5 Ways to Block Out Noise Near Your Home
You’ve saved and planned for years to build your dream home. Everything has been designed from the perfect bedroom environment right down to the finishing touches in the entryway. You also found a lot that’s ideal for building.
There’s just one problem. You can hear noise from the highway nearby. Or maybe you didn’t realize when you bought the lot that the railroad a half mile away would cause noise a few times a day.
Don’t give up on your dream home just yet. There are things you can do to minimize the noise and enjoy a quiet afternoon at home whether you’re relaxing inside or outside.
Stone or Concrete Fence
Fences aren’t just for privacy and security. They are also a great sound buffer.
One of the most important considerations is the material used to build the fence. The most solid and thick the material is, the less noise you’ll hear. Two of the best materials are stone and concrete.
A precast concrete wall fence is an affordable option that is highly effective at blocking noise and will stand the test of time. It’s cheaper than stone and today it can be designed to look like stone. Furthermore, it won't have the jailhouse cinder block look so commonly seen in many other concrete wall design options.
Another factor in noise reduction is tight construction. Here again concrete comes out a winner. If there are any gaps in the fence it can allow noise to come through.
The third thing to consider is the height of the fence. The higher you go the better a sound buffer the fence will be. Of course, the taller the fence is the more expensive it will be. Most fences are at least six feet tall, but it’s not uncommon to see 8’ and 10’ residential fences. Live on a well-traveled street? Even a two and a half foot wall at the front of your property can block car noise.
Vegetation and Landscaping
You can also use natural elements to help block noise around your property. Trees and tall shrubs can’t completely block the noise, but they can reduce it. Rustling leaves can also double as white noise.
Evergreen plants are the best option because they won’t get thinned out in the winter. The thicker the trees and shrubs are the less noise you will hear. When possible use layers of trees and vegetation since this offer the most noise cancellation.
There’s also a psychological benefit to using the landscaping as a noise buffer - it will also block views of the noise source. Psycho-acoustics is the study of how the mind registers sound. Scientists have discovered visual stimuli can enhance sound. If noise sources are out of sight it’s also out of mind.
Plant trees and shrubs wherever you feel you need a little peace and quiet. They can even be planted along the fence line for even better noise reduction. Just be careful not to plant trees too close or the root system could compromise the fence construction.
You can’t completely get rid of the noise, but you can drown it out. Fountains provide pleasant ambient noise that can cancel out the things you don’t want to hear. Since the fountain is closer it doesn’t take much water flow to achieve the noise-canceling effect.
The one downside is that in some areas the use of fountains is seasonal. You also have to maintain foundations so that they keep flowing. If not, your fountain can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes in the spring and summer.
When you’re inside your home the last thing you want is distracting noise coming in from outdoors. The windows you choose for your home can make a noticeable difference.
First, homeowners should understand no window is truly soundproof. Windows that are advertised as soundproof do however block up to 95% of noise. They do especially well at blocking out high-frequency noises. When you’re window shopping pay attention to sound transmission class (STC). The higher the STC number is the more noise the window will block.
Enlist the Help of an Acoustical Engineer
If you need help implementing these noise-reducing projects or would like to know more ways to make things quieter at your new home consider hiring an acoustical engineer. They’re specialists that will assess your property and the nearby noise sources to figure out the most efficient ways to keep noise under control.
Noise can be a problem no matter where you live, but you don’t have to let it ruin your quality of life. Use the five tips above to enjoy peace and quiet whether your new home is in the country or the city center.