Q: What can been done to help reduce street noise?

A: Sound is all about vibrations.

About 6 years ago we built a home for a client who works for the Port of Portland. His job is to help with sound abatement from sound created by airplanes. What really stuck was the concept that you need to think about absorbing vibrations.

The exterior wall structure consists of walls, doors, windows, piping for plumbing, electrical wiring, insulation and sealants. I began to think about how we can create a system that absorbs vibrations.

In our past we had built common wall homes for retirees. We dealt with sound abatement techniques to prevent the neighbors from hearing each other. The idea was to not have the wood studs connect directly to the common wall. This technique eliminated the vibrations in the wall assembly to transfer to the other home.

Today we use exterior continuous insulation. We literally wrap the home with a product from Owens Corning called Formular. The interior walls we use a blow in fiberglass product (Owens Corning L-77) that is superior to minimum code type of insulation. It does a better job of filling in all those little pesky gaps and voids in wall assemblies. We are extremely detailed in our air sealing techniques. Sound travels through the air. If you close up all the air gaps, your wall assembly will absorb the sound.

We have found that if you are trying to absorb exterior sound it is best to start with how the wall assembly is built. Pay particular attention to how you are insulating and sealing. Manufacturers of doors and windows are producing products that are very helpful in absorbing sound. Seek them out,

Next week helpful hints on helping with interior sound mitigation.

Thank you for reading Ask The Builder and making The Columbian a part of your day.

Please submit questions to jon@quailhomes.com Jon can be reached direct at 360.907.5800. Tune into Green Building with Jon Girodon 1550 a.m. on Saturdays at 9 am and 860 am Saturdays at 1 pm. See you next week!