How to Reduce Noise When Living on a Busy Street: 8 Effective Tips

Loud noise coming from a busy street or highway can keep you up at night, so it’s vital to deal with it as soon as you can. If you think that it’s an impossible task and that you’ll have to get used to your new surroundings, don’t worry. The solution is sometimes both cheap and straightforward. For example, you could hang soundproof curtains, block the noise with furniture, or upgrade your windows.

The rest of this article will explain everything you need to know about blocking outside noise. These tips will help you no matter how busy the road you live on is.

1. Hang Soundproof Curtains on Roadside Windows

Heavy, dense soundproof curtains are one of the best, most reliable, and easiest ways to instantly reduce noise coming from a busy street. They’re also a non-invasive and relatively cheap solution, too, which is why it’s typically the first thing I do and recommend doing.

Soundproof curtains are usually made of polyester and are densely woven to make them as sound-absorbing as possible. They’re pretty heavy, too, which helps them block and absorb sound waves.

As explained earlier, most noise coming to your home is airborne, which means that materials like glass and wood will reflect the sound waves. Conversely, soft objects like soundproof curtains will absorb most of the energy of a soundwave to the point that it’ll be hardly audible.

I like the RYB Home Soundproof Curtains. They’re available in 3 or 4 layers and many different colors. The middle layer is detachable, so it allows you to customize the amount of soundproofing you want, and it also makes it easier to wash them.

The only major downside of soundproof curtains is that they won’t let light in. This isn’t too bad if the windows facing the busy street are all on the same side. You can still let the light come in from the other windows around your home.

But if you don’t like the idea of a dark atmosphere in your home, then you’ll likely prefer the following solution.

2. Upgrade Your Windows

One of the best permanent solutions for a noisy room is to upgrade the windows. If you have old windows, then the seals that are supposed to keep the noise out are likely starting to fail.

This is especially true for wooden window frames, as they’re quite porous and block very little noise by nature.

Also, you might notice some draught seeping through the seams on your windows as well.

One trick that you could use on especially bad windows is to keep a lighter near a seam. If the flame flickers or changes directions in any way, then you should upgrade your windows.

Double-pane, noise-isolating windows feature two sheets of glass with a gap between them. They’re completely airtight, so any airborne noise won’t be able to get through them. Triple-pane windows are even better for the same reason, but they also cost significantly more.

The most important thing is that the windows are well-built and don’t let any air through. As long as that box is checked off, they’ll do a great job at reducing noise.

3. Seal the Windows With Weather Stripping

If changing out the window frames and windows isn’t a solution because it’s too expensive, or if it’s a rental and you can’t convince your landlord, you could try applying some weather stripping, aka seal tape, such as this Seal Foam Tape. It’s made of dense EVA foam that blocks any airborne noise that comes into contact with it.

Foam tape is easy to apply. You simply clean your windows and window frames and stick the self-adhesive tape onto the frame. When you shut your window close, the tape will fill out any previous gaps, keeping your home isolated from the outdoor elements.

4. Block the Noise With Furniture

An easy and, more importantly, free method of reducing noise from a busy street is tactically rearranging your furniture.

For example, you can place a bookshelf with books in front of the wall or even the window that faces the street.

Again, it’s important that the furniture is thick and dense so that it blocks the noise, and books are perfect for that. So, brush up on your old collection of books or maybe even buy some second-hand ones just to fill the space.

If you have a narrow coat closet in another room, consider moving it to the problematic area as well. As long as it’s relatively large and heavy, it’ll work great. Do this for all exterior walls, and you’ll notice the difference instantly.

Another option is to move the sofa or bed away from the noisy street. Although it won’t reduce noise, it won’t bother you as much.

5. Soundproof Your Doors

Your doors are just as important as your windows for soundproofing. If your front door directly faces a busy street, you’ll get a lot of noise pollution coming through it.

And the same laws of physics explained above apply here — more mass means more noise absorption. So, if your front door is on the lighter side, e.g., if it’s made of wood and filled with cardboard or if it’s metal but hollow on the inside, then it won’t be able to absorb a lot of noise.

One trick that could help would be to apply mass-loaded vinyl to the door. However, it’s more of a bandaid than a proper solution. Plus, nobody wants their door to be plastered in heavy rubber vinyl.

So, the only real solution here would be to upgrade to a solid door. It also comes with the added benefit of extra protection against burglary!

Another thing you should consider doing is applying weather stripping between the door and the doorframe, just like with windows. This can significantly reduce noise. You should also apply it to your interior doors as well to isolate noise coming into different rooms.

6. Block All Seams and Openings With Acoustic Sealant

Filling out the gaps in your windows and doors will significantly reduce noise from the outside. But those aren’t the only gaps through which noise can enter.

You should fill out all openings in and around your home with a sealant or caulk. Check the walls for any openings for cables or pipes.

Granted, this won’t make as much of an impact as the first five solutions I listed above, but it won’t hurt to try. As a bonus, you’ll see fewer creepy crawlies around the home.

7. Drown Out the Noise With More Noise

If you’ve tried all of the solutions above, you should see a significant improvement. But if the noise still bothers you, or if you just don’t want to listen to random people yelling on the street, you can always drown out the noise with some white noise in your home.

Sometimes, turning on a fan or the TV is all you need to stop hearing the noise coming from the street. If you moved in recently, some pleasant white noise could help you adjust to your new environment.

The theory is that you’d eventually get used to some amount of noise, and it won’t wake you up at night anymore.

So, turn on your favorite TV show or Spotify playlist and ignore the noise coming from the outside.

You could also place the noisemaker externally, i.e., somewhere in front of your window. For instance, if you have a garden fountain or sprinklers, try turning them on.

8. Build a Fence

If you’ve been thinking about building a fence but can’t justify it to the rest of the family, this could be it!

Jokes aside, a brick wall is excellent at blocking noise, especially if it’s more than 6 ft tall. Cars and bypassers are mostly below that level, so the noise coming from them would be reflected back.

If a brick or concrete wall isn’t an option due to the high cost, you could try panels or a hedge wall (either natural or artificial) instead. As a bonus, it’d give you more privacy and add to the resale value of your home.

This is more of a last resort option, though, because isolating your windows, doors, and walls will both be cheaper and more effective.

In Conclusion

Dealing with external noise, especially from a busy road, doesn’t have to be a nightmare. There are multiple solutions, ranging from simple and affordable ones to more involved measures. Every home and noise issue is unique, so it might require a combination of these methods to achieve the quiet haven you desire.

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