Author Topic: House very close to neighbors  (Read 2946 times)

Bitterfiction

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House very close to neighbors
« on: March 26, 2013, 09:55:17 PM »
We recently moved into an older single story home, and we have no side yard to speak of. Outside of our bedroom window there is about 4 feet of space, and then a chain link fence, and then a similar amount of space to the neighbor's wall.

The neighbors themselves are pretty quiet, but they do have workers who start up earlier than I would like. They are not doing anything overly loud, but even the noise of them sweeping or moving barrels around in that area can be enough to wake me up, and then I can't get back to sleep.

I am looking to address a couple of issue:

- My windows are older single pane wood frame windows. They are in okay shape, but I am considering upgrading to a newer dual pane, with dissimilar glass, possibly getting one pane laminated.

- I am looking into replacing the chain link fence with a concrete block wall. I can go 6' high, with an additional 2' of wood topper, for a total of 8'.


I am pretty sure the window is a good investment, but the quotes for the wall are really expensive. I've read a lot online about how much sound is reduced by outdoor walls, and it doesn't sound like it's always a good result. I don't quite understand about the line of sight considerations, and I am afraid that I am actually going to form some kind of tunnel between my house and the wall, which will cause the sound to bounce around and amplify.


If anyone has any advice, it's much appreciated! :)

Randy S

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Re: House very close to neighbors
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2013, 03:53:11 PM »
Very good questions, you have been doing your research..  :)
start with the windows, Make sure that you create the greatest air gap between the existing window and either a secondary operational window or something like our magnaseal system.
http://soundproofing.org/infopages/magnetseal_windows.htm
also make sure the original window has good seals or replace them (very important)
This will give you the greatest reduction for the cost.
As for the wall, you are correct about line of site. If you can still see the noise source after the wall is built than you get little to no reduction.
You also have to be careful about creating a standing wave between the wall and the house, for this the wall must not be parallel to the house, angle the wall out slightly.
Start with the windows...cost vs. reduction..this is your best bet.

Randy S.

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Ph. 760-752-3030
Fax.760-752-3040

Bitterfiction

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Re: House very close to neighbors
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2013, 06:25:54 PM »
Thanks Randy,

I am ordering replacement windows this week. We were originally going to go with a Vinyl, but found that the STC ratings were much lower than we expected, so we are going to go with a wood replacement window for the bedroom where the noise is most intrusive. It's rated to be STC of 33... I'm not sure what that will mean in real world results. If we find that we still need an additional layer, I think the product you linked will work well, as long as the window sill is deep enough to accommodate the hardware...

As for the wall, it will definitely break the line of sight with the neighbors... We are both single story residences, and an 8 foot wall ought to keep them well out of sight. My concern is more that I don't understand how sound waves travel. If the neighbor's workers are working directly on the other side of the 8' wall, can noise travel up over that wall, spilling down into the space on our side, between the wall and house (approximately 3 feet wide)? Or does sound deflect away from a solid surface? I have read that it acts more like water, but the whole idea is sort of vague. I need to search for a visual diagram of how it works.

I suppose even if the sound is spilling over the wall, it will need to travel 8' up their side, and then 3' down on my side before reaching the window. I suppose that 11' of distance will reduce the sound more than the 3' it is traveling to our window now... Does that seem to make sense, or am I missing something in that reasoning?

Your mention of the standing wave was interesting... I had not known of or considered that. I am not sure how much I can angle the wall, since it is such a tight space. We do plan to use a more textured split face block... maybe that will help in some way?

Thanks again for your reply... A lot of good information -- I appreciate your time.

johnbergstromslc

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Re: House very close to neighbors
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2013, 08:53:39 PM »
If the option is available, get a window with a higher STC, preferably 40+.  STC 33 is equivalent to a regular interior wall (a modern one with drywall - lath & plaster rate a bit higher), which is to say not very good...

I'd bag the wall, unless you want it for aesthetic reasons.  For the kind of money you'll have to spend, it won't deliver a good reduction in sound.

Bitterfiction

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Re: House very close to neighbors
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2013, 10:15:09 PM »
If the option is available, get a window with a higher STC, preferably 40+.  STC 33 is equivalent to a regular interior wall (a modern one with drywall - lath & plaster rate a bit higher), which is to say not very good...

I'd bag the wall, unless you want it for aesthetic reasons.  For the kind of money you'll have to spend, it won't deliver a good reduction in sound.

Good points.

We do want a wall or fence of some kind anyway, to make the yard more private and to be more secure when we get a dog. I thought block wall might have the added benefit of some sound dampening, as there wouldn't be a gap at the bottom where air would come through.

As for the windows, I was hoping STC 33 would be sufficient, as the current windows are older single pane, so I was thinking their STC was more in the 18 - 22 range. Milgard makes a window called "Quiet Line" with STC ratings 41 - 47, but it's really bulky, and sort of ugly. I will price it for comparison. Visually though, maybe it is better to go with the 33 STC window and add an interior magnetic, as mentioned in the first reply... I would think that would have a similar combined STC as the Quiet Line...

At some point I have to recognize that it's an older house, and my exterior walls probably don't even have an STC as high as 47! :) I've considered tearing down the plaster in the bedroom, and putting new insulation, and then finishing it with drywall designed for sound reduction...

 :-[ This is all just my OCD kicking in... The noise that is bothering me isn't even car noise or power tools -- just workers sweeping up, and dragging barrels and buckets around...


johnbergstromslc

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Re: House very close to neighbors
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2013, 11:44:18 PM »
Even a window in the high-30's STC would be much better than 33....