Upstairs Neighbors Stomping: 5 Ways to Stop Hearing the Noise (2023)

Living in an apartment under rowdy college roommates or ungovernable children can be incredibly grating, to say the least. If their loud music and rambunctious conversations don’t infuriate you beyond belief, their heavy footfall certainly will. However, there are several ways to protect yourself from your noisy upstairs neighbors’ incessant stomping.

So what exactly can you do if your neighbors are determined to practice their tap-dancing skills at all hours of the day? Before we get to that, you should know what you’re dealing with. So let’s start by defining the type of noise you’re hearing.

Upstairs Neighbors Stomping: 5 Ways to Stop Hearing the Noise (1)


The Transmission of Impact Noise

No matter what surface or space you’re soundproofing, you’ll be dealing with two types of noise. Airborne noise travels through the space around us. Conversely, impact noise is transmitted through the solid materials that make up the spaces we inhabit.

The sound of conversation, music, and animal noises all belong to the former type. However, the kind of noise you’re trying to prevent — namely, stomping footsteps — belongs to the latter group. Every time your upstairs neighbors tread on their floor, the impact of the movement is vibrating through the layers of materials between their feet and your ceiling.

If the sound is really resonant, your neighbors’ feet are probably hitting a thin kind of flooring such as laminate. If they don’t have substantial underlayment or padding beneath that surface, the impact would transfer to the subfloor, which is connected to your ceiling joists. Then, if the insulation between your ceiling joists isn’t adequate, the sound would be further amplified and transferred to your ceiling drywall.

Worse still, if you have some kind of hanging light fixture, your neighbors’ movements might cause serious calamity in your apartment. So what can you do to prevent noise — and avoid swinging chandeliers?

Soundproofing Principles That Can Help You Deal With Stomping

Now that you understand the kind of noise you’re dealing with, let’s talk about the soundproofing principles you can use to defeat it. As you may know, most soundproofing projects utilize one of four principles by adding mass, absorptive materials, or dampening and decoupling surfaces. So which of those methods will work in this case?

Your best bet would be to decouple the ceiling drywall from the joists that are holding it up. So you’ll need to take the existing drywall off and put in a flexible component between the joists and the surface of the ceiling. Alternatively, you could construct an entirely new ceiling starting lower on the wall, thereby separating it from the joists that are connected to the upstairs floor.

To be fair, the principle of absorption might work too, but not on your side of the ceiling. Simply plastering acoustic foam all over the surface won’t prevent impact noise from coming through. Instead, you’ll have to ask your neighbors to pad the underside of their carpets or floors.

Aside from these techniques, there may be a few others that might help you soundproof your ceiling. However, these are the main ones you can use to stave off impact noise.

Upstairs Neighbors Stomping: 5 Ways to Stop Hearing the Noise (2)

Ways to Stop Hearing Stomping Sounds From Neighbors

Having established the kinds of tricks that might help you insulate your ceiling, let’s take a closer look at some of those methods. Of course, before you start breaking and remaking your ceiling, you could simply ask your neighbors to stop trampling above your head.

Ask Your Neighbors to Be Quiet

Sometimes, the simplest solutions are the best course of action. So before you waste your time and money trying to soundproof your ceiling, ask your neighbors to keep it down. Chances are, they aren’t purposely trying to make you mad, so they’ll stop stomping around if you ask nicely.

If you go this route, remember to be respectful, especially the first time you talk to your neighbors about the noise. They might have unruly children they’re dealing with or pets that keep scrambling down the hallways. So give them the benefit of the doubt and don’t go in with a confrontational attitude right off the bat.

If the neighbors are unaware that they’re being loud, arrange a signal that will remind them to quiet down. You can tap on heating pipes that pass through both of your apartments — though that might disturb other neighbors as well. Alternatively, you could knock on the ceiling or simply text your neighbors when you need a moment of peace. Or, since you do live only one flight of stairs away, you could explain your need for silence in person.

Whatever signal you decide to use, make sure your neighbors are in on it. If you start knocking on the ceiling right away, they could become spiteful enough to start stomping around on purpose. Of course, if it comes to that, you could notify the landlord or the building manager of your neighbors’ misconduct. Worst case scenario, you might have to call the police — but reserve that option for when something really goes wrong.

Have Them Lay Down Some Carpets and Underlays

If your neighbors aren’t able to stop making noise, perhaps they’ll be open to making a compromise. If they pad their floors well enough, the poor construction quality of the surface shouldn’t matter much. Once again, this method exemplifies the fact that sometimes, budget-friendly tips can be as effective as pricier solutions.

Your neighbors will just need to lay down some carpets in the areas where you hear the stomping. They could also stack them on top of each other even in fully carpeted rooms. Still, if that doesn’t cut it, or if the rugs they have are too thin, they’ll need to use underlays.

Luckily, any material can act as a carpet underlay if it’s thick enough. Your neighbors can use exercise mats, MLV, or products that are made for just this purpose. Even old blankets will do if they stretch them out and put bits of rubber at the corners to prevent skidding.

Of course, no amount of carpeting will save you if your neighbors have loose floorboards. In that case, you might want to recommend more substantial work — or even help them nail their flooring down.

Decouple Your Ceiling With Resilient Channels

As we have established, decoupling the surface of your ceiling from the wooden joists that hold it up is the best way to prevent impact noise transfer. To do that, you’ll have to replace the existing drywall and attach it to resilient channels instead of screwing it directly into the joists.

Regular resilient channels are single-leg strips of metal wherein one side is screwed into the joist while the other hangs loose. When you attach drywall, you’ll screw it into the loose side of the resilient channel. So when the impact of footfall travels through the subfloor and joists, the loose strip of metal should act as a shock absorber.

On the other hand, you could use double-leg resilient channels, also known as hat channels. Those usually come with sound clips, which are an additional decoupling component. So the sound clips go into the joists, and then you snap the hat channels into place. After you put up the drywall, you’ll just have to conceal the screws and fuse the individual sheets with joint compound and paint the ceiling.

Of course, that may be easier said than done if you’re renting your apartment. Even if you own it, you may not have permission to do construction for this or the following method.

Build a Suspended Ceiling

Making a drop ceiling is another way to separate the surface of your ceiling from the structure of the building. You’d just have to set up a T-bar grid all around the top of your walls, a few inches under the existing ceiling. Then, you could finish the surface off with drywall or use acoustic ceiling tiles instead.

The key is to make the initial ring you construct near the top of your walls completely level. After you finish setting up, you’ll attach parallel bars about four feet apart. Keep dividing the grid until the individual spaces are as big as you need them to be for your ceiling tiles or drywall. Generally, tiles will need a more extensive grid, since they require individual slots.

Ultimately, building a suspended ceiling can be a great solution against impact and airborne noise. But, as we have established, this project will almost certainly require permission from your landlord. Even if you own your place, you should consult local building codes before starting the project.

Still, if you get permission, you should know that the process of decoupling your ceiling will require loud drills. So if nothing else, that will probably annoy your upstairs neighbors. But if you want to make them as miserable as you’ve been, I do have one last tip to share.

Give Them a Taste of Their Own Medicine

If you’re feeling petty, there are plenty of legal ways to get revenge on your noisy neighbors. As long as you don’t go overboard, you can make them aware of your displeasure by:

  • Using a metal spoon to tap on shared pipes or bouncing a basketball against the ceiling
  • Doing a string of noisy chores one after the other and practicing your best poker face if they question you
  • Playing an instrument you can point at the ceiling (may I recommend the didgeridoo?)
  • Leaving a Bluetooth speaker hidden near their door and playing annoying sounds every time your neighbors start stomping around

And those are just some of the ways to drive the point home. However, most of these pranks won’t make your neighbors stop tap-dancing over your head. So don’t be petty unless you’re preparing to move out.

Final Thoughts

The more layers of materials you have between your neighbors’ careless feet and your ceiling, the better. If they have carpets, underlays, flooring, underlayment, and subfloor on their side, and you have insulation, resilient channels, or a suspended ceiling on yours, the sound of footsteps will be greatly reduced. It’ll be as though your neighbors are three floors above you, not dancing right on top of your head.

But there’s no need to jump right to construction work. If you and your neighbors are willing to compromise, they could limit the stomping to specific days and time slots. Alternatively, you could get them some carpet underlays, if they’re open to that solution. Either way, the noise should become less bothersome.


  • By Soundproof Living


Upstairs Neighbors Stomping: 5 Ways to Stop Hearing the Noise? ›

Use White Noise for Sound Isolation

White noise generates multiple frequencies at once, blanketing your ears with a calming sound. With white noise, every sound frequency has an equal amount of energy distribution. This helps to block out other sound waves, like the intrusive sounds from your upstairs neighbors.

How do I stop hearing my upstairs neighbors footsteps? ›

Use White Noise for Sound Isolation

White noise generates multiple frequencies at once, blanketing your ears with a calming sound. With white noise, every sound frequency has an equal amount of energy distribution. This helps to block out other sound waves, like the intrusive sounds from your upstairs neighbors.

How do you drown out stomping noise? ›

Deep earplug insertion is crucial if you want to get relief.

To be effective against the low-frequency sounds you have just heard, it is paramount that you insert your earplugs quite deeply. The deeper you can get them in while still being comfortable, the better they are going to reduce footstep noise.

How do I deal with my upstairs neighbors stomping? ›

11 Steps to Deal with Upstairs Neighbors Stomping & Making Noise
  1. Plan ahead.
  2. Have a conversation with your neighbor.
  3. Tap on the ceiling.
  4. Wear earplugs.
  5. Soundproof the ceiling.
  6. Use the art of compromise to come to an agreement with your neighbor.
  7. Create a paper trail.
  8. Talk with your other neighbors.
Jan 11, 2023

Is there a way to block sound from upstairs neighbors? ›

Try ceiling clouds and acoustic fixtures

Ceiling clouds are acoustic panels that hang from the ceiling and can reduce noise and echoes. (Science!) Take that, noisy upstairs neighbors. You've probably seen them before in auditoriums, atriums, and restaurants.

How do you reduce footstep sound? ›

The best product for handling impact noise is carpet and a thick pad underlayment. For a big upgrade use our premium soundproof carpet underlayment which utilizes sound barrier bonded to a closed cell foam. Not only will this dramatically reduce footstep noise, it will also block airborne sounds between floors.

How do you reduce footstep noise in an apartment? ›

Add Carpet, Rugs, and Pads

Plush carpet, rugs, and sound dampening pads can help absorb sound, along with wall hangings, upholstered furniture, and even plants. These materials also lessen the sound of footsteps and objects dropping within the apartment, minimizing the echo and absorbing the noise.

How do you politely stop a neighbor from stomping? ›

I recommend attempting a friendly call on them and in a tactful way let them know that the walls/ceilings/floors are very thin (this softens the blow as you're kind of blaming the building, not them so much) and explain that the noise of them walking on their floor is very loud in your apartment.

What is the best noise to drown out sound? ›

White noise, pink noise, sound masking. All these broadband noises can, to some extent, be used to drown out sounds we do not wish to hear. It's actually one of the reasons white noise can help certain people sleep better, by keeping all sorts of nightly disruptive sounds at bay.

Is it normal to hear stomping from upstairs? ›

Yes, hearing your upstairs neighbors walking throughout the day is quite normal. Regardless of the level of soundproofing you implement, there might always be sounds loud enough to get in. But things can get out of control if you hear even quiet footsteps.

Which floor is the noisiest? ›

Higher is noisier – noise travels upwards and that is why higher floors tend to be noisier (it usually starts to reduce from around the 15th floor). Banging from construction work nearby can be heard acutely on higher floors even through the source of the noise can seem very far away.

How do I block noise on a shared wall? ›

These include sound-blocking rubberized paints, special kinds of drywall and thick membranes designed to be installed under a new layer of drywall. Insulation can help but generally isn't enough. “Decoupling” your wall, so it isn't attached to your neighbor's wall, or adding mass (or both), will help more.

What is one way to reduce noise? ›

Modify the paths by which the noise travels through the air to the people exposed, eg: Erect enclosures around machines to reduce the amount of noise emitted into the workplace or environment. Use barriers and screens to block the direct path of sound. Position noise sources further away from workers.

What's the best sound setting for hearing footsteps? ›

If you're looking to optimize your audio settings to capture footsteps effortlessly, then try our configuration below:
  • Audio Mix: Home Theater.
  • Master Volume: 50.
  • Music Volume: 0.
  • Effects Volume: 80.
  • Hit Marker Volume: 30.
  • Mono Audio: Off.
Apr 2, 2023

Does soundproofing ceiling really work? ›

Yes, you might be surprised to learn that making a soundproof ceiling is a common upgrade to many people's homes. Many ceiling soundproofing systems available are successful at lowering impact and airborne noise, usually created by noisy neighbours.

How do I talk to my neighbor about loud footsteps? ›

An Expert-Approved Guide to Respectfully Communicating with Noisy Neighbors
  1. Approach your neighbor in person.
  2. Offer a solution.
  3. Humanize the situation.
  4. Check out neighborhood guidelines.
  5. Don't approach your neighbor with a group of people.
  6. Take further steps only when necessary.
Nov 11, 2021

How much noise is too much in an apartment? ›

For residential environments, the accepted decibel level is lower. Any noise exceeding 70 dB is considered disturbing. Residential limits usually start at 60 or 55 dB (the equivalent noise of a regular vacuum cleaner).

How do you not let annoying neighbors bother you? ›

How to Ignore Bad Neighbors
  1. 1 Get noise-canceling headphones.
  2. 2 Buy a white noise machine.
  3. 3 Put up signs in your front yard.
  4. 4 Invest in some curtains.
  5. 5 Lock your doors.
  6. 6 Throw down some rugs to absorb the sound.
  7. 7 Fill up your home with furniture to reduce any echo.
  8. 8 Seal the cracks in your home.

What absorbs the most sound? ›

In general, soft, pliable, or porous materials (like cloths) serve as good acoustic insulators - absorbing most sound, whereas dense, hard, impenetrable materials (such as metals) reflect most.

What is the most harmful sound? ›

Noise above 70 dB over a prolonged period of time may start to damage your hearing. Loud noise above 120 dB can cause immediate harm to your ears. The table below shows dB levels and how noise from everyday sources can affect your hearing. Sounds at these dB levels typically don't cause any hearing damage.

What blocks noise out? ›

Kitting your bedroom out with soft furnishings like rugs, fabric-covered armchairs and padded ottomans is a great way to help absorb noise. If you don't have double-glazed windows, choose curtains in a heavy fabric to help block out sounds from the outside world.

What flooring dampens sound? ›

Rubber can be a fantastic sound reducing flooring material in the right applications. Rubber is both slip and mold resistant, making it a great solution for places like hospitals, gyms, and kitchens. Like vinyl, it is incredibly easy to clean material and can make a great sound absorber.

What absorbs sound in a house? ›

Acoustic Tiles and Foam

Typically porous, lightweight, and soft to the touch, sound absorbing materials stop noise from bouncing around inside rooms. That's why they are used for deadening distortion from reflected sound in a home theater, music room, podcasting booth, or recording studio.

Can you soundproof a ceiling in an apartment? ›

Installing acoustic panels, mass loaded vinyl, and insulation can further reduce the noise coming through apartment ceilings. Acoustic panels are one of the best options for soundproofing apartment ceilings.

Why is upstairs floor so loud? ›

There are a number of reasons why we get creaky floors. These include, for example, friction caused between two hard surfaces rubbing together, movement in a floor, incorrect installation of a timber structure, flex in the joists, incorrect fixings or joists that are not level.

Why did I hear a loud thump in my house? ›

The knocking or banging noise you hear coming from your walls usually occurs when air pressure builds in your water pipes. This pressure builds up and causes your pipes to vibrate once the pressure is released (when your faucets are turned on or your toilet is flushed).

What floor is the safest in an apartment? ›

Increased security

The top floor is the most secure out of all the levels. Thieves or other invaders will rarely make their way to the top of the building. If you're on the top, you can feel safe from people who might push into the building from the outside.

What floor of an apartment is quietest? ›

If having a quiet and tranquil home is important to you, you might want to live on the top floor. You will get much less noise from neighbors, considering there will be no one above you. Additionally, as long as your building has more than just two floors, you will have less noise from the street below to deal with.

What flooring is best for upstairs sound? ›

Carpeting is often the best pick for flooring material as it naturally reduces footfall and impact noise. If your existing floor is hardwood, ceramic tile or laminate flooring, you'll likely experience a higher level of impact and airborne noise and need a heavy-duty soundproofing flooring to lay on top.

How much does it cost to soundproof between floors? ›

Soundproofing a room in an existing home costs $10 to $30 per square foot, while new-construction soundproofing costs $12 to $25 per square foot.

How do I 100% soundproof my room? ›

By completing actions such as decoupling the walls, adding a floating ceiling, insulating, installing drywall, choosing the right door, and filling in air gaps, your room can be as close to perfectly soundproof as possible.

What is the cheapest material to soundproof room? ›

The cheapest way to soundproof a wall is to use thick blankets and quilts. To block outside noise, put blankets over the walls, doors, or windows, depending on where the sound is coming from. To keep the sound in, hang blankets on both sides of the doors or inside walls.

How do you make homemade soundproofing? ›

Cover walls with thick blankets, moving pads, tapestries, or quilts. Virtually any soft material will work, though thicker ones absorb more sound than thinner materials. If you don't mind adding an industrial look to the room, fasten sound-absorbing panels to the walls and, if necessary, the ceiling.

How do you soundproof an upstairs floor? ›

Underlayments are ideal for soundproofing floors. They serve to lift the finished surface up and away from the structure that connects the rooms together. By forcing the disconnection, the floor underlayment will decouple foot noise by absorbing its impact, thus minimizing the strength of the vibration.

How do you dampen sound from floor above? ›

Sound-Absorbing Mats

Mats made of foam or rubber are a way to dampen sounds, mostly from vibration emanating from upstairs. Apply underlayments below hardwood or laminate flooring to muffle sounds. Carpeting also dampens sounds, especially when using a carpet pad that doubles as sound insulation.

Should I be able to hear my upstairs neighbor walking? ›

Yes, hearing your upstairs neighbors walking throughout the day is quite normal. Regardless of the level of soundproofing you implement, there might always be sounds loud enough to get in. But things can get out of control if you hear even quiet footsteps.

What is the quietest flooring for 2nd story? ›

When it comes to soundproof floors, tiles are the noisiest followed by hardwood floors. Whereas carpets are the best soundproof flooring material. Additionally, you need the floor to be strong enough to support whatever floor that needs to be installed.

What if your neighbor makes a lot of noise? ›

Your best bet is to call the police during a period when you feel the noise ordinance is being violated, or giving the time period in which the violation repeats itself. File a lawsuit - If the police fail to investigate, or otherwise do not judge a noise violation, you can file a claim in small claims court.

How do you deal with noise sensitive Neighbours? ›

Listen to them and emphasize that you understand the problem. You should know that, usually, even just a tiny change in your habits can solve the problem. Talking on your phone less loudly in the evening hours, or just making the call at a different time may transform the relationship between you and your neighbor.

How loud do you have to be for your neighbor to hear you? ›

For residential environments, the accepted decibel level is lower. Any noise exceeding 70 dB is considered disturbing. Residential limits usually start at 60 or 55 dB (the equivalent noise of a regular vacuum cleaner). Time limits usually apply after 10 pm and until 7 am.


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