How to Deal With Upstairs Neighbors Stomping

When you have a problem with your upstairs neighbors, it can be hard to know where and how best to approach them. The solution to this problem may not always be easy or convenient, but it’s worth checking out.

If you have upstairs neighbors stomping around all day long, here are ways to deal with them:

Ludovic Chung-Sao

Ludovic Chung-Sao

Founder, Zen Soundproof

Add soundproof underlays

There are two types of noise:

  • Airborne: transmitted through the air.
  • Impact noises: propagate through solid structures like walls and joists.

Stomping belongs to the second category. To prevent noise from spreading, consider adding a layer of underlay beneath your flooring. Underlays have IIC (Impact Insulation Class) ratings.

The higher the rating, the better the material will absorb impacts, preventing noise from spreading in the floor structure. Good soundproof underlays have IIC ratings above 60.

Install carpets or EVA foam floor mats

It might be challenging to remove the flooring and add underlay to the upstairs condo. A more straightforward solution that would require less DIY work would be to install carpet or EVA foam floor tiles.

EVA floor tiles mats are made of Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate. They have a rubber-like texture and are great for absorbing shocks like stomping.

Decouple your drywall ceiling

To mitigate the noise from your upstairs, you can add a decoupling element to your drywall ceiling. In short, you can install another layer of drywall to your existing drywall.

The most important is what you’re going to sandwich between the old and new layers of drywall.

  1. Add Green Glue, a damping compound that will act as a noise dampener. In other words, it goes against the progression of soundwaves between 2 surfaces.
  2. Add resilient channels and sound clips between the two drywalls. Those elements are made to prevent soundwaves from propagating.

Have an honest conversation with your neighbor and explain your situation

Simply asking your neighbors and explaining your situation is the best way to reduce noise. I’ve even witnessed people paying for soundproof underlays for their noisy neighbors.

Having an honest conversation about noise levels is the first thing you should consider. The results are not guaranteed, but there’s a high chance it would come out as a constructive solution if done right.

Natalie Maximets

Natalie Maximets

Certified Life Transformation Coach | Writer, OnlineDivorce

Tell them about the noise that bothers you

One of the most effective ways is to talk directly to your neighbor. Tell them about the noise that bothers you. But do not try to shout at them, humiliate or make claims.

Speak calmly, clearly, confidently. Give strong arguments. Excessive emotionality in this matter can play against you. Just as important is the time at which you start the conversation. Don’t do it in the morning when your neighbor is late for work.

Another way to notify them that they are causing you discomfort is to write a letter. If you don’t have your neighbor’s email, you can just leave the letter at the door. The tone of the letter should also be respectful and non-aggressive.

Contact the house manager or the landlord

If the first option did not work, contact the house manager or the landlord. It’s also a good idea to talk to other neighbors. Perhaps they also experience discomfort from your upstairs neighbor. The more supporters you gather, the more power you will have in this dispute.

Call the police

If your upstairs neighbor is still making noise, the next step is to call the police. In most cases, this is a weighty argument, and after talking with the police, the neighbors behave more quietly.

File a lawsuit against your neighbor

If even the police could not help you and you still hear annoying noise from above, you can file a lawsuit against your neighbor.

To do this, you have to hire a lawyer who understands civil law, as well as collect evidence. They include video or audio recordings with the timing of the noise that the neighbor makes.

Ryan Yount

Ryan Yount

Founder, LuckLuckGo

Stomping neighbors can be very annoying and make it hard sometimes. If you experience this, I know how bad it feels. I have been in that situation more than I can remember, and I’m pleased to share my tips on how to deal with such neighbors.

Discuss it without displaying any anger or hostility

Be sincere and let them know your concerns so they are aware of the inconvenience they cause in a friendly manner. You might be surprised to learn that they have no idea they’re being so loud and will gladly pay more attention in the future.

If they’re noisy late at night, you can explain why you need your sleep, such as work or school schedules.

Paint the ceiling with a dampening product

This is a good solution that will solve the problem once and for all without much arguing with the neighbors. Green Glue works very well as a noise dampener for low-frequency sounds and is very cheap to install.

Sometimes it’s not your neighbor’s fault, but rather a result of poor construction quality.

Reduce the noise by listening to your favorite music

Even if your neighbor gets annoying with stomping, this does not occur all day long. There are specific times when they do it, especially when preparing supper. You can reduce those sounds by listening to your favorite music during this time.

Make sure the sound is considerable so you will not make the noise and disrupt their peace as well.

Rany Burstein

Rany Burstein

CEO and Co-Founder, Diggz

For many years, I had a downstairs neighbor complain about noise traveling from my apartment down to their ceiling in the SoHo apartment building I lived in.

It started almost immediately as I moved in; at that time, it was my subwoofer (just watching TV), to walking around, having my Alexa playing music and finally complaining about noise during my home workouts throughout the pandemic.

Related: How to Deal With Neighbors That Complain About Everything

Funny enough, my upstairs neighbor was also loud and would throw parties, often getting me blamed for the noise. As the culprit and the victim, I can offer a few tips that will alleviate tension between downstairs and upstairs neighbors no matter what side of the floor you are on.

Exchange numbers with your neighbor

Exchange numbers with your neighbor and give or ask permission to text when you feel the noise level is excessive. This is much better than when you are already in bed having to go upstairs and knock on your neighbor’s door in your pajamas.

I would get texts from my neighbor here and there and would lower the volume or take my shoes off. As long as I thought it wasn’t too intrusive, I would rather get the text than a knock on the door.

Ask your neighbor to install mats in the places that bother you

Ask your neighbor to walk around the house without shoes or add some rugs in the areas above you that you are most sensitive to. Since this is quite a personal ask, I would recommend to define the scope of your ask.

For example, ask them to take their shoes off at night when you are going to bed, and they might still be up or be extra sensitive in the early morning hours. Just asking them never to wear their shoes in their own house might be overstepping.

You can also offer to get them a rug to place in their place. Most neighbors won’t mind a nice ‘gift.’ Just consult with them about what color style will work for them.

If you are the neighbor that’s making the noise, ask your neighbor where they feel the noise coming down and what hours, and try to avoid making that noise. Being proactive will save both of you tension and conflict.

Have patience and don’t ‘go to the well’ too many times

If you complain about any little noise at reasonable hours, you might turn off your neighbor to cooperate with you in the future. You will just be the unreasonable neighbor from downstairs that no matter what the neighbor does, you will complain.

Try to keep your requests reasonable, put up with some noise, especially if it’s not within quiet hours, and pick your battles. If your asks to keep it down make sense to your neighbor, he will cooperate and most likely avoid repeating the noises going forward.

Kim Chan

Kim Chan

Founder and CEO, DocPro

It’s better and safer to get your building manager to speak to them

Here are ways of dealing with upstairs neighbors stomping in the following order:

  1. Gather evidence, such as recording the noise with your phone. Preferably you record all instances.
  2. If you know your upstairs neighbor, you may want to talk to them directly. You can also consider writing to your neighbor. Here’s a form letter you could use.
  3. Talk to the building manager about it. Assuming that you don’t know your neighbor, instead of knocking on the door yourself, it is better and safer to get your building manager to speak to them and see if they can lower the noise.
    • The building manager can often resolve it as a breach of the deed of the mutual covenant, which would often over noise nuisance.
  4. If the building manager did not manage to resolve the issue, you might want to consider reporting it to the local police for enforcement action.
    • The nuisance will generally be stopped after this, but obviously, this would not create a cordial neighborhood relationship.
  5. If it becomes very serious, then you can consider going to a lawyer to sue them. Before you do that, you may consider sending them a letter before action:
  6. Legal action: you can seek an injunction from the court for the neighbor to stop the noise nuisance. In addition, you can sue for damages for the pain and suffering that you have endured (for the sleepless nights affecting your health, etc.)

Orville Wright

Orville Wright

Singer-songwriter and Music Producer, Oh Yeah Beats

Stomping neighbors are definitely common encounters for anyone living in an apartment. Oftentimes these types of neighbors are a nuisance. On rare occasions, the neighbors that stomp are not bothersome. There are, of course, some ways of how you can address the disturbances.

Allow me to help you understand exactly what steps can be considered when dealing with the loud noise from above.

Avoid tapping on the ceiling

Many below-level residents will feel compelled to grab a broomstick or bat to bump in repetitive motion against the ceiling. Some grab a chair or stool to get their neighbor’s attention simply with their hands. This is not the most ideal manner of trying to reduce or stop stomping. You may even be upset by the indentations you left overhead.

My family once lived in an apartment and we too had neighbors that were a nuisance.

When my aunt was upset with the heavy-footed traffic, she grabbed the broom handle and would yell a few things in Spanish like “Sientate por favor… ay Dios Mio!” (Sit down please! My God!) or “Un Dia, Ellos caeran y estan debajo aqui con Nosotros que entonces?” (One day, they are going to fall and be right down here with us and then what?!)

She would tap the ceiling and chant this over and over so it’s no wonder why it stuck with me. Avoid tapping on the ceiling because neighbors may make things worse during your stay. I will be glad to share greater approaches now.

Leave a polite note

One great way to look for neighbors to sympathize for dealing with stomping is to notify them of what you are hearing and feeling. If you are not familiar with the neighbors, you can introduce yourself and offer a welcome along with perhaps a 10-20 dollar gift card.

You can then proceed with a few requests to lighten the amount of stomping if possible. The requests can indicate the sound and vibration level from the foot traffic. An apology can come from you for having to ask them to tone down the volume. The letter can end with a thank you and perhaps an invitation, if appropriate, to an upcoming event.

This is a great way to bring attention to the stomping in hopes that it will end on a good foot.

Knock on the door to gain an understanding

The upfront approach is a great way to get above the noise and vibration from the upper level. A simple way of walking up to the neighbors over you and knocking on the door can grab immediate attention. While your neighbors answer the door, you can gain an understanding of just who is stomping and why.

Once you have learned more about your stomping, you can assess and determine whether it would be wise to proceed with a request to stop or reduce heavy foot traffic.

I remember when I had my own mid-level apartment with stomping over my head. After several back-to-back nights of the repetitive stomping, I decided that I should see what the stomping was from and why. Once I went to the level above, I met a single mother of a toddler.

The mother was working night hours, so evenings were the ideal time of day for her to prepare her child to be in transition with a babysitter as she rushed around. I simply mentioned the noise transfer through the floor and asked if it could be lessened.

She apologized and obliged. She then hit on me in a subtle manner, but the overall experience was pleasant, and the stomping went away. I understand that young children do quite a bit of running and heavy planting of their feet.

It is also an awareness that late-night shift-working adults are on tight schedules in the evening, so there is a decent amount of fast and high-stepping around the apartment.

This was the most effective method of stomping out the noise from above.

Calling authorities is a high-risk method

There are rare occasions that any authorities need to be notified of what a neighbor is doing concerning disturbances. In apartments, management can be dialed up to handle the noise from any of your neighbors. Worst-case scenarios have residents call the local police to mediate, but this is often excessive and may result in the caller receiving a bill.

Once authorities are called, you are also left in the dark until an assessment and resolution are made. Management may even have you sign something as a method of passing off liability.

Calling authorities is definitely a high-risk method of taking care of the stomping in the apartment upstairs.

Moving out is typically a last resort

You read the title correctly. Most times over others, the last resort is for you to is to complete the shift in locations. Moving is another option that is typically a last resort unless you are ready to move on before any stomping.

Some residents can be so annoyed to the point that they need to move away from it all and gain the peace that they seek. When this happens, you may be breaking lease terms and conditions in order to finish a part of the chapter that you are ready to close.

The result for many is peace or satisfaction as they are walking away from the common nuisance that lives above. The problem with this is that it is not always a convenient resolution with money and time. You may have to wait it out, counting the steps until you can move.

Ari Shpanya

Ari Shpanya

CEO and Co-Founder, LoanBase

Living in an apartment under rowdy neighbors can be incredibly tiresome. However, there are a few ways to protect yourself from your noisy neighbors and their incessant stomping!

Politely ask your neighbors to be quieter

The most obvious option would be to politely ask your neighbors to be quieter. Sometimes, the simplest solution truly is the best course of action, and the chances are that your neighbors will stop stomping if you ask politely.

Build a suspended ceiling

Another remedy would be to soundproof your ceilings. However, depending on your financial situation, this may or may not be an option for you.

Additionally, you could build a suspended ceiling. This would entail setting up a T-Bar grid around the top of your walls, a few inches under the existing ceiling, and sealing the surface off with drywall.

If this type of construction is not an option for you, then you could also explore the idea of asking your upstairs neighbors to lay down some carpeting to drown out the noise.

Kristen Bolig

Kristen Bolig

Founder, SecurityNerd

Avoid approaching the situation with hostility

You want to avoid approaching the situation with hostility. Start by giving them the benefit of the doubt – that they don’t realize they’re causing a disturbance. The next time they are stomping loudly, go knock on their door.

When they answer, be polite and say something like, “I’m so sorry to bother you, but I live right beneath you and your stomping is actually quite loud, so would you mind trying to be a bit quieter?” Keep the interaction light and positive.

If the issue continues and they refuse to stop, let your landlord know.

Erick Nilsson

Erick Nilsson

Housing Professional and Founder, Rentola

Directly communicate with them as the first option

If you’ve got a noisy upstairs neighbor, your first course of action should always be to talk to them and let them know you’re being disturbed by their stomping. Make sure the interaction is calm and collected.

Your upstairs neighbors might not even have any idea they are being so loud. The point is that you can solve the problem through direct communication. If you get them to understand your situation, you’re much more likely to reach an amicable conclusion.

If talking to them doesn’t solve the problem, you can pursue other avenues, like talking to the management. But always remember to directly communicate with them as the first option.

Jonathan Tian

Jonathan Tian

Co-Founder, Mobitrix

Acquire noise-canceling headphones

Here are some of my best recommendations on how to deal with upstairs neighbors stomping:

  • Get a white noise machine as it filters some amount of noise around and calms you down after a long and stressful day.
  • Soundproof your apartment using an acoustic sealant to cover gaps and cracks for the whole apartment and not just your ceiling.
  • Ask them to keep it down since some of these neighbors have no idea that they could be interrupting you and will immediately stop and apologize.
  • Acquire noise-canceling headphones since they offer the best solution as they cancel out the noises being made by the neighbors while you keep working or watching TV.
  • With rude neighbors, you need to complain to the building management to take the right actions against the neighbor.

Allan Jeffrey

Allan Jeffrey

Managing Director, Ultra Decking

It can be really disturbing to hear noises from your upstairs neighbors, especially at an unusual hour.

Here are a few ways to deal with upstairs neighbors stomping:

  • Talk to them: the easiest way to deal with upstairs noise is by talking to them. You can explain your issue and ask for their understanding. If they are good neighbors, they will understand your trouble and make changes to help you.
  • Soundproof your apartment: If negotiations and talking do not work, then you may consider taking steps to soundproof your space. You can try soundproofing paint, acoustic sealants, and soundproof curtains to control sound entering your house.
  • Complain to the management: You can also try comparing to the building management or the resident’s welfare association. They can help you deal with the noises from your neighbor.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it normal to hear upstairs footsteps?

Yes! Hearing footsteps from your upstairs neighbors is a common occurrence, especially in multi-story residential buildings. There are a few factors that contribute to this:

Building materials: Many buildings, particularly older ones, are constructed with materials that have poor sound insulation properties, such as wood and thin drywall.

Floor coverings: Bare floors or thin carpets may not adequately dampen the noise from footsteps.

Acoustics: Sound travels easily through the air, and if there are gaps or poor insulation between floors, you’re more likely to hear noises from above.

Can my upstairs neighbors hear me as much as I hear them?

It’s possible, although the extent to which your neighbors hear you may vary depending on a number of factors:

The noise you’re generating: Louder noises (e.g., music, vacuuming, or shouting) are more likely to be heard.

The building’s structure: Just as with the noise from upstairs, the sound insulation properties of the building materials will influence how much noise travels between floors.

Neighbors’ sensitivities: Different people have different sensitivities to noise, so your neighbors may not be as bothered by the sounds you make.

Why do my upstairs neighbors stomp?

Flooring Material: One of the reasons you might be hearing stomping noises from your upstairs neighbors could be the type of flooring in their apartment. Hardwood, tile, or laminate floors can easily transmit sounds, making footsteps seem louder than they are.

Walking habits: Some people have a naturally heavy walking style, which can contribute to the stomping sound. This may be unintentional, and they might not even realize how loud their footsteps are.

Lack of insulation: Inadequate soundproofing between floors can lead to noise transmission. If the building is older or not well-insulated, you’re more likely to hear your neighbor’s movements.

Shoes: Your neighbors might be wearing hard-soled shoes or heels indoors, which can create louder walking sounds.

Activity level: Keep in mind that the stomping you hear could be due to their daily activities, such as exercise or moving furniture.

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