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Ask Adam: How Do I Reduce Outside Noise In My Home?

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This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013 & 2014. Please submit your questions via email.

Q. How can I soundproof our home near the road/in the city for a peaceful night’s rest and increased attractiveness to buyers and renters?

A. Exterior sound is something that a lot of us deal with in Arlington. Without rebuilding your home to completely soundproof it, but there are some things you can do to make it more difficult for sound waves to penetrate your home and disturb your rest.

Here are some ideas you can try:

  • Seal any cracks or holes with caulk or plaster.
  • Use weather stripping around windows and doors.
  • Windows are often a path of least resistance for noise, so if you have older single pane windows, you may want to consider upgrading to double pane windows with a higher level of insulation. Windows have a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating. The higher the rating, the greater the noise insulation. I’ve read that you should look for windows that will provide at least a 5 to 6 decibel improvement.
  • Ensure that the walls and roof of your home are properly insulated. If you add or improve insulation, be meticulous about eliminating gaps.
  • Consider heavy curtains and thick carpet or rugs to dampen sound vibration.
  • Install a solid core door.
  • Replace open turbine roof vents with low profile baffled vents.
  • Add a solid exterior fence or dense vegetation.
  • This one sounds extreme, but some contractors advise adding another layer of drywall.

You may also want to think about adding an indoor water feature to drown outdoor noise with something more soothing. You can do the same outdoors if road noise is disturbing you while you are trying to enjoy time outside.

Depending on how dire your situation is, it may be worth hiring an acoustic expert to provide specific solutions for your noise concerns.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

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