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Street noise is an issue for almost everyone at one point or another. Whether you hear sirens and street life in a high-traffic environment like New York or loud construction noise interrupts your relaxation in the suburbs – street noise can and will penetrate your home. Here are some of the most effective tips to reduce street noise through your window.
Soundproof Your Windows to Reduce Street Noise
- Examine your windows. Windows are typically the largest transmission path through your home facade. Windows break up the regular wall enclosure, and provide a lot of “room for error” where the acoustics of your home to be compromised. Take a close look to see what’s going on with your windows. Is the caulk sealed properly around my window? Is the glass rattling, causing vibrational noise? This will tell you a lot about which of the following steps to follow.
- Inspect your walls. If you have only a 2×4 or 2×6 stud exterior wall with a thin stucco, then chances are traffic noise can penetrate this partition, and your issue is bigger than just windows. sound can flank through a number of pathways, like a paper-thin crack in your baseboards, or through wall cut-outs such as an electrical outlet on an exterior facing wall, or an output for your clothes dryer.
Reducing Traffic Noise through Windows
Don’t jump into purchasing double-paned windows without doing some research and measuring the amount of sound your current window treatment block. The STC (Sound Transmission Class) rating of a product determines how much sound is actually blocked by it. The average window in your home will have an STC of about 21 – 24. Double-pane windows have an STC between 26 – 32, with the average being 29. For double-pane windows, it’s not the two pieces of thin glass that stop noise, for the most part it’s the airtight sealant and caulking used which prevents airflow into the home, along with the vacuum gap in the center that prevents noise from transferring through the window panes themselves.
Check out our blog on Soundproof Windows to learn more about the Pro’s and Con’s.
Exterior Barriers Blocking Direct Line of Sight
If possible, create a natural barrier outside to fragment the sound waves. This can be done by planting tall shrubs between the road and your home,the more leafy and full textured the better. Try to steer clear from needled or thin shrubs.
Another way of blocking direct sound travel is by erecting a fence lined with Outdoor Sound Barrier in your front or back yard. Noise will still travel over or around the barrier, but will have less strength due to diffraction, which takes place before the sound waves can bend back down to the earth.The amount of sound energy lost over a barrier can be calculated with the Fresnel calculation, which largely depends on the height of the barrier.
Combine this blocking with some outdoor sound masking by adding a fountain or decorative waterfall. You can create your own outdoor white noise source, this solution tends to be more pleasant to the ear and more likely to drown out all of the disruptive street commotion.
Seal Gaps to Reduce Exterior Noise
Comb through your home to find any air openings or unsealed gaps. As I mentioned before, this is crucial. Especially around windows and doors where sound will take the path of least resistance and travel directly into your home. No matter how small the cavity is, eliminating the space altogether is key. Caulking and sealant is sold specifically for sound blocking and will also do a fair job of adding insulation to your home as well.
Our line of Residential Acoustics, sound blocking window and door treatments are a great way of adding STC sound blocking while effortlessly creating an acoustic seal. They can be installed decoratively over an existing window, saving the cost and hassle of replacing windows. See our Soundproofing Products .
In today’s world, keeping your home a peaceful sanctuary isn’t always easy. We are constantly surrounded by commotion, so understanding the nature of sound and what products are on the market to help you is the first step to a more restful and peaceful existence.
Summary: Reduce Street Noise Through Your Window
In Short, you can reduce street noise coming through your window by doing the following:
- Know the STC blocking ability of your current windows. And make sure that they are sealed.
- Create an outdoor sound diffraction barrier by putting up a tall fence or shrubs. Fountains and waterfalls can also be used to create natural white noise.
- Eliminate any gaps in your exterior wall.
- Use a Sound Blocking Curtain over the existing windows to eliminate 60%-90% of the sound coming through.
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