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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Hi, I am thinking of soundproofing my ceiling as the impact noise coming from upstairs is slowly driving me insane...I think that whoever converted the house into flats has not bothered to soundproof the floors/ceilings. Has anyone done this in their flat and does it help, or is it just a waste of money? Does anyone have any recommendation?
Thanks

Antonella

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The flat I used to live in was refurbished while I was living there (sort of - long story, but the important thing is I knew it "before and after"), and one of the things they did in the refurbishment was soundproof the floors/ceilings. Before the refurbishment, you could hear pretty much everything from upstairs, including the television, music, arguments, people walking etc. After the refurbishment, the sound was significantly reduced, but not completely eliminated - I always knew when our upstairs neighbour had high heels on, for example - but the only time we really heard any significant noise was when they had a party or when they were hoovering. It made a big difference, but it didn't completely solve the problem. By the way, they had hard floors upstairs.
significantly reduced....that would be a dream right now.....my neighbors are not party people, but because of poor insulation it means I hear their footsteps, TV and conversations all day long (from 6am...). Any noise reduction would be better than now...thanks for the advise!
@ Bethany, do you now what they did? Was it possible to do from downstairs or did they need access to upstairs, ie is there some magic substance that can be injected into the ceiling space from below? My short-cutting upstairs neighbour installed that click-together hard flooring throughout, without bothering with the soundproofing layer underneath....
To be honest, I don't. Fortunately (for me) they were refurbishing upstairs and my flat at the same time, so I guess they could have done it from either direction. I moved back in while they were still doing building work upstairs, and it was a bit noisy for a while, but I'm not sure if it was because they hadn't yet soundproofed it or because it was empty (so echoed) and they were doing loud things generally.
If it is a leasehold flat, they may well be in breach of the lease for installing this kind of hard flooring, though I'm not sure how you'd find out. When we were buying (late 80s) there were often conditions put on the lease regarding this kind of flooring in upstairs flats because of the noise problem.
My leasehold conditions specify that floors must be carpeted - presumably for this very reason.
Lease, schmeash. We are now joint freeholders and it has taken nine years to get here. The original lease (which has now been extended) specified that a piano or pianola has to have felt pads under its feet, but nothing about click-together flooring, the vile stuff. However in the ongoing interest of having to peacefully cohabit, it's not worth pursuing. Carpets would be a help but dont go with children apparently. One day when I do the Major Works I'll think about bringing the ceilings into the plan. This should have been done, along with more adequate fire separation, when the house was converted in 1960. Better specs have arisen since but too late for me.
If you wish to sound proof the ceiling space, you will either need to build a false ceiling with sound proofing materials above from the downstairs flat, or you will have to lift the upstairs floor and lay rubber damping materials beneath their flooring. This will help if it's just muffled conversation and heavy foot steps, or foot steps against naked floor boards that you can hear.

There's no magic that you can inject into the plaster that I am aware of.

However, if you can hear conversations clearly, there is possibly an air leak which you may try to block up with foam as a first measure. Possibly this air leak may be related to a chimney that's had some dodgy work done on it in the past (do you have a fireplace in that room, or was that blocked up?). The chimney is a fairly likely source of such a joining of airspace between you and your upstairs neighbour and may serve as a quicker and cheaper fix.

It is not often that it's useful to have a BEng in Acoustic Engineering when you work in IT ;-)

Good luck!
Hi antonella

I had a soundproofing problem from upstairs too - but other way round - I'm on the ground floor. A very difficult neighbour who insisted she could hear everything in my kitchen diner and stamped on my ceiling every evening if me and partner spoke above a whisper. Campaign of abuse started soon after I moved in - she clearly went to bed at 9 every night, I don't, but I'm quiet, do not have noisy parties, cook in kitchen (obviously) chat quietly to visitors/partner.. not much else going on - no TV on in there. Even went upstairs to her flat (in early stages) - having put loud radio on downstairs - could barely hear it. I had to call the Community police on 3 or 4 occasions to go and talk to her - had little effect.

In the end got so bad decided to invest in soundproofing - I wanted abusive behaviours to stop and also always felt worried by her assertion she could 'hear everything' spoken in my kitchen, even though she probably exaggerated - did not want my privacy invaded.

I borrowed the money - cost me £1500, Soundproofing UK - bunch of South African guys - really nice, quick, clean efficient, got them from online site - 07943833022/William or 07947471275/Herman. I feel more secure now in my privacy, I believe the sound insulation has reduced sound both ways by 80-90%. All the stamping has stopped. I do hear her upstairs tramping around in what sounds like platform shoes - but more in other rooms in my flat. If I could afford it I'd do every room, it was well worth it. She is still problematical from time to time but about other things because that's the way she is.

Those guys were great though - I really recommend them, it's worth every penny..
Hi Antonella, I am in the process of doing this.
Homebase have a great buy one get one free deal (so £5 a roll) on eco (non-formaldehyde bonded) insulation.

I'm having my floors sanded and went triple layer with the insulation roll between the joists.

In one of the rooms which will be used as a recording space I also used high-density rockwool slab (45kg/m density) and a product called tecsound 50, which is a rubbery kind of membrane with a density higher than lead.
It has really good soundproofing specs, although its more effective at airborne sound insulation than impact (footsteps etc)

For your ceiling I guess once you take the plasterboard down, the more rigid rockwool slab would be more effective and much easier to install.

Hope that helps!
Definitely check out this website:
http://www.customaudiodesigns.co.uk/soundproofing.htm

I would just buy the stuff and have a regular labourer/plasterer install it for you (following any special instructions if necessary). The guys at Custom Audio were really helpful and not too pushy. If you describe the requirement to them they will recommend the most cost-effective solution.

Good luck :)
Thanks so much for all your replies! :)
Antonella

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