Bedroom in apartment: Need ideas to buffer sounds from ceiling/neighbors

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Hello,
Between the ceiling and the floor of the upstairs apartment and mine; there is no insulation. Not only can I hear every footstep, but the neighbors are extremely active; something is constantly hitting the floor unannounced. (Don't ask - I don't know, either.) The landlord doesn't want to pay for/put in any insulation. Apparently, it would involve ripping up the ceilings.
As far as putting something on my side of the ceiling; I've heard that Home Depot has "foam boards" and I've heard of ideas regarding putting up layers of rugs, etc.
I need clarification on how to and what materials to use, (as cheap as possible), that I could affix, screw in or whatever to the ceiling and possibly something on the walls (?) that would successfully reduce the amount of noise.
If you have specifics regarding materials, posting a link to Home Depot web pages would be helpful.
http://www.homedepot.com
Otherwise, the general name of a material is good enough.
It's a rental, so I can't go crazy with marring the ceiling. But I guess I could put in screws that can later be filled in.
I am just going to do something to the bedroom only; roughly a 20 ft. by 12 ft area.
Whatever ideas people have; don't worry about how it will look; I could always drape something over whatever work is there.
Thanks A LOT for any input.
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Does the apartment above you have carpet. A cost effective idea might be to donate a rug to your upstairs neighbors.
888eight888 wrote:

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http://www.naturestapestry.com/generator.html (or similar)
You can even get free noise generator programs for your PC (winamp has a plugin).
We live in a _very_ quiet area; the downside is when we travel we are therefore highly sensitive to noise. I use the winamp noise plugin on my laptop and crank it all night ; it works like a charm even in the noisest places.
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<<Between the ceiling and the floor of the upstairs apartment and mine; there is no insulation. >>
I had a similar problem that ended about 8 months ago when I moved into a house. Until then, I'd had off and on problems with my upstairs neighber, depending on who was living there at the time. My research on the web and newgroups indicated that effective sound insulation required 1) mass, and 2) layers. Not very practical in a rental.
I learned to sleep wearing a sound insulating headset, like the one you wear when shooting or using loud power tools. I stretched the headband so that it didn't fit very tight; this was enough to mask the sounds, while being confortable enough to sleep in.
However, I couldn't hear my alarm in the morning and had there ever been a fire, I would have been burned alive. ;-)
For lighter sounds, I found that a pillow or folded towel on my head works well.
I feel your pain.
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read more first at: http://www.audioalloy.com /
888eight888 wrote:

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As "noname87" wrote, getting your upstairs neighbours a carpet would be quite effective. It would considerably reduce sharp knocks although it would not do much for the "thump" of footsteps. Some apartments have a clause in the lease that floors should be carpeted - it would be worth checking if this applies to your neighbours. There have been a lot of problems in recent years from people taking up fitted carpets and putting in fancy wooden floors
There is no effective insulation that you can stick to the ceiling. To have a useful effect you need an independent heavy layer, not solidly connected to the existing ceiling. There are also things that could be done in the apartment above (apart from a carpet), but would involve taking the floor up and would not be so effective as an independent ceiling.
--
Tony W
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Try nonames idea, carpet will stop the impact and absorb the noise before it hits the floor, let your lanlord talk to them, who knows maybe they are crummy tennants and he can tell them to quiet down also,
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Since it's rental you can't modify the building enough to really matter. What you CAN do is build yourself a fairly specialized peice of furniture, sort of like this one:
http://www.kistefosmobler.no/skei-skuff.htm
And soundproof that.
If you go that route, figure out how you're going to get it out through a 28" basement doorway when you move, first.
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If the sound you hear is the tap of something hitting a hard surface, then some carpet upstairs would do wonders. If the construction is wood frame, and you are hearing a low frequency thump, there is nothing you will be able to do about it. Solutions to these problems require changes in basic construction, not simple add-ons.

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888eight888 wrote:

Frankly you have a really difficult problem. Take a look at:
http://www.soundproofing.org /
Good Luck
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
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888eight888 wrote in message

I keep a noise machine and a fan running all night. I live in a house, but it's noisy since there's a Walgreen's store behind me. It works great as far as sleeping through anything goes, but the downside is, I wouldn't hear someone in my house or something like that, and I can't sleep anywhere that doesn't have the white noise going. Good luck.
Cheri
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clipped

Is the noise 24 hrs. a day? Only daytime? Neighbors have kids? Pets? If all that you hear is people walking around during the day, I would do nothing but get used to it or try to get to know them before bringing it up. If kids play in the room, not much you can do. If the upstairs room is not carpeted, you could offer to pay half with the landlord to install carpet. There are condo's that do not allow tile floors on any but the ground floor, for noise reasons. Could be a local code, but that is a PIA.
Nailing something heavy like carpet is likely to get the landlord upset and potentially damage the ceiling. There are ceiling treatments that have a "tent" effect, with cloth gathered in middle of room and fastened around the wall. Could be fastened with tack strips and finishing nails. I would be concerned about fire hazard and weight, but a light-weight, lofty fabric might cut the noise. Moving might be easier :o)
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888eight888 wrote:

Do you have a air conditioner there? Keep it running. Your only real option is to mask the noise. This is the problem with apartment living. The construction is so flimsy and was never engineered for sound proofing, except some higher end apartments. Get some ear plugs for night time if you don't like the air running all the time.
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Forget about foam board or fabric on the ceiling. Both big hazards in a fire. The fumes from the foam can kill, and both will wick any flames to engulf the whole room in seconds. I second what others have said about white noise generators, or earplugs. Think of it as motivation to move. I live in a house now, but did 20+ years in an apartment, always ground floor. But I am half-deaf in one ear, so I would just put my good ear into the pillow. Yes, I had to buy a Real Loud alarm clock, and still often slept through it, unless I happened to roll over in the night.
aem sends...
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ameijers wrote:

Thanks for the input, all...
I do have the white noise; it's helpful but not an ultimate solution/compromise. I (now) have an idea what I am going to try...
I forgot to mention that I just moved in - and was exhausted after the first night of sleeping in a room where people kept waking me up at all hours of the night.
When I told the landlord, (about the third day of living here); he nastily suggested that I "move out" because "no one else" had "ever" (in the past) complained before. I did not take kindly to that statement or his tone..(If it's such a great place, why was it vacant for me to rent?)
Here is an excerpt from the conversation:
Me: "Hello, Mr. LL, it's Me.."
LL: "Yeth, thwir, howth mayth I helpth youthhh?"
Me: "Listen, I just moved in - the people upstairs kept me up all night. I hear everything - there is no insulation."
LL: "Welth, there with nothwing I canth doo.."
Me: "But you contracted with me that you would provide a 'peaceful, inhabitable environment' - which it is not."
LL: "WHAAAAAA! I whhaaant my monwee!!!!"
Me: "But, sir..if you just hear me out..."
LL: "Monweee! Monweeeeeeee! GA GOO BA BAAA MONWEEEEE!!!!".
Me: "Well, okay...but I may have to reconsider this situation."
LL: "BAAAAADDD MAAANNNNNNN!! MONWEEEEEE GOOOOOOOOOOOODTHHH!!!!!!!"
(As you can see, it was a difficult conversation.)
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Me: "But you contracted with me that you would provide a 'peaceful, **inhabitable environment' - which it is not."
**"habitable"...
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For what it's worth, what's keeping you up isn't the noise level, it's your sense that the noises aren't "right". If you can convince your hind-brain that the noise is a normal and expected part of the environment, it will cease to bother you.
People sleep near, and on planes, trains, fire stations, and all kinds of other noisy places (Like the deep woods). *YOU'VE* probably slept in noisier places.
Screaming fights are one thing, but you should be able to adapt to just normal moving-around sounds.
--Goedjn
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I'm sure it's probably just the sound of the bed slamming against the wall for hours on end that has 'em at wit's end. In any event buy pink noise generator they really do work. It takes time to get used to the generator as well, but properly used they completely mask all incoming noises.
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Goedjn wrote:

Thanks for the input and ideas, all...
Here is a sample to give you a general idea of the noises in question; 194KB...3 separate ones @ 16 seconds total.
http://m45-2006.tripod.com/cgi-bin/6-29-06-NeighborNoise.mp3
(Note: You may here some radio interference on the recording - that is not from the noise source.)
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Without knowing the conditions of recording, or any reference to indicate how loud it was, it is a bit difficult to tell what it sounded like in reality. However at a guess I would say the cause is simply a very lightweight floor construction. Is your apartment purpose built or a conversion?
--
Tony W
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