You aren’t alone if you have an upstairs neighbor who won’t stop walking the entire night. I have personally been in such a situation.
In my 20s, I saw this amazing apartment in the Ads. I quickly signed the lease and was extremely excited to move in. After all, it was new and close to my workplace.
My excitement was quickly short-lived as I learned that although the apartment had elegant appeal, it didn’t have noise insulation—I could literally hear every step above me.
A couple lived above me. The girl was the most active, and I could hear her walking around. To add insult to injury, she worked the graveyard shift, so she would come late at night or early morning, and the entire apartment was boom boom boom with her heavy feet.
To add to that, at least three times a week, the guy would bring 4-5 of his friend over for a party after the girlfriend went to work, and as you can guess, this made my situation extremely difficult.
Is it normal to hear upstairs neighbors walking?
The unfortunate answer is that it’s normal to hear your upstairs neighbors walking. This is because apartments are built for business purposes, and for the developers to make the most profits, they build them as cheaply as possible.
Due to this, they build a thin floor or ceiling. They also cheap out on insulation.
If you live in an apartment, you should be ready to entertain “considerable noise.” Some people have had issues with what is considered considerable noise, but this is the noise you will encounter in your daily living.
This includes: moving items from one room to another, doing chores such as cleaning dishes, talking at normal volume, watching television, drying the hair, flushing the toilet, vacuuming, and so on.
While you should expect some noise when living in an apartment, it shouldn’t be extreme. This means that things such as slamming cupboards and doors repeatedly during the day or night would be unreasonable noise.
The same applies to blasting loud music for hours or having frequent screaming or arguments.
When you repeatedly hear unreasonable noise from your upstairs neighbor, you should complain about it.
How do I tell my Neighbours are too loud?
There are plenty of ways you can approach the issue. These ways include:
Talking to your neighbor: Sometimes, your neighbors might not be aware they are making the walking noises, so bringing it to their attention might reduce or even stop the noises. If you have the guts, you can knock on your neighbor’s door and let them know about the walking noises.
As you are talking to them, be polite when stating the problem and don’t blame them—blame the floor. This is to prevent them from getting defensive, rendering your efforts futile.
If you don’t want to face your neighbors or your schedules don’t coincide, you can always write them a letter or leave them a note under their door.
Talk to the management: If you have already talked to the neighbor and the noise situation isn’t improving, you should bring it to the management. For your case to hold water, you need proof, so you should have recorded the walking noises before heading to the management.
Remember that you can’t just tell the building management that the neighbors are making noise while you don’t have any proof.
Can you call the police for noise complaints?
Yes, you can call the police when your neighbors are too loud, but you should note that the police can’t arrest the noisy neighbor. The situation can be hilarious if you call the police because your neighbor is walking around too loud.
It would be unwise to call the police because your neighbors are walking too loudly. Instead, move if you have exhausted the above options.
What if you don’t want to move?
If you love the apartment, don’t have money to move, or the penalties for canceling your lease are too high, you should learn to live with the stomping noises. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can go about it:
Wear noise-canceling earplugs
If the noises aren’t too loud, you can wear earplugs and put them on when you are in the house or sleeping. When buying earplugs, ensure that you buy high-quality ones that will give you a good fit for a long time.
If the earplugs aren’t working, consider getting noise-canceling headphones. One of the best ones I have come across is the JVC headphones. I often use them when I’m on the plane, and they work wonders. Of course, buy those that are the right fit for you.
Sleep with the TV on
I’ve found it highly effective, especially when the walking sounds aren’t too loud. You need to switch the TV to your favorite station and listen to it as you sleep.
Another trick you can use is to disconnect the antenna, and the poor TV reception noises will block the stomping noises.
Get a white noise machine.
This machine makes white noise that blocks most of the noise coming from your neighbor. You can buy many white noise machines, but one of the best I can recommend is….
You can try pink noise if white noise doesn’t work for you. The noise combines all the audible frequencies but emphasizes lower frequencies, making the sound more event. An excellent pink noise is waves crashing on the beach.
Soundproof the apartment
Four ways you can soundproof the apartment are by adding mass, increasing or adding air space, decoupling or creating a structural break within the wall assembly, and adding sound absorption material within the ceiling or wall cavities.
Very few property owners will allow you to make structural changes to an apartment or create structural breaks within the wall, so you should stick with ways that won’t change the apartment’s structure.
When soundproofing the apartment, take caution that you don’t cause any damage as it will most likely break the lease, not to mention being required to pay a hefty fine.
If you have to soundproof the apartment, ensure that the work is done by an expert that knows what they are doing.