Many people move to the countryside to get a better quality of life and part of that is removing themselves from the hustle and bustle. The effects of excess noise have been found to negatively affect our health. Even here in Somerset, you might find noise encroaching upon your home so what is there you can do about it? Let’s look at the various options available to you.
Copenhagen’s Danish Cancer Society Research Centre found that couples living near high traffic areas look 6 months to a year longer to conceive than those who lived in quieter locations. Sleep difficulties are known to affect fertility and the researchers suggested the traffic noise caused the problems for these couples.
Some forms of sound-proofing are more disruptive than others. One easy way to improve sound quality in your home is the addition of double glazing. Even better however is the addition of secondary glazing, which is where you add another window inside the original. They are bulkier but because the air gap between the original and the secondary glazing is deeper, it increases the effectiveness for sound-proofing. Andrew Burns, director of Atelier MB Architects in Manchester
says if you do go for double glazing, choose glass with two different thicknesses because ‘these will vibrate at different rates and be more effective at blocking sound’.
If you need a recommendation locally for someone to help with your windows, please do get in touch with us at Orchards Estates and we can point you in the right direction.
Houses built with timber frames allow sound to travel through the walls. This can include properties built in the 30s or 40s and new builds. If the walls are masonry, the stone blocks sound. Adding an extra stud wall can help create a muffler. ‘Sound insulation is all about layering,’ says Burns.
For doorways, you might consider Enfield Speciality Doors — acoustic doors, which are said to shut out unwanted sound. Poppy Szkiler, founder and managing director of Quiet Mark, says: ‘Acoustic design should be made a priority, so we can all live in a healthy aural environment. If we all choose to buy quieter, high-performing products, we can transform our soundscape.’
Apartments might have noise coming through floors and it is possible to add a floating floor. It is a type of foam-backed floorboard and extra insulation between the floor joists at the same time.
There are some fewer structural improvements you can make as well. There are curtains designed with soundproofing in mind. Layering and thicker curtains can help.
If the exterior noise bothers you, Forest Garden’s Decibel Noise Reduction Fence Panels are another option. The clever design of interlocking panels and a thick frame prevent noise from passing through the more traditional style.
If the noise is coming from building works, the law stipulates building sites can only work between 7.30 am and 6 pm on weekdays, 8.30 am and 2 pm on Saturdays, and not at all on Sundays or bank holidays.
‘The laws regarding noise nuisance are standard and governed by the Environmental Protection Act 1990. You can report the noise to your council,’ explains Danielle Clements, a specialist in property disputes at Gorvins solicitors in Stockport.
‘With building work, the construction company could apply in advance for consent from the council. However, if they don’t, then the council could serve a notice. If the company fails to comply, they can be prosecuted and fined.’
Statutory noise nuisance laws don’t apply to traffic or planes except model airplanes. For us here and the helicopters, the only answer is earplugs.