Your home is the perfect retreat and fits your lifestyle beautifully, except for one thing – the highway nearby. Noise pollution is a growing problem in developed countries as the population expands and more roads are built. It’s not just a nuisance. Noise pollution can affect your health and quality of life.
Studies have found that noise is the number one complaint in United States neighborhoods and it’s just as disliked in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. If you’re one of those people know that you don’t have to let road noise ruin your relaxation. Take these three steps to reduce noise pollution a home.
Step 1 – Build a Fence
One of the best things a homeowner can do to quiet road noise is to construct a fence. But some fences block noise better than others. Here are three things that are needed to reduce road noise with fencing.
Sound is just like water. It takes the path of least resistance. That means if there are gaps and cracks in your fence sound will leak through. If you’re building a fence for the purpose of sound reduction, tight construction is a must.
Thick, Solid Material
Many people use wood pickets to build their fence because it’s inexpensive. The problem is there are lots of crevices for sound to seep through. Stone and concrete are two better options because they are thick and solid. In terms of soundproofing, industrial concrete fencing is one of the best options available. While it might sound drab, industrial concrete can be formed so that it looks like stone rather than cinder blocks. This enables homeowners to achieve a high level of noise reduction without sacrificing the pleasant aesthetics of their property line.
The Right Height
Even a short retaining wall can help block the noise of tires rolling down the road. That said, the higher your fence is the better it will be at limiting road noise. The rule of thumb is that if you can see the noise source, you can hear the noise source. To eliminate as much sound as possible, build your fence so that it’s higher than head level. Keep in mind if you have a raised deck that could mean building your fence 8-10’ tall.
Step 2 – Block Noise With Nature
Another way to block sound waves is by letting Mother Nature do the work. Just keep in mind trees and shrubs aren’t solid like a fence, which means some noise can still get through. But there are ways you can improve noise reduction with landscaping.
Plants that lose their leaves in the fall and winter will only provide noise reduction half the year. Evergreens are a solution because they stay full year round. Plus, there’s less clean up and maintenance with evergreens.
Layer Your Landscaping
Planting trees and shrubs so that they are layered helps to break up noise. When you plant in layers it also does a better view of blocking the source of the noise. This has a psychological benefit that will make it seem less noisy even if the sound level is the same.
Step 3 – Upgrade to “Soundproof” Windows and Doors
If you love the view from inside your home but hate the noise you hear it may be time for soundproof windows. Disclaimer: there are no completely soundproof windows. However, some windows can block up to 95% of noise from coming inside.
You can tell how much noise a window will block by looking at its sound transmission class (STC) scale rating. The higher the rating is the more noise the window will block.
Even if they aren’t dubbed “soundproof” Installing double glazed windows, also known as double paned, is worth the investment. One of the many benefits of double glazed windows is noise reduction. Instead of a single layer of glass there are two, which greatly limits how much sound can get through, in addition to heat and cold.
Taking these three steps will greatly reduce the noise level inside and outside of your home. If you need more ideas or help implementing your noise reduction renovations, hire an acoustic engineer. These specialists can provide you with a custom plan that will make your home a quiet retreat you can enjoy at all hours.