Ways to Reduce Noise in a House

Creating a peaceful and quiet home can be a challenge for any homeowner or builder. If you’ve got noisy neighbours, or are affected by heavy traffic, it can become a strain to have constant noise.

Whether you are a current homeowner trying to block out the family next door, or a builder designing a new house on a busy street, these noise reduction tips can help you create a more tranquil home.

How to reduce road noise in house or apartment

If you’re living on a main road, the sound of cars passing can be distracting, especially when the sound isn’t a constant noise but features beeping horns and revving engines!

The main ways to reduce road noise in a house are:

  1. Seal windows and doors that face the road
  2. Invest in double or triple glazed windows
  3. Check your baseboards and walls
  4. Add sound reducing curtains
  5. Choose a solid road-facing door
  6. Install sound-proofing technology or accessories
  7. Reduce noise in the garden

These also work to reduce other kinds of external noise. For example, if you live next to a busy park, music venue or football ground.

A lot of sound-proofing or reducing measures also help to improve home insulation. Read more about each noise reduction tip below…

1. Seal windows and doors that face the road

Inspect your windows and doors for any gaps by feeling near the edge of the windows for any draughts. You can use silicone sealant to repair cracks in door frames and window panes. This will also save money on your heating bill as it will help keep the house warmer too.

2. Invest in double or triple-glazed windows

In order to reduce traffic noise in your apartment or house, consider investing in double-glazed, or triple-glazed windows for an extra barrier against sound. Although this is a more expensive option, it will make a huge difference to the sound coming into your home.

Windows with noise block technology can in fact lead to 50% more noise reduction than standard windows with a reduction of up to 38dB.

You could replace just road-facing windows with triple pane options if you’re looking to stick to a budget. Don’t forget your roof windows too if you have an attic room.

3. Check your baseboards and walls

It’s not just gaps around the windows and doors that can let in more sound – it’s also important to check your walls and baseboards for cracks, holes or gaps. For example, check for gaps around wall outlets, or above or below baseboards. These are relatively easy to fill and will help to reduce noise.

4. Add sound reducing curtains

Thick curtains can help to reduce road noise in a home, particularly if you choose ones specifically designed to reduce sound.

There is a limit in how much noise can be reduced through curtains alone, so it’s useful to combine this with other noise reduction tips to improve the overall peace and quiet in the home.

If you’re trying to reduce noise in an attic room, you’ll need to look into roof window blinds for your pitched windows – as curtains won’t work! Blinds themselves are limited in how much sound they can reduce, but a shutter is much more effective.

For example, our solar shutter for roof windows provides a much more robust roof window cover that will help to reduce noise and can make a noticeable difference in the home.

5. Choose a more solid road-facing door

If your front (or back!) door leads onto a noisy road, you could consider replacing it with a more robust, solid door. Composite doors block more noise than alternative materials, such as uPVC, and have the added bonus of being more burglar proof. They are made out of a combination of materials including wood, plastic and steel. They’re often more expensive than uPVC doors, but provide more robust sound protection.

6. Install sound-proofing technology or accessories

There’s a wide range of sound-proofing accessories that can be used to add additional noise blocking tech into your home.

For example, acoustic foam or tiles can be installed on walls. These aren’t necessarily the most aesthetic choice, but could be a good option if you need to block specific or really loud noise.

You can also get additional glazing film products that can be installed over your windows, amongst other noise reduction tech.

7. Reduce noise in the garden

Reducing noise doesn’t just have to start inside the home. By reducing noise that travels through your garden, you can reduce the volume inside your home too.

Use thick bushes or trees to absorb road noise before it reaches your building. A thick hedge, for example, can be planted between a road and your home. It also helps with adding additional privacy.

7. Reduce noise in the garden

Reducing noise doesn’t just have to start inside the home. By reducing noise that travels through your garden, you can reduce the volume inside your home too.

Use thick bushes or trees to absorb road noise before it reaches your building. A thick hedge, for example, can be planted between a road and your home. It also helps with adding additional privacy.

It’s good to choose evergreen trees or shrubs for this so you can enjoy reduced noise all year around and not just in the summer!

The best way to do this is to arrange plants in layers towards your home. This provides more sound insulation and a thicker barrier.

Brick walls are also great at absorbing sound. They’re more effective than using shrubbery, but can be more expensive depending on the size of your garden and the height of the wall.

Semi-detached house noise reduction

If you live in a semi-detached property or are designing one, it can be a good idea to consider soundproofing the side of the house that connects to the neighbour. The people next door might not be noisy just yet, but people can come and go, and it’s best to be prepared. Alternatively, if you’re the noisy one, you can help your neighbours out by providing an extra noise barrier between the two houses.

1. Rearrange your furniture

Putting bulky furniture against adjoining walls creates a barrier that helps to absorb sound. Bookcases are a great choice as the books create an additional layer of sound protection, but wardrobes also work well – especially when filled with clothes!

This is a great way to start if you don’t want to invest a lot of money into sound-proofing your home.

2. Install acoustic foam or tiles

Installing acoustic foam is another noise reduction method that’s easy to DIY if you’re a homeowner. These can come as sticky tiles that can be easily fixed onto walls. It’s a great method if you’re the noisy neighbour and want to reduce the sound next door have to put up with!

3. Floors

If you can hear a lot of footsteps, doors closing and even are able to hear next door’s TV clearly, then it might well be because your floor joists run into the shared wall. Sound vibrations can carry easily through the joists and into your home.

A more affordable option to help with reducing sound from the floor is to consider your floor insulation: what you’re using as your underlay, as well as the quality of your floor itself. You could consider a thicker underlay or higher quality carpet, which would help to reduce the noise (as well as improve your heating bills!). You could also invest in a rug. However, there’s a limit on how much this will help.

The alternative is talking to a builder about disconnecting the joints from the shared wall. This will be a more expensive option as it involves lifting the floor and changing what’s underneath, but it should make a big difference if you do have shared floor joists.

You should also speak to them about checking the wall and separation under the floor between your own home and the adjoining house – ensuring there are no gaps. It’s fairly common to find bricks missing where the joists meet the adjoining wall. This is a key place sound will enter into your home from the neighbour’s property.

4. Chimney stacks

If you have a chimney against a shared wall, it’s likely that this will be allowing a lot of sound to travel between your properties.

The most effective way to reduce noise coming through a shared wall with a chimney is to remove the chimney stack. If you don’t use your fireplace often, removing the chimney stack allows the whole wall to be more sound-proofed – rather than having to work around it.

5. Check for gaps and cracks

Just as when reducing noise from traffic, when reducing noise between houses, cracks and gaps will let in a lot of sound!

When looking to reduce noise in a semi-detached house, check for gaps around the baseboards, particularly against adjoining walls. Also look at light switches and other wall fixtures. If any have gaps around them, use filler to plug them.

There are a variety of different ways to reduce noise in a home – whether it’s your own or you’re constructing a new build. It will depend on your budget and the scope of the work as to which will be most appropriate.

Looking for sound-insulating roof windows? Try our triple-pane, noise-blocking Ultima Energy windows.

Related articles

Case studies

How to reduce heat loss through windows

In this current economic climate, finding ways to reduce heat loss can be a smart way to reduce bills and m... read more


How to Improve Home Insulation

Improving your home's insulation can be a great way to lower heating bills, reduce your carbon emissions, a... read more

Homeowner Roofer replacing a loose tile

When to replace a roof

Spot the signs that your roof may need attention or replacing. read more

Join our newsletter!

Are you a professional installer, contractor, or housebuilder? Sign up for our newsletter today to be the first to hear about new products, promotions and exclusive offers.

For all other enquiries please complete our contact form on our website.