In­ner quiet can make out­side noise seem louder

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - ARI MARANTZ

QI have a ques­tion re­gard­ing out­side noise pen­e­trat­ing in­side my home. Re­cently I have no­ticed that I am hear­ing more out­side noise in­side my home. I can hear my nextdoor neigh­bours hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions, and they are not yelling, it is a nor­mal speak­ing voice. I’ve also no­ticed that I am hear­ing more traf­fic noise as well. My home is 30 years old. I have re­placed all the win­dows and doors and re­cently re­placed all the eave­stroughs, fas­cia and sof­fits. It was shortly af­ter I re­placed the eaves, fas­cia and sof­fits I no­ticed the in­crease in noise. The sof­fits have small per­fo­ra­tions which I was told was for air cir­cu­la­tion in the at­tic area of my home. Could th­ese per­fo­ra­tions be the cause of the in­creased noise, and if so, how can I rem­edy this? Would in­creas­ing the in­su­la­tion in the at­tic and walls help? I’ve also heard about an in­side paint coat­ing that will add some sound buffer­ing. I’d ap­pre­ci­ate any ad­vice you can of­fer. Thanks, Lor­raine Stephen. AN­SWER: Changes in noise lev­els within a home from ex­ter­nal sources are of­ten due to a change in the en­vi­ron­ment rather than any­thing with the home it­self. Up­grad­ing win­dows, doors and ex­te­rior trim should only im­prove noise re­duc­tion rather than in­crease it. Ex­plor­ing changes to your life­style or other en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors may yield the an­swers you seek. Re­plac­ing old sof­fits, eave­stroughs and fas­cia with more mod­ern alu­minum ones may in­crease ven­ti­la­tion to the at­tic, but should have lit­tle ef­fect on any noise level within the home. Even if the older wooden sof­fits have been com­pletely re­moved, there should be lit­tle in­crease in noise ex­cept within the at­tic it­self — un­less there’s no in­su­la­tion on the at­tic floor. The only noise is­sue with your new metal trim would be move­ment or whistling dur­ing high winds. That type of move­ment may only oc­cur due to ex­cess vi­bra­tion if the sof­fits are not prop­erly se­cured. Re­plac­ing 30-year-old win­dows with new ones will of­ten re­duce noise as­so­ci­ated with poorly sealed older mod­els. If your old win­dows had de­te­ri­o­rated weath­er­strip­ping or hard­ware, they would not only al­low air to leak, they could al­low more sound from out­side to in­fil­trate. Hav­ing new win­dows, likely vinyl with dual- or triple-pane sealed units, should make your home more re­sis­tant to ex­te­rior noise. If you no­tice the sounds specif­i­cally near the win­dows, there could be a prob­lem with in­stal­la­tion or the win­dow them­selves. I fre­quently see newer win­dows in­stalled with­out re­mov­ing ship­ping blocks or pads that can pre­vent proper clos­ing. Also, if you have case­ment or awning win­dows, en­sure all of the cam-locks are tightly closed. The only way the win­dows may be more por­ous to sound is if you have re­placed good qual­ity, triple-pane case­ment win­dows with dual-pane slid­ers. Slid­ing win­dows do not seal as well as case­ments and tak­ing away the ex­tra pane of glass would re­duce both ef­fi­ciency and sound-dead­en­ing. If the mod­i­fi­ca­tions to your home have not caused the in­creased noise, then what is the cul­prit? Look at whether some­thing in the ex­te­rior or in­te­rior en­vi­ron­ment has re­cently changed. Do you have chil­dren or fam­ily mem­bers who have moved away? Did you have pets that are no longer in the home? Have you cut down trees or veg­e­ta­tion near the house or in the yard? Have your neigh­bours made any mod­i­fi­ca­tions, such as a new high-ef­fi­ciency fur­nace that may be vent­ing near your walls? Any or all of th­ese items may cre­ate more or less noise af­fect­ing your per­cep­tion. Ex­te­rior fac­tors that are louder than be­fore may ap­pear ob­vi­ous, but changes in your life­style that re­duce noise within the home can be more in­sid­i­ous, and of­ten more to blame. Many homes are loud and bois­ter­ous when kids are home, or tele­vi­sions, ra­dios, or stereos are on. The lack of th­ese may not be that no­tice­able, but the damp­en­ing fac­tor will be. This “white noise” fac­tor can be sig­nif­i­cant in block­ing other sounds that may al­ways have been present, but are now no­tice­able be­cause of the lack of more fa­mil­iar ones. Some­thing as sim­ple as re­plac­ing old, noisy dish­wash­ers, fur­naces, or clothes dry­ers may have re­duced in­door sounds that block ex­ter­nal ones. If you dis­cover the cul­prit is re­duced in­door noise, find­ing some­thing to re­place the hub­bub may be the an­swer. Turn­ing on talk ra­dio pro­grams, mel­low mu­sic, or other sources of pleas­ant noise may drown out the an­noy­ing sounds from out­side. Mask­ing the per­ceived louder out­side noise may be more ef­fec­tive than any sound-damp­en­ing paint or in­su­la­tion meth­ods. Ari Marantz is the owner of Trained Eye Home In­spec­tion Ltd. and the past pres­i­dent of the Cana­dian As­so­ci­a­tion of Home & Prop­erty In­spec­tors — Man­i­toba (cahpi.mb.ca). Ques­tions can be emailed to the ad­dress below. Ari can be reached at 204-291-5358 or check out

his web­site at trained­eye.ca.

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