Author Topic: Reducing traffic noise in rental?  (Read 5418 times)

Bearded Man

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1142
Reducing traffic noise in rental?
« on: April 11, 2015, 09:39:37 AM »
My starter house is currently a rental and has been for the past 2 years. I paid cash for it so it would be nice to move into it for retirement since the expenses are so low and it is very foot, bike, transit and car friendly (easy access to major freeways. Not the greatest neighborhood but not bad either, it's not a ghetto.

My only gripe was really the traffic noise. It's on a side street with no sidewalks, bus lanes or stores and it is not a major street but there are stop lights at each end of the road about a mile or so down so you still get a fair number of cars every few minutes, 3-5 at a time during the morning and even commutes as people use it as a short cut. Outside of that, it's maybe a car every few minutes After 7 or 8 pm it's fairly dead.

Of course the house is about 20 yards from the road, and it's an older house. Back in the 40's they didn't have much traffic on this road. In any case, the swoosh of cars passing drove me nuts after about 2.5 years. Actually I could not stand it after the first month and ended up having to live with white noise or a fan on all the time until I found my next house, though I eventually moved because in the summer, all the boom cars and motorcycles come out which is aggravating as well.

One thing I've considered doing is getting triple pane windows (currently double) and some soundproofing material/soundproofing that is done by a professional subject matter expert. Also, I've considered that if I move back into it, I could turn the back bedroom into the living room. It faces the back yard with a nice view of a huge yard and has lot's of windows. There is less road noise in that room, which is where I would spend the majority of my time.

Alternatively, I could just keep it as a rental. My tenants don't seem to mind the traffic noise. I could also sell it and use the money to buy a condo (top floor not too bad noise wise, right?) or a house far enough from the city/jobs that it is easily purchased with the proceeds from the sale of this one.

money_bunny

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 114
Re: Reducing traffic noise in rental?
« Reply #1 on: April 12, 2015, 06:52:46 AM »
It's something you are noticing that is annoying you. No matter what you do, you will be attuned to it.

How does this scenario play out in your mind: "You go outside to get the paper, you hear the cars." What is your reaction?


mc6

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 242
Re: Reducing traffic noise in rental?
« Reply #2 on: April 12, 2015, 09:12:24 AM »
The house sounds good.  Could you add some heavy, heavy curtains to the loudest windows?  Triple pane windows sound good too.  Maybe some wall hangings too? 

zinethstache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 828
  • Location: Anywhere USA
  • FIREd 1/27/2017
    • My FIRE Hobby and travel blog
Re: Reducing traffic noise in rental?
« Reply #3 on: April 12, 2015, 10:34:11 PM »
This winter I slept in our living room to recover from surgery. During that recovery I was there 7 x 24 for a month and got to know the traffic patterns very well. I've never slept out there, nor been "planted" in that room for any length of time so I was surprised at the consistent hum of traffic. Our master bedroom faces a side dead end road one one side with a slider to the back yard and it is very quiet. I was situated right by the big window in the living room. it is about 20 feet off the main road, our road is 25mph, but no one goes that of course. I like your plan to rearrange the layout for optimal quiet. I think you will be happy with the result.

adamcollin

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 154
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Texas
Re: Reducing traffic noise in rental?
« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2015, 01:13:21 AM »
Hey, I found this link. It may help you.
http://homeguides.sfgate.com/stop-road-noise-house-72379.html

bruce88

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 22
Re: Reducing traffic noise in rental?
« Reply #5 on: April 13, 2015, 01:26:25 AM »
This topic came up at a real estate broker roundtable a few years back.  These ideas were best:

The best solution for indoor noise is double/triple pane windows.  Also, at night, use a low volume floor fan to "mask" the noise.

For outdoor/back yard enjoyment, "mask" the traffic noise with a water feature:  water fall, gurgling fountain, etc.

Spondulix

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 643
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
Re: Reducing traffic noise in rental?
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2015, 02:18:13 AM »
Some friends of mine have a house near a major international airport that had window retrofits after new runways were added (years before they moved in). Their house has two sets of double paned windows - the existing window, and then a retrofit that was added outside. They have to physically open two windows, but it's pretty amazing how quiet the house is inside.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3057
  • Location: Emmaus, PA
Re: Reducing traffic noise in rental?
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2015, 05:54:17 AM »
Same deal with a train line, the windows are key? Considering a rehab a block from 35 trains a day.

clarkfan1979

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1921
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Pueblo, CO
Re: Reducing traffic noise in rental?
« Reply #8 on: April 13, 2015, 08:31:48 PM »
What about landscaping? Some trees and bushes could help deaden the noise.

Spondulix

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 643
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
Re: Reducing traffic noise in rental?
« Reply #9 on: April 13, 2015, 11:22:09 PM »
What about landscaping? Some trees and bushes could help deaden the noise.
Seasonally... I lived next to a highway (but with lots of trees and such to help with sound) and the sound was much louder during the winter vs summer.

JLR

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 494
  • Location: Australia
Re: Reducing traffic noise in rental?
« Reply #10 on: April 14, 2015, 06:43:29 AM »
Depends on what you plant.

We noticed a big uptick in summer street noise at our rental last year, not because of different driving habits, but simply because we had the (cheap single pane) windows open in the summer. It was amazing how much noise was blocked by the windows.

We  had moved in in the summer and the noise was terrible. Over the winter it wasn't so bad. I thought we had just gotten used to it. Then when the weather heated up again and we started opening the windows all that noise was back. We hadn't grown used to it at all.

babysteps

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 119
  • Location: Southern Tier NY State
Re: Reducing traffic noise in rental?
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2015, 08:28:36 AM »
Lots of good advice in this thread.

As someone who grew up in earshot of an airport (thankfully the used-5%-of-time flight path) and lived for 15 years in sight of I-95 in the commuter zone of CT, if it is for your own comfort, wait until you live there for a few weeks or months before spending any $.  Then try the white noise ideas first.  You can get used to a lot!!

One thing not mentioned yet, if you are planning on living in the house for many years, and the noise is bothersome, you might look into "passive house" standards (super energy efficient via a very tight building envelope).  While passive house retrofits don't necessarily get you to the super-energy-efficiency of a newbuild passive house, they can drastically cut energy costs and, as a side benefit, are also highly sound-abating. 

Might be more $ than you want to spend all at once though - if so, you can do in phases.  The advice I've seen that makes sense is that for a given amount of $, making one element at a time (windows, insulation, roof...) super good is better than making everything a little better all at once.

ps, on sound-retrofitting, if you are handy you may not need an expert.  Most of the materials that claim to be sound abating have pretty detailed "how to" instructions & standards.

malacca

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 229
  • Location: Malaysia!!!
Re: Reducing traffic noise in rental?
« Reply #12 on: April 16, 2015, 02:02:11 PM »
Dual pain windows.

New or special insulation.

Fence. There are some composite materials with sound absorbing properties.

Thick brush, shrubs or pine trees don't really work. I have a forest in front of one property that doesn't do crap.

Spend some time in a busy city like Seoul, Bangkok or NYC. After a while noise just 'disappears.'

powskier

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 373
Re: Reducing traffic noise in rental?
« Reply #13 on: July 09, 2015, 11:51:26 PM »
When replacing roof we went from R20 insulation to R40, this made a huge noise difference.
Single pane to triple pane also helped. Basically adding thickness will help attenuate noise.
Ear plugs work too and are far cheaper.