How to Block Noise From the Neighbors: 6 Best Ways (That Work!)
There’s nothing as annoying as having to deal with noisy neighbors. Of course, you could always move, but what if it only gets worse at your new place?
A few years ago I moved houses and at first, I was excited. My joy was, however, shortlived.
It took me about a week to realize how huge of a mistake I had made. The noise from my neighbors was just unbearable. Seeing as I had just recently started working from home, I needed to find a solution.
I considered moving out, but I had just moved in and I still had a whole year on my lease contract. The only viable option, it seemed, was to find a way to block all the noise from the neighbors.
I have always loved DIY projects, so I got into this wholeheartedly. I had so much fun doing it and most of all, it solved the problem. I can now work peacefully, without worrying about all the noise from the neighbors.
Noisy neighbors can get on your nerves, especially after a hard day's work and all you want is to relax. So get your toolbox out and try some of these things. You will love the peace and quiet that comes with it.
How to Block Noise From the Neighbors
1. Soundproof the Walls
If you share at least one wall with your neighbors, then it is most likely how the noise gets to you. Walls, especially those in apartments are usually quite thin as contractors try as much as they can to reduce costs.
Given that walls are the biggest culprits in transmitting noise from your neighbors, you might want to soundproof them first. There are a couple of ways in which you can achieve that.
The most common method of soundproofing walls is the use of acoustic foams and panels. These are usually boards that are made of sound absorbing materials such as fiberglass. These panels increase air resistance and as such reduce the amplitude of the sound that passes through them.
You might like: Best Acoustic Foam Panels for Soundproofing
You may as well decide to use a drywall over your existing walls. Sound travels better in thinner materials so the whole idea of adding a drywall is to increase the thickness of your walls. Dry walls are generally good at blocking sound as well as adding to the walls' thickness. For better results, you can try adding two layers of drywall.
Installing a drywall is not as hard as it may seem. All you need is some screws so as to hold them in place.
If you do not have the money for either the acoustic panels or the drywalls, no need to worry. The good thing about sound blocking is that you can use the items you already have.
If you have some large canvas paintings, you can use those instead. Hang these on the wall that you share with your neighbor and you will be amazed. You could position a bookshelf on that wall. The noise reduction will be significant.
For my apartment, I decided to use the acoustic panels. I got some that had a pyramid pattern on the surface and I played around with them to get an overall pattern on the wall. Although the panels did help much to reduce the noise, I still felt like doing a bit more to block the noise completely.
2. Soundproof the Door
Another big culprit when it comes to transmitting noise from the neighbors is the door. Most doors nowadays are usually hollow and do little to block out the noise.
Of course, the best solution for this would be to get a new door altogether. However, this is an expensive option so you may want to try out a couple of other alternatives instead.
For sound to get to your house from the neighbors, it is likely that there are certain gaps and holes in the door. Gaps, however small, will let sound into your house. It is, therefore, important to seal the gaps on the doors, especially the main door.
For the gaps, you can use a sealant like this and use it all around the edges of the door. Sealants are usually vinyl or neoprene strips that are usually airtight and it is that property that makes them sound absorbing.
Using the sealants to close up all the gaps may not seem like a big deal. However, you will notice the difference once you are done.
Apart from the gaps, you can decide to use a door sweep. For most doors, there's usually a gap between the door and the floor and it is here that most sound passes through.
Door sweeps are placed at the bottom of the door and seal the gap whenever the door is closed. They do this by creating a compression that makes it airtight and therefore, blocks sound from getting through.
Here's your full guide to soundproof the doorway.
3. Soundproof the Windows
Not all the sound that gets into your house will be from your next door neighbor. It could be from the next building. In such cases, the sound gets to your house mainly through the windows.
Of course, completely blocking the window will be the ultimate way to block out the sound. However, this will also block light from getting into the room.
The first and easiest way to soundproof your windows will be using the sealants. Just like the door, windows have several gaps that let sound through. You can use the same sealant that you used on the door for your window.
If you are ready to spend a couple of dollars on your soundproofing project, you can decide to get double paned windows. These windows have an extra layer of glass that makes them more effective in blocking out the sound. Should you decide on this option, it is important to get someone who is experienced to install the windows for you.
Instead of changing all the windows entirely, you can decide to simply add a layer of acrylic to your existing windows. Although this is a bit expensive, it is a cheaper option than getting the double paned windows.
4. Get Soundproof Curtains
Soundproofing the walls, doors, and windows should be more than enough to block out all the noise from the neighbors. However, you can decide to take it a notch higher and get soundproof curtains.
Soundproofing curtains will especially be a great investment when it comes to deadening sound at night. These curtains are usually made of thick materials that make it difficult for sound to pass through them.
In case sound gets past your windows, the thick sound absorbing materials of the curtains will block further transmission.
While I was working on soundproofing my apartment, I decide to go for soundproofing curtains rather than double paned windows. This is because I like the idea that I could move with the curtains seeing as I was not living in my own home.
The curtains have been blocking out sound amazingly. What I especially love about them is that they are available in a variety of colors and designs so you can choose curtains that match your particular tastes and preferences.
5. Soundproof the Ceiling
The worst thing about living in an apartment building is that the noise comes from everywhere, including your upstairs neighbor.
My upstairs neighbor especially loved playing loud music in the early mornings. Most times, I usually slept in so it was quite annoying when I had to wake up several hours earlier just because someone was playing music.
Soundproofing your ceiling can also be an option if you have your kids rooms’ upstairs. Children can be quite noisy and if you want your peace and quiet in the house, I suggest you start working on the ceiling.
For the ceiling, you can decide to add a drop ceiling to your existing ceiling. This is usually installed below the existing drywall and it is the space between that helps to isolate the noise. You may also decide to invest in acoustical tiles for the ceiling. You can choose the desired surface patterns and get to block sound at the same time.
Drop ceilings may not look as good so you may opt out of this option. You can decide to add another layer of drywall as well. Simply buy a drywall and install it using screws onto the existing ceiling. For better effectiveness, you can use an acoustical mat in between the layers.
6. Soundproof the Foor
The noise from downstairs can also be problematic and will mainly get to your house through the floors. You should, therefore, focus on deadening the sound through the floors.
Of course, the first step you should take is carpeting. You can carpet the entire floor, that is if your landlord has no problem. However, this is not necessary. To reduce the sound even further, I suggest adding carpet padding to new or even existing carpets.
If you do not want to carpet your floors, you can decide to add some rugs. For better sound deadening, use fluffier rugs. An advantage of using rugs is that you get to choose whatever patterns you wish. You can even do a mix and match the design.
For more ways to soundproof your apartment floor, see here.
So what if I can do none of that?
Most of the steps I have highlighted above may require some sort of modification. If the house is not yours, it may bring some issues to your landlord.
You are probably wondering what else you can do if your landlord does not allow any modifications. Well, you do not have to endure your neighbor's noise.
You have probably heard of white noise machines. In most cases, they are used to help lull babies to sleep. What most people do not realize is that you can use white noise machines as well.
If you cannot take on any soundproofing projects, your next best option would be to get a white noise machine. White noise machines will help drown the noise and as such create a calm and soothing noise that will help you sleep or concentrate on something else.
The good thing about white noise is that you can use simple everyday machines to create the same. If the humming sound from fans and heaters does not bother you, then you can use box fans, air conditioners or space heaters to drown out the noise from your neighbors.
On Blocking Sound from Neighbors
Living with noisy neighbors can be exhausting. However taking the steps above will ensure you have a noise free environment, regardless of how much noise they make.
I worked on my walls, sealed the gaps on my doors and windows and even added another layer of drywall to the ceiling. I threw in a couple of fluffy mats just for fun as well. I was amazed by the results!
Now, it doesn’t matter how much noise my neighbors make. I can finally enjoy some peace in my apartment.