I live next door to a band. Nice guys, but I'm less fond of their band. And sometimes, after a few too many drinks, the band likes to practice falsetto karaoke (no joke). Thanks to my proximity (their house is four feet from mine), I've learned a thing or two about the Bee Gees, as well as how to buy noise barriers.
There are several different types of noise barriers:
- Noise Fences. Simple concept here. A fence, using sound-absorbing or sound-reflecting materials, muffles the sound. Ever heard of acoustical concrete? Believe it or not, there is such a thing, and it can be cast into attractive designs, including a wood grain texture. Other materials that a noise fence can be built from are tongue and groove boards, earth, and even waste tire rubber (though this application is more common in highway-rather than residential-settings).
- Barrier Walls. This is a variation on the barrier method. Again, sound-absorbing or sound-reflecting materials are used to create a barrier wall between the noise and you.
- Absorption Panels. Wall and ceiling panels, door and window panels, and floor panels use materials such as polyurethane, fiberglass, melamine and other foams, and even perforated metal, to absorb sound. Wall, ceiling, door and window panels are pre-manufactured or custom built, and they are available in hinged and removable options. Floor panels can be used under a variety of different flooring materials, including laminate, wood, tile or stone floors.
- Sound Doors. Sound doors are what you would imagine-thick doors loaded with sound absorption materials and installed with seals so no sound can leak in around the edges. There are also acoustical door seal kits that will retrofit your existing door to reduce sound transmission.
- Window Systems. Yes, sound escapes through windows, too. You can either replace your windows with soundproof windows or you can purchase a second window (that will still open and close) to place behind your current window.
Back to the band. I remind myself that in ten years, the twenty-something boys next door will be married and raising children, right about the time that my own child will be starting his own garage band or revving the motor of his monster truck on a regular basis or........? Depending upon your particular noise reduction goal-whether it's taming reverberation or promoting good relations with the neighbors-you will be able to buy a noise barrier that works for you.