On how to block noise from next door neighbors, you are not alone.
No man is an island. And this is never more real than when you’re trying to get some shuteye while a party or a crying baby from your next-door neighbors keep you wide awake.
Read on and learn how to soundproof your doors, ceilings, walls, and windows so you can get some peace without starting a world war on your block!
How to Block Noise From Next Door Neighbors: Where to Start
If you’re new to soundproofing, know that there are MANY soundproofing solutions you can use.
You can choose which areas to focus on and what soundproofing materials to use depending on your budget, needs, and preferences.
The 6 areas you should look into sound proofing are the following:
- Your walls especially shared walls between apartments
- Your doors, as a lot of sounds, can enter through the gaps around them
- Your windows, for the same reason as doors, and especially when you live on a noisy street
- Your floors for lessening impact noise
- Your ceilings, if you hear a lot of upstairs neighbor’s noise
- Your curtains, which can be a very flexible and useful solution to a lot of problems
Below, we’ll walk you through all these soundproofing ways so you can block that irritating noise from your neighbors.
Soundproofing Your Walls
This is critical for those with shared walls with your neighbor, especially when they are thin, because this is the easiest way sounds can be heard in your home.
Your walls will likely make the most drastic noise reduction for you, so don’t skip this step if you want to learn how to block noise from next door.
There are many soundproofing techniques that can fix the noise problem in your house.
As we’ve said, the choice will LARGELY DEPEND on your budget and the amount of work you can and want to put in.
1. Adding Drywall or Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV): The Permanent Answer
If you own the house you are staying in, or your landlord is okay with you making permanent renovations, adding drywall or mass-loaded vinyl (MLV) are the best solutions to block noises coming from the shared walls with your neighbors.
This is critical if you have thin walls, as it will increase your walls’ thickness, improve insulation, and block any noise coming from your neighbors more effectively.
For the drywall, we recommend a 3/8-inch thick sheet for renovating existing walls.
For a step-by-step DIY guide, you can check out this video:
MLV is a very thick material that has excellent sound-dampening properties. This is a great way of absorbing all kinds of noise, especially those from impact noise.
Just like the drywall, you can screw, staple, or nail the MLV onto your walls.
No matter what you choose, ensure you seal the gaps. If you leave even the smallest space between them, sounds can still slip through, rendering your walls’ soundproofing virtually ineffective.
2. Install Acoustic Panels for Light to Moderate Noise: A Semi-Permanent Answer
If you don’t own the house you’re staying in, but you have the budget and willingness to install a solution specifically made to block noise from next door, foam panels are for you. This material is perfect for soundproofing purposes!
They also work if you don’t have the budget or time to install the permanent solution we talked about earlier.
You can use acoustic foam panels by sticking them onto the wall you want to soundproof in your home.
These are boards typically made of varying sound-absorbing materials that reduce noise or sound and effectively soundproof the wall you choose to use them on.
How does it work?
It increases your wall’s air resistance so that sound can’t travel as freely between your walls.
It creates a barrier that will stop or at least weaken the sound waves that travel to and from your next-door neighbors.
For best results, we recommend you install foam panels made of fiberglass like this one from Amazon.
But if your budget doesn’t allow that, there are more affordable alternatives, as well.
You can install these by adding adhesives on the back and onto your wall. For a solution you can easily remove whenever you need to, you can also attach them using velcro strips.
3. Soundproofing Walls With What You Already Have: The Free and Temporary Fix
If you don’t have the money or time to install drywall or purchase acoustic panels for your wall, the great news is you can use materials you have on-hand as a way to soundproof your wall.
While this won’t make it completely soundproof, it should be ENOUGH to reduce noise from your neighbor.
To do this, identify what furniture you can reposition so that they are against your shared wall.
For example, you may already have shelves or a couch that you can simply move around.
Moreover, you can:
- Relocate wall hangings and paintings onto that shared wall as an additional layer that will help block the sounds from your neighbor.
- Use this in combination with the panels so that you don’t have to purchase as many acoustic panels.
- Reposition large furniture along and against that wall and use panels to cover up whatever bare wall is left afterward.
Soundproofing Your Doors
Does this sound familiar?
- Your noisy neighbors are a problem because they keep passing in front of your windows and doors; we know what it’s like.
- You live right next to the elevator, where a lot of people pass by throughout the day.
Doors are typically made of thin materials and are hollow, which allows the sound to come in from everywhere.
This makes your door one of the most vulnerable spots that sound waves can use to enter your house.
Of course, the extreme of soundproofing tips is completely replacing your door with a thicker one that has been soundproofed.
These can be customized to your needs and preferences and are a great way to block noise from next door.
However, this can be very expensive and may not be possible if you are only renting your house or live in a building where the hallways all have to look the same from the outside.
The good news is there are still plenty of effective solutions you can choose from!
1. Focus on Covering the Gaps
The small spaces around your door, especially at the bottom, are the main way sound enters through your doorway.
It doesn’t matter how small these are — those pesky sound waves will still find a way through them.
So, the best you can do is to cover these as best as you can. We recommend using a sealant around the surfaces and edges of your door, such as those made of vinyl or neoprene.
What matters here is ensuring the seal is airtight so that it covers all the gaps and cracks of your door.
If you only do this and none of the other soundproofing tips we will detail below, you will still immediately notice a huge noise reduction.
2. Use A Door Sweep
If earlier soundproofing tips aren’t enough or not possible for you, there are removable ways to seal the gaps and cracks temporarily.
Place the door sweep between the bottom part of the door and the floor to seal the gap whenever the door is closed.
It works by making an airtight seal that blocks out sounds and unwanted drafts coming from outside. You can use this for your exterior and interior doors.
Soundproofing Your Windows
If you live in a noisy neighborhood or on a low floor in your apartment building, chances are, a lot of sounds from the streets come in through the gaps of your home’s windows.
Whether you can hear people chatting, a lawn being mowed, or cars passing by, this can get very irritating. Keeping the window closed at all times can help.
However, this isn’t doable or sufficient for many people, especially if your neighbors are particularly noisy. Plus, what will you do when it’s hot, and you want to crack the window open to let in some air?
So, you want to find out how to block the noise coming in through your windows? Read on.
1. Replace Your Windows: The Extreme Fix
If you have the option, time, and money to go all-out, you can replace your windows with double-paned ones.
You can easily guess what makes this different from your typical windows just based on its name. A double-paned window has, yup, you guessed it, two panes.
In other words, you have two layers of glass instead of the typical single layer. This effectively blocks out both light and sound.
Just note that you will likely have to order these and request a professional to install the windows for you.
2. Install A Barrier Panel: The Heavy-Duty Answer
A barrier panel is made of acoustic foam that can help block unwanted sounds from anywhere. It’s just like the acoustic panels we talked about earlier for your walls.
The only difference is that this time, you will be installing them onto your windows.
The biggest downside to this is that it will effectively block out light as well, which won’t work for a lot of people.
Your noisy neighbors shouldn’t be the reason you become a vampire, right?
3. Cover Your Windows with Acrylic: The Cheaper Option
So if you want to let light in while drastically reducing unwanted sound from neighboring homes, acrylic sheets are what you need.
And if you can’t replace your windows entirely as we suggested earlier, this is also a slightly cheaper alternative.
Essentially, you would be covering your existing window with an additional layer of acrylic.
To do this, you need to install a metal frame onto your existing window. Then, use magnets to attach the additional acrylic layer to the metal frame.
Just make sure you keep everything airtight and minimize gaps as much as you can.
4. Seal Up the Gaps: The Most Affordable Option
This is a common fix for doors and windows.
As we’ve said, you must seal up all the gaps you can find on your windows. You can use the same insulating foam sealant we recommended earlier.
Soundproofing Your Floors and Ceilings
For most people, you won’t need to soundproof your floor or ceiling.
This is best for those who have noisy upstairs neighbors who are always stomping around above you.
The solutions we’ll be talking about target the reduction of impact noise.
Note that these won’t effectively reduce ambient sound and those coming in at mid to high frequencies, such as music or talking voices, though it may slightly reduce them in your home.
1. Install A Drop Ceiling or Acoustic Clouds
Essentially, a drop ceiling or acoustical clouds are an added layer made of soundproof material that you install over the drywall of your ceiling.
You do this by first hanging some hooks onto your ceiling then simply hanging them from there.
Some options let you glue a ceiling directly onto the structural ceiling if you’re willing to remove the drywall.
Just like the acoustic foam panels, you can use acoustic tiles and glue or attach them onto your home’s ceiling.
If you have the money to splurge, you can get an entire suspended ceiling system made for you, as well.
However, these aren’t the prettiest solutions, so installing an additional layer of drywall may be better for you. Check out the section on soundproofing your walls above for details on this.
2. Use Soundproofing Curtains
When you think of curtains, you probably assume these are just meant for windows.
Sure, the easiest way you can soundproof your windows is to use soundproof curtains. But you can use these sound-deadening curtains for walls, doors, room separators, and more.
Remember that the more layers you have against the wall or window your soundproofing, the more the noises will be reduced.
However, keep in mind that these soundproof curtains are not a standalone answer to reducing noises. In fact, on their own, they aren’t very effective.
This is why you need to use all the other soundproofing ways we’ve suggested in this guide on how to block noise from next-door neighbors to utilize these curtains effectively.
Other Solutions That Don’t Require Installation
Use White Noise Machines
A white noise machine is one way you don’t have to listen to the noises coming from the home beside you.
While this doesn’t soundproof your home at all, a white noise machine can at least give you some added peace whenever you’re trying to sleep or work.
As an added benefit, studies have shown that white noise machines can help create a relaxing environment so you can sleep better.
White noise is also great for maintaining focus when you’re working or studying.
Buy Noise-Canceling Headphones or Earplugs
The only downside is that this only solves your problem and not your housemate’s.
How Bad Are Noisy Neighbors?
Much as we try to choose the best house and location, we can’t always control who we’re going to live next to. You’re lucky if you have nice, quiet neighbors.
Many aren’t, especially those who live in a building where walls can be shared between units. This can be a real pain if you are a light sleeper or have odd working hours.
What about when you’re trying to get some work done at home, or your kids are studying and attending online classes?
When you just can’t concentrate because of the sound from the neighboring walls, it’s enough to ruin anyone’s day.
As a note, if you think YOU’RE the noisy neighbor in this story, try to keep it down and use some of these tips to soundproof your house or apartment, too. After all, you wouldn’t want to inconvenience your next-door neighbors unnecessarily.
Before you go storming off to your neighbor or your apartment manager or looking for a new house, try following this guide first on how to block noise from your neighbors.
All homes come with good and bad experiences. And if yours is a problem with noises coming from your neighbors, things aren’t as hopeless as you thought.
Many homes can benefit from the soundproofing ways we’ve talked about here.
Whether you’re dealing with neighbor’s noise or unwanted traffic, all you need is this guide to how to block noise from next-door neighbors!