Noise from neighbors, solutions?

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Hello All,
I'm glad to see this is such an active group! Hopefully someone here can help me.
I live in a 121 home residential complex. It happens that a road runs behind the row of homes in the complex where my house is. On that same road outside the complex there is a small community of about 10 homes. Unfortunately we hear everything and we are directly behind one of the nosiest houses on the block. Ofcourse there is the party from time to time which doesn't bother me too much but I can even hear my neighbors having a conversation on their porch in regular voices.
To start our back wall is almost 2 meters high from the road. However due to the fact that our property is raised up, on our side of the fence we only see about 1 meter of this wall. On top of the wall I have an arched iron fence that goes up another 2 meters in the middle and about 1 meter on the sides where it attaches to 2 meter columns on either side of the fence..
What do I want to accomplish:
- Reduce the talking I hear from these neighbors.
- Attempt to reduce the yelling I hear from the neighbors.
- Attempt to reduce the music when they have parties.
Really the only thing I cannot do is change the "architectural harmony" of the complex, meaning I cannot remove the iron fence and replace it with a solid structure.
In asking around I have found that these options might work for me:
1. Build a concrete block wall inside my property directly behind the existing wall. The problem will be that unless I can get 2/3 of the residents to agree to a slight modification of the architectural harmony I cannot put the wall straight accross at the top, it would need to follow the arch of the iron fence, so I would only gain a meter of sound protection.
2. Build an iron frame, wrap both sides with 1" Concrete Board and and fill it with Fiber Glass insulation.
3. Buy a ready made sound reduction solution (the ones they use to block noise from highways) unfortunately this is quite expensive because I live in Costa Rica and there is nothing here for that so i'll need to bring it from the states and just the shipping will kill me.
Thanks in advance for your help!
Nick
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Move
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On Fri, 16 Apr 2010 09:16:09 -0700 (PDT), Nick Aron

Earplugs , $1.09 for 6 pairs at Walmart.
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== Do what some merchants do in Edmonton AB to keep the kids from overrunning their businesses at noon-hour...set up big speakers and play "classical" music endlessly (trial basis only). Kinda like fighting fire with fire. Maybe THEY will move or change their ways. ==
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You've only got two choices:
1. Learn to live with it. Unless you're a psycho nutcase that blows up with rage every time you hear the slightest peep from the neighbors, you will get desensitized to the noise and eventually it won't seem nearly as loud as it does now.
2. Move. There is very little except enclosing your entire property in a soundproof bubble that is going to get rid of the noise, or even reduce it. If it's bothering you that much you shouldn't have moved there in the first place.
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On Fri, 16 Apr 2010 10:16:51 -0700 (PDT), snipped-for-privacy@rochester.rr.com wrote:

I've had about 6 different next door neighbors since I've been here, and not a one of them has asked me before buying their house what it was like here. None of them tried to feel me out if I had loud parties played my stereo loud. They just took their chances.
I otoh checked what traffic was like between my prospective house and the xway; I visited this townhouse n'hood at 11PM to see if there was enough parking, and I asked my only next-door neighbor what the place was like, if it was quiet. She said it was, they had no complaints.
Well it turned out it WAS quiet, except for the woman I asked. They had a dog that the let out after I went to bed and before I got up, and it barked constantly while it was out. There was no way I could get 8 hours sleep. Fortunately, they had a baby and then got rid of the dog, but the first year was bad. Next time I move, I'll ask the next door neighbors and the neighbors on the far side of each of them.
I don't have neighbors behind me, and I don't know if I would have checked them out if I did.
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Are you trying to stop the noise that reaches you inside your house? Or outside? There are a lot of soundproofing construction solutions for inside but they tend to get expensive. Outside, probably hopeless if you can't extend the barrier up any.
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wrote:

Mask the sound with falling or spraying water features in your yard.
This is the common solution. You can't possibly block the sound. You will need to mask it.
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I believe you're right. I live on a street with outrageous neighbors, I turn on fans and a noise machine at night. During the day, I turn the TV fairly loud, but I'm moving in the not so distant future. Problem solved...hopefully.
--
Cheri


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wrote:

Good idea.

What steps are you taking to make sure your next home won't have the same problem?

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snipped-for-privacy@dog.com wrote:

Water features in conjunction with a planting screen-wall which could be a trellis with dense ivy or similar suitable to the area and climate. The screen to block / absorb much of the sound and the water feature to mask what sound does get through.

You can block sound (anti-noise), but it certainly isn't practical for residential use.
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My buddy an electronic repair technician had a shop across the street from a trailer park. A new couple moved in that fought all the time usally after he had closed up shop and went home which was also at the same location. One night he recorded the on going fight and then played it back to them the next morning through 4000 watts of PA system. He never heard another peep out of them.
Jimmie
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Wow so many replies. Thanks for your comments.
OK I'm not going to move, I didn't know the noise was a problem until after I bought the house. How could you know such a thing without living there? Sometimes you don't. None the less I'll NEVER make that mistake again, even if I need to stay in the house for a night. Maybe in a couple years I'll move when I can afford it.
The noise I'm trying to diminish is in my backyard. I have two huge patio doors that I love to leave open because the fresh air that blows in is very nice and refreshing.
The problem is not low frequency noise, the problem is with voices which usually fall into the higher frequencies. I don't care about the occasional bass that comes from them.
The problem is their talking and voices. They are lower income homes and they will not co-operate. Their language is atrocious and I'm about to have a baby girl whom I really don't want listening to those things.
I can also put inside my property a concrete block wall right behind the existing wall. I believe this is the best solution.
The other solution would be the steel frame and concrete board with fiber glass. This would be cheaper than a brick wall.
I wish it would be as simple as recording and playing it back, people here don't care. If they do care enough then they might end up poisoning my dog or something else retarded.
I would certainly like to add a water feature in future and will certainly look into that when I look at building a wall.
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How does building an additional wall behind the existing one not alter the "architectural harmony" and not require the uber ridiculous 2/3 majority approval vote or whatever special act of the homeowners congress to get permission ?
I wouldn't build that additional wall out of concrete, look at the sound isolation barrier walls built along highways... They are really tall and usually made of wood... It sounds like your idea of building a slightly higher wall wouldn't bring much of a return on the costs involved since it would still not be tall enough to be an effective sound barrier...
Can you plant tall shrubbery along that wall without asking the uber ridiculous 2/3 majority approval vote or whatever special act of the homeowners congress to get permission ? Short of building a much taller wall than you think you really need, planting a thick barrier of dense trees along the noisy property line is probably a better idea...
~~ Evan
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On Sat, 17 Apr 2010 00:52:22 -0700 (PDT), Evan

My house came with, not for noise reduction, but to delineate boundaries, 5 privet bushes. They grow up to iirc 4 feet higher every year. Someone should look that up to be sure, but I think maybe it was even more, a foot a month during growing season. Maybe the first year is slow before their roots get established. They require no maintenance except trimming.
Hmmm. There is more than one kind "Privet shrubs reach a height of 4'-15" I looked at a 4 sites and didnt' get the detailed description I read somewhere before about growth rate, only "fast".
You can buy them cheaply online, but if it's anything like the cherry tree I bought, it would be worth buying locally. They might start off 3 feet taller with a lot more roots. I'm not sure. I didn't plant these. But the cherry tree was just a stick 2 feet long with some straggly roots. At a local nursery they have them 3 or 4 feet tall, full of branches and flowers and a root ball that's correspondingly big. Save at least 2 years.
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When you are planting trees or shrubs for sound deadening purposes you don't buy sticks and twigs and seedling plants...
You have to spend real money and buy nearly fully grown specimens...
~~ Evan
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On Sat, 17 Apr 2010 23:02:39 -0700 (PDT), Evan

That's what I'm saying.

Well you can't buy 15 foot bushes, but you can get bigger than whatever they send mail order.

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Where on earth are you from ? You can't buy 15' tall bushes at Home Depot or Lowe's for $19.95 like the ones they sell in the 2 gallon pots, but you can buy such plants all the way up to fully grown trees at a true Nursery/Garden Center...
15' foot plants are really considered "medium" sized and can be sold balled and burlaped... Think of REALLY big when you imagine why Nurseries and Garden Centers need equipment like this to transport plants they are selling or delivering...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tree_Spade
~~ Evan
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You may want to do a little testing. Something as simple at putting corrugated cardboard or a tarp over the fence may give you some idea if it is going to work. If it does, you know to put a permanent barrier in place or to plant some bushes along the property line. Bushes anywhere along the sound path may help.
Sound can travel a strange path. Where I used to work, a fellow would play a radio rather loud. He was working in an area about 8 to 12 feet from it and needed it loud to hear over the machines. At the same time, in the office 50 feet away and elevated 9 feet, it was heard loud and clear. I suspect the voices you hear are traveling up a straight path right to you.
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Ok this is exactly the and you nailed it right on..
What I'm trying to dampen are not LOUD out burst because I doubt I'll ever be able to do that and in the event of we can close the doors and windows no big deal, but for the other 95% of the time when it's just voices I'm sure there is SOME type of solution that will help since the sound is basically just traveling up and over my wall.
What I cannot do here is modify the architectural harmony that is visible from the exterior. If I put up a wall and stucco it the same color as the rest within my property it wouldn't be very noticeable and therefor acceptable. Also remember that the cost of this work here is not much in comparison to other countries maybe $1000 - $2000 USD for the wall.
I do have a bunch of left over rubber (about 0.5 cm) thick from a renovation I'm doing here at my house. I'm going to put that up on the fence and see what happens. I have a feeling that this will help a lot. Then I'll know if putting up a concrete block wall, concrete board wall, or exterior drywall will help. I understand the denser the product the more it will dampen. That's why I thought the block is best and next up is the concrete board.
Thanks for the suggestion Ed.
Also thank you to everyone else for their comments. I will take them all into consideration. Regards, Nick
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