Lower Unit Complains About Noise from Upper Unit

4 Replies

My tenant in a lower unit is complaining that she hears the walking about, moving furniture, cracking ceiling noises, etc.  Is there anything I can do to help fix this problem?  She is a new tenant and other than this complaint has no other issues with the unit.  Perhaps she is too sensitive to the noise, I don't know.

It was suggested that I insulate between the upper floor and lower ceiling, which I am willing to do.  However, I have been told that this is better done when the lower unit is vacant.  Is this true?  Any other ideas to remedy the problem?

I am a forum newbie so any ideas would be appreciated.

Hi Mark,

I always soundproof between upper and lower units

make sure you use safe and sound insulation, and do not put drywall just on the wood joist, but there are sound channels (alluminium bars) that get screwed to the wood and then drywall gets screwed to them.  you can google it, there are many videos on youtube.  it might be a little be challenging to do it first time if you have never done it before.  My fist time I did it with my contractor, and now do it myself. 

Good luck


The first thing I would ask myself is this noise coming from tile floors in the kitchen and bathrooms and if so I would disregard it. If you have hardwood floors above you could always put down throw rugs or carpeting. If this is an older home I would let her know that this is natural characteristic and beauty of older homes.

Regarding the cracking noise this could be from a couple of different things. Your subfloor may not have been glued down or maybe the glue let go and the nails in the subfloor no longer keeping it tightly fasten to the joist. If your subfloor is constructed out of 1x's, plywood or OSB you can screw it down to the joist underneath if you have access to the subfloor. If your subfloor is MDF (medium density fiberboard) it is a lot more difficult for this method to work as this material is softer and the screws will just penetrate through. You will be working on a two layer subfloor. If you have carpeting on the floor you can nail directly through the carpeting, with trim nails, into the joist and if the carpeting does go down with the nail just pull up on the carpeting to release it.

Another thing that may be causing the problem is the cross bridging rubbing against its self or the joist and about the only way you will fix this is to remove the drywall and reposition the bridging and refasten it. 

If you have a hardwood floor it could be the floor itself or the subfloor and hardwood floor rubbing against each other due to a breakdown or missing underlayment.

If you have a sleeper flooring system you will have 2x2-4 sandwiched between two layers of subflooring and should be running 12" on center.

If you do decide to do the drywall method here is a link to resilient channel http://www.soundproofingcompany.com/soundproofing1...

If you do decide to use this make sure that when you hang the drywall that the screws are not too long so that they don't go beyond the channel into the joist or other wise you will defeat your purpose. also when installing the channel you should install it perpendicular to the joist and don't forget to box around any fixture with the channeling so you can properly attach the drywall to it. Remember to also change your mud rings or add a junction box extender on to your junction boxes so that they will be flush to the new surface.

The channel is only attached to the joist by one side (the flange). Although this looks flimsy don't worry about it you can fasten up to two sheets of 5/8" drywall for RC1 resilient channel.

There is also a product called quitrock (sheetrock/drywall) but it is very expensive, but it is not recommended for ceilings. So if you were to have an issue with walls from sounds of a partition wall you could lay it over your existing drywall without having to tear the old drywall down, but remember just like adding the channels to the joist you will have to use a larger mud ring for all of your junction boxes.

I hope this may be of some help for you.