Home Forums General Discussion How can you retrofit exterior noise control? Reply To: How can you retrofit exterior noise control?

Richard Popenhagen

Hi Bev
Sound is a tricky thing to deal with, people have different tolerances to sound, what is acceptable to one person, can drive another person to distraction.
Sound waves pass through any small gaps and cracks quite readily. This is often referred to as “flanking path” sound pathways. Can be quite difficult to seal off all those gaps to stop the sound entirely.
You don’t mention whether the window frames are timber or aluminium. The condition of any rubber seals (if there are any), or sealing off gaps is also critical to ongoing performance.
Just installing standard double glazing is unlikely to reduce the sound to an acceptable level. As a comparison, standard double glazing only gives a perceived sound reduction (what a human ear detects) of 5 to 20% compared to single glazing. What the double glazing company should have suggested is making one of the sheets of glass in the double glazed unit a piece of laminated glass. This upgrade would have given a perceived sound reduction of between 50 to 55%.
Sound proofing the fence is unlikely to work as the sound waves will travel over the top of the fence and still create a nuisance. Additional sound tends to bounce off neighbouring buildings and reflect back across the boundary from all different directions.
In light of the fact that they have already spent their money installing double glazing, they are unlikely to want to pay for it to be changed to incorporate laminated glass (but they might if the problem is so invasive), then the one option that may bring about an improvement is thick multi-layered drapes. These would need to incorporate a nice thick dense layer in the middle of the other layers. It is hard to quantify whether this would give the level of sound reduction required to meet their needs. The other problem is during day time when the curtains are open, you are back to being only as good as the windows are. Also can be an issue in summer when the windows are open for ventilation.
As a trial, before they commit to spending lots of money, you could suggest hanging a two or three layers of thick blankets over the windows at night to see if that gives an improvement. If it does they could them look a installing a permanent long term solution in the form of thick layered curtains. These blankets or curtains would need to sit hard down onto the floor and seal to the walls around the other edges.
I would be interested to hear what they do and the outcome achieved.