If you are considering buying, or already own a property near a busy road, you’ll need to learn how to reduce road noise at home.
Doing so will allow you to spend more time enjoying your property. It will also make it easier to sell in the future.
So let’s get straight into how to reduce road noise at home…
Soundproofing A House From Traffic Noise
If your main issue is with the amount of traffic noise you can hear when inside the property, the following tips will help you reduce the problem.
If you don’t already have double glazing in every room of the house, getting it installed will help reduce road noise inside your home.
It will also help keep your property warmer and save money on energy bills – so, there are plenty of upsides.
Already got double glazing? Go one step further and install triple glazing!
As may have guessed, triple glazing is simply three panes of glass rather than the two you get with double glazing.
Triple glazing gives even better soundproofing and also better heat insulation, better security, and reduced condensation issues.
It’s not cheap, but even if you only install on the side of the property facing the road noise it will have a noticeable impact.
Install Sound Proofing
There are a number of different types of soundproofing you can add to your home.
The majority of these are designed for home studios where the sound quality within the room is important. However, some of these are also useful in blocking out sound from outside.
You can even get soundproofing tiles which are installed on your wall and then plastered over, giving you a wall that looks normal but has excellent sound insulation properties.
Keep in mind though that this may only have limited impact if the wall facing the road also has windows.
A company like AF Acoustics specialise in noise reduction and could help give you some tips in reducing noisy roads in your house.
Install Solid Doors
As doorways are among the largest spaces through which noise can travel easily, the type of doors you have will affect how much noise can enter your home.
For external doors, composite doors are not just great for protecting your home from burglars, they also block out more noise than other types of door, including uPVC.
Composite doors are made out of a combination of materials including wood, steel, and plastic and cost around £500 to £1,000 each.
Internally, the key thing is to make sure you use solid doors to prevent noise from spreading through the house.
Most internal doors are hollow in the middle, spending a little more for a solid door will make all the difference to how sound travels in your home.
Use Soundproof Curtains
To help reduce the level of noise entering your home through the windows, you can also put up sound insulating curtains.
These are special, thick curtains that help block out some noise. However, they will only have limited effect and so will need to be combined with other sound-reducing measures.
Beyond that, there’s not a huge amount you can do internally to reduce road noise.
However, any steps you can take to reduce road noise in the garden will also have the knock-on benefit of reducing road noise inside too.
So, let’s take a look at what can be done outside to combat noise…
How To Reduce Road Noise In The Garden
Remember, sound travels in waves and so the more barriers between you and the source of the noise, the less you will hear it.
Noise Reduction Landscaping
There are various ways you can add plants to your garden that limit the impact of road noise, both when enjoying your outside space, and when inside your home.
Thick bushes or conifer trees provide excellent sound insulation as the sound waves struggle to penetrate through the thick foliage.
Evergreen plants are essential here if you want to be insulation from noise all year round. Make sure they are relatively tall, too.
To have even more impact on the noise, you can arrange the plans and bushes you choose in layers, providing multiple barriers between you and the road.
Another good option is to use plants that tend to rustle in the wind. While these won’t block the noise very well, they will help to mask it naturally whenever there is a gentle breeze.
Put Up A Good Fence
A nice thick, good quality fence will provide more sound insulation than a thin cheap one. However, for best results use a noise reduction fence, also known as acoustic fences or sound insulating fences.
Noise reduction fences are specifically designed to absorb and reflect noise. Usually, this is achieved by carefully constructing the fence to ensure there are no gaps and to provide a more reflective surface.
They tend to only be slightly more expensive than a standard fence panel, making them an excellent sound insulation option. Be warned though, they will only provide a small amount of soundproofing and so will need to be used alongside other methods.
Build A Wall
Even more effective than both plants and fences, brick walls can provide excellent sound reduction in a garden.
Better yet, combine with bushes or wall creeping plants to enhance the effect even more.
Walls don’t just protect you from road noise, they also can look great too and so are one of our top tips for how to reduce road noise at home.
Lower Your Outdoor Living Space
If you are mostly concerned about being able to sit, relax and have a conversation in your garden, having a lowered area in your garden could be the solution.
Even areas sunk just a couple of feet below the surrounding ground can make all the difference when it comes to the noise levels.
The surrounding earth provides a natural barrier that causes noise to bounce away and leave you in peace.
Install A Water Feature
If you can’t beat them, join them and make some noise of your own!
The sound of flowing water is considered one of the best, natural sound-masking noises around.
The gentle trickle of flowing water will help mask any unwanted road noise and can be quite relaxing in its own right!
Use Wind Charms
Wind charms are also great at masking unwanted noise, although they do rely on there being at least a light breeze to work!
So, Which Is The Most Effective Barrier For Road Noise?
Ultimately, there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to reducing road noise at home.
The best way to reduce traffic noise at your property will depend on a number of factors such as how far from the road you are, what’s between your property and the road, and whether you are higher, lower, or at the same level as the road noise.
However, there is one thing to know about how to reduce road noise at home and that is you will likely need to employ several measures in order to live a more peaceful life.
Each method you employ is likely to make the noise a little more bearable. Using multiple methods together will eventually combine to give you enough soundproofing to alleviate the problem.
Do You Get Used To Road Noise?
It’s a good question. Does living with the noise or a nearby road ever become something you get used to?
Well, to a degree, yes. It, of course, depends on how much road noise there is and your own ability to ‘switch off’ from it.
However, as with most things, you do become accustomed to road noise after a period of time. This could be weeks, months, or sometimes years.
The noise will never go away, but it will become part of the background noise eventually, punctuated only by the occasional emergency vehicle or ‘boy racer’ exhaust!
One thing to keep in mind is that we are increasingly turning towards hybrid or fully electric cars. This is something which is likely to lead to positive reductions in road noise in the future.
More electric vehicles on the road mean less engine noise, although you’ll stay hear the noise of tyres rolling along.
Eventually then, road noise is likely to become less of a problem anyway, although no one knows for sure when the tipping point may be.
Effects Of Living With Road Noise
Perhaps surprisingly, the effects of living with road noise can go further than just mild annoyance.
Research has shown that nigh-time exposure to the noise of an airport can increase the risk of high blood pressure.
There is also research that has looked specifically at road noise and found that it can cause annoyance and sleep disturbance, as well as other health issues.
There is actually a term for your emotional response to significant noise – noise annoyance. This describes the negative feelings noise can create such as disturbance, irritation, dissatisfaction and nuisance, as well as a feeling of having one’s privacy invaded.
Of course, how much you are affected by noise will depend on how bad the noise is, how much you are exposed to it, and your own emotional response – plus, of course, how good your hearing is!
One thing is for sure, if road noise is a problem where you live, knowing how to reduce road noise at home is vital knowledge you’ll need to put into action.
Buying A House Near A Busy Road
If you are considering buying a house near a busy road then there are clearly several considerations you need to make before putting in an offer.
First, you’ll need to visit the property several times, at different times of the day.
Each time, you should listen out for road noise in each room of the property as well as the garden. If the seller has a television or music on, ask them to pause it a moment while you listen out.
Pay particular attention to how much you can hear the road from the bedrooms. Ask yourself if it is loud enough to disturb your sleep.
If the road noise appears to be a problem, ask the vendor if they have taken any measures to reduce the road noise.
That will help you understand what measures you could take to reduce the noise.
If the current owner of the property has taken several measures to reduce noise but you still feel it’s quite loud, consider walking away from the property.
While you may eventually get used to road noise and it may become less of a problem as electric vehicles gain popularity, excessive road noise can lead to health issues, including stress.
Tips For Selling A House On A Busy Road
The first thing to do is to implement as many of our suggestions for reducing road noise (listed above) as you can.
When it comes to finding a buyer, the more you can do to reduce the road noise, the better.
Secondly, check out our 101 ways to sell a house faster. There are some great tips there that will help you ensure buyers put aside road noise as an issue and fall head over heels for your home.
You’ll have to understand that no matter what you do, some people just won’t be able to get past the fact you live near a busy road.
But, if you stay patient, and do all the right things you’ll find a buyer much quicker than you may think.
Noise from neighbours or a nearby pub is often cited as a much bigger concern than noise from a busy road.