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caedmyn

need to vent...frustrated with new house

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We moved into a new house at the end of last year.  It's much larger than our old house, which is nice with a family of 8, and in town instead of out of town which is also nice.  But I'm starting to wish that we hadn't bought it.  At least 2000 square feet of the house is wallpapered.  I only like the wallpaper in one room, and this wallpaper is glued on VERY well and is not going to come off easily.  I've already tried the easy methods of removal with no success.  I do not want to be stuck with this wallpaper forever, and I don't have hundreds of hours to spend getting it off (or the patience to do it).  Also, this house is SO incredibly loud.  The entire main level except the living room and master bedroom is tiled, and it's a semi-open floor plan, and we have 6 kids 13 and under, 5 of them boys, and I get easily overloaded by noise...it's bad.  Between the tile (even the molding is tile), paneling/wainscotting in most rooms, large windows, a vaulted ceiling in the dining room, and the mostly open floor plan, I don't think it's possible for a house to be any louder.  I would not have agreed to buy it if I'd know it was going to be so loud.  The noise is really starting to wear on me.  I've added some rugs and curtains and I can't even tell a difference.  I literally cannot carry on a phone conversation without going into a bedroom and shutting the door if there's the slightest bit of noise upstairs, because I cannot hear anything the other person says.  People talking in the living room can clearly hear anything someone in the dining room says, and there's an entire additional room separating the two (and the living room is mostly enclosed too).  I'm so frustrated at being stuck with these issues.

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More or bigger rugs and tapestries?  I’m not being snarky about the tapestries.  Hang up some pretty quilts or something to absorb the sound.  Or actual tapestries that are meant to be hung on walls.  Here’s the first one I saw on Amazon:  https://smile.amazon.com/Sevenstars-Mountain-Tapestry-Landscape-Hanging/dp/B07Q9LDCTZ/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=Tapestry&qid=1562017552&s=gateway&sr=8-4

I don’t know what can be done with the wallpaper.  I hear old wallpaper is  a nightmare to remove.

 

(Here is another tapestry.  These things can be pretty big if you need them to be:  https://smile.amazon.com/Launched-Tapestry-Madhu-International-Multicolor/dp/B01LWMMN14/ref=sr_1_11?keywords=Tapestry&qid=1562017591&s=gateway&sr=8-11)

Edited by Garga
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There is a paint for not going to come down without a fight wallpaper.  So far it is holding up very well at a friends house to her destructive boys. 

Do you have a basement or other room at the far end of the house? If you do-  buy some of those foam mats that can look like wood floor.  They absorb a ton of sound and look nice.  The kids could have that room for noise and running around. 

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Yeah, I know it's low class, but I'd just paint that wallpaper. You can buy paint for it. At least that way, you have walls that are a color you'd like. And buy yourself some more large, plushy rugs.

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If the wallpaper is stuck on that well, I'd pay someone (painting company)  to come spray texture over the wallpaper, and then paint it like a brand new wall. If you have other texture in your house, they can match the pattern so it won't look inconsistent. 

ETA- I've done it and you can't tell a difference from a standard sheetrock/textured wall, as long as the wallpaper isn't peeling. The texture will hide the seams, so no one will know it was papered. But if it's peeling, you're going to have to take that part off. You'll probably have to retexture anyway if you were going to paint over a formerly papered wall,  so it's not really an additional expense if you look at it that way. 

Edited by Æthelthryth the Texan
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And I wanted to come back and provide some sympathy.  I would be going bonkers from the noise, too.  I’m so sorry that your new house turned out to have this annoying problem.  Very frustrating.  I’d be saving my pennies for new flooring, but that might be a long time coming since moving is expensive.  Hugs.

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1. If you have space for a play room, make it happen.

2. Outside/running time is key. 

3. Enforce a quiet time. When my kids were all little, we had an hour after lunch. I really needed it for my sanity as dh was gone at least 12 hours a day.

4. If your kids don't naturally have an indoor voice, train them. One of mine has a natural booming voice, and while that's lovely for public speaking situations, it was awful when baby was sleeping.

5. Noise canceling headphones--for you. Or earplugs. Truly, it's ok to take a sensory break for yourself if you need one.

6. Prioritize the house stuff. You can retrofit soundproofing. Flooring can be replaced. We had an open floor plan house (all tile or wood floors) in our old home, and we learned to make it work.  One of the first things I did was get rid of all loud toys. 😉 

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Coming back to add.....having read your other thread, seriously, how are you doing at getting kid-free time for you? I don't think I did a good job of taking care of myself when I was in the throes of 24/7 parenting, and for all that people encouraged me to get out, I thought it was selfish or unneeded. Looking back, I would have been well served to not only have my weekly date out with dh (which I did), but to also take a few hours by myself and let dh kid-wrangle it out. He would've had a better appreciation for the stress I was under and I could've used the time to think/pray/reconnect with friends/recharge.

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in addition to larger rugs, plusher rugs, you might want to get some large canvas wall hangings and cut some foam to put behind them to hang on the walls, it will help with the noise or get some acoustic panels.  

 

Edited by DawnM
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Buy a wallpaper steamer from Home Depot.  They're fairly cheap and a total game changer.  This house had tons of wallpaper and the last five people painted or wallpapered over it like jackasses, and we are the people finally properly removing it.  But it literally won’t budge without steam, and the steam makes it scrape off much easier. Not super fast, but definitely reasonably.  

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Can you build some walls? Seriously. Some people take walls out to make open floor plans in houses that previously weren't. Maybe you could add a couple to redefine the rooms?

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can you position furniture that will make it less of an open plan? sort of like bookshelves that jut out a bit and things like that. It may look a bit messy but it helps with the noise.

Edited by Melissa in Australia
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That's really frustrating. We lived in a really echo-y house once, but we've also lived in apartments where we've had to think about neighbor noise.

Some things that might help: really heavy pads under the rugs. There are those flimsy non-slip pads and there are the almost-1" thick pads. Go for the latter. Also, our friends put strips of foam around every door frame. It helped with room-to-room noise (otherwise their kids couldn't sleep at night). Think cushy about everything you can.

I'd google things like "reducing restaurant noise" because your house sounds a lot like a restaurant eating area. Here's one article.

There are great things about lots of tile. It is durable, a plus with all your kids, and also about open spaces. We're living in an open space with lots of tile right now, and I love how I can keep closer track of my kids. We also use hearing protectors, like construction workers, if we want to concentrate. I usually wear low-end headphones that block noise when I cook and listen to something life-giving, like a podcast.

Emily

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Just echoing (har har) all the tapestry/rug suggestions. I have a much smaller space, but mine was still very loud for a long time, even with part laminate and part carpet floors.  Just putting things (regular old art, pictures, bookcases etc) on the walls and putting bigger furniture in the space eliminated the echo for us.  I can still hear almost everything because of the close quarters, but sound doesn’t really bounce around up into our vaulted ceiling anymore, which was the real issue.

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14 hours ago, caedmyn said:

in town instead of out of town

Did you lose your yard? Thinking for now getting them out of the house would be an immediate help.

Also, if you put in rugs, did you put rug PADS under them? 

You might need to try Craigslist and just start buying furniture. You need more fabric covered surfaces to absorb the sound. 

Edited by PeterPan
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This is the main drawback of those open floor plans. Same thing happened to my best friend. They bought a gorgeous house with tile and hardwood floor everywhere, vaulted ceilings and open floor plan. She went nuts because she could hear everything all the time. Her house was crazy loud with her kids!

She ended up bringing in a contractor to wall off the upstairs hallway that looked down to the main floor. There was a hallway with balcony that you could stand in and see (and hear) everything from. The contractor essentially closed that hallway off so you couldn't see it from the rest of the house. That helped with the noise from upstairs. There wasn't much to be done about the rest of the noise in the house except she put area rugs all over the place. She also strictly enforced the use of the basement recreation room.

Good luck!

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Area rugs and drapes will get rid of the noise problems.  Also tapestries on the walls.

Removing wallpaper is definitely a chore, but once done it is done.  You could choose to skim-coat over it instead, or rewallpaper with a paper you like better.

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One of the things I did not want in a new house was an open floor plan.  I didn't like the houses with balconies or walkways that overlooked the space below.  I knew it would be an issue.  BUT, it is hard not to find that, esp. if you are looking at newer homes in my area.

We settled on a house that has an open foyer when you first come in, but not open in the rest of the house.   I am noticing it is echoing a little more than I would like, but we do plan to get some wall hangings, put acoustic panels in the boys' rooms, and put some canvas paintings with foam behind them in each room.  That should help, although I don't think our house is too bad,  it definitely doesn't sound like what you are describing, but my boys are older too, so that may make some difference.

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Wallpaper--people mentioned paint and texture. We had wallpaper on top of walls that hadn't been prepped correctly first, and it would NOT come off except with big digs and lots of peeling off drywall paper (steamer didn't help--nothing helped). My dad came to put drywall mud over it for texture, and what do you know, the wet mud peeled off the paper very quickly and neatly, lol! He still had to skim coat the walls as they were already a hot mess from all the efforts to get it off. You might try applying some slightly watered down joint compound to an area you've already gummed up and just see what happens.

Tile--I would save up to replace it or replace it now if you have the money. If you can find some decent sheet vinyl that doesn't have to be glued down (Tarkett is one brand), it's super cheap, and you can do something more permanent later. Vinyl is SO MUCH QUIETER than tile, hardwood, or traditional laminate. The LVP stuff is great and easy to install, but it's priced like laminate. 

Is the wainscotting or paneling over drywall or over studs? I am wondering if it can be removed easily and put back with some touch up? If so, insulating those walls would help. We insulated a bathroom that was all hard surfaces, and it was really helpful (we planned it before it was remodeled down to the studs).

If you go to earplugs, get some musician's earplugs because they dampen sound but leave the dynamics. As I understand it, unless you are blocking dangerous industrial noise, regular earplugs are not great for our auditory processing or long-term hearing of speech dynamics and such.

I would also consider soundproofing with walls or whatever either the upstairs/downstairs or the open concept by modifying with walls, etc. 

Is there a way to build in some kind of non-permanent, insulated decorative panel into the vaulted dining room ceiling? That might help also.

White noise machines in key places--they make them for doctor's office, therapists office, etc. Fans for gentle noise disruption?

Sometimes sound travels better on direction than another. So, one room might project to another, but that room is actually kind of a sound black hole. It could be that where the kids are making the noise and where you are hearing it don't sound the same--they could be making more noise precisely because they don't hear it as loud as you do when they produce it. Both my parents' home and my in-laws' old house had rooms where you could hear everything said in them, but the people in those rooms couldn't hear what was going on outside them.

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BTW, Our old house was really echoey, and it was a one-story ranch (with a crawlspace, no playing in the basement) that was definitely not open concept. I know open concept has it's issues, but I thought I'd throw that information out there. It was mostly hardwood, and all the bedrooms opened onto a common hallway. That hallway was like an echo chamber that just funneled all the sound to the main living area! Probably carpeting the hall would've fixed it, but it sounded, at times, like a gymnasium.

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I'm also going to put in a vote for carpeting, preferably with matting under it, and more tapestries with padding behind *them*.  (And yes, some nice sound absorbing window curtains - and if any of the noise comes from outside, consider replacing all your windows with double-paned windows over the next few years.) Replacing the doors with thicker doors and improving the insulation inside the walls and floors would also help, if that's doable in the long run.

You can also try putting padding on the feet of your furniture, and a layer of cork on the undersides of tables and seats and shelves, and the backs of cabinets and bookcases - every little bit of sound absorption helps, right?

 

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We had to rent a steamer to get wallpaper off at one house.  We got this little tool to run over the paper in circles and it scored the paper before using the steamer. Then the steamer  saturated the paper and melted the glue enough the wallpaper could be scraped off like old paint.  It was a mess but worth it.

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I’m sorry you are feeling frustrated and have noise overload.  I hate noise overload.

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Another option in a coupe of rooms that is budget friendly- carpet squares.  You could do the kids rooms.  And if a section gets ruined, you just replace that square.  They have a grip on the back to stay on tile/wood floors. 

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I would like to carpet the hallways and the eat-in area.  That would probably help a lot with the noise.  Maybe interlocking carpet squares to put right over the tile would work.  I'd hate to rip up the tile (it's something fancy, travertine or limestone I think) and I can't imagine DH would ever agree to do that.  It's a bit of an odd layout and I don't think there's any way to put up more walls without it being really weird and obstructing the flow of traffic through the house.  The noise doesn't seem echo-y to me, just really loud.

 

Unfortunately the "semi" part of semi-open is just right so that it's not really very easy to keep an eye on the kids.

DH says he'll take care of the wallpaper or hire someone to do it, so I guess I won't worry about trying to work on it.

I do have nice pads under the rugs but would probably need a lot more rugs to maybe make a difference.  I only have a 9x6 and a 3x5 now.  I won't put one under the dining room table, noise or not, because...kids...so the only other place they could go is in the hallways.

 

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Fwiw, you can get bigger rugs from Target if you look on their website. I just got a 10X12 to go in my basement and it was pretty. They run sales pretty regularly if you download their app. They'll do flash sales of 30-40% off rugs or curtains. In the store the rugs will be smaller, but they'll have bigger versions online.

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If you’re looking for more and bigger rugs, you might check out carpet remnants. Sometimes you can get some really nice ones cheap! Home Depot, Lowe’s, carpet stores all have them. I love them because once they’re stained or worn down, you can just toss! It’s like having carpet, but easier, cheaper, and cleaner. 

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Oh, keep an eye out soon for area rugs - they tend to go on sale when all the back to school stuff goes on sale. I guess they are one of the things college bound kids get for their dorm rooms. I got a few 6ftx7ft ones last year for less than $20 each! I wish I'd stocked up!

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13 hours ago, caedmyn said:

I would like to carpet the hallways and the eat-in area.  

 

If you carpet the eat-in area, I would think that carpet would get gross pretty quickly and be a lot of work to keep clean - just a thought!

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On 7/1/2019 at 10:02 PM, DawnM said:

in addition to larger rugs, plusher rugs, you might want to get some large canvas wall hangings and cut some foam to put behind them to hang on the walls, it will help with the noise or get some acoustic panels.  

 

 

Oooh, I like this idea!   This could be perfect for my stairwell!

I also have a noisy house and am not a fan.  DH is a loud talker, and he literally has to go outside or to the garage to have a conversation or we all know what it was about.  I've been working on putting down big area rugs everywhere I can, adding curtains, floor cushions, pillows, etc.  

Wayfair has great sales from time to time on area rugs if you can be patient and wait for them to come around.  

I also bought a very large remnant for the master from Menards for just $40.  It's rough around the edges, but drastically improved the space.

Wall quilts also have great appeal to me, as do paneled room dividers- even if you didn't use them to divide space, but to act as a backdrop to something, I think it could be a nice touch.  A little fabric, foam, and some decorative touches, I know I've seen the dividers at thrift shops recently. 

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When we lived in base housing, the floors were always some kind of hard flooring, tiles or linoleum or concrete. Most people bought room size pieces of carpet or carpet remnants for the rooms they wanted carpet in. Personally, I preferred the hard floors for clean-ability but we did have a carpet remnant in he living room of one of the houses we had. I bought the plastic edging to go along the edge and it looked like it was meant to be there and kept it from being a tripping hazard. Double stick carpet tape kept the carpet and the edging stuck to the floor.

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23 hours ago, caedmyn said:

 The noise doesn't seem echo-y to me, just really loud.

I suspect that means the noise will be more easily remedied. Good luck! 

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We bought a house that was loud like that-- and sold it a year later! I could not take it! Actaully, now that I think about it, that was the second loud house we bought. The first had the gameroom completely open to the first floor tiled foyer. Our plan was to enclose that room, but we didn't stay in the house long enough to do it for other reasons. 

The wallpaper- if stuck super tight, can be painted over. Just KiLZ the heck out of it and go to town. Carpet can be installed over tile. You can build walls...

I'm sorry you are unhappy. It is a huge expensive mistake to have to live with.

Edited by Paradox5

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On 7/3/2019 at 10:39 PM, Ktgrok said:

Oh, keep an eye out soon for area rugs - they tend to go on sale when all the back to school stuff goes on sale. I guess they are one of the things college bound kids get for their dorm rooms. I got a few 6ftx7ft ones last year for less than $20 each! I wish I'd stocked up!

Oh wow! Where? I just ordered one from amazon (still waiting on arrival) and I’m currently looking for more, preferably in store and cheaper!

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I just ordered a beautiful one on Wayfair for my new bunny that was on sale, SO PRETTY!

 https://www.wayfair.com/rugs/pdp/zipcode-design-kistler-hand-braided-multi-area-rug-zpcd5905.html?refid=TEM_WF178328&mmid=2789568644&csnid=4966EFD1-CEE3-46A1-8306-653CD22917C6&libra_c=&libra_d=&libra_g=&cltr=&piid=25967052

 

I admit I don’t scrimp on rugs but there are lots of well priced ones that hold up beautifully 🙂

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On 7/2/2019 at 2:20 AM, DesertBlossom said:

Can you build some walls? Seriously. Some people take walls out to make open floor plans in houses that previously weren't. Maybe you could add a couple to redefine the rooms?

 

I know people who have done this too.  It is the open area upstairs, with a balcony, that causes such huge issues.  I have had friends wall off that entire thing.  One friend walled that off and ended up making that space another bedroom.  

OP:  We have our church group in a home that drives me nuts.  They have 3 floors and the house is well over $1M, but the kids go upstairs and then the men and women often break off in the other 2 floors, but the house carries noise and I find it very distracting when we are trying to have conversation.

 

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8 hours ago, mmasc said:

Oh wow! Where? I just ordered one from amazon (still waiting on arrival) and I’m currently looking for more, preferably in store and cheaper!

Walmart is where I got it. Sometimes Target gets good sales, but Walmart is where I usually see the really inexpensive ones. I have a smaller one from there I got last year that is rubber backed, so non slip and can be washed in the washer/dryer! It was under $20. Had another, bigger one that was not rubber backed, same price, but couldn't be machine washed and eventually I had to get rid of it as it stunk like dog and spilled milk (because the dogs loved to lay on it and the baby spilled milk on it.....more than once)

5 hours ago, Arctic Mama said:

I just ordered a beautiful one on Wayfair for my new bunny that was on sale, SO PRETTY!

 https://www.wayfair.com/rugs/pdp/zipcode-design-kistler-hand-braided-multi-area-rug-zpcd5905.html?refid=TEM_WF178328&mmid=2789568644&csnid=4966EFD1-CEE3-46A1-8306-653CD22917C6&libra_c=&libra_d=&libra_g=&cltr=&piid=25967052

 

I admit I don’t scrimp on rugs but there are lots of well priced ones that hold up beautifully 🙂

That is GORGEOUS! But I can't justify spending much as the toddler is constantly spilling something on the rugs. And the dogs make them smell like dog. Although, I'm considering getting one of the "huggable" brand ones...they are two layers. The top layer comes off and is machine washable and the bottom is a non skid rubber. 

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