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Old 04-13-2008, 11:35 PM  
steve12
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Default Soundproofing Question

Hi,
I have been living in my current building for under a year and have been having a rough time with noise coming from the place above. I have lived in apartment and condo buildings all my life and have never had a problem like this before. And considering my previous places were in much less expensive buildings, the lack of soundproofing in my current place troubles me. In a nutshell, if the person above me is at home and awake, I can hear and feel the pounding vibrations of his movements. I hear footfall and impact sounds countless times each day. I hear heavy objects being dropped onto or dragged along his floor. If he has some people over and their voices are raised above music, I can hear those voices travel down to my place. I don't know if it's attributable solely to inconsiderate behavior on my neighbor's part, or if the matter is largely due to soundproofing problems. While the noise is such that I was convinced that hardwood flooring with potentially insufficient sound insulation must have been put in the apartment above mine, I have been told that it is the original carpet and underpad up there. I have talked to others in the building and few people have any such complaints, either because they aren't as attentive to this matter or because they genuinely don't have this problem.
Is there a chance that my neighbor's carpet and underpadding are worn out from 15 years of living and thus no longer doing the job from where I sit ?
Or could the problem be with my ceiling since the previous owner got rid of the original popcorn ceiling a few years ago for the now more fashionable smooth look. Most everyone else in the building still has the old popcorn ceiling and every other place I have lived in also had the popcorn.
Could this play a role in the problem since I have read that the textured or popcorn ceiling is considered an acoustic ceiling that dampens sound ? Could the problem be my ceiling and not my upstair's neighbor's floor or conduct ?
While I do think the person upstairs is pounding on the floor with undue force most of the time, I am wondering if it sounds even worse than would be the case if I lived in an apartment that still had the original textured ceiling.
What do you think ? Any ideas on how I can remedy this problem short of moving ?
Thanks



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Old 04-14-2008, 12:16 AM  
Square Eye
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Unfortunately, Ear plugs are about the best solution until you get a new neighbor. Popcorn ceilings are only acoustically beneficial in a directly reflective situation, as in echo deadening. To cancel sound you need mass and popcorn ceiling texture offers very little mass.
There is a theory that as you notice a loud neighbor, you become more sensitive to the noise. This may be more of the problem than you realize.
Either way, it's your neighbor making the noise. Some people are totally unaware of the noise they create and this makes them seem inconsiderate to others.
Acoustic ceiling panels or tiles would add mass and dampen the sound but these are rarely acceptable for a renter to apply in the terms of a lease agreement.



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Old 04-14-2008, 01:53 AM  
steve12
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Thanks for the feedback. The neighbor was politely notified of the problem a couple of months ago. Things have gotten worse not better. I try to ignore it and listen to my ipod around the place when I know he is at home. But the vibrations still cause a physical reaction in me even with the headphones on.
I might have to move.

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Old 04-14-2008, 08:03 AM  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve12 View Post
Hi,
Is there a chance that my neighbor's carpet and underpadding are worn out from 15 years of living and thus no longer doing the job from where I sit ?
No
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve12 View Post
Or could the problem be with my ceiling since the previous owner got rid of the original popcorn ceiling a few years ago for the now more fashionable smooth look. Most everyone else in the building still has the old popcorn ceiling and every other place I have lived in also had the popcorn.
Could this play a role in the problem since I have read that the textured or popcorn ceiling is considered an acoustic ceiling that dampens sound ?
No
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve12 View Post
Could the problem be my ceiling and not my upstair's neighbor's floor or conduct ?
Maybe - It could be either or neither. Mass will reduce sound, open air will allow it to transmit. If your ceiling and your neighbors floor are built the same as others and the otehrs are not having issues then I doubt its the materials used.
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve12 View Post
While I do think the person upstairs is pounding on the floor with undue force most of the time, I am wondering if it sounds even worse than would be the case if I lived in an apartment that still had the original textured ceiling.
What do you think ?
I do not believe the texture has anything to do with it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by steve12 View Post
Any ideas on how I can remedy this problem short of moving ?
Thanks
If you can do modifications to your structure then yes, there are some things you can do. If you cant do any modifications then you are out of luck.

Here are some simple modifications you may be able to get away with.

Caulk around any ceiling light fixtures. If you have any duct work, supplies or returns, see if you hear the noise coming from those ducts. If so, you could try blocking the offending duct but understand you will compromise heating/cooling.

Now, getting more involved.
- You could add a layer of drywall to the ceiling. This will add more mass and reduce sound transmission. This additional drywall could be added with something called resilient channels that will decouple the new drywall from the old and improve things even further. You could also add a drop ceiling with acoustic tiles. The drywall would be cheaper and more effective though. A drop ceiling could be removed if required before you move out. Drywall couldn't Drywall wouldn't be a noticeable. change to a landlord if done properly.
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Old 04-14-2008, 03:26 PM  
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Hello Steve:
Random acoustic panels, used under the noisiest parts could break up the sound waves. Acoustic panels can be bought or made. To make an acoustic panel You could use suspended ceiling parts to make 4' X 4' sections and lay R-11 insulation on top of them. The sections should be hung with heavy wire (#11 or #9) and there should be two Z-bends in each wire to give it a little spring.
The sections could be made any size that is convenient; 8' X 8' over your bed, 4' X 6' over your couch, a 4' X 4' under their TV. Any size that works for you, and they don't look any worse than an area rug on the floor. They may be hung on hooks screwed into the joists above so they could be removed and the small holes patched when you move out.
Glenn



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