Hearing Upstairs Neighbor’s Footsteps? How to Deal with Loud Walking

Noisy upstairs neighbors stomping with loud footsteps

We spend so much time at home, especially nowadays when remote work and school are the new normal. That’s why having noisy upstairs neighbors stomping around can be more unnerving than ever. 

Your home is your safe place. It’s the place where you should have peace and be able to rest or enjoy yourself in any way you choose without being annoyed by upstairs neighbors stomping. 

If you are reading this it’s because you’ve had enough and you’re ready to do something to regain your homely peace and joy. Luckily, there are many effective ways to deal with upstairs neighbors loud footsteps and today we will provide 11 ways to do just that.

But before we list the 11 ways to deal with noisy upstairs neighbors stomping, it’s important to understand the type of noise you may be dealing with. This will help you choose the most effective solution. 

Type of Noise

As you may already know, sounds are vibrations that travel through mediums in waves. When you play music, it creates vibrations that then travel through the air, bounce off the surfaces of the room you’re in, and then bounce back into your ears. 

If you can hear your noisy upstairs neighbors stomping, it’s because the sound waves are going through the floorboards. The sound waves echo in the space between their floor and your ceiling, effectively infecting your apartment. 

In an apartment, you may be dealing with one of two types of noise, airborne noise or impact noise. Airborne noise is when sound waves travel in the space around us. 

For example, when you hear your neighbor dishes clink as they do the dishes, their voices as they talk to each other or on the phone, the sound of the movie or TV show they’re watching, etc. 

Airborne noise doesn’t require direct contact but it’s loud enough to travel through your neighbor’s floor and your ceiling. Impact noise, on the other hand, is when something comes in contact with your neighbor’s floor. 

For example, you hear your neighbor stomping, walking, moving their furniture, working out, etc. The result is the same, though; the sound waves travel into your apartment, causing the noise. If you want to understand the difference between airborne and impact noise as it relates to soundproofing a bit better, this video from Soundproof Guide will help. 

Both of these types of noises can get under anyone’s skin and they can even harm your mental and physical health because they are a kind of noise pollution. 

Don’t worry, though! You can deal with upstairs neighbors stomping and being noisy in very simple ways. There are many ways to keep airborne and impact noises at bay and reducing their entry to your apartment. 

11 Ways to Deal With Noisy Upstairs Neighbors Loud Walking/Footsteps

Now that you know what kind of noise you’re dealing with, it’s time to look at some of the noise mitigation methods you can try. Say goodbye to noisy upstairs neighbors loud walking!

1. Talk to Your Upstairs Neighbors

One of the easiest things you can do is talk to your upstairs neighbors. Before you do anything else, this should be your first move because it could save you the need to take further action. 

You don’t want to approach your neighbors while you’re upset or fed up. Go to them with a cool head so you can express yourself calmly and kindly. Address the issue directly and explain how their noise negative affects wellbeing and your productivity.

It’s also a good opportunity to determine if you’ve ever disturbed them with your noise so you can also take action to prevent that in the future. If your upstairs neighbors are decent, they will feel bad about the distress they’ve caused you and they will take action to reduce their noise as much as possible. 

There’s a good chance they didn’t even know they were being noisy, so once you let them know, the situation will improve tremendously. Additionally, it opens the door to a positive relationship. 

If you don’t feel super comfortable talking to them in person, you can write them a letter. Writing about what’s going on and how it has affected you can help you organize your thoughts a lot better. 

Whether you talk to them in person or not, keep it short, civil, and avoid being passive-aggressive about it. Staying calm is a must because if you approach the conversation in an accusatory way, the door for peaceful resolution will be closed. 

2. Reach a Compromise

Now that you’ve talked with your upstairs neighbors and they were receptive to building a relationship, you can reach a compromise together. You must let them know you understand that it’s impossible to never be noisy, but some things can be done so their noise doesn’t become harmful. 

Your upstairs neighbors have their own routines and their own lives, so they will make noise. People listen to music, watch movies and TV, have workout routines, and they also have pets or children at home in some cases.

So, what can they do to manage the noise they make? Well, for one, you can both agree on setting hours to watch movies or TV, exercise, play loud music, etc., so these activities can be done freely without bothering anyone. 

When you compromise, you have to give something in return. Having a schedule is something you can both easily agree to and stick to. Discuss the time of day where you need noise-free hours, whether that’s for sleeping, working, or studying, and be one to what your neighbor has to say. 

Reaching a compromise with noisy upstairs neighbors is one of the easiest and most peaceful ways to resolve the issue. Their noise will definitely be reduced and if you want a complete noise-free life, you can take a few extra measures to accomplish that. 

3. Use Noise-Cancelling Headphones

In most cases, speaking to neighbors and reaching a compromise is quite effective. Most people are open to making changes where they can. However, sometimes, upstairs neighbors either can’t or won’t make changes, which means you have to try other alternatives. 

For example, your neighbor is a musician and they truly can’t change their practice schedule because they have responsibilities that take up the rest of their time. And you can’t change your work or study schedule for the same reason. In a situation like that, it’s out of everyone’s control.

Thankfully, noise-cancelling headphones exist and you can use them during the time your neighbors can’t help but be noisy. Now, there are two kinds of headphones, passive and active headphones. 

noise cancelling headphones for upstairs neighbors stomping

All noise-canceling headphones are passive, it doesn’t matter if they are made of plastic or foam for insulation. However, this kind of headphone will only protect you from the noise of 15 to 20 decibels. If that’s the kind of noise level you’re dealing with, passive headphones will be perfect. 

Active headphones are a bit better because they feature an additional insulation mechanism. These headphones use microphones that sample the sound in the room and produce an inverse soundwave so the wave is eliminated. This system is battery-powered and it’s very effective. 

Almost all active headphones on the market combine passive noise isolation with active noise isolation. There are a few earphones on the market that also provide this level of noise cancellation, in case you don’t like to wear headphones. 

Among the many headphones available on the market, you should consider options such as the Sennheiser wireless noise-canceling headphones or the  Bose QuietComfort 35. If you prefer earphones, the Apple Airpods Pro or the Soundcore noise-canceling earphones will do the trick. 

4. Soundproof Your Apartment 

Okay, so you can use noise-canceling headphones for a few hours if you and your neighbors can’t reach a compromise. However, you can’t use them all day or when you go to bed. So, what can you do if your noisy upstairs neighbors stomping is affecting you at night? How can anyone sleep like that? 

Well, you can soundproof your apartment so you can effectively eliminate your upstairs neighbor’s noise. However, it will require you to soundproof your entire apartment. 

Yes, this will cost money and it’s much more expensive than just getting a pair of noise-canceling headphones. Luckily, there are inexpensive ways to soundproof your apartment. For one, you can use soundproof paint, such as Acousti Coat

Soundproof paint should be your first option because it’s inexpensive and quite effective in some cases. So, before you invest in anything more, make sure you purchase high-quality soundproof paint. Granted, painting your apartment can be time-consuming if you do it on your own, but you can always hire professional help. 

Additionally, you can use acoustic sealant and apply it to all the gaps and cracks so the noise can’t get in. You should also consider using acoustic panels and installing them on your ceiling and walls to block your noisy upstairs neighbors loud footsteps a lot better. Installation is quite easy, just make sure you choose the material of the panels wisely. 

You can go the extra mile and also soundproof your curtains so you can reduce the noise that’s coming from the street. Soundproofing your doors is also possible and it will make your apartment completely soundproof. There are many ways to soundproof curtains and doors, so do your research and choose the option that fits your budget and needs the best. 

5. Try Using White Noise

Earlier in the article, we talked a little bit about how sound works. Every sound has a frequency, right? Well, white noise consists of many different frequencies all playing at once. This can serve as a blanket for your ears and it’s known for being very calming. 

White noise gives every frequency the same amount of energy distribution, which can block other soundwaves, such as your noisy upstairs neighbors stomping. 

Here’s a beautiful representation of how white noise works

Using white noise won’t only help you block unwanted noises, it can also help with meditation, improve your concentration, and help you create better sleeping patterns. 

It has become very popular because people find it helpful in many different scenarios. White noise is often used in offices to eliminate background noise and mothers also find it helpful because it helps babies sleep. 

You can set up white noise solutions all over your apartment or in the areas where your noisy upstairs neighbors loud walking affects you the most. Now, you can purchase white noise machines, such as the HoMedics white noise machine, or this list of best white noise machines should help. Or even simply use air conditioners or fans should be able to do the job. Alternatively, you can play white noise on speakers with YouTube videos like this one.

6. Use Acoustic Sealant

We already mentioned acoustic sealant in the section about apartment soundproofing, but it deserves its own section. Acoustic sealant is an easy way to fill in the spaces where the ceiling meets the wall, around your light fixtures, and more. 

Airborne and impact noises bounce from the hollow spaces between your ceiling and your neighbor’s floor. Then, the sounds escape through the ceiling and wall connections, which is how the noise gets into your space. 

You can prevent this transfer of noise by using an acoustic sealant such as the Green Glue sealant. Before you use an acoustic sealant, make sure you talk about it with your landlord and get their permission because it’s a permanent change. Once you do, you can start applying the sealant. 

First, you need to dampen a cloth and wipe all the surfaces you’ll be working on. You need to make sure there’s no dust or debris so the sealant can adhere to a smooth and clean surface. This will allow it to be a lot more effective in keeping the sound waves out of your apartment. 

Next, use the application tube and apply an even layer of the acoustic sealant along the spots you’ve already identified. Then, take a clean cloth, dampen it, and put some in it so you can wash the excess. Lastly, let the acoustic sealant dry and allow it to cure for 2 to 7 days.

7. Soundproof Your Apartment Ceiling

Let’s say you don’t want to soundproof your entire apartment. If that’s the case, you can soundproof the ceiling, which is the hub of the noise transfer. Your landlord will likely not allow you to tear down the ceiling for insulation, but you can use ceiling panels.

Ceiling panels will allow you to soundproof your ceiling and that could be enough to greatly reduce your noisy upstairs neighbors stomping. There are many ceiling panels available on the market made of different materials and they are not difficult to install. 

Ceiling panels are large and they absorb the energy of soundwaves very effectively. They are often wrapped in fabric and they are thick, so they can absorb sound very well. 

Acoustic ceiling tiles are another great option because they are specifically designed to absorb external noise, such as your upstairs neighbor’s loud footsteps. They come in square or rectangular shapes and you’ve probably seen them in schools, auditoriums, office buildings, etc. 

8. Discuss the Issue With Management

If you’ve tried everything, from talking to your neighbors and noise cancelling headphones to soundproofing solutions, and you still haven’t achieved positive results, it’s time to talk to management. There’s only so much you can take and so much you can do. There comes a time where management needs to get involved. 

Reach out and explain what’s happening, how the noise is affecting your life and your work, what you’ve done to take action, and what kind of resolution you expect to achieve. 

Provide a brief but detailed explanation of the situation and be honest. If you wrote a letter to your neighbors and kept a copy, you can show that to management along with any response you may have gotten. 

You also need to outline the ways management can help. It will give them a clear picture of what you want to accomplish and why you need their help. Not to mention, it will make it easier for them to outline the steps that need to be taken to provide a resolution. 

This can definitely make your noisy neighbors stop, but keep in mind that it will be like declaring war on your neighbor. You told on them, as you should because you had no other option, but they may not take that very well. 

9. Call the Cops to Warn Your Neighbors

Okay, things are getting serious now. Calling the cops to give your noisy upstairs neighbors a warning is the last-ditch effort to get them to respect your needs. If you’ve tried everything, including talking to management, and nothing has worked, you have the right to pursue legal action. 

If your noisy upstairs neighbors stomping during work hours or sleeping hours has gotten out of control, you can call the police. You must explain your situation to them and they will ask your neighbors to be quiet. 

In most cases, noisy neighbors will comply with a warning from the police because even though they may not want to, they still want to avoid getting a fine or facing legal issues. 

It’s a kind of forceful resolution, but if you’ve tried everything else and your neighbors haven’t budged, they truly left you no choice. Don’t feel bad about defending your wellbeing and your peace at home. 

10. Take Legal Action Against Your Noisy Upstairs Neighbor

If your neighbors produce noise levels that are beyond what you can tolerate on a daily basis without losing your mind, you can take legal action against them. You can file a legal complaint in court and your noisy upstairs neighbor will face fines of $2,500 to $7,500. 

You can either file a lawsuit against your noisy upstairs neighbor in a small claims court. This will charge them with a fine so you can get money for your damages. If that’s what you want, then this is the best option for you. 

However, there’s another option. You can sue your neighbor directly and file a lawsuit in a civil court. This will bring you head to head with your noisy upstairs neighbor. But if you want to win the case, you need to have evidence that can prove how you’ve been disturbed by your neighbor and what you tried to do about it. 

You can prove that by making video or audio recordings when your noisy upstairs neighbor is in action. This needs to be done before any enforcement is involved because your proof needs to be solid if you’re going to win the case. So, start recording everything and you’ll have a good chance. 

11. Consider Moving

This is the very last option on the list because it’s the very last thing anyone wants to do. However, in some cases, it’s the only thing left to do. Once you exhaust all your options and your noisy upstairs neighbors stomping continues to wreak havoc in your life, you may want to consider this option. 

If you do decide to move, there are a few things you should do when you start looking for an apartment. For one, you should ask management about sound policies or soundproofing methods in place to make sure you’re moving to a better place. 

Also, when you start looking at apartments, you need to answer a few key questions: 

  • Does the apartment have hardwood or tile floors? If it does, consider getting a carpet when you move. 
  • Are there noisy pipes? Noisy pipes can become a nuisance very quickly, so pay attention.
  • Do doors and cabinets shut loudly? If so, you’ll likely hear your neighbors shutting them quite often.
  • Can you hear your upstairs neighbors walking?
  • What about outside noises, such as traffic? Can you hear them loudly?

It’s also a good idea to consider going directly to top-floor apartments because it reduces the chances of dealing with noisy upstairs neighbors’ loud footsteps. 

Final Words

Noisy upstairs neighbors stomping can affect your life in many negative ways. Most of the time, the solution is not difficult, especially not if you’re dealing with decent people. We hope today’s guide provides the answers you were looking for and we wish you the best of luck!

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