Last Updated: August 5, 2022
Living in an apartment can be fun but, at the same time, it can be frustrating, too! One of the most common problems is noisy neighbors - upstairs or downstairs.
It is frustrating to have noisy downstairs neighbors! Good thing, you do not have to simply live with it.
Be proactive and consider different solutions!
If you are clueless about how to reduce noise from downstairs neighbors, read on! I will share some of the best tips to soundproof your apartment or at least make the noise more manageable.
The Best Ways To Deal With Noisy Downstairs Neighbors
No one wants noisy neighbors! Whether it is intentional or unintentional, their noise can be a nightmare, especially if it gets in the way of your sleep! Now is the time to act! Below are some of the best things that you can do.
1. Speak To Your Neighbor
Before you proceed to more complicated solutions for minimizing noise from lower-level apartments, start with the most basic.
Talk to your neighbor.
In many instances, they might not recognize that they are being too loud and a disturbance to others, so it is best to let them know about the problem.
If the noise is because of a party and you cannot sleep, knock politely. Do not just come crashing. More importantly, do not be aggressive.
As much as possible, approach the situation without hostility, especially if people are already drunk. Chances are, your efforts will end up being an exercise in futility.
Try your best to stay calm and kind. If it still does not work, talk to the person managing the property and let them step in.
On the other hand, if the noise is frequent and not just from parties, such as from loud music playing every night or squeaky floors, find the right time.
You might catch each other in the elevator or other common part of the apartment complex.
If the neighbor is new, consider getting a welcome gift, and at the same time, tell them about the noise.
2. Wear Earplugs
For simple, effective, and affordable solutions for a noisy downstairs neighbor, earplugs are lifesavers!
However, earplugs are best only when you are sleeping at a time when your neighbors are noisy. It is a hassle to be wearing it all day during the times that your neighbors are loud.
Most earplugs are disposable and are made of memory foam or similar material that is rolled into a compressed cylinder. You will insert it into your ears, and it can be molded. Creating a secure fit is key to its effectiveness.
Alternatively, you can also use silicone earplugs. They are kneaded balls that you will mold into your ear canal to create a customized fit.
Another good alternative is customized earplugs, which will be molded on your ear for the perfect fit. This will require seeing an audiologist, which makes it expensive.
Clueless about the earplugs to buy? I suggest that you look at Mack’s Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs. They have super low pressure and a slow release foam, making them comfortable. Best of all, it has a noise reduction rating of up to 32 decibels.
3. Invest in Carpets and Rugs
Carpets and rugs do not just add aesthetic appeal to your home. They also provide effective sound absorption to minimize outside noise.
With its fibers and tufts, carpets and rugs have resonant frequencies for effective sound absorption, especially on a hardwood floor. They can reduce airborne noise, making it easy to not hear the noise from downstairs.
The effectiveness, however, will depend on specific factors. Among others, one of the most important is the material. Wool is amongst the best, which has a fuzzy structure that traps sound. The more fibers there are and the thicker the materials are, the more effective it will be.
Aside from the main material, the backing is equally important. It will add to its dampening benefits, making it effective for soundproofing your apartment. Look for backing materials that are not easily permeable to help filter unwanted noise.
If there is no built-in backing, consider installing an underlay. It will not only help lessen noise, but it can also help protect floors against damage, especially from moisture.
4. Install Mass Loaded Vinyl
If you go online and search for soundproofing materials, mass loaded vinyl is sure to come up in the results.
Also known as MLV, it is a limp and heavy vinyl sheet, which has metal particles that increase mass. Most of the time, it is sandwiched between two materials, such as ceiling coverings and drywall.
Unlike most materials, MLV blocks sound instead of absorbing it.
One of the best ways to use this material is to install it under the carpet. It can act as a liner or an underlay. When you complement it with an effective carpet material, it will be highly effective in minimizing impact noise.
Using MLV is great because of its high density and exceptional flexibility. This means that it is easy to shape, so you can customize such depending on your needs.
5. Use Puzzle Mats
It might seem like a simple trick but installing puzzle mats is another effective way to quiet loud downstairs neighbors.
Puzzle mats are especially handy if you have babies at home. It can provide them with a place to crawl while minimizing the chances that they will bump their head on a hard surface.
Additionally, puzzle mats are great for those who exercise. This will provide you with a comfortable surface to work out while acting as a noise dampener.
The good thing about puzzle mats is that they are affordable and versatile. They are cheaper than carpets. Best of all, they are easy to remove, so you can take them off anytime they are not needed.
You can choose from a variety of designs, depending on what will suit the look you want. For babies, look for something colorful with numbers and letters. Otherwise, go for something plain and simple.
Fun Fact: There are other options for soundproofing any surface. Read about the best sound dampening insulation materials for more information!
6. Soundproof Your Windows
While your best bet is to install soundproof windows, it is not the most practical solution regarding how to deal with noisy downstairs neighbors. It is costly and will take a lot of work. Plus, if you are renting, your landlord might not allow you to do so.
Good thing, you have plenty of other ways to make the windows soundproof. A window insert is one of the most effective solutions. It is a glass pane that you will fit in an existing window frame. By adding this glass layer, you will have a double glass pane to absorb sound.
A soundproof curtain is another effective option. It is made using materials that are effective for sound control. Technically, these are known as sound blankets or sound curtains. They have sound absorbers that can minimize sound transmission by up to 29 decibels.
Caulking is another promising solution for soundproofing windows. They will fill even the tiniest gaps, so noise from outside will not penetrate your home. They are available in a wide array of colors, so you won’t have to compromise aesthetics.
7. Soundproof Your Doors
Like with windows, soundproofing doors will also work when you are dealing with the downstairs neighbor’s loud music or any other noise.
Installing a door gasket is one of the best things to do. Space under the door frame will amplify sound travel, and you can manage such through a door gasket. Installing such will require the removal of a door frame.
Metal and rubber weatherstripping will also help. Some of them have an adhesive backing, which makes the assembly a breeze.
Increasing door mass will also work. The greater the mass of the door, the less likely sound will penetrate. You can opt to install a heavier and thicker door for noise reduction. Alternatively, you can also hang a carpet, blanket, or any similar material at the back of the door.
Fun Fact: You can research soundproofing a hollow door for more information on lessening or even eliminating your noise problems easily and affordably.
8. Buy a White Noise Machine
It might seem counterintuitive, but you can beat noise with noise. White noise can help reduce noise from your loud downstairs neighbors.
White noise is noise inclusive of all frequencies that the human ear can hear. It ranges from 20 to 20,000Hz. It creates a sound similar to a fan, air conditioner, or dryer. This is effective in concealing jarring sounds, including those from your neighbors.
A white noise machine is a small product that will help mask other noises. From barking dogs to cruising cars, it will drown out any distracting sound, including noise from your neighbors downstairs.
While the options are endless, one of the products that I can recommend is the LectroFan Evo White Noise Sound Machine. You can choose from 22 white noises, including calming ocean sounds. There is also a precise volume control, so you can adjust how loud you want it to be.
9. Add Bass Traps
A bass trap is an acoustic treatment that reduces low-end frequencies to acoustically tune a room.
While bass traps are more commonly used in studios for the reduction of reverb, it is equally effective when used in apartments and condos to minimize noise transmission. It is convenient since all that you have to do is place one in every corner of your room.
Nonetheless, take note that using bass traps alone will not filter all noises, but it can dramatically reduce unwanted sounds.
10. Use Wall Acoustic Features
Combine form and function as you minimize the noise problem from your downstairs neighbors.
This is possible by adding decorative wall acoustic features in your place. Walls are often made of dry surfaces, such as drywall. They will amplify sounds, making the noise downstairs more audible. By leaving the walls bare, the noise will be more of a burden.
Cloth and linen tapestries are amongst the most effective. They are made of soft and porous materials that can absorb noise, especially if you position them strategically on your wall. Quilts will have the same effect or even a thick canvas painting.
Fun Fact: You could do a DIY soundproofing project for your walls and save money in the process! Learn how to soundproof an apartment wall and remove the noises immediately.
SoundProof Tip: It's annoying when both your upstairs and downstairs neighbors won't show courtesy and respect for your privacy. However, if all rooms are set up side-by-side ala Bates Motel, then you still have problems, too! Read our post to know how to deal with them -- Can My Neighbors Hear Me Talking? We Provide 10 Solutions!
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you let your neighbors know they are too loud?
Having a face-to-face talk is the best way to let your neighbors know that they are noisy and are a distraction to others. If you are too shy to talk to them personally, enlist the help of your landlord or property manager.
Alternatively, you can also leave a note on their door. Regardless of what you choose, avoid being too confrontational. When you are left with no other option, involve the authorities.
Why can I always hear my neighbors?
The most common reason is the construction of the building where you are living. The floors and walls are probably too thin, which is why sound transmits easily. It can also be because your neighbors are just too loud that you can always hear them.
Having a noisy downstairs neighbor can be a nightmare! It is difficult to sleep soundly at night when you can hear even the slightest conversations!
There are plenty of solutions that can prove to be effective. Start by talking to your neighbor. Alternatively, you can also use earplugs or a white noise machine. Doing some changes in your apartment will also help, such as soundproofing the walls, doors, and windows.
Are there other tips on how to reduce noise from downstairs neighbors you would like to add? Feel free to leave a comment below.