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Soundproof Sleeping Closure Answered

Hello fellow instructables :)

Right I need some help and advice on a design brief to help fix my problem.

Problem - I live in a ground floor flat and there is 1 flat above me, 2 scum bags occupy it, a couple of 22 year olds and they have obviously never been taught consideration for others and they bang and thrash around all through the early hours of the morning.

When they bang on their bare wooden floor it sounds like a heavy metal dumbbell coming through my ceiling and it wakes me abruptly and its ruining my life :( I've complained to the council the past 18 months but there not interested.

They have not put any carpet down in their flat in the last 18 months and it looks like they have no intention of doing so (they can afford fags n booze tho), plus they have a baby due any day now, great.. so now there making their problems, my problem.

Solution - The only thing I can think of is making a soundproof sleeping closure, a large box like a 4 poster bed but all sides solid made out of a layer of MDF then insulation then more mdf, but I have some questions before I start.

How would I get adequate air in and out ?
Would this even stop the banging on my ceiling waking me up ? or would it still penetrate the box ?
How would I control the temperature, would it be too hot in there ?

Something like the image below but more solid with a door.

If anyone has any experience with this or input or any good ideas I'd be ever so grateful.

Cheers in advance.

Matt

Discussions

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kurth83

11 hours ago

The materials start trickling in today.

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My neighbors continue to try to be quiet, and mostly succeed, but fail often enough I am not regretting going through with this yet. The roof has been mostly quiet too, but I have had two sleepless nights from the roof in the past month or so, and it is expected to get worse as winter approaches. I just hope when this is done it attenuates the noise enough to have been worth it.

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I also found a speed controller for the fan, 0-800 RPM, with a switch to set the minimum RPM to 300, luxury and safety in one go.

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https://www.amazon.com/Noctua-NA-FC1-4-pin-PWM-Controller/dp/B072M2HKSN

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kurth83

5 days ago

Here's the parts list.

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I have decided to abandon bolts and braces to join the 4'x4' panels, in favor of latches, this will make the whole thing much much easier to assemble and disassemble on the fly, The mattress will be a tight fit on the sides, so changing sheets may require the side panels to come off:

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Rated at near 1000lbs ea, these should do the trick:

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https://www.protex.com/60-655M1MSZN-YP-adjustable-...

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The variety of catch plate forms means they can be used for both straight and right-angle joins.

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The door (a 4x'4' panel) will need some heavy duty adjustable hinges, spring-loaded gate hinges seem to be the best for this application:

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https://www.amazon.com/Vinyl-Fence-Hinges-Black-Fe...

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They accept 1/4" bolts (I will not use wood screws, but drill holes, and use bolts, washers, and nylon lock nuts, also for disassembly purposes.

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Here is the cooling/ventilation fan, it can be switched to have a high and low speed (I am thinking high in summer and low or off in winter), it'll need a 12v power supply and some wiring (I'm decent with a soldering iron so easy peasy). Note: I have sleep apnea, and so I have a machine that delivers pressurized, heated, humidified air to my face. The intake for that machine wll be outside of this chamber. Under no circumstances would I ever enter a chamber like this without ventilation otherwise. Both the the vetilator and the CPAP machine will be on a UPS too.

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https://www.amazon.com/Noctua-NF-A20-PWM-premium-q...

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Here is the 1500lb rated bed frame:

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https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CVR21VN

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To mention it again, here is the base padding, nice and heavy for vibration damping:

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https://www.audimute.com/peacemaker-soundproofing-...

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And the foam again, which is the outer and inner layer of each panel:

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https://www.amazon.com/Incstores-perfect-lightweig...

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And for the 'air' layer, any genuine 5 lb/cuft 2" thick memory foam will do, lots to choose from on amazon, avoid the gel-infused stuff, pure visco-elastic polyurethane foam only.

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Here is one, it is easy to cut, cheaper to buy a large size and cut it down:

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https://www.amazon.com/Memory-Foam-Solutions-X-Lar...

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And nice hardwood (maple) 3/4" ply from Home Depot, in 4'x8' sheets, don't have a link. I won't be cutting the base, but the side and top panels will be 4'x4'.

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Some various tools (Rockwell small circular saw from amazon, with plywood specific high toothcount blades), and nuts and bolts from boltdepot.

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To glue the various layers I will be using contact cement, from the local OSH (Orchard Supply) or Home Depot. It comes in pints, I expect to use more than one.

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Edit: rethinking perhaps to use spray foam adhesive: https://www.amazon.com/3M-74-Spray-Adhesive-Clear/dp/B000WSH5EO

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Spray paint for finish (to match the blue of the outer foam), will likely come from OSH.

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kurth83

6 days ago

The foam pad came in, looks like a winner, it's closed cell and has both reflective and dampening properties, here it is:

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https://www.amazon.com/Incstores-perfect-lightweig...

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I am planning on painting the non-blue exposed bits so it looks better.

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The side-wall and top-layers will be:

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- foam pad (outside) outer air-tight reflective and dampening layer

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- 3/4" ply - the mass layer.

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- memory foam (2-3" 5 lbs/cuft) - this is the viscous/air layer, is porous, absorbs low-frequency sounds when sandwiched better than anything I have found so far.

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- foam pad (inside) inner air-tight reflective and dampening layer, doubles as the inner 'mass' layer, but isn't very massive unfortunately.

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I would prefer a mass-air-mass design with MDF board, but that would add too much weight, enough it could crush me in an earthquake. This will keep the whole thing to 500 lbs, not more than about 100 of which could fall on me. And it will be very softly padded so I think that will be fine in an emergency.

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I will need to test the smoke alarm that I can hear it inside this thing, that's going to be interesting.

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Now for the base:

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I found some excellent 2.5" thick rubber tiles for the vibration damping base:

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https://www.audimute.com/peacemaker-soundproofing-...

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I think I'll go big on this and cover the whole bedroom floor with it, it vibrates like a drum head, so it makes sense to dampen the whole head, not just a small part of it. That ups the overall price to near $3,000 USD though.

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It's also heavy, so I investigated what appt floors are rated for, and I won't be above 25% max load including everything in the room (rated at 40 lbs per sq ft)

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kurth83

18 days ago

Well, I need to resurrect this thread, because it is the only one in the entire world I can find on this subject, I have downstairs neighbors that thump, although they are trying harder lately after 2 years of not trying. But we got a new roof last year, and during the colder 9 months of the year it 'pops' super loud, up to twice a night. This is bordering on partially disabling me, affecting work, career, health, etc.

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So I haven't been able to get a good nights sleep reliably in 3 years, partly due to neighbors, and partly due to the new construction, I've tried everything else, sound proof windows (great for dogs), added sound-insulation in the floors (1/4" rubber isn't enough), noise makers, noise cancelling headphones, ear plugs, various drugs... All made things better, but never got all the way to good, and its the low frequency thumps that are the issue, I can stop everything else. Our building shakes, I can feel vibrations now as much as hear them because I have dampened sound a lot so far.

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So, as a last ditch effort before moving, I am planning to build a sound insulated and vibration dampened sleep cocoon/pod that can hold a standard twin mattress.

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After spending a long time researching materials, and leveraging some past experience, I believe heavy walls + gap is what is needed.

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My best experience is as a drummer, I built a drum riser for the downstairs neighbors, and the only thing that worked was memory foam (thick 3" or more) sandwiched between two 3/4" MDF boards. The pedals impact the floor, thump, thump, thump, three iterations of risers and this one stopped the noise cold where nothing else did.

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Unfortunately, at 100 lbs per 4x8 3/4" MDF board, to replicate that design in a 4x8x4' coffin-like rectangle would weigh 1000 lbs, so I need to lighten the load. Therefore I am going to try 3/4" ply with dense closed-cell foam on the outside (reflects and absorbs), and memory foam backed by the dense (floor-type) foam for the inner layer. That gets it down to around 600 lbs + 100 lbs for an impact noise base (thick recycled-car-tire rubber pads). A plus is the it will be fully padded, no pointy things, and the whole thing will be a nice royal blue color - inside and out.

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I was worried about bed frames strong enough to hold it, but bed frames rated at 2,000+ lbs are easy to find on Amazon.

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It will have an 8" (computer) ventilation fan and exhaust port (which will significantly reduce it's noise insulating properties unless I duct those ports extremely well, but it will be cool and well ventilated. I am planning to put the intake near my air conditioning duct so summers will be bearable inside this thing.

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As an added bonus I will install bed-bug traps under all the legs, filled with Cimexa, and that plague will never return.

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It will likely be a few months before I can get this thing built, if at all, maybe thanksgiving week. It should be a pretty blue padded rectangle with a door on one side (picked out adjustable door hinges already).

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It will be modular and bolted together, in units none of which weigh more than about 50 lbs: 10 pieces of roughly 4x4' ea. So in theory I can dissassemble it and have it packed so it could move with me. And I don't lift things over 50 lbs at my age anyway, so modular construction is a must. It's just bolts and brackets, and getting a snug fit.

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I priced it out, and all the materials will cost $2,000 USD, ouch, ouchy, ouch, ouchy ouch ouch. But I am desperate. It would cost me much much more to move.

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I'll post the materials if I order them, it will become a build thread at that point, and should make for a fascinating project.

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I've done a lot of DIY carpentry (pretty basic but functional stuff) over the years, I know this is a doable project as I've worked with all these materials before, but whether it will actually dampen the sound is another story. It's a $2,000 + one week of vacation-time gamble.

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I have a sample of the dense foam rubber on order to test it, that's step one now that the design is completed.

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BruceL38

2 years ago

Hello, Matt.

I feel your pain, man, I have the same problem with my neighbours. You could start by contacting your landlord about adding soundproofing. Also, call environmental health and see if you can get rid of the scum bags (they're probably bothering other tenants, too).

As for building an enclosure; I built one out of MDF, lined the inside with cardboard, added lights, a fan and speakers (to play white noise) and I wear ear plugs. The enclosure blocks out about 80% of the noise, however, there is very little I can do about the crashing sounds, they vibrate through the legs of the enclosure and wake me up, it's like someone kicking the underside of my bed! You may not have to worry about that 20% though as your neighbours are above, mine are below.

The fan deals with the heat (an ordinary desk fan), but you could put a wall fan at one end of the pod to draw air in and another at the opposite end to withdraw air, although if you build a large enclosure like the one pictured above, it shouldn't be necessary.

I'm planning on building a new enclosure, something special that looks futuristic with all the bells and whistles. I'll be looking on the internet for designs and appropriate materials.

Just remember you're not alone, good luck and sleep well.

Bruce.

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Sean.2BruceL38

Reply 2 years ago

Hello Bruce and Matt,

Yep - same here as far as the upstairs neighbors from hell go. Matt, you are on the right track with your thinking. I did the same thing. Cheap 4 poster bed frame. MDF, fan and speakers. I used acoustic paneling on the inside and out side. I have become a sound wave expert, lol. Blocking or effectively stopping a sound wave is almost impossible especially if it's bass/deep Db wave. Reflecting the sound wave is very doable. The sound now travels through the ceiling and bounces off the sleeping pod into the wall into a baffle pointed out the door and into the living room where the plush carpet absorbs most of it. I created my own white noise track that has the opposite Db value of the Db values the scumbags upstairs produce (you can rent a meter to find the values). I also ran some crashing waves in the background because I love the beach. Works pretty well.

But I still couldn't get rid of the crashes. So, I raised the sleep pod off the ground. with two rubber pucks under each post/foot. I think the crashing sound waves are vibrating the ceiling to the walls and then vibrating the floor to the sleep pod. The rubber really seems to deaden the crashing vibrating sounds.

Or you could take Ambien, lol.

I would post pictures but this experience has made me realize that there are no cheap, off the shelf sleep pods for regular working people so I'm patenting it.

Best of luck,

Sean

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seanbell157

2 years ago

get some earplugs. Problem solved although the pic you posted is pretty badass

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lgoomsseanbell157

Reply 2 years ago

If it were me, I'd find earplugs to be insufficient. The bumping would drive me nuts. it's not the sound so much as you can feel it. Kinda like someone kicking the chair while you're sitting in it.

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JonM74lgooms

Reply 2 years ago

Earplugs combined with a hammock could minimize feeling the bumps. If you were really smart you could put the hammock hooks on sprung tracks. =)

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hello1976

2 years ago

Matt - this is my dream come true too. I have "audiophonia" - very high sensitivity to noise. I have lived at so many places and always difficulty sleeping and I have been thinking of launching a business where I actually MAKE those items from scratch - on a smaller scale - much like a bigger "coffin" kind of thing out of plastic and with holes for air and a pump.

Anyway - reach out to me directly: foto312 AT gmail

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machete555

2 years ago

Hi Matt,

Have you had any luck resolving this yet?

I have been suffering with a similar problem, I live in a semi detached house and my neighbours child keeps waking me up in the middle of the night and they have just had another one and it is now intolerable.

I have tried the white noise trick with the fan which has a 50/50 success rate and even had custom ear plugs made but they’re still uncomfortable to sleep with.

I’ve got a friend that’s an engineer so hopefully we can knock something up to solve this.

I’m going with a top and bottom outer shell of brushed stainless steel fitted with soundproof insulation and then lined with linen.

Will use telescopic poles on each corner to raise the top from the bottom, so it should look like a four poster bed when open and PC style fans at the head and foot to create enough air flow to support up to three adults run through tubes inside the soundproof insulation lined with that conical foam used as packaging for IT equipment,

to disrupt any sound.

Will have a circuit breaker so that it will pop open in case of a power cut and sensors to stop it from closing if there is an obstruction.

The end result should look something like Deacon Frost’s coffin from the film Blade

I haven't factored in for temperature or humidity yet as I’m hopping this can just be controlled by the airflow or externally by the room conditions.

Not sure how much all this is going cost, but like you say making the outer shell from MDF would be a much cheaper DIY solution.

Can you really put a price on a decent nights uninterrupted sleep?

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thematthatter

4 years ago

Had a similar issue the first apartment i moved into. I was the "scumb bag" and the floor creaked every time we walked on it. My wife would walk across the floor in the middle of the night and I would have to get up at 5am to go to work. The lady below us used to get mad and bang on the ceiling and yell obscenities. She even had the nerve to come upstairs and ask us not to walk on our floor.

Long story short, we bought a mossberg for protection (it got heated a bit) and ended up moving out.

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liquidhandwash

4 years ago

Have you thought of "white noise". I made an air filter with a large computer fan inside that I thought would probably keep me up at night, as is it makes quite a bit of "fan noise" to my surprise I sleep much better for some reason, and don’t wake up to every little sound. I also found I have become aware of falling asleep, as the sound seems to change pitch and becomes quieter as I start to nod off,

Long story short try a noisy computer fan in your bedroom...

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Toga_Dan

4 years ago

You might research what the Japanese are doing. They seem to big on stuff like a motel "room" that's just 1 bunk of a bunkbed with a private entrance, a tv, radio, bookshelf, etc.

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Downunder35m

4 years ago

I would not opt for some enlosed space as the problems with air supply and moisture outway the benefits.

Instead I would opt for a design like this:

http://www.soundegg.com/

Since your problem comes from above and is most likely reflected and transfered through your walls you want something that is able to cancel the noise out.
If you designe some "hood" like the chair over your existing bed you will have it much easier.
Include a lifting device so you can adjust the height over your bed for optimum noise cancellation and you are good to go.
If there is still too much leftover noise you try to include some speakers based on those airplane headphones that cancel out the noise, but would need to use a small amplifier and experiment with the right placement of the speakers.

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mpilchfamily

4 years ago

Any insulated enclose you make will have to be well ventilated. Not only for air but also for temp control. It will heat up rather quickly in there. Quiet running PC fans would be good. You'll probably want a set to draw air in at one end of the bed and a set to vent the air out at the other end.