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The other day, I received an email from one of my avid blog followers. She wanted to know the best home fence to install for noise abatement.
“I live next to busy traffic, and I never enjoy the quietness that I crave whenever I’m at home. What is the best fence for blocking traffic noise?”
Everyone craves privacy, and our homes are the only place we can enjoy peace and quietness after a busy day in the office. There are different noise barrier fences you can install. But lets first have a look at some of the factors to consider.
Sound Barrier Fence: Factors to Consider
A noise barrier fence is purposely designed to act as a sound barrier. One of the principles of soundproofing states that the more the mass, the better the material is in soundproofing.
For this reason, a sound barrier fence needs to have thick boards nailed on heavy rails, which are then supported by strong heavy posts. The operative word for sound barriers is heavy.
For this reason, masonry walls are very effective in blocking road sounds than wooden fences. Berms also make great sound barriers, especially when build high enough.
However, if you intend to use wood as your sound barrier, make sure you aim for a fence that’s high and solid with no gaps between the boards.
Whichever material you decide to use, first make sure you submit a detailed report to the authorities to make sure you won’t be violating set ordinances.
For example, a tall fence erected on a street corner will put on a collision course with the City Hall authority because it could reduce a driver’s visibility.
Best Home Fence to Install for Noise Abatement
Because most of the households have wooden fences, there’s no need to take down the existing wall to install a soundproof one.
You can make some modifications to the wooden fence to make it soundproof. One way to do so is by adding soundproofing material known as mass loaded vinyl.
It’s one of the most popular soundproofing materials sold in rolls. Make sure you purchase one listed for outdoor use.
It’s easier to install mass loaded vinyl when a fence is its initial construction phases rather than retroactively. However, the latter is also possible, but it will require removal of the fence panels and later reattaching them.
You only need to staple mass loaded vinyl to the frame of the fence structure. The fence and the rails form the frame of the fence structure.
Make sure you overlap the MLV sheets to create a solid barrier. Caulk any seams using acoustical caulk, and lastly, attach wooden panels to the two sides of the fence such that the MLV is sandwiched between the panels.
Get Help from Your Friends to Install Fence for Noise Abatement
Whichever material you use to construct your sound barrier, it won’t eliminate noises 100%. You can complement it with other elements such as
- Water fountains
- Plant materials
To complement your noise barrier fence, plant more trees or shrubs with substantial mass. On their trees or shrubs won’t solve the noise problem, but they will help absorb noise that doesn’t get absorbed by the noise barrier fence.
Plant trees in front of the fence or back of it or even both. Evergreen trees or shrubs are the best since they will help in yard noise reduction all year round.
A water fountain in your backyard is also a good idea. However, keep in mind that water fountains or white noise machines won’t help reduce traffic noise in your yard. Instead, they will help mask it through the soothing sounds they produce.