Any suggestions on soundproofing my condo? Crying baby upstairs is driving me nuts…

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Topic: Any suggestions on soundproofing my condo? Crying baby upstairs is driving me nuts…

Home and Garden May 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Any suggestions on soundproofing my condo? Crying baby upstairs is driving me nuts…

Hello PoPville – 
I live in a 1 BR condo, in a small 3 unit rowhouse in Dupont Circle.  The building was converted to condos sometime in the 1980s.  The building is great and solid as can be considering it is over 100 years old. But when the building was renovated the developer didn’t do a very good job of soundproofing between units.  My upstairs neighbors have a baby that’s about 9 mos old.  They’ve started keeping her at home with a nanny during the day.  I work out of my home and it seems lately like the kid does nothing but cry – all day long.  It’s really hard to tune it out and I’m wondering if there’s any way to reduce the sound that carries between the two units so that I can keep my sanity… I realize it might require an investment and some inconvenience in the short term but will hopefully lead to increased peace of mind and better relations with neighbors. I’m not sure where to even start – contractor, architects, insulation specialists? Other?  Had anyone had a similar issue?  Any advice or ideas?  Thanks…

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Have you considered starting with the parents?  Do they know their baby is crying all day long when it’s left with the nanny?

I suspect doing something to your ceiling for soundproofing purposes is going to be really expensive.
Do the neighbors have any carpeting/rugs? If not, maybe you could get together with them and go halves on the cost of some nice rugs (where they pick the design, etc.)?  Or even pay for the rug yourself?

I’ve said it before on another post and will say it again: Marpac Dohm white noise machine. Seriously.
I have neighbors who like to sing (badly) to the radio through our paper-thin walls at 11:00 at night. For a $60 investment, I now sleep soundly and don’t hear a peep.

You’d probably have to pull the ceiling down, add a few inches of Roxul insulation and then use isolation mounting hardware to spearate the drywall from the joists (minimizes vibration and other noise). You may also want to consider using a product like quietrock to further cut out the noise. Be prepared for problems that are uncovered when taking down ceiling (incorrect wiring, leaks, mold…).

Hey there. I spent months researching soundproofing options for a basement renovation we just finished, and here’s what I can tell you.
In our experience, the three key steps are:
1.  Using resilient channels to attach your drywall to ceilings or walls
2. Intalling the Roxul Safe n’ Sound Insulation (critical!)
3. Using the thicker 5/8″ drywall 
You can splurge on the “QuietRock” drywall…but at $80 per 10’x4′ sheet (versus less than $20 for the normal 5/8″ stuff) that takes a real investment that, depending on your budget and wall/ceiling space, may not be worth it. 
I also used “QuietPutty” around outlets (which tend to transmit lots of noise too). 

Capitol Building Supply (CBS) has all this stuff at great prices, and they’re super helpful. Their store near Nat Park is 202-554-9190.  

I have a ton of notes on installation, websites, etc. from this research.  If you want it…email me at matthewhumke at gmail dot com. 
Good luck. 

It may not be worth the expense, considering the baby will soon grow out of this phase.  But definitely mention it to the parents.  They need to know things like this. 


I’d second the white noise machine suggestion – try the simple solutions first!  It could even be free if you have a box fan or even a kitchen/bathroom fan near your work area.  Turn the fan(s) on and maybe pop in a set of earphones if you listen to music while you work and see if that makes enough of a difference.

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