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Upstairs Neighbor Has Squeaky Floors (Practical Advice)

This is something you need to experience to empathize with or else you will never understand the pain of living under a neighbor with squeaky floors. Be it day or night, you are subjected to the noise of the floorboard upstairs.

As someone who has been the tormentor as well as the victim, I give you some practical advice that you can surely try to ease some of the pain of living under a neighbor who has squeaky floors.

Try what can be done without involving the upstairs neighbor, including soundproofing, drop ceiling, earplugs, ambient music, and rearranging the living space. If neighbor must be involved, don’t make enemies; get their sympathy, blame the building, and offer to help. Involve landlord if necessary.

Solutions That Don’t Involve Your Neighbor

If your upstairs neighbor is someone who’s cooperative and will resolve this issue quickly then you are very lucky. But, if that’s not the case then what are your options? Living year after year with a squeaky floor is hardly desirable. 

In this section, I discuss some steps that you can take to deal with the squeaky floors of your upstairs neighbor. The best thing about such fixes is that they do not involve your neighbor. You can take these measures on your own to resolve this problem. 

Ambient Music

What’s a better way to deal with noise than some music? For centuries, people have found solace in music. So, why not use some soothing music to deal with the stress and anxiety of having squeaky floors upstairs?

You can invest in good speakers with surround sound and flood your home with some relaxing ambient music. This will prove to be useful particularly when you are doing something that requires deep focus.

The internet is filled with the benefits of the ASMR experience. You can pair the annoying squeaks with the melodious sound of rain to travel back in time. So, instead of cringing at each upstairs movement, every time the floor squeaks, you will feel as if you are sitting in some ancient Victorian library on a rainy day.

You can use this as an opportunity to discover some great ambient music and also add some old-school charm to your space.

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Invest in Earplugs

Like many other people, I am someone who will not step out of the house without my earplugs. It not only cancels the noise of traffic but also gives me the window to spend some time on self-reflection. If the journey is long, then I also use earplugs to help me to catch up on some sleep.

You can use the same strategy for dealing with the noisy floorboard upstairs. If you have noise-cancellation earplugs then use them to escape from the squeaking and creaking. With the help of earplugs, you are creating a sound-free and relaxing cocoon for yourself.

Earplugs are highly recommended for quality sleep and meditation. I recommend it to escape from the irksome creaking of the floors upstairs. Nowadays, there are so many great options available at pocket-friendly prices that you will easily find the one that suits your need.

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Using earplugs is a good idea only if the squeaking isn’t too severe and can be tolerated with earplugs. But if the squeaking is constant and gravely affects you then you might have to take some drastic measures. More on this later.  

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Rearrange Your Apartment

The easiest way to get away from the squeaky floor upstairs is to actually get away from it. If you have two bedrooms in your apartment, consider moving into the one that isn’t as badly affected by the sound.

You can rearrange your apartment in such a way that most of your activities don’t involve you being under the squeaky floors. If the majority of each day is spent in a room that doesn’t have squeaky floors then perhaps you won’t get bothered by it that much.

Some apartments have just one room making it difficult to shift to another room. In such cases, you can try moving your bed or your table away from the squeakiest part of the ceiling. You can keep something like a wardrobe under it or if possible keep nothing at all.

DIY Soundproofing

Soundproofing the ceiling is a great way of dealing with the squeaking noise of the floor upstairs. Several methods will help you to ensure peace and quiet in your apartment. Some of them include hiring a professional and some can be done by yourself.

Installing a drop ceiling is the most effective way of soundproofing the ceiling. This way you are increasing the mass of the ceiling. Alternatively, you can opt for an additional layer of drywall on top of the existing drywall.

If house renovations are already in your plan, then while building the new ceiling, you can take steps to soundproof it to ensure maximum silence. All these measures require professional help and can be quite expensive. 

Here are some easy and cost-effective DIY techniques that will help you to reduce the noise from the squeaky floors upstairs:

Ceiling Curtains

Hanging thick curtains or material across the ceiling is a great way to reduce the noise. Noise travels through solid objects like walls, floors, or ceilings. When you add a layer like a curtain then the noise is either subdued or completely prevented from entering your space.  

You can also invest in soundproof curtains, which are thicker and bigger than normal curtains and are readily available anywhere. These curtains are designed to capture and reduce the amount of sound that enters your space.

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Acoustic Foam

You must have seen recording studios or auditoriums where dark thick foam panels are installed on the wall and ceiling to soundproof the room. These are called acoustic foams. They look like padded foam panels that keep the noise out of your home.

You can buy them and easily install them yourself. The only drawback of acoustic foams is that they make your room look smaller and might not be aesthetically appealing.

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You can also check out acoustic tiles. Just like acoustic foam, they are also cheap and can be installed easily.

Spray Foam Insulation

This is the easiest DIY method to reduce the noise of a loose floorboard upstairs. It will not completely make your room soundproof but will reduce the noise level substantially. You can always pair it up with any of the abovementioned solutions.

Soundproofing Paint  

As the name suggests, it does minimize the level of noise as it is made up of special ingredients that are missing in traditional paint. Just like Spray Foam Insulation, this also works better if you combine it with some other soundproofing method.

These methods are also helpful if you are struggling with an upstairs neighbor who is walking too loudly.

Involving Your Neighbor

If you are blessed to have a neighbor who’s willing to help, then you can involve your neighbor and reach a permanent solution. Since the squeaking floor is located in their apartment, involving them is a good idea.

You might have to involve them anyway if the squeaking is getting worse and you have done everything from your end to deal with it. Read on to know the ways you can resolve this problem involving your neighbor.

Never Make Them Your Enemy

No matter what happens, never turn your neighbor into your foe. You don’t want to come home to a hostile environment. You definitely don’t want to make your upstairs neighbor angry, especially when they have squeaky floors and might use it to make your life miserable.

I can understand that it’s not pleasant to constantly have noises from your ceiling interrupting the peace in your house. But having an enemy for a neighbor is also something you don’t want as it can have long-term repercussions.

You should try your best to involve your neighbor and reach a solution that’s feasible for both parties. If your neighbor refuses to cooperate then tell them that you will be compelled to involve the HOA or the landlord.

Occasional disagreements between you and your neighbors might happen, but a small issue should never become a full-fledged war. If you don’t have plans to move out, then you will be living in this building for a long time and you don’t want to live with the enemy.

Blame the Building, Not Them

For eons, people have bonded over a common enemy. So, there’s no reason why this strategy won’t work today. Instead of blaming the neighbor, blame the building. Instead of just asking your neighbor to do something, ask them for advice on how to deal with this problem.

Share with them how the squeaking noise of the floor upstairs is making it difficult for you to study and sleep. Of course, you don’t expect them to stop walking around their apartment because that would be absurd, but you would appreciate it if they gave you ideas on how to address this issue. Let them know everything that you have tried from your side as well.

Floorboards in old buildings become loose over time that causing floors to make noise. If you live in an old building, then along with your neighbor, you can approach the HOA or the landlord and ask them to fix this.

Barefoot on broken or loose wooden floor boards

Ask What They Do (if They Have Upstairs Neighbor)

People love to advise other people. So, approaching your neighbor for advice on how to deal with this nuisance is a great way to resolve this problem. Since the problem is connected with their house, they might be able to show you the right way.

Knowledge comes from experience. Maybe your neighbor has been through something similar in the past and might just give you some great advice on how to deal with squeaky floors.  

Discussing this problem might make them empathize more with your situation and they might be more open to cooperating with you.

Offer to Purchase or Contribute to a Rug

Once you discuss the problem with your neighbor, you might be able to reach a solution faster. The solution might be as simple as laying a carpet or a rug on that floor.

If that’s the case, then either offer to purchase the carpet or rug for them or contribute towards buying it. This gesture will not just be appreciated by your neighbor but will also ensure that the problem is resolved faster.

Involving the Super or Landlord

This, perhaps, is the last resort, but if you are unable to resolve the problem on your own, then you must involve the super and the landlord. If the problem is structural and requires renovation then you will need their approval to get the work done.   

Is the Squeaking Innocuous or Ominous?

Floors squeak when the floorboard is loose. Walking across the floor makes the floorboard brush against another board, nail, or joist. Sometimes the squeaking is seasonal as floorboards contract and expand depending on the weather.

Sometimes squeaking can also indicate a serious problem with the building which might become worse if not fixed immediately.

Structurally damaged apartment building

If the squeaking is severe and persistent, then you must reach out to your super or landlord and ask them to get it checked by a professional. Living in a building with structural damage is dangerous.

Can the Floorboards Be Screwed in Tighter?

Sometimes, the only way to stop the squeaking is by tightening the screws of a loose floorboard or putting in a few more good screws. Even though the squeaky floor is upstairs, this is a job that needs to be done from below as the floors are fixed from below.

So, this is more likely to inconvenience you than your neighbor.

Tightening of the screw from below involves a good amount of repair and renovation to your ceiling. Once the repair is done, the ceiling needs to be closed properly or else there will be problems in the future.

This is a job that needs to be done by a certified professional and involves structural repair, hence, it is better if you involve the super or your landlord. You might need permission before you move ahead with the repair.

Also, some buildings dictate that you can hire only from their approved list of professionals. So, working with your super or the landlord is always better.

Can They Enforce the 80% Carpet Rule?

A super or landlord of a building has the authority to enforce rules for the benefit of the residents. If your building is old and squeaking floor is a common problem then you can insist your super or landlord enforce a rule that makes 80% carpet mandatory.

Once this rule is enforced, then your upstairs neighbor will have to put carpets. This might save you from the constant torture of squeaking floors and restore peace in your apartment.

Before you go to your super or landlord with this proposition, get the squeaking checked to make sure it’s nothing serious and can be fixed with a thick carpet.


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