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best way to strategically soundproof fence line?

best way to strategically soundproof fence line?


Old 08-09-18, 08:05 AM
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Join Date: May 2016
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best way to strategically soundproof fence line?

We just moved into a new place, and the neighbor's AC unit is like a super-loud dentist drill. The video is here if anyone wants to listen: https://youtu.be/A6iYKziRJ64
In real life it is a lot louder.

The attached picture shows where it is in relation to the kitchen door. I'm thinking the problem is the sound goes right through it, then bounces around the whole house, to the point where if the bedroom doors aren't closed you can hear it on the other side of the house.

I wanted to replace the door with a solid, more soundproof one but my wife vetoed it on aesthetic grounds, and in any event that won't help in the backyard or sun room.

So next step is trying to figure out the best type of fencing to cut down the sound. We were going to replace chain link around the whole yard with a gap-less wood fence, but I know wood doesn't cut down sound that much. Is there any material at this section which would make a better option? I was thinking mass-loaded vinyl attached to the already-existing chain link fence there, can that be out on its own or does it have to be protected from the elements? Is there some material that would be better here that I'm ignorant of?

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Last edited by PJmax; 08-09-18 at 08:59 AM. Reason: reoriented picture
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Old 08-09-18, 08:26 AM
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Look on the side of freeways, tall concrete walls are best for directing sound up.

Whatever you put up needs to be solid and as tall as possible for max efficiency.

However, just putting up a small section is not going to help as sound will just go around the ends.
Old 08-09-18, 09:03 AM
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Unfortunately due to the close proximity to your house..... there isn't a whole lot that is going to help.
A big wall may help but it will look just like a big wall.
Old 08-09-18, 09:59 AM
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A tall, massive wall would be the best solution. As already mentioned look at the sound barrier fences along highways. They are tall, long and made of dense material like concrete. Having a rough or seriously textured face on the neighbor's side would help prevent reflection of the sound. A lighter wall like solid wood could help with higher frequency sound but not do as much for lower frequencies like a slamming door. One easy test would be to stand a sheet of plywood up along the fence and see if it blocks enough sound to make a solid fence worthwhile.
Old 08-09-18, 04:29 PM
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Join Date: May 2016
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Thanks for all the advice. I have no illusion that I can reduce it to any great extent, but I was hoping to just blunt the edge of the sound, especially at the higher frequencies. Unfortunately the zoning code here doesn't allow me to go over 6 feet, but I might see if the fencing contractor can replace the fence near the AC unit with another 3 feet of concrete. The way the houses are positioned I think putting something hard directly between the kitchen door and the AC unit should dull the sound.
Old 08-09-18, 05:09 PM
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Tried having a chat with them, allowing them to come in the house and hear how loud it is and offering to pay to have it relocated?
Old 08-11-18, 06:33 AM
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I have been trying to catch my neighbors on both side since we bought the place to say hi but no luck though, it's not the kind of neighborhood where I see a lot of friendly interaction, and there are potential linguistic/cultural barriers (the neighborhood is almost completely Spanish-speaking, older, and Cuban, and we are none of those things). I think a lot of people are renters, too.

I don't think there's any place to move it but I can see down the road offering to buy a whole new exterior unit if they'd accept it. Honestly, if they gave me 10 minutes to work on it with a screwdriver and a few vibration pads I bet I could cut down the sound a bit on my own. I never see them outside, and it seems to not run nearly as much at night (even during those Miami 85 degree/90% humidity nights) so I'm guessing they have a problem with it too.
Old 08-11-18, 07:10 AM
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Just a guess....but look into sheets of sound absorbing/deflecting material that RV owners with front gas engines use under the dog house to keep the noise down...inside the RV.
Old 08-20-18, 08:11 AM
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Let me pontificate further.......sound reflecting material facing the neighbors...and sound absorbing material on your side of the new fence.
Old 08-20-18, 10:19 AM
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I'd first try and go higher- literally.

Sound reflecting panels angled at 45 degrees upward to deflect the noise upward.
Then I'd go green - first, plant as many climbing vines as you can to get as much noise blocking foliage.

Second fill that upper space with "pallet gardens"

and to be extra nice and sell the deal,
I'd ask the neighbor what sort of fresh flowers and fresh herbs they'd like,
or whether they wanted fresh fruits and vegetables on their side;
and make a point of getting the seeds they want.

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