Do you live in a noisy neighborhood? Concrete sound barriers could be your solution to peace and quiet..
It is about time to turn down the volume! Noise pollution has been a major concern of health deterioration due to restlessness and sleeplessness. We should not have to compromise our quality of life to bear with our noisy neighbors. Whether you live near a school zone, construction site, high traffic area, or any areas with excessive noise, concrete sound walls are the most effective methods of cutting down the noise! By reading this article you will understand what you can do to reduce the level of intrusive noise entering your home.
To begin, let’s understand the nature of sound waves. Sound waves are very similar to water, as it would bounce off objects and flow through holes. For instance, sound waves from cars zipping pass your home would bounce off your drive way and flow through the window that you have opened in your living room. However, unlike water, sound waves can also pass through objects that are thin and uncompressed. This means, even if you had closed your window, sound waves, that are strong enough, could also pass through your drywalls and enter your home without an invitation! We recommend using dense objects materials such as concrete to absorb or reflect sound from entering your home.
Another rule to remember how sound waves travel is the “line of sight”. If the source creating the sound is in your sight, then you’ll be able to hear it! This means if you live on a hill, you may want to build a taller wall!
An important factor to look at is sound wave intensity, which is measured in decibels. The loudness of sound generally doubles when sound is increased by 10 dB. According to Harvard Medical School Health Letter, studies have shown prolonged exposure to 85 or more decibels can cause permanent hearing loss. More importantly, physiological damage can also occur at lower levels! The following illustrates the intensity of sound at factors of 10 dB:
0 – 1 dB
Faintest sound that can be heard
Quiet conversation, soft whisper, quiet suburb
Many computer hard drives range an average of 40-50 dB, soft whisper [five feet]
Light traffic at a distance of 100 feet
Conversation at one meter, or average street traffic at 100 feet
TV, noisy restaurant [constant exposure], busy traffic [at one meter]
Heavy city traffic [25-50 feet], alarm clock at two feet
Pneumatic drill [or hammer] at one meter
Sound vibrations felt, thunder or near a four-engine jet at thirty meters
Gunshot blast, or jet plane take-off at close range [approximately 200 feet]
Chart: Correlations of dB levels to causality of noise.
In Canada and the United States, the maximum permitted noise exposures level for 8 hours are within 80 dB to 90 dB depending on which province or state you live in. At 80 dB, heavy city traffic is one of the most pervasive unwanted noises transmitted to residential homes! When noise pollution hit your front lawn, precast concrete sound barriers may be an ideal solution for noise abatement to your ears.
According to National Precast Concrete Association, “concrete’s greater mass reduces sound penetrating through a wall by more than 80% compared with wood or steel frame construction”. With this being said, precast concrete sound barriers will surely provide you the peace and quiet that you’ve been aching for. Finally, before you head out to build your precast concrete sound barriers you may want to consider the following points:
* Understand where most intrusive noise are coming from
* Decide on the level of decibels reduction you want your sound barriers to have (not all walls provide equal noise reduction)
* Understand the maximum permissible height that you can build your sound barrier (ranges differently in each province/state, check with your municipality)
* Determine the thickness of your sound barrier (thickness usually equates with price)
* Determine the design your sound barrier (some concrete walls have holes, which would not be ideal in reducing noise level)