Best Sound Barriers to Block Street Noise

There’s nothing worse than finally falling asleep only to be startled awake by rushing traffic or screaming police sirens.

From bustling cities to quaint suburbs – street noise is unavoidable. Whether its highway noise, construction, or even just kids playing in the street, noise manages to find its way into your home wherever you live.

You deal with annoyances all day long, you shouldn’t have to be bothered at home. Consider these tips for soundproofing your home against street noise.

Best Ways to Block Street Noise

Seal Sound Leaks Around Exterior Windows to Block Out Street Noise

The first thing you want to do is look over your walls closely, paying special attention to areas surrounding doors and windows. Even the smallest cracks increase your susceptibility to outside noise seeping in, so be meticulous. A 1% gap in a wall can let in 50% of outside noise.

Once you’ve located any cracks or gaps, seal them up with acoustical caulk or sealant.

Reinforce your Windows with Soundproof Curtains to Reduce Road Noise

Closing any gaps around your windows will help decrease street noise, but you may need to take it a step further to finish the job. Glass itself has a much lower soundproofing rating, or STC rating, than the surrounding wall, so even if there aren’t any actual gaps left in the wall, the sound will likely still travel directly through the window.

Double-pane windows have a reputation for blocking sound, yet the real blocking comes from their airtight seals, not the double glass. Besides, replacing windows is costly and time-consuming. Before taking such a drastic measure, try sound blocking curtains like these ones, which are specifically designed to block out sound – especially street noise.

Learn More: Soundproofing Existing Windows

Block Out Road Noise

Living on a buys road can really negatively impact your home life. It can definitely make it hard to sleep at night, or concentrate during the day if you work from home. Some barriers for blocking out street noise include soundproof curtains and outdoor soundproofing fence panels.

Double up your Doors for Soundproofing Against Outside Noise

Doors are another place where sound tends to sneak into your home. Sealing up gaps will definitely help, but the next step may be replacing the door itself. If you live in an extremely noisy environment, by a highway, for example, a solid-core door may be your solution. Most residential doors are hollow-core, and while they are the more affordable option, their hollow nature allows for a lot of sound leakage.

If a full-on door replacement is out of the question, think about investing in sound-blocking door panels designed specifically to fit your door. These panels will hang over the door and lessen the amount of noise able to get inside. If there are any major cracks or gaps under the door, install a door sweep to completely seal the door from outside noise.

Build Sound Barriers & Soundproof Exterior Wall from Road Noise

Did you know it’s possible to fragment sound waves with natural barriers like plants and shrubs? If you live somewhere with a yard, plant a line of tall shrubs along the front of your home to create an extra barrier against street noise.

If you’re missing your green thumb don’t worry – you can achieve a similar effect by building a fence along your property. Some sound will travel over the fence but much of it will be stopped in its tracks.

NOTE: Leafy, large plants are much more effective than needle-leaf plants. The rule of thumb is that heavily-landscaped space can add an additional 10 dBA to sound attenuation for every 100 feet of length.

Exterior fences and walls are generally limited by their height. Since low-frequency sounds are able to bend (or diffract) over the wall, the heights of a wall is a critical factor. Every few additional feet in height will reduce the receiving sound level by 1-2 dBA. Any sound walls should be constructed of heavy-weight concrete or CMU block to ensure very little sound transmits through the wall, rather than diffracting over it.

Even more effective than planting a new privacy hedge – try creating a soundproof fence using a outdoor sound blocking fence panels. Also known as Fence Blokker, these panels made from reinforced mass loaded vinyl, and hang along a fence to diffract sound waves from outside noise such as traffic noise, AC units, pool pumps, etc. If you decide to go this route be sure the fence you’re treating with this material is at least 6′ tall and taller than the noise source you’re trying to block. Otherwise, the sound will still travel directly over the fence and the material.

How to Block Out Street Noise

Street noise may be inevitable, but that doesn’t mean you’re stuck listening to it. Implement a few of these soundproofing tips and experience the sound of silence.

Check out this helpful infographic for street noise soundproofing tips at a glance.

tips to reduce street noise - infographic

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