Need for a very quiet toilet

Discussion in 'Toilet Forum discussions' started by Mad Plumber, Oct 3, 2007.

  1. Mad Plumber

    Mad Plumber Mad Skills

    Hi Terry:

    I desperately need your help and advice. I'm a 75 year old handicapped retired musician with critical hearing. Even the slightest of sounds drive me batty! I live in a large elegant high rise apartment building in Rochester, NY, and I believe the building was constructed in the 1970's.

    Here's the problem: the sound from the flushing toilet in the apartment bathroom above me sounds like NIAGRA FALLS! (I can even hear the man urinate, too!) It awakens me several times each night when the occupants flush their toilet.

    Our maintenance man, who claims to be a plumber by trade, says there's NO such thing as a quiet toilet available for installation. I find that hard to believe in this day and age. He tried to put some kind of boarding on parts of my bathroom ceiling, hoping to mute the sounds, but he used one of those nail air guns and shot about 40 metal pins right up into the concrete ceiling. Metal in concrete acts like a soundboard, and the sound waves are now carried directly into my bathroom AND's actually WORSE than before.

    I'd appreciate any suggestions you could make, and I'll share them with the management of the building. My body is exhausted by not being able to get a good night's sleep.

    Thanks so much, Terry, for taking the time to help out this poor old frustrated guy.

    Good luck with all your endeavors. Have a GR8 day.

    Ken D
  2. Mad Plumber

    Mad Plumber Mad Skills

    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 3, 2007
  3. installed on concrete, it will make TONS of noise in the room underneath. Not always, as it does depend on a few factors to do with the concrete and its geometry (wall-pillar-slab) since sound is a vibration in the slab looking for an exit, to vibrate the air,

    A toilet needs to be installed on another layer which isolates it mechanically from the concrete slab. When installed in a CONCRETE building.

    There are many options. Cork sheets (4mm thick or 6 mm thick) can be bought and a gasket cut to fit. That is an official solution used all around the world. Some companies make specific products for this, but anything will do. If you want an official solution that has a product name attached to it and costs a whole lot more to support the marketing, labeling, patenting etc, I can dig one up for you, later.

    The toilet has to be unscrewed and put back into place on top of "something", anything that does what gasket does, even just a dozen gummy washers and then rescrewed onto them. I kid you not. Even just a line of caulking. Anything.

  4. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    New England
    If the sound is coming from water draining down the pipe, insulation can help. As noted, you need to break the barrier between the origin of the sound and your room. They make (expensive) panels with lead sheets laminated, there's some fancy rubber compound that can be applied to install other insulation material that works, and those clips and a second layer can help of nearly anything. You need something decoupled and with some mass to damp the vibration.

    BTW, I grew up in Spencerport...
  5. Ken, you may ask why other dwellers haven't heard loud toilet noises from other toilets above them. Believe it or not, it'll be because each toilet has a slightly different base under it.

    The bathroom tiles, the thinset under the tiles, the amount of concrete dust and sandy particles under that, the flatness of the slab and the surface imperfections in it, these are al factors explaining why in your case YES and why in most cases No the toilet does NOT act like a big foghorn vibrating effectively into the slab beneath it. Although most of the toilet's base appears to be in contact with the tiles and the tiles appear to be bonded to the slab, it is not as easy as that.

    Your building was built in the 70's. I'll bet its plumbing is copper-lead flange, copper drain to the stack, and cast iron stack. That doesn't produce a lot of noise.

    When someone pours a stream of water into the toilet bowl, you hear it because of the "foghorn" effect of the toilet being well bonded to wellbonded tiles.


    p.s. your turn to answer something now:
    1. Is the layout of your unit the same as the layout of the unit above you?
    2. How many other units in your building have your unit's layout?
  6. Terry

    Terry Administrator Staff Member

    Bothell, Washington
    Hi Terry,

    Thanks a million for posting my request. Thanks so much, too, for providing the website where I found all those very helpful suggestions. I have printed them out and will give them to the Management and the maintenance gent. I surely hope they are willing to study them and try the ones they think should rememdy my problems.

    The last person who wrote suggestions, David, asked me two questions at the end of his reply. Since there's no way I'm allowed to answer him directly, if possible, please let him know that, yes, the layout for all 8 of the "T" apartments above and below me.....8 floors in the building....have the exact same layout.

    Thanks for being my "life saver", Terry. You can't imagine how grateful I am. Now my fingers are crossed that Management here will follow through!

    Ken D
  7. theelviscerator

    theelviscerator New Member

    Elkhart, IN
    Move to the top floor.
  8. concrete ceiling? maybe with popcorn styrofoam sprayed on it? Is that what your ceiling is made of?

    Ken, based on your description, "... tried to put some kind of boarding on parts of my bathroom ceiling, hoping to mute the sounds, but he used one of those nail air guns and shot about 40 metal pins right up into the concrete ceiling. Metal in concrete acts like a soundboard, and the sound waves are now carried directly into my bathroom AND's actually WORSE than before"
    I'm going to guess you have concrete ceilings everywhere, covered with a product about 1/8th" thick as a first level sound reducer.

    Since all the units have the same layout, look at your toilet and tell me, whether your toilet has a rear spud, a rear outlet.

    I'll repeat that the toilet itself is the cause, not the ceiling being what it is, a ceiling that doesn't seem to cause 50 other problems to 50 other people in the same building.

    (Nailing into concrete with a Ram Set is a quick and clean way to get a grip in concrete. One can also glue onto concrete. Drilling makes dust.)

    Is your toilet a rear outlet, rear drain, rear spud toilet?

  9. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    If the pipes are exposed below the concrete I think you could wrap them with sound deadening material. may be a few layers depending on the thickness.
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2007
  10. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2007
  11. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Yakima WA
    Problem is the toilet in the upstairs apartment is causing the noise, and your building maintenance man is incorrect, there are toilets that make very little noise. My new Toto Dartmouth is very quite, but to get the benefit of that, you'd have to pay to have one installed in the upstairs apartment. There still would be noise from the drain, that is a problem in and of itself.
  12. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Rock wool is an excellent sound deadening material but where to place it is the problem.
  13. Dennis F

    Dennis F New Member

    Here are a couple of recommendations:
    - The 'Porcher Venetto' is an extremely quiet, high quality / efficient toilet. We have used these for many years and they are very well made (fully glazed trap, etc.) and -very- quiet. A recent engineer visiting even remarked about it's extremely quiet flush.

    - Have your maintenance person check:
    Look at the TXH-Quietboard. This company makes standard thickness sheetrock that is equivalent to 8-layers of standard sheetrock in sound attenuation. They also make a slightly thicker sheetrock (~1.48") that will block the sound of THX surround-sound (or they say, a .357 magnum pistol shot).

    There are directions on installation and, from my experience, it's about -the- most effective sound blocking wall system available.

    All the best,

  14. Isolantonio

    Isolantonio New Member

    West Palm Beach
    Quiet Toilet Valve

    Most two piece toilets allow too much water pressure in order to accomplish the "best possible flush", but as a side effect a lot of noise can be released when the toilet water comes out of the toilet's jets and hit the bowl. The toilet flush valves in the market are also design with the same goal in mind and do not help to fight these problem.

    As a result, toilets can be extremelly noisy during the flushing process, but finally there is a new retrofit valve that can be quickly installed in your toilet. It will help you eliminate these noises coming from the toilet flush and also the annoying splashing. It is called The Toilet Zilencer and does not require any tools for its installation and is very cheap.

    I have two of these silencer valves in my toilets at home and the results are amazing.
  15. Mike Getzlaf

    Mike Getzlaf New Member

    North Vancouver
    Understanding the correct noise problem is key to selecting the correct solution

    I know this thread is old but for the sake of new people trying to find solutions to toilet noise
    problems, their are two types of noises to be concerned with in buildings, each has a different solution approach.

    The first is air borne sound transmission, this is the sound generated and transmitted through the air, such
    as is the case of under insulated floors and walls, where you can hear more or less everything going on in the next suite, you can literally hear the toilet beside you or above you, this solution calls for extra insulation in walls,ceilings, with sound channel if possible etc.

    The second sound is impact sound transmission in the case where someone is hammering on the wall or floor, or toilet noises like when someone is urinating into a toilet and the sound is transmitting by impact, water to bowl, bowl to toilet, toilet to tile floor, tile floor to concrete, concrete to air and to your suite. This type of sound has to be decoupled to make a difference (Daves' solution above which is great), the toilet needs a gasket of some sort between the toilet and the floor.

    In the case of hearing flushing water noise sounds like water rushing through the pipes, this sound is more likely exposed drainage pipes from above that are running in your bulk head or wall that have not been insulated probably. This is solved by sound transmission techniques, insulating the pipes, better sound proofing in the ceiling or walls etc.

    If you hear screaming sounds when the water is turned on from a tap(water supply lines) this is where the plumber has strapped the water supply lines incorrectly to the framing causing and amplifying the sound, it needs to be decoupled, with insulating connectors. If its just water sound though the pipes then its more
    a sound insulating problem.

    So understanding the nature of the noise is important in helping to find the correct solution that brought you to this post and driving you nuts.
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