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Noise-Proof Glass Ratings

Aug 31, 2008
So, your home is too near the road and noise is a problem. Nowadays we have the technology to tackle many aspects of these problems, for instance glass with differing Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings.

Many of the interesting older homes were built on smaller lots and when the little trail that ran past the home became wider and wider, the home lost much of its front yard. Not to mention the fact that 8 cylinder engines make more noise than a pony and cart!

Noise is a factor in homes and also in yards, but there are solutions. The first place to tackle it is in the home. Forget about double insulation and storm doors if you have not taken care of your windows first; the most noise will travel through glass.

Double or insulated glassed units (IGUs) are imperative and using a high rate STC glass is also imperative. A regular pane of glass is usually rated at a 22/25 STC rating, whereas double glass as in an IGU will have a combined STC rating of maybe 27-32.

If you plan on putting in double glazed IGUs, and you use a high rate STC glass, you will notice a difference in the decibels entering your home. Two panes of glass with a rating of STC 33 each will make the difference you want.

Once you have helped your internal noise levels, any exterior improvements you make to block out the noise will add to these internal improvements.

Unless you regularly have semi trailers thundering past your front door, most of the noise from vehicles comes from their wheels. This means that you need to block out noise at ground level. Wrought iron fences, trellis work fences or bushes can be improved upon as these all let noise through them.

Start with a sturdy wall, five foot high made of concrete blocks or of brick. On your side of the fence, plants a back row of trees such as holly, Japanese Yews and Canadian Hemlock (the shorter specimen) or the fast-growing fir trees.

In front of these nearer to your home plant a row of hedge. Privet hedges (liqustrum) are traditional favorites for hedging but laurel or fir can also be used. Take advice at the nursery about which type of fir will bush out as you do not want a tall fir here. After a year or two growth you will not be able to see the wall (or hear the noise).

Once this is done you must decide where your 'quiet place' in the back yard will be. Near to this you can add a fountain. Attractive fencing sections and the fronds of bamboo trees and bushes will help privacy and noise. (Did you know that bamboo grows six times faster and taller than a regular North American tree and is the fastest growing tree you can buy?)

If the noise is also bothersome in the front yard, another fountain can be positioned in the front, but it must be near to the house, not near to the traffic noise. Try to choose a fountain that is moving substantial amounts of water, in order to have strong noise - a little trickle may be lost!
About the Author
Virginia Wherland is an experienced Minneapolis real estate agent. Virginia and her team can help you find the property you need in the Minnetonka real estate market. Get more information at AssociatesRealty.net.
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