You may be familiar with acoustic or noise barrier fencing, perhaps seen on the side of a motorway, but there are also products available to utilise acoustic fencing in a domestic setting.
As you will see below there are a range of factors that affect the noise reduction provided by an acoustic fence, and a huge industrial fence will always supply the greatest reduction. However, our range of domestic acoustic fencing solutions can still provide a significant reduction in outside noise, with a range of panels and sound barrier systems providing increasing levels of sound reduction. Even a moderate reduction of 10 decibels equates to a halving in perceived noise by your ears.
What is acoustic fencing?
Acoustic fence panelling is a specialised fencing solution for reducing unwanted environmental noise in your garden or property. Noise pollution can come from a variety of sources such as a neighbouring road or nearby motorway, industrial premises, a school, or just from generally noisy neighbours. Quality acoustic fence panels can reduce outside sound by up to 28 decibels, restoring some tranquillity to your garden.
Environmental noise pollution is a growing problem, especially in urban areas where residential areas can sit side-by-side with transport routes and industrial sites. Noise exposure can begin to become detrimental to human health and wellbeing above 55 decibels, with the World Health Organization recommending below 40 decibels for night-time noise levels that avoid sleep disturbance.
How is an acoustic panel different to a normal fencing panel?
The main noise reducing property of an acoustic fence is its thickness – standard fence panels are around 15mm thick whereas acoustic fence panels are generally over twice this thickness. An acoustic fence panel has a weight of upwards of 10kg/m2 compared to around 4kg/m2 for a standard fence panel. A panel of this weight and thickness will actively reflect sound waves and reduce noise, hence is referred to as a reflective acoustic panel.
The second important feature is a lack of spacing or gaps in the fence panel – most acoustic fencing is built from solid, tight fitting tongue and groove boards, with a tightly fitting or integral gravel board, and specialised fitted posts to minimise any gaps between fencing panels for sound to travel through.
Thirdly, in higher specification panels an acoustic dampening layer of mineral fibre can be integrated into the panel to maximise the overall noise reduction of the fence, both absorbing and reflecting the outside noise. These are called absorptive acoustic panels and are generally used for industrial settings.
Which acoustic fencing is suitable for domestic use?
We offer a range of three different types of acoustic fence panel, all suitable for domestic use, with varying degrees of sound protection.
Our Richmond Acoustic Panel range is built from pressure treated pine, with internal 150mm tongue and groove boards sandwiched between a flat outer layer, and an integral gravel board. In testing it provides a potential noise reduction of up to 25 decibels.
The Jacksons 12K Envirofence Acoustic Panel range is a complete acoustic fencing system, including acoustic panels, gravel boards, capping and counter rails, and specialised 'tuning fork' fence posts for maximum noise reduction.
The Jacksons Jakoustic Reflective Acoustic Panel range is a complete acoustic fencing system as above, but with heavier weight panels (25kg/m2) and a greater degree of noise reduction.
How much sound will an acoustic fence block?
There is no way to entirely soundproof a garden, however an acoustic fence will result in a significant reduction of outside noise. There are several factors which will affect the level of noise reduction from an acoustic fence:
- The density and thickness of the fence
- Your distance from the barrier
- The height of your acoustic fence – the higher the fencing, the greater the noise reduction
- The distance and relative height of the source sound from your property – a sound source nearer the ground will be blocked more effectively than one up high
- Any gaps in the fence such as for gates or driveways
Depending on these factors, you could benefit from a noise reduction of up to 28 decibels. To put this into perspective, road traffic noise is generally between 45 and 70 decibels. If you decide to add a row of hedging or trees in front of your acoustic fence the noise reduction can be even greater.
For example, our Jacksons Jakoustic® barrier has the following certified laboratory results:
- Rating according to BS EN 1793-2:1998
- Category = B3 (the highest rating)
- Laboratory sound reduction 28 dB
- Superficial mass 25kg/m²
If in any doubt, an acoustic engineer or surveyor can measure the noise levels on your property, and advise on the type and position of any acoustic fencing, and on the expected reduction in noise.
Does an acoustic fence need planning permission?
An acoustic fence is subject to the same regulations as a regular fence. If your fence is bordering a road, or a pavement next to a road, or if it is over 2m high regardless of its location, then you will need planning permission. However it’s always a good idea to consult your local planning authority before installing any fence.
Ask the experts
For further advice about an acoustic fencing project don’t hesitate to speak to our experts at your local AVS Fencing & Landscaping Supplies branch. They can talk you through the different options and even place your order in store. Our ranges of high-quality acoustic fencing panels and installed acoustic systems are all available for home delivery within our AVS Branch delivery area.