Are Upstairs Or Downstairs Neighbors Louder? (We Checked)

There are many things to consider when trying to find a new apartment.

While apartments are great for people on a budget who are not ready to fully commit to buying a home, apartments do come along with some annoyances.

Most notably, other people in the building.

So, when finding the best apartment that gives you the most peace, which floor should you go for?

Here is what we learned:

Why Upstairs or Downstairs Neighbors Are Louder:

Most renters say that upstairs neighbors are much louder than downstairs neighbors. However, this all depends on the type of flooring in the apartment building. Overall, you can expect more noise to be coming from upstairs.

What Noises Do You Typically Hear From DOWNSTAIRS Neighbors?

The most common noises that travel to upstairs apartments are muffled noises from talking or electronic devices. Along with talking, upstairs often report annoyance from television sets and radios.

These noises can be amplified if the above and below apartments share a heating and cooling system connected by floor or wall vents.

Sounds from a downstairs neighbor watching television a little too loudly can travel through these vents, amplifying the volume.

So, your downstairs neighbor may not even be watching TV that loudly for the sound to carry and become amplified in your upstairs apartment.

One thing to remember is whether you can hear your downstairs neighbor depends on the type of flooring and installation the apartment complex has.

Most landlords won’t invest money into properly insulating an apartment building to make it soundproof.

Along with proper sound insulation, the apartment flooring has much to do with how much noise will travel. For example, if the floors are carpeted, the sounds coming from below will be much more muffled since the carpeting creates a barrier.

However, with hardwood floors and tiles, you can expect much more noise from below.

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What Noises Do You Typically Hear From UPSTAIRS Neighbors?

Most notably, you can hear people shuffling back and forth above you when they walk.

It can seem like your upstairs neighbors are on a heavy footing with just how much noise the simple act of walking across the floor makes. So, you can imagine just how amplified other movements can be.

We don’t think about how everyday things we do can affect the people who live around us. Most of us won’t think twice about moving our couch a few feet to the left or even pulling out a dining room chair.

These everyday occurrences can annoy your downstairs neighbor because they can hear it all. This gets amplified with the more people who live above you, especially if they have kids.

Kids can make noise and not worry about bothering other people in the building. So, living underneath a family with children is one of the loudest places to live.

One of my first apartments was living in an apartment below a family, and the only peace I ever got was when the kids went to bed.

Does Noise Travel More Up or Down in Apartment Buildings?

Sound can travel in all directions. So, whether you live upstairs or downstairs, you will surely hear some rumblings.

However, the sound is more likely to travel upwards like heat, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that living downstairs will be quieter.

Therefore, living downstairs is far louder than living in an apartment upstairs.

Common sounds like talking and listening to music will carry more upstairs, but the sounds made by an upstairs neighbor are much louder when you consider all of the movements that can be made throughout the day.

Noise from things like walking around, exercising, or even kids playing will be more noticeable while living in a downstairs apartment. 

Noise doesn’t only travel up and down an apartment building. Sounds can also travel through the walls if you live in a complex with multiple units, including side-by-side apartments.

This is especially true if you live in a complex with notably thin walls.

While you won’t get much noise from neighbors walking around in the apartment next to you, noises like talking and television programs can easily be heard through adjoining walls.

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What Is The Quietest Floor to Live On?

If one of the most important things to you when living in an apartment is protecting your peace, you should always try to find an apartment on the top floor. 

Also, the more floors between you and the ground level, the more peace you will have,

When you live on the top floor, there is more insulation and space between you and the people living on the first floor.

This will reduce the amount of noise that comes from everyday things like talking and listening to music and muffling noises from moving furniture and even vacuuming.

However, some other minor inconveniences might bother you.

Most notably, you will have to hike up several flights of stairs to get to your apartment, especially if you live in a building that does not feature an elevator.

So, while you won’t be constantly interrupted by your neighbor’s television or kids, you will have to sacrifice some personal discomfort to obtain that peace.

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