Noise can negatively impact your quality of life. Outside noise can interfere with the enjoyment of your house, leading to disruptions in sleep, making it difficult to work from home, and generally disturbing your day-to-day life. Luckily, there are exterior renovations you can make to help keep your home quiet on the inside. Here we explain how to reduce outside noise inside your home with four types of exterior renovations, as well as which ones are the most effective and affordable.
How To Reduce Outside Noise Inside Your Home
There are four exterior renovations that help reduce outside noise inside your home:
1. Reduce Outside Noise With Windows
Double- or triple-paned windows help reduce noise thanks to their multiple panes of glass. If you’re thinking, “I already have double-paned windows,” opting for triple-paned will make a big difference. If your windows are over 10 years old, they become less effective at reducing noise because the integrity of the low e gas has started to deteriorate. New windows have improved noise reduction, including multiple panes, gas, and insulating frames. All these things work together to dampen outside sounds. Also, professionally installed windows replace not just the windows but the caulking, which helps reduce noise even further.
2. Reduce Outside Noise With Doors
New entry doors create a tight seal to reduce noise. The combination of steel or fibreglass with Energy Star certified insulation helps absorb noise, so things such as traffic, loud music, construction, etc., are dampened. If you also replace old sliding glass doors, they offer the same noise buffering benefits as new windows.
3. Reduce Outside Noise With Masonry
Concrete and brick masonry act as noise control, helping diffuse common incident noise that enters your home. Both are effective sound absorption materials that affect how sound enters and leaves your home. Cultured stone is a cement product designed to create a natural stone look with the noise-absorbing powers of concrete. Brick comes in a number of designs and can also work well to reduce outside noise.
4. Reduce Outside Noise With Siding
Siding, like masonry, can help reduce noise, especially foam-backed vinyl siding. Foam has a very absorbent effect on noise, helping to keep it from penetrating your walls.
The Most Effective Exterior Renovation To Reduce Noise
While the answer to this question is: ‘Investing in all three exterior noise-reducing renovations (masonry is a form of siding) work best’… this isn’t always possible from a budget standpoint. In this case, picking just one, we recommend window replacement. Windows cover more areas of your home’s exterior and also tend to be the most vulnerable. Additionally, they offer three layers of sound buffering features:
- Glazing: As mentioned, double- and triple-paned windows dampen and dissipate noise, keeping your home quiet and reducing even loud sources of noise such as heavy traffic or construction.
- Spacers and Frame: Sound moves faster through metals and slower through air. If your windows have metal spacers, they act as a volume enhancer. However, today’s new windows use cellular spacers that are energy-efficient while helping to absorb sound. Combined with vinyl frames, they work like insulating foam.
- Gas: Low e gas is the final layer of noise absorption offered by new windows. Gas has an insulating effect that also works to dampen noise.
As mentioned, the addition of new caulking completes the sound reduction features of your new window installation. However, if your windows are relatively new and you’re still experiencing noise issues, you’ll have to consider either new doors or an exterior makeover with masonry or siding to get the most noise-reducing effect possible.
The Most Affordable Exterior Renovations To Reduce Noise
Cost is relative to the size of your home. All four exterior renovations discussed above are obviously more affordable for a small home such as a bungalow. We always advise our customers to arrange a free quote from our exterior renovation experts to get a better handle on cost. However, there are other ways you can make your exterior renovations more affordable, including:
- Address the Noise Source: Replace the windows at the front or back of the home if you find the noise sources are louder in one area. For example, if a train line or highway runs behind your home, replacing the back windows can help. On the other hand, if you live on a major road, you might consider replacing your front windows to reduce traffic noise.
- Consider ROI: Another consideration is the expected ROI on your exterior renovations. This might seem irrelevant, but it allows you to earn back more of your investment if you plan to sell in the next five years. According to the 2021 Cost vs Value report, ROI for sound-reducing renovation options are as follows:
- Manufactured stone veneer: 92%
- Vinyl windows: 69%
- Vinyl siding: 68%
- Entry door: 65%
- Curb Appeal: Along with ROI, consider which exterior changes will add extra benefits, such as curb appeal. All four options offer curb appeal, with windows adding the least impact and masonry/siding adding the most. Because an entry door is smaller, it will be the least noticeable. However, if the rest of your home already looks good, an updated entry door can create a more welcoming exterior. Also, you can up the curb appeal factor for windows by choosing a more modern design and colour.
- Get Quotes: As mentioned, you should always get quotes for all your options to make an informed decision. Never make assumptions about cost, as specifics of your home will impact price in very different and often unexpected ways.
- Energy Savings: Energy efficiency has a big impact on your decision, as major energy savings will help reduce energy costs. These savings can help pay for your noise-reducing renovations. Even masonry helps improve energy efficiency. The best energy savings of the four options discussed is probably windows. But don’t discount the benefits of simply replacing an older sliding door with a new, energy-efficient slider to reduce noise and energy use.
- Government Rebates: Look into the different energy efficiency rebates available to see if they can help offset the cost of your exterior renovations. You might find you can access provincial and federal rebates to make your renovations far more affordable.
For more information about noise-reducing exterior renovations or to arrange for a free quote, click here.