Tune out noisy neighbours

February 23, 2013 -

Innovation in the construction industry can be driven by many factors. For example, an increase in the types and finishes of hardwood flooring has been fuelled by a popular design trend.

tune out noisy neighbourQuartz countertops  low VOC paint, carpeting made from pop bottles — all are a direct result of society’s move toward reusing valuable resources.
The advent of the condo lifestyle has been greatly influenced by an aging demographic as well as the next generation of young professionals. Both are looking for a convenient lifestyle that allows for more leisure time.
For those looking to replace their large family homes with stylish luxurious smaller homes, age-friendly lever door handles, deep tubs with latching doors, wider doorways and flush thresholds have been developed.
High-tech heating and cooling systems and thermostats that can be remotely monitored are a few of the latest products developed to serve those looking for energy efficiency.
Today’s modern glassed walk-in showers and shelf-laden pantries seem to be popular with all demographics.
Legislation can also have an influence as municipalities, including our own, strive to maximize the use of land by requiring new developments to include more lots.
More lots usually translates into smaller lots with smaller homes closer together.
This tightening up of the community is also driving innovation.  Though there’s little that can be done to camouflage the closeness of the neighbours beside and behind, there are ways to tune out the noise.  Quality of life doesn’t have to be sacrificed.
A recent column in the Ontario Home Builders’ industry magazine included a prediction by Don Campbell, a noted Canadian real estate expert, that noise will become a major issue for homebuyers over the next 10 years.
Compounding the issue within single-family neighbourhoods, he says, is the absence of any type of condo rules that impose sound restrictions and the fact that police today have little time to enforce noise complaints.
Below are a few suggestions for reducing outdoor noise, but first you need to understand about sound transmission class (STC) ratings before you choose any products.
Sound transmission class ratings are measurements of a product’s ability to withstand the transfer of airborne sound at different frequencies and are equal to the number of decibels a sound is reduced as it passes through a material.  Generally, the higher the rating the more noise that is blocked.
Soundproofing panels
There are a variety of types of wallboards and panels that can be tailored to any home application to dampen sound — from thicker, denser drywall and acoustic foam soundproofing panels to cloth-wrapped decorative acoustic panels.
Masonry
Masonry products perform exceptionally well in blocking low frequency airborne noise such as plumbing, heating and air conditioning systems, elevators, amplified music, traffic and aircraft.  In addition to being an attractive cladding for your home, masonry offers not only sound protection but also greater fire protection, more energy efficiency and a higher resale value.
Windows
Triple-pane windows can significantly reduce noise levels. By providing a high-level of performance in cold climates they significantly lower heating costs, while preventing the sun’s heat from entering during warmer months.
Insulation
Density of insulation is a key factor to reducing airflow and noise — the denser the insulation the lower the sound transmission. Stone wool products have higher density and because the fibre is non-directional, they provide good sound barriers.
Design/decor
The design components of new homes can also mitigate sound.  Master bedrooms are typically in the rear of the home, but you might consider creating an exclusive master bedroom suite in your lower level for additional privacy and a quieter retreat.
There are also many varieties of draperies that not only block light, but also have noise-dampening abilities.  Upholstered furniture and carpeting with dense underpadding also absorb and soften sound.
Innovation is the norm for the residential construction industry as we strive to meet the ever-changing needs of today’s families and communities.

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