A noise barrier fence must be tall enough to block a line of sight from the highest point of the receiver and the source of the noise. An effective noise barrier depends on the mass, height and distance of the barrier from the receiver and the source of the noise. Additionally there are other considerations such as cost, safety, aesthetics, wind, the desired level of sound reduction and local zoning regulations. Different materials offer varying levers of noise reduction. For a fence to function as an effective noise barrier it must be made of solid material.
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Assess the physical aspects of the location. Take into consideration the source of the noise, the topography of the location, existing sound barriers such as trees, shrubs and other sound-reducing landscape features.
Check local zoning regulations for fencing that is permitted in that area. Determine if a survey will be required and what plans must be submitted to the zoning board. Be aware that zoning boards will sometimes grant a variance, especially if neighbouring property owners have no objection to the construction. Remember to check and make sure there are no subterranean utility conduits in the area as well.
Plan out the fence to take advantage of the topography and run as tall as possible between the noise source and the receiver. The thickness and density of the materials used are two of the factors that will determine the effectiveness of a sound barrier. Creating a double layer with an airspace is also an effective technique in reducing sound transmission. Resilient layers such as fibre board and glass fibre board, resilient clips, and semiresilient attachments reduce noise transmission.
Install the fence using concrete footings deep enough to provide support from below the local freeze line depth. In most regions in the United States that is at least 3 feet deep. A fence that does not permit noise transmission also serves as a wind block. Therefore, the footings must be deep and secure enough to hold the fence upright in the event of strong winds. Plantings can serve as wind blocks and help mitigate noise transmission as well. If a double layer is used, alternating the upright studs between the inner and outer layers will also provide greater sound reduction.
Tips and warnings
- Use a combination of methods and materials to achieve the greatest effect. Combine a fence that deflects noise with plantings that help absorb sound. Solid walls made of stone, concrete and stucco are more effective than fencing in deflecting noise. Consider installing a fountain where the "white noise" of the splashing water will help mitigate the effect of the noise.
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