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Is it possible to dampen sound leakage from my apartment neighbors?

Is it possible to dampen sound leakage from my apartment neighbors?


  #1  
Old 10-10-09, 09:45 PM
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Is it possible to dampen sound leakage from my apartment neighbors?

Hi, all. First-time poster (minimal knowledge or skills in the topic area). Not sure if this is the right board - apologies if not.

You probably don't get many queries from people who live in rented apartments in Brooklyn, but here I am. Moved in May to a cool, affordable place on the first floor of a lovely pre-war brownstone in a fantastic neighborhood. The only thing keeping it from being perfect for me is the rather thin (or resonant or something) ceiling in my large, wonderful bedroom - which means I hear plenty from the teenage girl above me with the elephant feet and the fondness for TV and radio, fighting with her mother, and moving her furniture around. I should mention here that I sleep in a loft three feet below the ceiling. (And the western wall I share with the next-door neighbors isn't so hot either, getting some TV and conversation leakage.)

Talked to the girl's mom last week about putting down a rug in her room, but she absolutely refused because she has pets, and made it pretty clear she doesn't want to be bothered anymore about noise (I've gone up there only two or maybe three times since I moved in five months ago, and only late at night.)

One of my friends in the technical side of theater suggested some kind of soundproofing foam, which he said we can put up on my ceiling with a staple gun, allowing it to be pulled down later. But some reading I've done around the 'net indicates this won't be very effective, particularly in dealing with the boomy thumping of feet and such, which is the most annoying thing. (It's midnight here... a few minutes ago, she apparently dragged a heavy piece of furniture all the way across the room, making what felt like my whole bedroom vibrate for several seconds on end - I know there's no insulation that would eliminate that.)

Any thoughts on this idea, or other suggestions, would be very much appreciated, as this is an increasingly stressful problem. I'm not expecting pristine silence, of course, but a significant improvement would be a relief.

Sorry if this was a bit longwinded...
 
  #2  
Old 10-11-09, 03:30 AM
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Welcome to the forums!

Have you talked to your landlord about this?
 
  #3  
Old 10-11-09, 09:17 AM
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Thanks, marksr - remarkable place you guys have here.

Ah, well, a most logical first question there. I didn't explain that because I thought my OP was getting too long already. The woman upstairs is the landlord's sister. Next-door neighbors are mom and (step?)dad - extremely nice people, I should add. Another factor in all of this is that mom next door is suffering from cancer which, from what I can gather, looks pretty terminal. Which might be contributing to some irritableness on my upstairs neighbor's part - this might all sound kind of petty to me too, if my mother were dying downstairs.

In short, I feel somewhat hampered in my ability to play hardball here. I don't know that the landlord would be unsympathetic or unhelpful - my roommate, who's been here for years, is the person who communicates with him, so I don't know much about him. But I actually want to do everything else I can before complaining to this guy about his family members.

Even if I do talk to him and he's willing to be helpful... I've done some more reading online, and the pretty consistent message I'm getting from the most knowledgeable-sounding people, if they have nothing to sell, is that there's very little that can be done about low-frequency percussive noises like those footsteps without some major renovation, since they carry through the structure of the building. I guess I'm hoping against hope someone has some genius idea up their sleeve that I just haven't run across yet in my research.
 
  #4  
Old 10-11-09, 10:23 AM
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Sounds like your stuck between a rock and a hard place

Although this isn't my area of expertise, I would think something like a double ceiling with fiberglass insulation would be the best fix but that's kind of hard to do as a renter. Drapes do a lot for muffling sounds in a room, would it be feasable to hang some type of material on the ceiling?

If/when you talk to the landlord, phrase it so it sounds like a mutual problem - as in what can we do to eliminate or tone down the noise at night. You don't want to put him on the defense when family is involved.
 
  #5  
Old 10-11-09, 06:31 PM
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Yeah, even if I could see a landlord saying, "Sure, we'll put in a double ceiling!" (not bloody likely), it's not really possible here because of the loft that goes almost all the way around the room, where I sleep, and store most of my abundant junk.

Stuff I've found written on the net mostly says that material on the ceiling will be ineffectual. A good thick rug or carpet on her floor upstairs would probably help some, but I was point blank refused when I brought that up. Unless someone has any other bright ideas, my best bet seems to be trying to get the landlord behind the idea of putting some floor covering in up there, and talking his sister around. But even that doesn't seem terribly likely.
 
  #6  
Old 10-13-09, 03:29 PM
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I'm very sorry to say that the carpet upstairs is the #1 easiest solution. other than that... deconstruction and reconstruction are the only options.
 
 

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