Creating a quiet and private oasis in a front or back yard, one that will cut traffic noise, noise from nearby trains, barking dogs, the noisy generators and heat pumps in neighbors’ yards, and even the noisy neighbors themselves is an excellent investment, not only in your home’s value, but in the quality of your lifestyle.
Traffic noise is actually one of the most difficult soundproofing projects that any soundproofing engineer or acoustical consultant could ever have to tackle. In essence you are trying to soundproof the outdoors, from the outdoors. It is tough to accomplish, but there are methods that can block noise dramatically and give you the private and serene yard you long for.
A fence alone will do nothing to block traffic-generated noise. A fence or barrier made of stone or masonry will increase your chances of blocking the noise but depending on your budget, where you live, and your city’s ordinances, you may be prohibited from constructing this type of fence.
Some city ordinances also limit fence heights to six-feet, eight-feet or 10-feet. Since the “line-of-sight” rule says that if you can see the source of the noise by looking over the fence, you will be able to hear it; although attaching sound blocking fencing material to a six-foot fence will significantly decrease noise, a fence built eight- to 10-feet high with sound barrier fencing material attached will create a seriously quiet oasis in any back yard. Homeowners can enjoy family time, entertaining, and simply sharing a quiet meal outdoors without external noise infringing, and without disturbing their neighbors.
If you are planning to build a wooden fence (dog eared slat type) then all the gaps in the wood fence must be caulked in with a good acoustical caulk. After you have caulked the gaps between the slats, you will need to line the backside or the side facing the traffic, with a high quality outdoor noise blocking fencing material made specifically for this type of application.
Some noise reduction fencing material comes with anodized brass grommets across the top and bottom, allowing it to be easily hung over the existing fence (wood, chain link, or other structure) and secured with heavy duty nylon wire ties. It can be hung on the outside of the fence facing the noise source, or on the inside of the fence, facing the property, and can be removed and reused for special events, or kept in place permanently.
More and more landscape architects, gardeners, and homeowners are utilizing noise abatement fencing to create a private, peaceful backyard retreat. When choosing a noise abatement material to hang on an existing fence, installation should be easy, and care must be taken to install it properly so that no gaps remain between sections of noise reduction fencing material. Overlapping sections eliminates any worry of noise seeping through.
A sound abatement consultant can provide you with professional advice when it comes to choosing the best noise abatement fencing product and its application, according to the height of your fence and the level on noise control you wish to achieve.
When installing any sound barrier fence, curb appeal is an important factor, in addition to the product’s appearance within the yard. Acoustical fencing in itself offers no aesthetic value, but can easily be camouflaged with greenscaping that blocks the view of the fence. When designing a yard for acoustic comfort, there are plenty of options to use foliage as an aesthetic finishing touch.
Additionally, there are high-quality fencing attachments available that actually hang directly over the acoustical fencing, to camouflage an entire fence with scenic landscapes. These attachments can create the illusion that the fence blends in with the existing landscape, or they can create a whole new aesthetic. With hundreds of designs available, and the option to have a custom scene made, these landscape attachments, which are made of UV resistant solar shade material (the same material used in patio umbrellas and outdoor furniture fabrics) are an excellent option for hiding an acoustical fence. They can be hung to face the street, and they can be hung to face the yard, or both.
Your backyard should provide a tranquil and private retreat, where the grounds are shielded from external noise, and your family can have fun and privacy year round. Installing the right acoustical fence is the first step toward achieving that goal.
As any landscape professional already knows, installing trees and vegetation on a berm between roadway traffic and residences may be aesthetically pleasing, but these elements are not effective noise control bariers. Acoustiblok Inc., a world leader in noise abatement for both inside and outside installations, has announced the release of Acoustifence, a revolutionary new defense against outdoor noise pollution.
The fact is, foliage or trees on earth berms can actually increase noise. Since sound is dispersed in much the same way as light, it will penetrate and reflect off the foliage in all directions, including that side of the berm that is meant to be peaceful and quiet. Although the higher the berm, the better the sound deflection, it is far more affordable and more practical to increase the berm height by installing Acoustifence than it is to add fill to the berm.
Adding a six-foot high Acoustifence to the berm not only drastically increases the berm’s blocking protection, it eliminates the real problem of the sound reflecting off the foliage and into those outdoor spaces that are meant to be serene. Limp and heavy, Acoustifence is a proprietary formula, heavy mineral filled, viscoelastic polymer which is easily cut with a utility knife. Acoustifence produces far less noise reflection than solid barriers. While other materials attempt to “block” or “absorb” sound, Acoustiblok does neither. As the heavy, limp Acoustifence material vibrates when sound waves hit it, it actually transforms the acoustical energy into inaudible friction energy in a process sometimes referred to as “isothermal adiabatic”
The all-weather Acoustifence can be hung from any substantial structure, such as a chain link or wood fence, or from a pipe frame structure.
A simple and economical noise abatement solution for both residential and industrial usage, Acoustifence is a 1/8-inch (3mm) thick material measuring 6-feet (1.82 meters) high by 30-feet (9.14 meters) long with black anodized brass eyelets along the top and bottom edge for easy attachment to any chain link fence or other framework with the 70, 125-lb. heavy duty nylon ties included with each roll. Easily installed or removed in less than one hour, entirely impervious to mold, mildew, and UV, Acoustifence is virtually indestructible.
Based on the same soundproofing material developed by the Acoustiblok Corporation for indoor noise abatement, Acoustifence is a proprietary formula of the Acoustiblok® Corporation, developed and refined over an eight year period for various applications. Acoustiblok is recognized and sold world-wide, earning product awards from the British House of Commons, as well as industry publications including Builder News Magazine.
Acoustifence has proven performance in highway environments, construction sites, offshore oil rigs and waste-to-energy plants. One can accommodate any height fence or structure by simply overlapping the Acoustifence sections.
At a construction site, it can be attached to scaffolding or the building structure itself.
To store, the Acoustifence sections simply roll up like carpet into less than a 12-inch diameter.
Independent lab tests of the Acoustifence material shows a sound transmission classification (STC) of 28, which represents to the human ear an approximately 85-percent reduction in sound. However, results will vary greatly relative to surrounding sound-reflective objects such as buildings, structures or trees and the amount of Acoustifence installed.
Acoustifence is a real boon to landscape architects, who already know they can not rely on foliage to block noise. Additionally, it is a totally paintable, 100-percent recyclable, environmentally friendly answer to the problem of outdoor noise pollution.
Acoustifence has already proven its value to Celine Chick, owner of the Park Restaurant in Dallas, Texas. Facing potential legal troubles over ambient noise affecting neighbors next to her restaurant, Chick chose to install Acoustifence to the outside perimeter of her property. The results were even better than expected.
“I had complaints from neighbors about the noise coming from our outdoor patio, and we purchased three Acoustifence panels to block out the music and the noise in general,” Chick said. “The neighbors are much happier now, and we can keep our customers happy with music outdoors.
“Acoustifence is definitely something we would recommend to residential customers as well as commercial customers.”
Easily hidden and requiring minimal disruption to plants, Acoustiblok President Lahnie Johnson believes Acoustifence has great potential for landscaping projects.
“This very simple, economical sound abatement product will be extremely popular in new and existing landscape settings thanks to its uncomplicated ability to reduce unpleasant exterior noise. It allows a better quality of life for those living on the side of a highway or other invasive noise source,” he said. “After all, our mission is quieting the world.”TRUCK DRAWING (2)
(For those seeking the ultimate in outdoor noise reduction, Acoustiblok
also manufactures the “All Weather Outdoor Sound Panels®”.)