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Subject: Trying to figure out the problem-Need Help
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02/07/2021 11:28 PM  
Not sure if anyone has ever experienced this or what it is. Because on one hand it sounds crazy, but on the other hand I’ve seen it happen for years but don’t know how this is possible or what’s it called or anyone else living in condos experienced this.

I have an upstairs neighbor with whom I’ve had noise problems for years. I had my drywall ceiling cut open at once and noticed that the subfloor is of cement(I banged on it to check). I also know that the carpet and padding in her apartment is at least 25-30 years old. Our Decs and bylaws mandate adequate soundproofing between two floors for peace and quiet. But, the owner just doesn’t care and our HOA is very laid back and is into selective enforcement of rules and on some owners, not all.

Here are the problems I’ve noticed for years:

1. After a period of silence, when this person steps on her floor and walks, my entire ceiling crackles so loud and crackling sound travels with her. She seems to be aware of it/ can hear it too because I’ve complained about it in the past. And at times, when crackling starts, I can literally hear her pause sometimes before she walks any further. And this crackling of my ceiling is quite loud that I wake up from my sleep every time this happens.

2. It’s strange that even with her cemented subfloor, I can hear her walk even when she makes no sound. Sorry it sounds crazy, but, it sounds like tippy toe walking but one can still tell someone above is walking quietly.

3. This one will sound even more crazy. Wherever this person is in her apartment, and if I happen to be in the same area but in my apartment: I literally notice objects move. For example, when I am in my bed at night and this person may be in her bedroom too( all apartments are alike), suddenly, my bed would get a gravitational move/shake and at the same time I hear the person above me move and walk.

I request no jokes or disrespectful comments if anyone replies to my inquiry. I am seriously concerned and trying to figure out why these problems are happening. Our building was made in the sixties and is six stories tall. I want to point out that I’ve spoken with other owners here, while, some did mention about noise from their upstairs neighbors but no one experienced crackling of their ceiling nor shaking of their furniture because of someone in the above apartment moving and walking.

I’ve been considering stuffing insulation between my ceiling(her subfloor and my drywall) to address all of the problems mentioned above. But I am not sure if it’ll be waste of money. The subfloor is of cement so I am of the understanding that her carpet padding is worn out so whatever floor material she has over her cement subfloor, may be causing these heavy crackling sound which I may be hearing as my ceiling crackling. But I am still unable to understand how to prevent her gravitational “pull” from shaking/moving my bed. I’ve got the most unique building, and problems. Sigh.



02/08/2021 4:23 AM  
How do you think buildings are built? Most if not all buildings I know have a concrete subfloor between the floors. It isn't a sound barrier. It's a floor.

This is why I don't live on the first floor. Your always going to have that "noise" from the upstairs neighbor. It's the trade off of the convenience of a first floor location. There are benefits of living on either floor and non-benefits.

I had a downstairs neighbor that decided to put in a boxing bag on his ceiling. Every time they would box it would shake my floor. Nothing could do about it. It's his ceiling that just so happened to be my floor. I could just talk to the neighbor and he could box when I wasn't there.

So you can request the owner install better carpeting or a thicker pad. It isn't going to stop the noise just maybe the level of it. Sometimes we do have to take responsibility for our own decisions. You decided to live downstairs. That isn't anyone else's responsibility to make sure your comfortable for it.

Former HOA President


02/08/2021 5:40 AM  
The only flooring I can think that upstairs may have that could cause noise like that is a pergo like material without padding. Glue down wood stripping?

Several inches of concrete usual buffers pretty well.

Are you certain upstairs has carpet?

There is no gravitational pull.


02/08/2021 6:32 AM  
Laminate floors are known to be noisy and my CC&Rs prohibit them and other hard surface flooring material in upstairs condos. I'm thinking something like click-lock or other floating DIY installation of flooring, possibly without a sound barrier underlayment, since it's meant to have some give. Glued down flooring should stay put, but I guess the glue could deteriorate over time.

Having lived in a first floor condo, I know all about sounds coming from upstairs, and this doesn't sound crazy at all. Buildings do shift a bit, which can also transmit noises. My condo building was built with trusses in between layers of gypcrete (concrete mixed with gypsum, which made it lighter in weight). The trusses were supposed to minimize impact sounds, such as things being dropped - but in my opinion it actually made noise levels worse since the trusses could flex and cause a bit of an echo.

As long as the concrete between floors is solid and you don't have to worry about your upstairs neighbor crashing through the ceiling...


02/08/2021 3:30 PM  
There are sound proofing options you can utilize.

Not many are very effective for sounds that travel through the framing (footsteps for example).

I soundproofed my basement.
I do not hear any tv, music or talking sounds. I don't even hear the dog bark.
However, I hear many footsteps and things rolling on the floor.

When I have more time, I'll try and find the links I found when this topic was brought up earlier.


02/09/2021 11:06 PM  
Thank you for your reply Melissa.

You are correct that each of us are responsible for our decisions. as am I. However, it’s also a reality that not everyone can live on the top floor and avoid noise problems. I choose to live in a condo due to preference, monetary issues, etc. problematic concern for me is the unique aspect of this noise problem. Footsteps, running, jumping etc, most of the time that’s the complain one hears when the complaint is about noise. Strangely, in my case, my ceiling crackles( my ceiling and windows also vibrate, which I forgot to share before), there’s a gravitational pull, and I’ve never heard nor seen anything like this, so for years I’ve been puzzled and am to this date. I’ve tried to address this ongoing problem but it’s an unheard of type of an issue. Some say it’s a structural issue, others say it’s soundproofing. Well if it is a structural issue then out of 40 units, I seem to be the only one having structural issue, while no one else is. But if it is a structural issue, I would like to understand it logically so I can explain it to our HOA, to the owner above, hence, posed this question on the forum.

Thank you for your consideration and reply.


02/09/2021 11:19 PM  
Thank you for your reply GeorgeS21.

Yes, I know for a fact that upstairs unit has an old carpet and padding at least 25+ years old. I know it’s that old because when i first moved in 27 years ago as a kid, I had a chance to see the apartment above and back then it was the same blue carpet. Owner above moved in 23 years ago and made no changes, no improvements to the unit and even today same carpet exists in the unit.

I never thought about it until you mentioned pergo floors. Thank you! As this may have something to do with the weird type of crackling sound that I hear. Our building is a condo conversion from a rental building and conversion took place sometime in the 70s. But the building was built in the 60s. All apartments have same layout, same materials were used during conversion. With that said, underneath the carpet pads are original pergo tiles(hard material). I had them too. That may very well explain this weird crackling noise, as her carpet padding is long worn out by now so practically there is no barrier between her carpet. and the pergo tiles underneath, hence, with every movement the crackling sound occurs. This does sound logical to me. If I am mistaken in my assessment, please kindly correct me.



02/09/2021 11:29 PM  
Thank you for your reply CathyA3! Always appreciate sound advice from you very much! 🙏😊

The click lock material that you are referring to most likely are those hard pergo tiles underneath the carpet that may be the missing piece in my puzzle. You are right that thankfully our subfloors are of cement so my upstairs neighbor will not crash into my unit, lol. It’s been very intrusive though for years, unless our self managed HOA intervenes and enforces the soundproofing portion of our Decs and Bylaws, this may be a slow moving “fight” to get some peace and quiet.

Looking back, I wonder how did I end up staying in our building for so long with all kinds of problems from embezzlement, theft, to poorly managed building and selective enforcement of our CC&R for years. But, I am glad to have found this forum and comforting and kind words always puts things at ease and gives me hope. Thank you for your kind words always!


02/09/2021 11:35 PM  
Thank you for your reply TimB4!

Living in a condo, I expect some noise. I have considered before and might actually attempt some level of soundproofing from my end. Learning about different soundproofing materials out there and would move forward with something cost effective. Wouldn’t hurt to try some tricks to gain some peace and quiet until the owner in above unit gets the sense to rid of old carpet and put in new padding and carpet. I also believe that pigs will fly before upstairs neighbor does anything floor wise in her unit.


02/10/2021 1:05 AM  
Here are those links:

Soundproofing Walls & Ceilings A manufacturer's site

How to Soundproof an Existing Ceiling article in San Francisco Gate

Soundproofing Basics

Hope they help


02/20/2021 9:56 PM  
Thank you TimB4!🙏😊
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