Updated: Mar 8, 2022
A Guide to Dealing with Noise in an Apartment
“He shoots, he scores!” and the audience erupts in elation and endless cheers! The only problem? You’re not watching the game. The sound is coming from your neighbor’s apartment…
Living in an apartment complex offers a great sense of community and security, whether it’s your first-time renting or you enjoy the affordability and convenience it offers. But when you can hear your neighbor’s music or perhaps you have a dog and you’re concerned about the noise disrupting your fellow residents, then it’s time to consider how to make your apartment more soundproof.
The question is, what can you do to soundproof your apartment, especially if you’re renting.
Before you take drastic measures, we look at simple ways to create a soundproof apartment and the steps you can take to manage noisy neighbors. Let’s start!
What Does Soundproofing an Apartment Mean?
Soundproofing an apartment means taking measures and performing modifications to prevent or minimize noise from the neighbor or from the street traveling through your walls, windows, and ceilings (in the case of living downstairs). Realistically, a professional soundproof involves the installation of insulating materials to stop the transfer of sound.
Fortunately, there are simpler steps you can take to minimize noise, whether you are the one making it, or you are on the receiving end.
We look at tips for both renters, shared homes, and condos.
Why Aren’t Apartments Soundproof?
Most properties are not built with soundproofing, especially apartments. For properties that are close to busy streets, double glazed windows are generally installed in a renovation or insulating materials within and along the walls.
What is Considered Excessive/Unreasonable Noise in an Apartment?
A noise that is described as “unreasonable” or “excessive” is a noise that is not considered regular or everyday sounds. Traffic from a nearby public road is an everyday sound but loud music and parties are not.
The difficulty is determining the fine line between noise that is unreasonable or acceptable and expected in an apartment or residence.
If you can hear people talking or footsteps into a neighboring apartment, this could be regarded as expected daily noise.
Ongoing shouting, stomping, banging of doors, loud music, hooting from cars in the complex, and persistent dog barking, are considered the “unreasonable” end of the noise scale.
Do Apartments Have Quiet Hours?
While not always explicitly stated in the lease, every tenant has the right to quiet enjoyment of their residence. This means that parties, loud music, shouting, and unreasonable sounds should cease between these times.
The standard times for ‘quiet hours’ in apartments range from 10 pm/11 pm to 7 am/8 am during the week. These hours differ on weekends and public holidays.
If quiet hours are not stated in your lease, speak to your landlord about what is considered times of quiet or undisturbed hours in your apartment building or complex.
What Can You Do to Reduce Noise in Your Apartment?
Living in an apartment requires some consideration for your fellow neighbor but what if you have children and you want to live upstairs or you are concerned about your dog making noise while you are at work?
We look at what you can do to soundproof a room and more.
Living in an Upstairs Apartment with Children
Whether you live upstairs or downstairs in an apartment, considering ways of managing noise can go a long way to preventing unwanted noise complaints. With urban living and more families moving into apartments, one of the most popular questions asked is how to soundproof noisy children in an upstairs apartment?
If you are a parent and you live in or want to live in an upstairs apartment, you may be concerned about your children’s activities creating noise and disturbing your neighbors below. Children will run, jump, play with their toys and this may be heard by the downstairs resident.
Across the US, families with children under the age of have increased by more than 31% in apartment living. This means that more people are considering cost-effective ways of soundproofing their apartments.
Noise complaints concerning kids are a sensitive topic and perhaps it is a good idea to speak to your landlord about your concerns.
Whether pets, babies tumbling across the floor, or young children running and playing in apartments, let’s look at the simplest ways of buffering noise in apartments.
Use Thick Carpeting
For families in an upstairs apartment, one way to reduce the sound of pitter-pattering feet running across the floor is to use a large rug with an underlay. Dense carpeting can significantly reduce the thuds of activity heard by the downstairs neighbor, especially across hardwood floors.
This can also work for larger sized pets that may run and jump across the floor.
A Look at the Best Tips to Make Your Apartment More Soundproof
From your doors, and windows to your floors, we look at the following options for soundproofing your apartment.
Identify the Areas in Your Apartment Most Susceptible to Noise
Is it the door, the window, or the floor between you and the upstairs neighbor that is the weakest spot for noise transfer?
If it is the floor, as previously mentioned, a thick carpet in a large size covering the entire living area or dense rugs spread throughout can assist in reducing loud footsteps, thuds, and jumps.
By determining the weakest areas of your apartment, you can focus your insulation efforts and manage the cost to keep the noise at bay.
Insulate the Doors and Windows
For external noise, one of the easiest ways to control disturbances is by sealing gaps, cracks, and openings around window frames and doors. You can purchase insulation tape to seal off frames, which can also help with drafts and interior temperature regulation.
If you want to soundproof your apartment door, you can purchase an acoustic kit to insulate the door. Most types of noise come from the gaps and the weakness in the door. Because apartment doors are not of dense manufacture, their hollow consistency can actually create higher levels of sound transference inside the apartment.
A seal kit is designed to close the gaps around the door and the framework. You can also use insulation foam as an affordable alternative, to reduce the possibility of sound travel.
Do Bookshelves Help to Soundproof an Apartment?
A bookshelf looks great but as far as keeping the noise from transferring in between walls, it won’t do much. You can try to hang carpeting or padding on the walls to create density.
The acoustic panel has become a popular solution for apartment living. In a rental apartment, always discuss modifications to walls before you decide to take on a DIY project. It is best to speak to your landlord about the noise and to ask about the steps you can take to manage the disruptions.
Use White Noise Machines and Ear Plugs
Many people swear by using white noise machines. The soft tunes carried by the device can help distract you from the bigger disturbances. It also provides a balancing effect throughout the apartment.
For more persistent noises through the night, earplugs may be a good investment.
Speak to Your Neighbor
This can be a difficult and touchy subject but if your neighbor is playing loud music, their dog is constantly barking, or slamming doors, the next step is to speak to them kindly. Remember, many people aren’t aware that what they’re doing is causing you grief and can be heard inside your home. Making them aware of this with a polite conversation may assist in easily resolving the issue.
If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your neighbor or feel they may not be reasonable when approached, the next step is to talk to your landlord.
Speaking to Your Landlord About Noise Disturbances in Your Apartment
Landlords deal with noise disturbance complaints periodically. From significant cases of disruptive tenants to benign complaints, the role of a landlord is to remain objective and sensitive to the needs of all lessees.
When you approach your landlord concerning a noise complaint, they will first investigate the claim. It is important that you take the time to document the noise as this makes it easier and more efficient for landlords to get to the bottom of the issue. This also ensures that you have the complaint in writing.
Prepare Your Documentation when Presenting a Noise Complaint
The document should include:
The time the noise occurred
The duration of the noise
The first incident
The type of noise
Whether you have spoken to the tenant
Once the landlord has investigated the claim, they will speak to the offending tenant about the noise complaint. The tenant has a right to be made aware of the complaint. Thereafter, they must be given the opportunity to respond and to reduce or quit the noise (depending on the type of noise).
Along with communicating the claim to the tenant in question, landlords can also ask surrounding residents if they have heard the same disturbances.
Remember that noise complaints are not always caused by a direct neighbor. It could be caused by friends visiting a resident close-by, tenants residing in the property a few units away from you, or someone coming into the property late at night slamming doors after a work shift. Whatever the disruption is, be honest with the landlord.
Tips from a Landlord on Dealing with Noise in an Apartment
Speak to the landlord first. Before you make a complaint, get their advice on what you should do if you are experiencing a noise problem. This can also protect you from approaching a neighbor and it ending in conflict.
You can contact your landlord by email, telephonically, or in-person. The next step is to explain the situation. If you are not making a case, tell them you are looking for advice. You could even create a hypothetical circumstance prior to presenting your documented noise claim.
Landlords will Guide and Counsel New Tenants
If you are applying for an apartment, the prospective landlord will breakdown the rules and the regulations of the apartment complex. Tenants who are investigated and found to infringe the noise regulation will be issued with a warning. If they continue to cause a problem despite the warning they could be issued with an eviction. This depends on the severity of the disturbance and the validity of the claim.
Check Your Lease Concerning Noise in and Around the Apartment
Most landlords will create a policy surrounding apartment noise. The purpose is to maintain the safety and peace of tenants and the community at large. You s