Wouldn’t it be nice if not only you had some visible privacy from neighbors but also you had a fence that was soundproof to block out the daily noises of traffic and your surroundings? A lot of people don’t think about this as an option that putting a wall up between their home and the world. But more and more realize the issue of incoming noise once already moved in. So I did some research and found the best ways you can build a soundproof fence at home.
So how do you build a soundproof fence? It’s a big checklist but first you’ll need planning permission from your town most likely. Then depending on your style preference and cost you will need to order materials that fit these needs and build a fence that is at least eight feet high in order to be effective.
Material Examples Include:
– Acoustic Timber
– Soundblocker Membrane
– Acoustic Sealant
– Shrubbery and Plants
There are a number of ways to get the job done. Some are more cost-effective than others. First, we can go over how to build the fence itself and the planning steps. Then we can come back and look at cost-effective options from most expensive to least expensive.
If you’ve looked into hiring someone to do the job of building you a soundproof fence, you are probably realizing that it can get pricey. Doing it yourself definitely will cost you much less, just like any other home improvement job. But just like tiling a bathroom takes a lot of calculation and learning before getting right to it, so does building a fence that you want to be soundproof.
If you just starting tiling floors without any thought, it wouldn’t be long until you realized that things are going to line up, the grout looks terrible, and all that time and money you put in has gone to waste. If you don’t take the necessary precautions when doing the same for your fence, you can look at days to weeks of wasted time and thousands of dollars lost.
Here’s a quick instruction list that we can further breakdown.
1) Check with your local town office for a building permit
2) Measuring out the area
3) Ordering ALL the materials for the project
4) Create a building plan
5) Recruit a team
Town Codes and Restrictions
The first thing you will want to do before embarking on this project is to find out what kind of restrictions you may or may not be facing through your town. Sometimes a town may say that fences can be limited to six to eight feet, and sound barrier fences are encouraged to be eight feet for maximum effectiveness.
Materials can also have an impact on whether you can build or not. Typically when it comes to normal fences, this is not as much as an issue, but when it comes to soundproofing, there’s room for error.
You also need to know exactly where your property line is in conjunction with your neighbors, so you aren’t building into their yards IIt seems simple, but this has actually caused many problems for many people and not just over fences. This invisible line can be tricky if there is no current divider already in place.
Even if your property line is clear, it’s always a good idea to give your neighbors a heads up that you will be putting a large structure between your home, and there’s. With such a long process, you wouldn’t want anyone making things difficult for you as you.
Measuring It Out
If you don’t already have some sort of fence in place, this is one of the toughest steps. Figuring out all the numbers. It can be overwhelming without question, but if you go down this bulleted list that contractors follow, too, then it becomes a lot more simplified. Make sure to consider soundproof fences are thicker and should leave room for this.
– Have your restrictions from your town ready (including your property line)
– As a rough outline use spraypaint for your proposed fence
– Measure out the entire thing and spray paint every six to eight feet for posts.
– Take down all the numbers for ordering materials.
Tip: Measuring is a big deal. If your posts are not consistently six or eight feet apart every time you’ll be starting over because things won’t match up. That goes to say for measuring the whole thing out as well and ordering the materials. Overbuying or not having enough is tough either way. With a fence so specific, it’s important to get these things right.
Ordering ALL the Materials
Depending on your measurements, you’ll have to order the appropriate amount of materials for the fencing. But you will also need the tools to build the fence in general. Luckily you can rent out some of the pricier tools from certain home improvement stores.to save on things, you won’t need in the future.
For instance, you will need a post hole digger for the posts you marked apart six to eight feet. You’ll want to dig the hole give or take 33 percent of the total height of the fence. So your soundproof fence maybe eight feet high. Therefore, you want to make a hole about two and a half feet deep.
TIP: AVOID UTILITY LINES AND PIPES. FIGURE OUT WHERE THEY AREBEFOREHANDD.
Other materials you will need is concrete and gravel to fill the post holes as well as a bucket to mix the concrete etc in. Besides the actual fence materials, you also need power tools like drills and more that get through the materials easily and help move the job along.
As far as the soundproof materials, there’s a lot of ways to go about this, and it deserves its own section along with some pros and cons.
Sound Proof Materials
The different ways to go about building your sound barrier are many, but some materials are more effective than others. Sometimes affordability plays a major role as well, so it’s important to understand some of your most popular options and go from there
|Shrubbery/Plants||Usually doesn’t disobey any town restrictions||Least sound dampening|
|Acoustic Timber/Wood||In the middle affordability||Can be hard to set up without sound barrier boards like MLV|
|Mass-loaded Vinyl||The best sound blocking option||Can get expensive|
In short, this is listed from least effective to most effective. However, considering all options is a good idea because sometimes towns or cities have restrictions about tall fences, but technically heavy shrubbery is not one of them and acceptable in some areas. If your town were to have a height limit then nither acoustic timber or mass-loaded vinyl would work.
The key to all the materials is to make it dense and thick without any gaping holes in the “fence” to allow for sound to come in.
Using thick shrubs is the most visually appealing way to stop hearing your neighbors late at night. There is such a thing as noise-blocking plants because sometimes we just don’t have the option to build a massive fence.
When planting the noise blockers, it should be exactly like you would plant hedges. There should be no space in between them, and the plant itself should be so thick and dense you can’t see through to the other side. The consequence of it being this thick is that it will take up a lot more room than a fence would because it would need to be a couple of feet in depth to block out the sound.
Most people recommend Evergreen Shrub as the best noise blocking plant because it’s good all year round, whereas some plants may die off. Plants are the most effective way to block sound, but they are the best looking. It’s recommended if it isn’t doing the best job, add sounds like a water fountain or something similar to help drown out other external noises.
A wood fence might be the second-best option when it comes to soundproofing your yard. It’s not as costly as Mass-Loaded Vinyl and can still get the job done. The only thing to consider is that because you are not buying large panels that are already solid without separation, you will need to choose a wooden fence that has no gaps as well.
For the wooden fence to really work, other builders recommend that the fence has grooves that may bow in and out because of the way sound travels. It is said to be more effective then if the sound were to be essentially banged right out a straight flat wall. Whereas the grooves king of gently recycle the direction of the soundwaves.
Mass-loaded vinyl is what you add on top of a wooden face to full-soundproof your space. It is the step that is going to cost you the most but gives you the least amount of noise. The product itself is sold in rolls, so there is no space at all for sound to get through.
This product is best set up when building the wooden fence from scratch. So this is also something that takes more time than throwing up shrubs or just the wooden fence. It’s not to say you can’t go back and do it, but taking apart your fence is a lot harder than just building one with the mass-loaded vinyl.
TYPES OF MASS-LOADED VINYL
MLV’s come in a lot of variations of thicknesses and weights. Below are some of the different specs to choose from.
– Weights fall between 0.5 pounds per square foot and 2.0 pounds per square foot.
– 1 PSF MLV is 1/8ththick and going up to 2 PSF goes up by ½ and ends up being 1/4thfick
– Density remains the same for the purpose of soundproofing
The Combo Effect
Some people swear by using all three products at the same time. It is the surest proof way to guarantee a peaceful yard. And to go one step further, they even add water fountains and other noisemakers to contribute.
The set up would be all the same with the wooden fence layered with mass-loaded vinyl except in front of the fence you might have the Evergreen shrubs or trees to further enhance the beauty and the soundproof fence. It’s a win-win!
– Coy ponds with fish
– Outdoor speakers playing white noise
Creating a Building Plan
Going right after it is not the best idea because, just like you need your measurements to know how much material you need to order, you also need to know how the weather will affect your timetable, if you’re doing it by yourself, and knowing what problems may possibly arise.
Example: You didn’t research about climate issues when building a fence, so you attempt to do it when it’s 36 degrees out. The first problem you encounter is the ground is frozen from the night before, and digging holes for the posts just isn’t working.
Or consider this:
Example: It’s still chilly out, and you have started the project, but since you are working alone and it’s going to take a long time over the next few weekends, you start and get hit with a big snowstorm and can’t finish the work. Now the materials are just sitting out there unsturdy and could potentially reset you to ground zero when you resume.
Knowing the following can save you a lot of time in the long run when doing your project. In general, the questions like how heavy certain materials will be, are important whether you can do certain parts of the projects by yourself or you’ll need to recruit some help.
Recruiting a Team
This project is grueling work, and if attempted by yourself, it can take double to triple the time to set up if you choose to do it solo. Even having certain people have certain roles can make the job go faster.
|Directions||Keeping things on pace by reading step-by-step instructions.||Saves time, ability to focus on doing the job|
|Handy Man||Helps bring in the right tools at the right time and knowing how to use them||Not having to research how-to videos|
|Heavy Lifter||Someone to give a second pair of hands, which happens often||Not having to continually request and wait for someone’s help when two hands don’t get the job done|
Directions: Going back and forth to read the instructions gets both tedious and time-consuming. Think about when someone reads a recipe to cook. The first time you make the recipe, you probably check it 15 to 20 times. The first time you make the recipe, it may take 40 minutes, but once you know it by heart, it takes 10.
Handy Man: Having someone that knows what tools to use when is also helpful when recruiting people to help you build the soundproof fence. Instead of spending time googling what you need, the person already knows. And better yet, you don’t have to go to Home Depot or Lower’s online for tutorials on how to use them because your friend already knows.
Heavy Lifter: The materials like the mass-loaded vinyl are heavy, or wood planks are incredibly heavy and usually require a two-person team. Having to wait to continue the project because you can’t transport some of the materials or hold them up in place alone is a challenge you will come across many times.
Does Cost Matter
While saving money on home improvement projects is always a good idea, something as complicated as putting in a soundproof fence can be complicated and have a lot of steps involved, as mentioned above. Even with the information provided above, there is still so much information and research out there than can be done.
IF you have the money to hire a professional who has a lot of experience in doing this kind of job, then I think it is money well worth spent. Just for the fact of hiring a team of professionals to get the job done quickly is a bonus enough.
If you aren’t up for hiring a team and spending the money, then I also recommend spending the money on well-reviewed products at the risk of having to re-do the project in years to come. Hopefully, when you do this project, the fence will last 10,20, or more years.
The combo effect is the most expensive but the right way to go. This is something that can also be added in overtime. For instance, you can spend the money at first on the mass-loaded vinyl and wooden planks. Then later, you can go and add the Evergreen shrubbery and trees. Then after that, take on additional expenses like the water fountains and windchimes.