How do I reduce road noise?

  • 5 minutes
  • 18 May 2018

One of the most common residential questions we receive is how to reduce road noise. Discover the key elements to help reduce traffic noise in your backyard and the ModularWalls solutions to achieve your goals.

VogueWall PortPhilipBay VIC | Block Noise Walls

The three key elements to effectively reduce road noise are:

  1. Noise barriers within 10 metres of the road
  2. Quality acoustic fences or noise walls
  3. White or pink noise to mask traffic sounds

Proximity to the road

A noise barrier needs to be close to the road to reduce road noise effectively. The wall or fence has to physically reflect or ‘bounce’ the noise away before it gets to the house. Furthermore, sound travels differently the farther it travels. For the first 10 metres, sound travels in straight lines; after that, it changes to vertical waves, getting bigger as they travel.

What does this mean for reducing road noise? It means that it’s best if your noise barrier is located within that first 10m. If it’s 20-30m away, your noise wall or acoustic fence will have to go higher to reduce the noise. After 30m, that traffic noise disperses into the air around you, making it incredibly difficult to reduce it anymore.

VogueWall | Blocking Noise

Acoustic fencing and noise walls

An acoustically rated fence or wall can efficiently reflect road noise, especially when designed and installed specifically for your needs. As mentioned above, the wall or fence will work best if built within the first 10 metres of the road. But it must meet other factors as well:

  • Density: A noise barrier requires a certain density to perform acoustically. For instance, brick, block and modular walls offer strong noise reduction benefits. However, steel and timber do not usually have the density to reduce noise
  • No gaps: Noise, like water, can trickle through any gaps. For best acoustic performance, ensure your acoustic fence or wall sits flush with the ground and is solid all the way to the top.
  • Height: As a general guide, the line of sight is a good judge of whether the sound can still reach you. If your wall is too low, noise can easily spill over the top. If you’re on the high side of the street, you’ll need a higher wall to reduce traffic noise.
ModularWalls VogueWall | Blocking Noise

How to reduce traffic noise in your backyard with ModularWalls

ModularWalls offer four solutions to help reduce road noise from your home. All meet the criteria of no gaps, density and height mentioned above. As a result, all ModularWalls fence and wall systems offer a noise reduction of up to 25 decibels (25dB).

SlimWall with steel or aluminium posts reaches heights of 2.1 metres and comprises a 50mm thick panel*. SlimWall is perfect for dividing and boundary fences and more.

SlimWall fence

TrendWall with aluminium posts reaches heights up to 3 metres and comprises a 75mm thick panel*. TrendWall makes a perfect pool wall and acoustic barrier, and privacy fence.

TrendWall | ModularWalls | block road noise

ModularWalls TrendWall

VogueWall with steel posts reaches heights of 3 metres and comprises a 75mm thick panel*. VogueWall is perfect for tall front walls, noise and boundary walls offering a rendered masonry look.

VogueWall Glenhaven NSW ThreeBirds 11 | block road noise

ModularWalls VogueWall

EstateWall with steel posts reaches heights of 3 metres and comprises a 75mm thick panel*. EstateWall offers our widest posts for those wanting the look of a rendered masonry wall for their front wall, feature wall or grand entrance.

EstateWall HarringtonPark | block road noise

ModularWalls EstateWall

For an acoustic comparison of different types of fencing, please read our blog: 10 Different Types of Fencing.

Drown out road noise with white noise

If it’s a steady hum of tyres you still hear, white or pink noise could be the final step to a perfectly peaceful home. You may have heard this as a noise control measure for office spaces or the nursery of a very sound-sensitive newborn; here’s how it could help you reduce traffic sounds.

White noise combines different types of frequencies, similar to static sound. However, since human ears can only process a set number of frequencies at once, it uses a greater level of ‘hearing power’ to hear the white noise; this can help mask other irritating noises.

Pink noise follows the same principles. However, it focuses on lower frequencies, making it more similar to the sounds of nature — the crash of waves, the trickle of a stream, a rushing breeze. These natural sounds can reduce stress and boost overall happiness while seamlessly fitting into any outdoor setting.

Items such as wind chimes, water features, or even DIY white noise machines can help you tackle that last, lingering thrum of traffic and reduce road noise for good.

All in all, remember the three key elements to reduce road noise. Then ensure your new fence or wall system consists of solid panels, a dense material, and an adequate height to reduce traffic noise in your backyard. With all boxes ticked, you will undoubtedly enjoy the peace and privacy your new fence offers.

*The maximum height attainable for the different wall types will be influenced by various factors, including wind regions, soil conditions, topography and shielding.