Soundproof fencing, also known as outdoor sound barriers, has many different uses. You’ve probably seen some in industrial setup and construction sites to help muffle the sounds of heavy machinery and construction tools.
If you’ve been into Hollywood movie shooting scenes, you’ve probably seen a sort of high wall fencing made of fabric materials- not the green screen.
In this guide, I shall be exploring how soundproof fences work, the different types of soundproof fencing, and how you can implement their technique in insulating against traffic and outside noise in your home.
What Is a Soundproof Fence?
A soundproof fence, aka outdoor sound barrier or acoustic fence, is a type of fence designed to reduce sound and noise levels.
Acoustic fences either eliminate or completely get rid of the noise. They work by reflecting, refracting, or conducting the sound waves from the outside.
Unlike your standard fence, a soundproof fence will give you privacy and help minimize sound transfer.
These fences are made of thick and heavy materials, concrete, bricks, stones, tree shrubs, and minimize impact and airborne noises.
In some cases, soundproof fences are designed to be portable and temporary, allowing you to move it from one place to the next.
Does Soundproof Fencing Really Work?
Yes! Soundproof fencing does really work.
Soundproof fencing works by absorbing sound waves or by reflecting them back into the surroundings.
The materials used for soundproofing fences are made of thick but lightweight fabric and are usually quite durable.
They can be easily installed on wooden or metal frames without any hassle. In addition, they also come in various colors and designs to suit your needs.
They come with zippers that allow easy access to the other side of the fence if you need to get through it for any reason.
If you’re looking for a cost-effective way to minimize noise pollution at home, office, or anywhere else, then you should definitely consider soundproofing barriers as an option.
They’re easy to install and can help reduce noise levels by up to 80%.
I dug deeper and found out that Hollywood does use soundproof fencing in their movie shoots.
This is evident through a brand known as the Insult Quilt, which supplies Hollywood with soundproofing fencing for hire. Read more details through this guide.
Types of Soundproof Fencing
Understanding the different types of acoustic fencing and how they work is key to finding the right one for you. The different types of soundproofing fences include:
A brushwood fence is acoustic fencing made from woven split logs.
This type of fence does not require any special tools to install, making it the most affordable option. The logs are typically cut into 3-foot sections and woven together in a crisscross pattern.
The distance between the woven logs will depend on how you want your fence to look. The thinner the logs, the less space there will be between them.
A brushwood fence is great for people who want a natural look for their property that’s easy to maintain. It can also provide privacy and sound absorption if installed tightly enough.
However, there are downsides, like being easily damaged by high winds or animals and tends to sag with age and rot over time.
A concrete soundproof fence is an effective and versatile solution. This type of acoustic fencing is made from a form of concrete which can be poured into form work to create a wall.
The beauty of this type of acoustic fencing is that it can be installed on the side or back of your property, meaning you don’t have to worry about disrupting the appearance of the area surrounding your home.
They are also designed to last for many years and are sturdy enough to handle truck traffic and other heavyweights.
However, they do require maintenance and care over time as they will grow old and need to be power-washed periodically to maintain their cleanliness.
One of the first types of acoustic fencing to discuss is the metal fence. Metal acoustic fences can be made from any type of metal, including aluminum, steel, and wrought iron.
The material you choose will depend on your budget and what type of look you want for your property.
For example, aluminum is lightweight and easy to install without disrupting landscaping, making it a popular choice.
However, if privacy is more important to you, then wrought iron might be better because it blocks sound and doesn’t allow people to see through it very well.
Wooden fences are popular for many reasons. The most obvious reason is that they can look aesthetically pleasing. Wooden fences offer the most design, color, and style options.
Plus, wood is stronger than vinyl panels or chain link fences, making it a great option if you want to keep large animals contained without worrying about them knocking down an acoustic fence.
The downside to wooden fences is that they’re more expensive than vinyl fencing or chain link fencing.
Another potential downside is that a homeowner may need to periodically maintain their fence to make sure it looks like new again.
Soundproof Fencing Considerations
It can be tough to find a good soundproof fence that checks all your boxes. Privacy, affordability, and sound insulation are all important factors to consider before setting up a soundproof fence:
Naturally, your first step is to understand and consider the sound insulation of a fence before making a purchase.
For example, a vinyl fence can block noise more than aluminum.
Soundproofing fences can be made of various materials with varying degrees of sound insulation properties.
One factor in determining the degree of sound insulation is the thickness and density of the material used for construction.
A vinyl fence has the best insulation qualities, but it also comes with a higher price tag.
Acoustic panels are also great for soundproofing fences because they absorb and deflect vibration from both sides to reduce noise.
A soundproof fence will be more expensive than a normal fence, but that doesn’t mean it should also require more maintenance.
You’ll want to make sure you’re installing a durable soundproof fence with low-maintenance upkeep.
The best options for soundproof fences are usually steel or aluminum, which can last for over 20 years without needing maintenance.
Tree and shrub fences are great as they are environmentally friendly and highly effective in reducing traffic and backyard noises.
Unfortunately, they require frequent maintenance.
To maintain your soundproof fence, you’ll need to clean it once in a while and coat it with a protective sealant to ensure it lasts as long as possible.
Wind conditions can have a major effect on the noise level you experience. In some geographical areas, wind levels are unpredictable and often change direction.
When this is the case, there will be a little positive impact from changing your design.
However, in other places where prevailing winds are consistent- say, for example, Hawaii- it makes sense to design your fence positioning to take these consistent winds into account when designing them for maximum sound reduction success.
The type of metal your fence is made from will impact its density. The denser your metal, the better it will be at reflecting sound.
If you’re looking for a really good soundproof fence, you’ll want to invest in metal that has a high density.
The nature of the land surrounding your property will have a big impact on how effective soundproofing is.
For instance, if you are planning to work with a slope, an acoustic fence might make all the difference- it can help if positioned correctly.
At the other extreme, when working with the flat ground or even just slightly lower elevation than where you live (even as little as one foot), less noise may come over your home thanks to some kind of barrier such as fencing.
Soundproof Fencing Alternatives
Installing a soundproof fence is just one way to block outside noises in your home. Other ways include:
Installing double-glazed/soundproof windows: regular windows will allow some noise into your home as glass makes an excellent conductor.
By installing heavily shielded, laminated layers and spacing the panes apart, you can substantially reduce the amount of outdoor noise that enters through them.
To increase their effectiveness, even more, add dense soundproof curtains on top which absorb and dampen sound much better than thinner ones; do this doubling or tripling layer for even better results.
Be sure to cover both walls below and above the window with these thick curtains for maximum effectiveness too.
White Noise Machines: if you’re unable to dampen the noise from your backyard or traffic noise leaking into your home, then you’re better off with white noise machines.
I have previously compiled a guide. Check the guide here- white noise machines for the office or simply use earplugs for sleeping.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.