Most of us want our homes to be quiet with little external noise to disturb us and the sound of other people inside are not interfering with our daily routines. To accomplish this, there are certain considerations to keep in mind about the sound environment when choosing or remodeling your home.
If your house is located on a noisy street or next to a highway, you can still create solitude for the house:
Windows. When you are looking for a house to purchase in an area like this, be mindful of a number of windows. Windows are the number one transmitter of sound from outside, even when they are closed. However, thick curtains can keep the sound out!
Exterior. As for the exterior, materials, it is better to choose materials such as brick and stone, which can play a big part in noise mitigation, unlike vinyl siding and stucco.
Landscaping. Tweak your landscape to block exterior sounds: a row of evergreen or trees with thick foliage can make an effective sound barrier to your home.
Doors. Consider different types of doors. While glass and French doors can let in a lot of light, they are poor at keeping sound out. Sliding barn doors are even worse because they do not form a tight seal with the surround walls.
Flooring. Your flooring choice matters as well! Wood and tile floors may be ideal, but they are also transmitters of noise, making a small room louder. This occurs because the wood or tiled floors act as a stronger reflection for enabling sound. Consider carpet on the upper levels or add large area rugs to solve this problem.
The outsides sounds are not the only things you are going to want to keep in control! There are many sonic interferences just inside your own home that may be affecting noise control and sound privacy:
Entertainment System. Televisions and stereos are often the number source of frustrating noise happening within your home. A television that is mounted on the wall is much more audible than if it were standing on its own. Wall-mounted TVs look nice and save room but the sound against the wall enables sound to be transmitted and amplified through the wall behind it, especially if it is a stone wall; stone mantles are significantly louder because a stone wall is more reflective than drywall. This is called “structure-borne noise” and can be fixed by detached the TV from the wall, or using external speakers to project the noise into the room with the TV.
Open Concept. The most difficult type of area to create sonic privacy is a home that has an open concept: where the living room, dining room, and kitchen act as one common open interconnecting area. A tip from above can help with this type of area; to create an acoustic zone, adding large area rugs to hardwood floors can mitigate the amount of sound. If you need to minimize more sound, consider adding partitions.
Noise-Proof The Kids’ Rooms. Babies and children can be awakened very easily, so your goal is going to be to reduce the street noise and household normal sounds like clanking pipes. Easily avoid these sounds by moving them to rooms further from the noise sources, such as closer to the backyard, or away from the bathroom or kitchen. Make sure there is no noise source on the adjacent wall.
Quiet Work Space. Just like the children's rooms, consider the room that is your home office to be silent, or as quiet as possible. Having a room that is facing the street or located by where the TV is situated is not a good place. Set up your home office in a quieter, less frequently-used part of the house.
Decor Nose Reducers. Some of these tips have been mentioned throughout this blog. Heavy curtains will not only absorb sounds from outside but will also reduce noise from the inside as well. If you find footsteps to be louder than normal, an area rug will benefit and create a solution.