Noise from your neighbor can come in many different forms. Whether it’s loud music, kids screaming over a video game, crying babies, or even a teenager playing drums, it is loud enough to affect your daily living or sleep.
Every type of situation will warrant a different type of soundproofing.
Educating yourself on the different options you have for soundproofing your home from a noisy neighbor will help prevent you from spending a fortune or money you don’t have to.
1. Figure out the Source of the Noise
This is the first step that you need to take before you can reduce the noise your neighbors are making.
Figure out if it’s a loud television, noisy baby, jumping and pounding on the ceiling if you live below them, or any other source of the noise.
The main thing you want to differentiate here is if it is impact noise or airborne noise that you’re experiencing.
Finding out which noises you have and where will help you determine the steps you will need to take in order to reduce the noise from your neighbors.
Locate the Noise
Locate the area in your home where this noise resonates the most. This is the area that you will be working on.
Sometimes the noises can be so loud that they may be able to be heard from two rooms.
For example, if you live in an apartment and you have neighbors with noisy kids above that are constantly jumping and screaming, you might be able to hear them in your living room and bedroom.
This all depends on the areas where the kids are making the noise in. If your noise is being generated from a loud stereo or television in one room, then this is where you will focus your efforts.
Focusing on a certain area in your home will help you from spending a lot of money on unnecessary soundproofing.
Airborne noise is pretty self-explanatory. It is any type of noise that comes from the air.
This can include noises like yelling, screaming, loud televisions, crying babies, and so on. Airborne noise is generally easier to reduce than impact noise.
Reducing airborne noise is easier simply due to the fact that you are only worrying about sound traveling through a wall, floor, or ceiling.
With impact noise, you not only have to worry about that, but you also have to worry about shock and vibrations that are sent through along with the airborne noise.
This means that this type of noise requires less work to be soundproof compared to impact noise.
This is why it is important to identify what type of noise is being generated before moving forward.
Impact noise is vastly different from airborne noise. This type of noise is caused mostly by physical vibrations that travel with airborne noise.
Commons sources of impact noise can include things like a treadmill, kids jumping up and down, banging or hitting walls, or even a very loud stereo that has a lot of basses.
Impact noise can be a lot more annoying than airborne noise due to the sheer fact that it can also be accompanied by airborne noises.
A loud stereo with a lot of basses can be classified as both an airborne noise and an impact noise due to the shaking and vibration that is generated from the bass.
An example of this would be a car driving by with a very expensive audio system.
You can usually hear the whole car shaking and vibrating, although all the doors and windows are completely shut.
2. Confront Your Neighbors About the Issue
This is probably the cheapest and best way to reduce the noise from your neighbors.
Notice how I didn’t say that this is the easiest way to stop a noisy neighbor.
This is because it’s human nature to avoid confrontation. Confrontation can sometimes lead to arguments or, even worse, violence.
Let’s face it; you shouldn’t just have to live with these loud noises if they are affecting your day-to-day activities or your precious sleep.
Confronting your neighbors about noise-related issues will yield the best results using a small two-step formula.
Meet Your Neighbors
Don’t be a stranger if you just moved into your new place. Always make it a point to meet your surrounding neighbors to portray that you are not scared or shy to meet new people.
This is very important in building a good rapport with anybody in general, not just your neighbors.
Building a good rapport with your neighbor will help later down the line when you decide to tell them about the noise issues you are experiencing in your home.
Bring up the Noise Issue to Your Neighbor
Once you have built a somewhat decent rapport with your neighbor, it is time to discuss the issue.
Don’t just ask your neighbor to simply shut up or stop what they are doing. The best way to approach the issue is to first put the blame on the home or apartment itself.
Ask your neighbor if they are facing issues with loud noises from neighbors.
You can also comment on how you may believe that insulation in between the walls or ceilings may not be the best because you can hear a lot of noises from the outside as well as from their home or apartment.
Bringing up the situation this way will help ease any tension that may build up than if you were to just directly blame your neighbor.
Coming at your neighbor with threatening comments or a bad attitude will not help the issue and may worsen it.
Subtlety bringing up the issue about the noise your neighbor is causing you is the best way to resolve the issue. It can prevent you from really pissing off your neighbor by making them get defensive.
If you approach this the right way, then you may be able to resolve this issue without having to spend any money by soundproofing your home.
3. Soundproof the Floor
If the noise is coming from below, then you will need to soundproof your floor if you want to stop hearing your neighbors arguing, their loud music, baby screaming, or anything else that’s coming through the floor.
A great way to soundproof your floor is to use something like this mass-loaded vinyl from amazon.
Mass-loaded vinyl is great because it is very versatile in its uses. You can use this for walls, floors, ceilings, automobiles, and many other places.
Installation of this product is pretty simple. Simply remove your carpet or floor and place this underneath your flooring.
You will need to use some form of adhesive to stick the mat to your floor, so it doesn’t move around when walked on.
This will act as an impact noise and airborne noise reducer, which makes this one of the most effective ways to soundproof a floor.
For a more in-depth review of soundproofing a floor, you can check out my article about soundproofing an apartment floor.
4. Soundproof the Wall That Connects You and Your Neighbor
If your noise from your neighbor is coming from behind a wall in your home, then you will need to take a different approach.
There are a few ways that you can go about soundproofing a wall.
The most effective way to soundproof a wall is by adding thickness or mass to it.
The thicker an object is, the harder it is for sound to pass through. This is the general rule of thumb to use when attempting to soundproof a wall.
Using materials like acoustic foam panels or fiberglass panels will excel in this area. The main difference between these two products besides the material used is the price.
Fiberglass panels are a lot more expensive than acoustic foam panels. A fiberglass panel is also a lot thicker than acoustic foam panels, which makes them a lot more effective at sound dampening.
Acoustic panels are fairly simple to install. You will need to use a form of adhesive to stick them to your wall. Foam panels are great at spot-treating noisy areas.
Find out where your neighbor is making the most noise through the wall. Then go and stick a good amount of these acoustic panels over the wall to help dampen the sound and echoes from next door.
These are a lot less expensive than fiberglass panels and will do a decent job of keeping the noise down. Foam panels also do an excellent job of reducing echoes.
A fiberglass panel is more on the expensive side, but it’s also a lot more effective at keeping sound out. The reason they are more effective is because of their thickness.
They are two inches thick, which makes them very effective at sound dampening.
These panels also have grommets on them, which allow you to hang the panels on the wall using hooks or nails.
5. Move Away from Your Noisy Neighbors
This may sound like an obvious answer, but you will be surprised how many people do not relocate due to horrible or noisy neighbors.
This is probably one of the more costly options, but if you are really annoyed by your neighbors, then this is still a viable option for you.
If you live in an apartment complex, you can simply stay in the same complex but switch apartments.
Try to pick an apartment that is on the top floor to prevent your ceiling from being your neighbor’s floor.
Try to move next to an older or more mature neighbor who you know won’t be making much noise.
Moving right next to a bunch of teenagers that are all pitching in for rent is probably the worst type of neighbor you can have.
Teenagers are ruthless and will most likely be up late at night, causing a lot of noise. If money or moving is a problem for you, then this option would certainly be out of the question.
Can I Soundproof My Ceiling?
Yes, you can actually soundproof your ceiling. If you have noisy neighbors above you causing all sorts of pounding and other noises, then you may need to soundproof your ceiling.
It isn’t very practical to install acoustic foam panels or fiberglass panels on the ceiling.
This is because it looks ridiculous and will not help much with the amount of impact noise they will be generating.
Also, using panels will not really help reduce the impact noises that are mainly caused by your neighbors running, jumping, or pounding on their floor.
Soundproofing a ceiling is a lot more involved than just sticking a few panels on it. You can check out my article about soundproofing a ceiling for an in-depth guide on this specific topic.
What About a Neighbor with Noisy Yard Equipment?
If you live in a home and you have a neighbor that is constantly up-keeping his yard with noisy machines, then you may need to soundproof your windows.
Windows tend to leak sound through if they are not sealed properly or thick enough. Loud equipment like lawnmowers, weed eaters and leaf blowers are usually the main culprits that you will be dealing with.
Check out my in-depth article about how to soundproof a window.
Reducing the noise from your neighbors takes a little bit of research and effort on your end.
If it’s possible, try to settle the issue by first talking to your neighbor that is causing the noise problems.
Depending on if you approach this the right way, it will have a very high success rate.
If you approach this method like everybody else, which is usually attacking their neighbor, then this method will probably fail, and you will just have to figure out the best way to soundproof the inside of your home.
If all else fails, you may want to look into moving to a new home with quiet neighbors.