Fences that Can Reduce Sound
Your home should be a private sanctuary where you can relax and enjoy the company of loved ones. For many homeowners, however, the comfort and peace of mind that comes with homeownership can be reduced by noise pollution. Whether the noise is coming from a nearby highway, a construction site, or neighboring homes, excess noise pollution can bring you sleeplessness, anxiety, and in some cases even hearing loss.
What can you do to reduce noise pollution? Some homeowners try simple solutions such as noise-canceling headphones or background music to drown out the noise. The truth is, however, these solutions provide a temporary solution at best. If you truly want to solve your noise pollution issue, you should contact the professionals and construct a physical, noise-reducing barrier between you and the source of the noise.
This article provides an outline of the kinds of solutions that might reduce sound. Every property, however, is different. To learn more about what sound barrier solution would be best for your home, reach out to Long Fence’s team of sound barrier experts. They will help you understand what your options are and what you can do to start living a quieter, more peaceful life. Give us a call today.
Using a sound barrier fence to block sound
The surest way to reduce noise pollution is to put a physical structure between you and the noise source. Think about it: the more walls and doors that stand between you and a noise, the quieter the noise becomes. This is because sound waves are blocked or absorbed by objects they encounter as they move through the air.
Generally, you can expect a well-constructed sound barrier fence to reduce the noise level by 8-10 decibels (dB). This may not sound like much, but the decibel system is logarithmic. This means that a reduction of 10 dB would cut the noise level by half. For example, cutting the noise level from 70 dB to 60 dB would be equivalent to cutting the noise level of a dishwasher to that of a normal conversation.
If you cannot completely isolate the noise source using an enclosure, your next best option is to construct a sound barrier fence. Most fences are not constructed with sound in mind. As a result, they are constructed in a different way and often with different materials than a fence designed to block sound. Therefore, even if you already have a fence, you may need to either fortify it or install a new fence to significantly reduce noise pollution on your property.
How a sound barrier fence should be constructed
Think of a sound barrier fence as a wall separating you and the noise source. Any hole or gap will allow sound to flow through unimpeded. It’s thus vital to ensure your sound barrier fence is solid and does not contain any gaps between boards or between the fence and the ground. The fence should also be as thick and solid as possible for the biggest reduction in noise level.
Similarly, the sound barrier fence should be tall enough to stop the brunt of the sound waves from coming over the top. As a rule of thumb, if you can see the source of the sound, you can just as easily hear it. In other words, if you can see over the fence from your patio or second-story window, the sound barrier will likely do little to block the sound from reaching that part of your home.
Many sound barrier fences are 8 to 10 feet tall. Unfortunately, city ordinances sometimes prevent you from constructing a fence this tall, especially if your property lies near an intersection. If a tall fence is not an option, you will want to construct your fence as close to the sound source as possible. For example, even a low sound barrier fence that is constructed next to a roadway can block the sound of tires and reduce the noise coming onto your property.
What materials block sound best?
Generally, the thicker the material, the more effectively it blocks sound. The best sound barrier fences are usually made of brick, stone, or stucco-covered concrete. Another excellent sound-blocking option is a berm, or a wall of earth, though these are sometimes difficult to build high enough to be effective. All of these materials are thick and solid enough to absorb or block much of the noise.
Sometimes, however, materials such as stone, brick, concrete, or earthen walls don’t meet local codes or the rules of homeowners associations. You may also decide you don’t like the look of these materials for your home. The next best option is a thick wood or vinyl stockade fence. Though not quite as thick as masonry materials, wood and vinyl fences that are specifically designed with sound reduction in mind can be nearly as effective.
Wood and vinyl sound barrier fences should be constructed with thick boards nailed to heavy rails. These rails must then be attached to solid boards. If you want to ensure sound is blocked, you might want to use mass-loaded vinyl. This heavy variety of vinyl is sold in rolls and can be added to an existing fence; however, it’s easiest to add the material when the fence is being constructed.
First steps to constructing a sound barrier
Before you have your sound barrier fence built, you first want to reach out to a fencing company and have a site survey done on your property. You’ll learn whether a sound barrier fence is the right option for you and your family. You’ll also have a chance to discuss where the fence could be built and what material would be best suited to your needs and budget.
Next, you have to ensure that your sound barrier fence meets all local codes and regulations. Tall fences built near the roadways are a frequent target of city officials, so you’ll want to make certain your fence doesn’t violate any codes before it is built. To be sure, submit a detailed plan of your fence to local officials to approve.
If you decide to work with Long Fence, our team will keep you informed of all local codes and ensure your fence meets all regulations. To learn more about local codes or to explore scheduling a site survey, give us a call today. Our sound barrier fence experts would be happy to help you understand your options.