Hard flooring – poor insulation

in Sound Insulation Issues Tags: hard flooringsound insulation

I live downstairs in a coverted semi detatched 1920’s house. My upstairs neighbours have no carpet or sound insulation. Every single day they wake me up, sometimes as early as 5am and they are very clumsy and constantly drop things. One of them doesn’t go to bed until 1-2am on a regular basis.I can hear their conversations and their use of the toilet. I have asked them politely if they could make less noise, but it hasn’t made any difference when they moved in 2 years ago they promised that they would put down insulation although they still intended to have hard floors. This has so far not happened. There is no where in my home where I can get away from the noise. Even at weekends I’m woken up before 7.30am. Is there ANYTHING I can do short of sneaking upstairs and carpeting their flat? I get so little sleep that it’s affecting my ability to do my work properly.

Our knowledge hub provides a fair bit of information on sound insulation issues. It describes the local authority as a possibile route to improvement. However, if you are all owner occupiers it makes sense for you all to come together first. I would suggest organising a meeting and getting a timeframe put in place for an agreed solution. If that is difficult you could try using a mediator. The last resort is pursuing legal action.

At this stage they may not be aware that unless the matter is resolved they will have to declare the issue to any prospective buyers or that the issue will be recorded by the local authority if you make a complaint. They might not also have considered the potential costs of legal action. You might want to say that you want to resolve the matter amicably and avoid any of the hassles and expense that are associated with neighbour issues.

The good thing is that they recognised that there is an issue and had previously agreed to undertake works.

From a practical perspective, the issue is best tackled by your neighbour. Carpets and good quality underlay would be ideal but, in the absense of that there are measures that can be taken. Suitable underlays for laminate are a must. Some underlays for hard floor surfaces are also said to be effective against a degree of impact noise (perhaps when also used with an acoustic membrane). This could be combined with a degree of protection added between joists (e.g. acoustic mineral wool). Sound proofing measures that can be taken to your flat at ceiling level are also possible (some provide an appreciable difference without loosing much height).