The upstairs neighbors walk so loudly I suspect they may wear concrete shoes. Halp.

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Trouble Upstairs

Katie needs help:

Our neighbors upstairs walk REALLY loudly. This isn’t normal. The walking shakes our ceiling, scares our cats, and goes on late into the night. We’ve only been here a short while, but this stomping is taking a toll on our ability to sleep, since a lot of walking seems to occur at two or three in the morning.

I don’t think it’s right to try to confront people about walking, when the problem is probably that there isn’t enough insulation between their apartment and ours to mask the noise. Is there anything we can do from down here that can minimize the noise?

Comments on The upstairs neighbors walk so loudly I suspect they may wear concrete shoes. Halp.

  1. When we first moved in, our downstairs neighbors sent us an email about the noise. It can be really hard to communicate with neighbors without being passive aggressive. The email said something along the lines of “Hi, welcome to the building, glad to have you. You probably don’t realize, but when you’re walking in your apartment with heeled shoes on, it’s pretty loud down here. Is it okay if you take your shoes off after 10pm? Thanks so much and sorry to be a pain. Let us know if there’s anything we can help you with!” And it worked. We take off our shoes now when we’re home.

    • This totally works, our upstairs neighbors walked around in high heels on hardwood floors at 6-7am while getting ready for work. We just knocked on their door and asked politely if they would keep their shoes off until they got out the door. They were really nice about it, sometimes you don’t realize how much noise you’re making, and now they don’t wake us up!

      • I agree that a nice note is the answer or even better, to go up and nicely ask them to be considerate of you downstairs.
        what sort of selfish idiot can not simply be aware that there are people below that can hear your every footstep and might be sleeping, doing night shift and need to sleep during the day. These are the doctors and nurses that save your life or look after your parents when they get old and sick. Do you want them to be tired when operating on you or your family ?
        If you live above anyone, common sense would dictate that you create a soft walking habit.
        it is nothing more than being aware that you are not the only person in the world and that your actions always affect other people even when you are home.
        please everyone – don’t be a selfish moron any longer.

        • Here’s the other side of the upstairs/downstairs neighbor story. I have a HUGE problem with my downstairs neighbor coming up constantly, complaining to the office constantly and now texting me CONSTANTLY about how “horribly loud” we are all the time and it’s driving me crazy!! I have a two year old daughter that I have taught to tip toe and isn’t aloud to run or even play cars on the floor, no shoe policy AND we walk around like effin figure skaters trying to appease this woman but she STIIILLLL acts as if we are elephantine around on purpose! She even does shit like come to the door on christmas before 10 pm after playing music for 1.3 minutes to complain. What to do about that is the real difficult question?? I’m soooo stressed, I moved to a different state and specifically asked for a ground floor apt JUST to avoid this and the day i was supposed to move in they tell me the past tenants won’t live and switch my apt on me!

          • Suggest her to check same floor neighbour. Sometimes you cannot realize which way the noise is coming from. She can easily make this mistake.

          • I understand both sides. I have a heavy walker as my upstair neighbor. The girls upstair walks fine but the guy walk really loud, even the ceiling shakes. I know the guy wears socks when he’s walking and he is trying hard to be quite. I just have to live with it until my lease is finished in August. Then I just gonna move to a concrete apartment. Sometime you just don’t realize how much noise you can make when you walk. Try to go downstairs and have someone walk in your apt so that you can hear the how loud is the stomping sound.

          • It is the construction type. Wood flooring between or concrete?

            The NR and Sound Transmition are the issue.

            However, living reasonably is something you are entitled to.

            Ask your other upstairs neighbors if they have a similar problem with their downstairs neighbors. Is it just your neighbor being over sensitive (and requiring complete silence) or is it a building problem. If possible, the downstairs neighbor should then move to the top of the building. Or you could move to the bottom? Did this neighbor move in before or after you? If before, did they complain about the previous tenants? If after, did the previous downstairs complain? Those answers may help.

            Some people are just impossible to please.

  2. Honestly, I’m at a loss for suggestions that can be done from the downstairs apartment, unless you’re interested in and/or able to install insulation. Noise from the side is easier but I think the only way to eliminate the noise from above besides construction is to talk to the people who live there or contact your landlord if you have one. Although it can obviously be uncomfortable, you might want to just bring it up to them. A lot of people don’t realize how their noise impacts the people below them. We had a complaint against us for noise from our downstairs neighbors when we first moved in and we adjusted by buying a few rugs and avoiding wearing footwear inside. We had no problem with it, we just were ignorant to the fact that it was disturbing others.

      • I live on a top-floor apartment in a concrete building AND can always hear the next-door neighbours walking around. I am amazed that what I thought would be a quiet apartment (concrete) isn’t. They wake me up with their walking (I call it elephant walking) even when I have earplugs on. It’s almost a vibration noise. So beyond frustrated.

  3. First of all, you could contact your landlord concerning the question how soundproof the floors/ceilings actually are. (Test the decibels first – if it is really loud and your landlord does not want to do anything, you might threaten him/her with cutting the rent… check with your local renters’ association concerning the possibilities.)

    If there is nothing to be done by building measures, why not put up some nice-looking cloth under the ceiling? Might give the room a kind of tenty atmosphere and reduce the sounds to an acceptable level.

  4. Oh dear. My roommate has the stompiest feet I’ve ever heard– she can wake me up walking through the apartment– and I cringe with the fear that our poor downstairs neighbors want to throttle us all.

    • I had two of these roommates at the same time. Our apartment was one floor, so I have no idea how tortured the downstairs neighbors felt if it bothered me while on the same level. I swear knee and hip pain are in their futures.

  5. My downstairs neighbors walk so hard that it sounds like someone is walking in our apartment UPSTAIRS. Sometimes we wake up thinking there’s an intruder in our apartment. (sigh) However in your situation, I think that out should be ok to ask them to be mindful of it after a certain time. After all your not asking them to stop walking your just asking them to be mindful of how hard they walk after lets say 10 pm.

    • Urgh, I have the same thing with my side neighbour. His kitchen is next to ours and his bedroom shares a wall with our corridor. When it’s quiet I can even hear people talking in there (not make out words, but hear that they are talking) and it can really sound like someone is in my kitchen. Which is freaky when it’s 9pm, dark and I’m home alone.

      • Oy, I know how that is! I’ve had the annoyance both from a downstairs neighbor and also ones next to me. One my neighbors, whose bedroom wall was against my living room wall, ended up receiving a note from me because I could hear him THROUGHOUT his apartment at all hours of the day and night! (Well, it was his girlfriend, mostly) Needless to say, after a polite note left in their mailbox following an evening of their especially noisy arguing, they quieted down quite a bit. Just say something like “…unfortunately, if this continues, I will need to inform the landlord of the noise…” and chances are, if they’re reasonable people, they’ll be more considerate!

  6. If they are clicking their shoes on hardwood or tile, I think it would be ok to ask them to take theor shoes/boots off or put down a rug. it’s uncomfortable, but sometimes you just have to do it.
    Some people just aren’t very graceful and are “stompy” walkers. I had a neighbor who would make so much noise above me even without shoes. She just slammed her heels down with each step. I used to refer to her as “the elephant upstairs”. I wouldn’t know how to ask someone to walk lighter.

    • I have experienced this before and have one at this time who is doing so, though others have not walked so hard in the same unit. This tells me that it is certain people who will do this. I have found that they will take offense if you mention it, as if we are asking them to not walk. I have also found that in each case, it was ignored, though asking nicely. The manager also seems to take it lightly, so I don’t know what to do.

  7. If you haven’t yet, introduce yourself. Take a gift houseplant and say your introductory hellos. This may help you pinpoint the source of the noise. For instance, I’m pretty sure the noise from my upstairs neighbors is them chasing their dog around and playing Wii games. They keep it to tolerable hours, so I grin and bear it. I also quietly suspect they have a bunk bed or really high bed, because they always jump up there. Knowing that, though, if I hear them having another one of their “lets get together and play Wii with everyone we know at midnight” fiestas, I can knock and ask that they keep it to Mario Party or something.
    Maybe you’ll discover that their weight displacement sort of mandates a heavy step (for whatever reason.) Maybe you’ll discover that they’re chronic wearers of clacky shoes. Maybe you’ll be totally baffled by how they could possibly make so much noise.
    And, in the end, you have to remember–your footsteps may well sound silent to you, but to your downstairs neighbors, they may be absolute atrocities of sound.

    • I was going to say introduce yourselves. Whenever we move into a new apartment building, we make it a point to introduce ourselves (usually with cookies) to the neighbors on our floor and also the neighbors above and below us. That way you can be a friendly face when you complain about the noise rather than a faceless email like the comment earlier. And it’s only fair to be open to complaints from below too.

  8. Maybe try hanging some fabric on the ceiling to reduce the noise, but with the amount of noise you’re talking about it might not work. Is it a stompy sound or clacky? Try to discern if it’s due to them wearing shoes indoors and ask in a very nice way that they take their shoes off because it is quite loud. If that still doesn’t help then I’d do what a previous poster said about talking to the landlord about insulation.

    • side note: We have a drop ceiling in our living room, but our upstairs neighbor plays music so loudly that it sounds like it is coming from OUR apartment. We’ve asked him in person several times to turn it down and he does, and the frequency of this has gone down dramatically. Talking to the “offender” goes much further than being passive aggressive.

  9. I can say, as an apartment dweller, I’ve worried about being too noisy for my neighbors before. I can’t hear very well, and so I sincerely hope that if my neighbors ever find us too noisy, they’ll come over and let us know. I would be embarrassed, but I’d rather know that they find our late night romps loud and obnoxious than to make them just bear it.

  10. Our flat has a few loose floorboards – they make an almighty racket if you don’t tread very softly.

    I’m a natural shuffler, but my partner is a stomper, and I’m always yelling at him to stop bouncing on the bad spots because of our downstairs neighbours.

    It might be something as simple as that causing the problem – and if you mention it to them, they can make a point of stopping.

  11. There can be a lot of restrictions on what you can alter in an apartment. Really, the best thing you can do is put in a complaint to the manager/landlord, and hope that they can help you get it squared away. Perhaps the above neighbors need thicker carpet, and getting the complaint will help to persuade them to do so. Unfortunately on your end, there really isn’t a whole lot one can do to a ceiling to muffle the sound.

  12. I have the opposite problem. My downstairs neighbors complain about noise coming from my apartment. I’ve lived in lots of different apartments with lots of different neighbors, and nobody has ever complained to me (or about me) before, so I’m convinced that it’s a problem with the apartment. I live on the 3rd floor of an old Victorian house with loose, creaky hardwood floors and little to no insulation in between. I pretty much had to stop having sex in my own apartment. :'(

    • Well we’re in the same situation as you. We live in the second floor apartment, and have been living here for two years without a single problem. We’re quiet people, always considerate of noise(keeping the volume low in the evening, not wearing shoes inside) but suddenly out of the blue our downstairs neighbors have begun calling the landlords and banging on our front door around 6 pm (when I am cooking dinner), complaining that we’re walking too loudly and that our dog walks too loudly.
      Honestly, we’ve never met these people before-when I say hello in the yard, they’ve ignored me. And we’ve never had an issue. These people aren’t quiet (regularly throwing parties and listening to loud surround sound) so I’m unsure how to proceed. I can’t stop walking, nor should I be asked to in my own house. I pay my very large rent each month, and I’m considering moving, simply so I can cook dinner without being harassed.

    • Have you tried the carpet and extra padding under it?

      At the very least, having lived in an old Victorian myself, put furniture pads/felt under all connections of furniture to the floor. This reduces the vibration transmission of sound. Wear socks. Carpet with padding. Additionally, if you have single pane glass windows, make sure you get curtains or blinds – glass loves to vibrate sounds into the walls and pass it all around.

      Downstairs people can get a white noise generator (free app on phone).

  13. eep! no solution but I’m paranoid about this – I live in a duplex and my neighbor once slyly confronted me about what room she was next to referring to my bedroom- asking “is that a TV room?” I think she was hoping the answer would be a television and not our …. ahem…. but she never directly said the noise bothers her, so I don’t know how to handle it other than keeping the loud sessions for when she’s gone or asleep ? maybe i’ll line that wall with egg cartons and cover it in fabric!

  14. I’m dealing with the same problem, only the cause of mine is an 8 year old girl with way too much energy. As we’re sharing a house with them and it’s not an apartment situation we know her and her mom well. Our solution to this problem is getting her big puffy slippers for Christmas and just grin and bearing it until then.

  15. At my last apartment, we decided the upstairs were training elephants to play ddr. But we did talk to them about their loud parties, and it helped.

    This apartment, someone nearby is having really, really loud sex and has a horrible smoker’s cough, but I have no idea who it is, so there’s nothing I can do.

  16. I think all that I would have suggested is already suggested. (blankets, talking to landlord, talking to neighbors, other soundproofing methods) I’ve been suffering from stompy neighbors too; I’ve done almost everything since they moved in and they remain noisy- sadly my landlord suggests that if they are buggin me I should just “call the cops” which I find totally unacceptable and honestly I have more respect for police than to handle a friggin noise issue that the landlord should be taking care of add on that my husband has lived here for ten years+ and only in the last year has there been an issue as these neighbors are extremely inconsiderate. (the women wear heels and come home drunk at late hours and the man wears cowboy boots and never seems to sleep.) They also juggle bowling balls at 3-4am. (at least that is my impression because something large and heavy is dropped EVERY NIGHT.)

    My husband and I moved our bed into the living room to try and get away from their alarm clock that they allow to stay on (I’ve never known an alarm clock that doesn’t stop after a few minutes but this one beeps or rings for HOURS) apparently they sleep right through it. 🙁 It goes from 4:30 to 7am almost every night. Noisy neighbors and lazy landlords are boogers to deal with.

  17. After years of thin, non-insulated apartment walls and ceilings, I finally have a place that’s almost sound proof. The only noise I can hear is the upstairs neighbor walking and sometimes vacuuming. I can’t hear talking, laughing, TVs, sex, snoring, nothing. I live in a older building and it must have loads of insulation. It’s a damn miracle.

    • Our apartment has great insulation between rooms, but between apartments is freaking AMAZING. Partially due to thick fireplaces covering large swaths of walls, but even between the bedrooms you can’t hear anything.

      Our next-door roommates are always SO terrified of bothering us, and we’ve only ever heard them twice–both times were a very faint sound through the wall that must have been the bass on a movie or game. We asked how the apocalypse was going :P. I felt bad though, they were so apologetic, so I went home and turned the TV up louder than we could stand it one floor away, then knocked on the door to show them the sound. They couldn’t hear it. After that they pretty well stopped worrying.

  18. I had to deal with an entire townhouse complex full of neighbors so noisy I resorted to sleeping with earplugs. I later moved into an apartment building next to one that later relaxed its policy on renting to students from a certain party school, and had to start wearing earplugs to bed again.

    This created a new challenge – namely, how to avoid oversleeping. I had two tricks up my sleeve. One was my rice cooker – it has a built-in timer, so I’d set it to start 2 hours before I needed to wake up. The “done” alarm was louder than any alarm clock, and I’d have hot rice (and beans) ready for breakfast or lunch. Probably not the best solution in older buildings with unreliable wiring, though.

    My other trick was nature’s alarm clock (as seen on a Simpsons episode): drink plenty of water before bed and you’ll have to get up early to deal with the results. We all need to drink enough water anyway, right?

  19. I think it would be really cute to leave a written note with a pair of generic slippers to wear in place of the clunky shoes.

    As for the sleeping, when I had some loud and inconsiderate roomies keeping me awake, I started taking melatonin. I did my research on it (it’s a chemical your brain makes and is non-addictive). It requires a regular bedtime, and is best taken an hour before then, but it works quite well.

  20. I second the melatonin suggestion, I use it myself sometimes and it is helpful. I would advise you be cautious though—sometimes it makes me sleep through my alarm.

    On the topic of telling a landlord about it. I’m sure most people are thinking, “Talk to the landlord because it’s their responsibility to insulate the building,” but it can go wrong: Long ago I had a roommate who is—no joke—6’8″ and of similar proportions to a refrigerator. It’s how nature made him. He has insomnia so he’d often be up late, and sometimes he would do things like go to the bathroom and the kitchen. Normal stuff. He never wore shoes in the house. Still, he is a heavy guy and I can only assume he made noise, because…

    Our downstairs neighbors complained to the landlord about him walking loudly. landlord used it as weird collateral /threat when we were moving out/wanted our deposit back/needed a rental reference (but of course never attempted to insulate anything, or even bring it up prior to our move-out).

    I guess what this long comment is about is landlords can be crazy, definitely go to the neighbor first. Even if they can’t help it, it might give you (not just you, everyone reading this thread 🙂 ) more insight into the situation.

  21. Speak to them. smile lots, ask if there’s anything you can do to help them, etc. etc. Don’t do what my downstairs neighbour did and accost them on the stairs on their way into the house, ranting about how they kept you awake all last night with the noise…when you were just on your way home after a long weekend away. We assumed they were mental and paranoid and sighed with relief when they finally moved out from under us. 🙂

  22. I’ve been on the opposite side of this- we had people living downstairs who complained constantly about ‘walking’ and ‘opening and closing door’ sounds even though we don’t wear shoes in the house (we’re canadian). It was really horrible of them to complain all the time, especially when they had a son who ran back and forth all the time, all day, making way more noise than us. They seemed to think because they had a kid and were married they were a ‘real family’ and we didn’t count. (they moved in after us). She also left a ton of passive-aggressive notes with smiley faces on them, and did things like unilaterally create a laundry schedule which generously allowed us to do laundry at times which we were working. Skip the notes, they don’t work well.

    • I fianlly found a forum I can comment to. Wow, ok. After reading hours of content, the solution is so easily given by the people who may experience a fraction of it, but can never and will never understand the reality of each situation. The comment “move” or “grow up” seems to flood the brains of the less educated. This one cop from Oregon (nick 17 or whatever) that i read on another website really raised my eyebrow and furthered my lack of faith in a department full of what I could only describe as a mob of self-rightous morons with little to no compassion for people unable to buy a house or change apartments. Oregon, really? Try a shift in l.a sparky, see what life can really throw at you. Getting off subject but had to address a disturbing lack of common sense from those who “protect and serve”. Anyway as an apartment lessee, for the past 15 years, there is constant chatter out there regarding how to solve a noise problem. People need to know about solutions rather than empty headed advice. Reading thread after thread actualy helped. People are suffering on a day to day basis without support from the the very people we pay rent to (and the ones whom we pay with tax dollars). More often than not, the ones responsible for the noise are protected due to a lease that only the Landlord/Prop Mgr. has the final say in, and typically never experiences the problem first hand and may not even care. We are never helpless. Education is power my friends and kindness, although not always practiced by either party, its a valuable tool. Facetime with neighbors during initial move-in is always best case scenario yet rarely feasable. Allow yourself to be an example of what normal behavior looks like. Those who dislike the feeling of community or are uncomfortable around differet faces or different races ect. have every right to be. Our constitution guarantees that. The problem therin lies between what is lawfull activity and what can be considered defiance of law. Local authorities are swift to dismiss what they feel is a waste of their time. Your local law enforcement officer isn’t paid to settle every little case, they have neither the time nor the patients, and will remind you of that. DOCUMENT every incident regardless of magnitude. THAT IS KEY. Patterns of improper behavior can’t be established without references describing such activity. That includes the names of the public servants that may be dispatched to your location, time, date, ect. Establish open communications with the landlord/prop. mgr. if at all possible. Ask about what is considered acceptable levels of noise at certain times. He may be your only representative if you need to take your documentation to the next level. It is by the way in their job description to address concerns from tennants. Above all else, maintain composure. Professionalism goes a long way. It’s never easy to keep your cool especially being on the receiving end of improper behavior regardless of intent. Cooler heads tend to prevail. Not every case is the same, sometimes moving becomes the only option, but your knowledge of the game keeps you a step ahead. In closing, apartment life is exactely that. No way to sugar coat it. During my years of research and observation into living amongst the masses, I have learned a 2 crucial lessons. Hate is wasted energy and will consume you if you allow it. Tolerance along with compassion is contagious and allows us the opportunity to spread positive energy. Good luck and may our creator bless each day.

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