How to Soundproof from Construction Noise

construction noise

With the continuous growth of cities and populations, there’s constantly construction happening all around us. And when it’s not construction, it’s some kind of maintenance such as road paving or tree trimming. Although construction noise is regulated and not usually done over night, especially not in residential areas, it’s still pretty distracting during the day. Whether you’re at the office or at home, construction noise can keep you from being productive or getting in your nap for the day.

How to Deal with Construction Noise

What can you do to deal with or avoid construction noise? One option might be moving away from the city to a rural area, but not everyone has the time or money for that. The other easier, more affordable option is to install soundproofing materials within your current house or office space.

Whether it’s residential or commercial construction bothering you, there’s something you can do to reduce the noise. At Residential Acoustics, it’s common for people to call and tell us about a new house that’s being built next door and ask how they can stop the sound. Our answer is usually soundproof curtains, but if the sound is getting in through more than the windows, you may need to implement more methods.

How to Block Out Construction Noise – Seal Flanking Paths

Sound flanking, or leaking, happens when sound finds the path of least resistance and makes its way into a space. For example, windows are much more susceptible to sound leaks than walls, so that’s why you should always check your windows for flanking first. We’ll explain below how to seal any of these pathways for sound.

Soundproof Against Air-Borne Sound

Airborne sound is the noise that comes from a drill, while structure borne sound is the result of impact, such as a hammer hitting the wall or footfall from the second story of your house. In order to soundproof against airborne noise, you need to use sound blocking materials such as mass loaded vinyl. Not to be confused with sound absorbing material such as acoustics panels, mass loaded vinyl blocks sound transmission between spaces.

In order to soundproof against airborne noise, start by looking for sound leaks around the wall or window you think is the culprit. If you notice any cracks, seal them with acoustical caulk – we usually suggest Green Glue brand. If you’re still experiencing a significant disturbance from construction noise, your windows are likely to blame because glass does not have a great STC rating (sound blocking ability) on its own.

Your options here include installing very expensive double-pane windows or effective and cost-effective soundproof curtains. Double pane windows are a more expensive way to ultimately have a lower STC than normal windows fitted with a soundproof curtain.

How To Soundproof Existing Windows

Window Partition STC RangeAverage Value
Single Pane Glass26-2827
Double Pane Glass26-3226
Single Pane Glass With Soundproof
Double Pane Glass With Soundproof
STC Ratings of Different Windows Types, With and Without Soundproof Curtains

Soundproof Against Structure Borne Sound

Sound becomes structure borne when it’s the result of an impact. For example, if you feel like your house is shaking when they’re drilling at the construction site next door, that’s structure borne noise. This type of noise from construction is much harder to deal with. There’s no soundproof curtain or window insert that can stop your home from vibrating.

While this next suggestion is more of a permanent fix that you won’t be able to remove post-construction, it will be pretty helpful if the people moving into that new house are also super loud. This product is called Wall Blokker Pro, an EVA Mass Loaded Vinyl material with a cotton scrim layer for vibrational control. If you’d rather not rip out your current drywall down to the studs, you would staple this right over your existing drywall and place another layer of drywall over the material.

Block Out Construction Noise
Wall Blokker Pro acts as a decoupling layer to separate rigid materials, because sound travels faster through them. If you experience a lot of structure-borne construction noise in your house or apartment, Wall Blokker PRO can help to reduce that noise and the vibrations that come along with it.

How to Reduce Construction Noise in An Apartment

Reducing construction noise in an apartment will be much harder to do than reducing construction noise in a house. When you rent, you’re limited to the amount of invasive changes you can make to your place. For example, while you could install soundproofing curtains over the windows to help reduce construction noise, replacing the windows for even better results would not be an option.

Also, while you could install a product such as Wall Blokker PRO on the walls to reduce vibrational noise from nearby construction, you wouldn’t be able to seal it in with that extra layer of drywall.

Another low effort, non-invasive soundproofing method for your apartment is to invest in a White Noise Machine. They only $60 and plug right into the wall, and it’s small enough for you to put on your bedside table or desk. Sound machines raise the ambient background noise level so that the sounds that would normally be quite jarring, no longer seem as loud.

Soundproof Against Construction Noise

While construction noise is temporary, you never really know how long it will last. No matter if you’re experiencing it in your home or in your office, it can get pretty distracting and irritating. Don’t just wait until it’s finished, do something while you can and you’ll thank yourself when you’re finally free of the noise.