Reducing External Noise
It’s not always possible to build in a quiet area so there are a number of techniques for reducing noise that you can use in your new home.
Here is a quick review of the options:
- Minimising windows facing the noise. OK as long as the noise source isn’t on the North side otherwise you loose the effect of sunlight in the house.
- Screen walls. These reflect sound. If you are going for this approach at the front of the house put some thought into the design of the wall. A plain wall just looks ugly.
- Buffer zones. I’ve previously talked about Buffer Zones in relation to heating and cooling but they can work well in keeping some rooms quieter.
- Soft landscaping. Absorbs sound, rather than paving which reflects sound. If possible a landscaped bund (low embankment) can be effective.
- Roofing material. Tiles will absorb more noise than a colorbond roof.
- Acoustic Plasterboard. It’s possible, on special order, to get a range of Plaster boards including ones with a denser core that help to reduce sound transmission. A second layer of plasterboard at a different thickness to the original can help.
- Ceiling and wall insulation. Ordinary heat insulation batts will absorb noise but for the best performance it is better to use specialist acoustic insulation.
- Glazing. Thicker glass will help but double glazing with a larger air will give better performance. The use of laminated glass can also improve performance.
- Curtains Heavy curtains can be effective, when they are closed.
- Solid Doors. Better performance than the standard lightweight doors.
- Windows and door seals. Need to be properly fitted, and maintained.
- Refrigerated Air Conditioning. Unlike evaporative cooling this doesn’t rely on open windows.
- Sound absorbing materials Although acoustic tiles, carpets, underlays don’t stop noise getting in they will absorb it better than hard surfaces like tiles or wood floors.
To get effective performance will require a range of the above options rather than a single ‘Magic Bullet’.
When you are considering these options its also worth bearing in mind that most of these improvements will also improve the thermal performance of your new house.
For more posts about plans see the Design Category.
To save money on Heating and Cooling see Insulation