9 Ways to Reduce Noise from Downstairs Neighbors

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Living close to other people has its advantages and disadvantages. You get to make new friends, organize BBQ parties, and help each other in times of need. But having neighbors has its frustrations too and the main one being noise. While there are no federal laws that deal with loud neighbors, most cities and towns have noise ordinances that protects you.

Everyone seems to have experienced at least one encounter with a frustrating noisy neighbor: nonstop guitar practice, a bit too much evening fun, or just a loud and heavy-footed individual. It’s beyond bothersome, and if you’re losing sleep or tolerance over it, it may be time to take action.

Before making any complaints or bringing it up with anybody other than your neighbor, research your state’s laws and see what protections you have. Tobener Ravenscroft, a San Francisco tenant legal firm, states on its website that most leases have a noise provision that will assist you win this sort of dispute.

However, these ordinances have their limitations. Because noise perception is subjective, what might be loud to you might not be to your neighbor. Worse enough, what you consider loud might be within the set noise ordinances.

If that’s the case, soundproofing is the only effective way to deal with the noise problem. Below are some of the simplest DIY soundproofing techniques to protect yourself from noisy downstairs neighbors.

9 Ways to Reduce Noise from Downstairs Neighbors

1. Talk To Your Downstairs Neighbors

Before taking any additional dramatic measures, speak with your neighbor. If they appear to be kind folks, you may go downstairs and knock on their door, allowing them to welcome you in, or just invite them to your flat.

If you believe they aren’t decent individuals, I would strongly advise you to avoid them and instead choose someone else to act as your mediator.

You might contact the landlord or property management to convey your message that they are being noisy. This is a 50/50 chance and does not ensure that your neighbor will resolve the noise issue.

If that does not happen, I strongly advise you to investigate the alternative ways listed below.

2. Soundproof the Floor

One simple method to stop noise from the downstairs is to make your floor soundproof. There are several strategies you can use to quiet the noise, including:

  • Using thick and heavy carpets.

A big tip for soundproofing is to add as much heavy material as you can because this helps block out sound.

When picking out a carpet, go for one that’s really thick. Also, try to cover the whole floor with it to keep the noise down as much as you can. Adding more details, consider a carpet pad under the carpet for extra noise reduction. This pad acts like a cushion that absorbs even more sound, making your room quieter. Plus, it makes walking on the carpet softer and more comfortable.

Enjoy Holiday 1981 nonslip area rug pad is a perfect product for this purpose since it’s thick, helping reduce noise so that you and your family can sleep comfortably.

3. Add Mass Loaded Vinyl

If you suspect that the thick carpeting didn’t effectively reduce the noise problem, there’s a way you can complement it.

Add a layer of mass-loaded vinyl sheeting beneath your carpet.

Mass-loaded vinyl is a thick and dense soundproofing material that’s been around for decades. It’s mainly used for dealing with impact noises, and unlike most materials advertised on the market today, it blocks sound rather than absorbing it.

One of my most recommended MLV products for this purpose is the TMS Sound Proofing Padding.

Simply place it beneath your carpeting, and you’d be surprised at the amount of noise you’ll have blocked.

If MLV doesn’t sound like the right product for you, I highly recommend you check out these best mass-loaded vinyl alternatives.

4. Moving Blanket

Soundproof moving blankets have been used for a long time to soak up noise. They’re really good at making things quieter and look a bit like a thick rug.

But, to be honest, if you put these blankets on your floor, it won’t look very nice. Your floor might lose its good looks unless you cover the blankets with a nice carpet.

Using a rug pad is a better idea. But, if you don’t want to spend much money right now, you could start with one of these blankets. Then, when you can, switch to something that looks better and works even better at keeping things quiet.

Adding more to this, the rug pad under a carpet not only helps with noise but also protects your floor and makes the carpet last longer. Plus, a well-chosen carpet can really improve the look of your room. Later, when upgrading, consider materials like cork or rubber for soundproofing that are both effective and look good.

Check out the US Cargo Control Large Sound Blanket, one of my most recommended when it comes to sound blankets that work.

5. Hang Soundproof Curtains

If you’re certain that you can hear your neighbor’s TV or them shouting noises coming through the window, when why not soundproof your windows?

One of the most effective and affordable to soundproof your window is to use soundproofing curtains.

Noise dampening curtains are made of thick and dense materials, unlike regular curtains, which makes them highly effective in sound absorption.

For example, NICETOWN Soundproof Window Treatment Drapes for Hall Room is an excellent curtain for window sound treatment.

If you’re on a budget, then you could simply, you can simply use your room divider curtains as they work similarly to the noise-reducing drapes.

6. Use a White Noise Machine

A white noise machine will help drown out the noise from those living downstairs rather than blocking or reducing it.

Something like HoMedics White Noise Sound Machine offers 6 soothing nature sounds, and it’s ideal for use in a baby nursery, home office, and travel.

Alternatively, you could get one of these white noise fans to help drown out outside noise while at the same time keeping yourself cool during those hot summer months.

7. Soundproof the Doors

Doors are big culprits in letting in unwanted airborne noise from the folks living downstairs.

You see, most of these doors we have at home are made of light and hollow materials and have gaps that allow noise to leak into your apartment.

In my previous article on soundproofing an apartment door, we saw how you could use household items for door noise reduction.

While using household items such as hanging blankets on the door will certainly help reduce the noise leaking through the door, one highly effective method to drastically reduce the noise problem would be to replace the hollow door with a solid core door.

Alternatively, if you’re on a budget, then you could check out my guide on how to soundproof a hollow door to help with noise reduction.

8. Try the Ceiling Vibrator

you’ve talked to your neighbors and they don’t seem to care about the noise they’re making, you might feel like you want to get back at them somehow.

Here’s a less known but effective method: a ceiling vibrator. This gadget attaches to your floor, which is their ceiling, with the motor side facing down.

Set it up, and then all you need to do is wait for your noisy neighbors to start causing trouble again.

For a really impactful response, turn on the ceiling vibrator when they are trying to sleep. This could make their nights restless.

But, it’s important to think about other ways to solve the problem that won’t make things worse between you and your neighbors. Maybe trying to have another conversation with them or involving your building’s management could help. Remember, solving noise issues peacefully is always the best first step. If you still feel bothered and nothing else works, using soundproofing methods in your own apartment can also be a good way to reduce the noise you hear without causing more conflict.

Final Thoughts

It’s possible to reduce noise from downstairs neighbors. However, it’s important to note that you won’t entirely get rid of the noise problem.

Luckily, you’ll be able to reduce noise transmission to manageable levels.

In all your DIY soundproofing activities, especially when living in a rental unit or apartment, make sure that you confirm your rental agreement to see if the landlord allows significant structural changes to the unit as some recommended ideas in this blog may require structural alteration of the house.

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