the ceiling with this method you will need acoustic sealant, rock wool mats, resilient channel, and drywall.

  • Find holes in your ceiling and seal them using acoustic sealant.
  • Install rock wool mats like these to insulate the airborne noises.
  • Attach resilient channel to the ceiling using screws.
  • Finally attach the drywall and you are good to go!

2. Soundproofing floors

If the majority of the sound comes from downstairs then you need to soundproof your floor.

Best way to go is to carpet the entire floor area but this may not be very feasible if you are on a tight budget. If you have good relations with your landlord, you may try to convince your landlord to bear half of the cost.

If it doesn’t work out, don’t worry there are cheaper alternatives like these thick rugs to soundproof your floor. Simply measure your floor area and order accordingly. You may want to use a double tape to keep the rugs in place.

When choosing the rugs, choose the thickest possible because thicker rugs will absorb more sound.

You can also use rubber mats for the floor to dampen the sound. I found a good tutorial on youtube that you that you can use as a refference.

3. Soundproofing walls

If you share a wall with your neighbors you may need to soundproof it as well. To soundproof the wall, you need to look for weak points in your walls. Do you have windows through which sound leaks or any holes or air-gaps.

Just hunt down the weak spots and fix them one by one until you have a good enough soundproofing.

If you have a thin wall, consider adding a layer of drywall. If your windows are the culprit then use soundproof curtains to muffle the sound. You can also use window inserts to completly block out the external noise.

To know more about soundproofing a room in general, you can read this article

4. Using Acoustic Sealant

Besides drywall, acoustic foam panels and plywood, there is another material that you can use to soundproof your ceiling.

For this method to work, you will need to remove your entire ceiling. You will need to remove even wood furring strips from the joists.

Once you are done with removing the entire ceiling, just fill the gaps with acoustic sealant. The acoustic sealant can be made up of many different materials such as Rockwool, glass fiber or cellulose fiber. As discussed earlier, Rockwool is quite the best material as it is fire resistant too.

Once you are done with filling the spaces with the sealant, cover it with two layers of gypsum wallboard. Make sure they are tightly screwed to the furring strips.

5. Consider Adding White Noise

Sometimes best way remove noise is adding noise. If you are having trouble sleeping due to noise from either downstairs or upstairs. You can add white noise to your room.

White noise is a rhythmic sound that can suppress the other background noises. White noise can be as simple as sound from a fan or a full room white noise machine like this one. It is like cheapest and no brainer method to have a peceful night’s sleep.

Conclusion

Sometimes noisy neighbors can be quite annoying when living in apartments. You can do above mentioned steps to soundproof your apartment. All of them might not be feasible for you, just do your best according to the level of soundproofing that you desire.

I have found out sometimes the cheapest and the easiest way to reduce the noise is to talk to your neighbors and strike an arrangement in which both of you can live in peace. If upstairs noises bother you, just ask them to consider carpeting their floor. Offer sharing the cost of carpeting.

If nothing work out between you and your neighbors, just use the methods listed above to soundproof yourself.

I hope this helps. Please share with someone who might need this information.