Sound barriers are structures that help lessen excessive noise.
Whether it’s from road traffic, construction, or loud neighbors, sound barriers either absorb or reflect most of the sound depending on the materials that they are made out of.
What is the Most Effective Sound Barrier?
There really is no one best material for sound barriers.
There are a lot of factors to consider beyond the material’s capacity for noise reduction.
For example, some materials like wood are cheap and easy to work with, but have a limited lifespan.
Others like steel are longer-lasting but are unsuited for highly populated areas since they reflect sound instead of absorbing it.
Below are some of the most common and effective materials used as noise barriers.
We’ve also included information regarding scenarios and situations where each would be the most effective, as well as the various pros and cons of each.
Acrylic is used for constructing transparent noise barrier panels.
They are commonly utilized in areas where you want noise minimized but don’t want visibility to be reduced.
These could be places like tourist spots, offices, schools, and retail establishments.
While acrylic’s main strength is its transparent qualities, the material itself is also very durable and resistant to wear and tear.
But compared to others in this list, acrylic is relatively more expensive.
In the United States, almost half of all constructed sound barriers are made out of concrete.
This can be attributed to a lot of things.
First off, concrete is one of the most common construction materials out there. It’s rare that you would be put in a situation where concrete is in short supply- you can easily get it anywhere.
Second, though it’s not the best in sound reduction, it makes up for this shortcoming by being versatile.
Concrete is easy to work with. Plus there are a lot of people that know how to work with the material.
Since concrete is very hardy, it can be a good material to construct sound barriers within places or locations where construction would be difficult.
Metals can also be good sound barriers.
The two metals that are often used for this purpose are steel and aluminum.
Steel is a popular choice since it is very inexpensive, and like concrete, easy to work with.
However, being metallic, steel has poor sound absorption qualities.
Instead of absorbing sound, it reflects it back which in some cases would just worsen the noise problem.
This makes steel a poor material to construct barriers within places where there is a high density of people (or in places where peace and quiet is highly important) like neighborhoods, hospitals, and schools.
4) PVC Composite
The other materials on this list are usually used in long-term noise mitigation measures; they can withstand harsh weather conditions and can last for decades.
But sometimes, people want just a temporary solution.
That’s where PVC Composite comes in.
This is a material that is used in constructing temporary or portable sound barriers.
These kinds of barriers are perfect if you want a short-term noise-reduction solution (like for event spaces and concert halls) or where creating a sound wall using the more permanent materials is not viable.
Compared to those materials, PVC Composite is cost-effective and efficient for temporary barriers.
Last but not least is WOOD.
Like concrete, it is a common construction material, and it is also very cheap and easy to transport.
The wood that is used for sound reduction is pressure-treated to further increase its sound absorption capabilities.
Another great thing about wood is that it blends in nicely in residential areas.
You can easily construct barriers using wood that wouldn’t look out of place in a normal residential home.
You can construct barriers that look like fences and gates.
This is the best solution if aesthetics and looks are a factor in constructing sound barriers.
However, a major downside of wood is its longevity.
Wood has a very limited lifespan.
It can rot and get destroyed in a few years if not maintained.
This is not a problem if you’re constructing temporary barriers; however, for sound barriers that are meant to last for a long time, it’s best to use other more permanent materials.