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How to deal with train noise? (Windows, door, siding, quietrock/greenglue question)

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I live about 1300 feet from the train tracks, and the train track noise is not too bad at all. But, the lines are busy and the horns blare at about 110dB from the tracks, very very nasty. I measure about 70dB by the time it reaches my house, and I'm trying to insulate my whole house to the deal with the noise, including the family room where we watch movies (don't have a dedicated basement for an HT). The horn harmonics seem to be peaking between 100Hz-300 Hz and then again at 1000Hz+. At the very low end below 100 Hz, the horn noise seems to be less than 30dB if my octave logging meter is right. I'm shooting to get the house as quiet as possible within reason (can't spend 100s of thousands of dollars). The construction of the exterior wall is single stud, 16 inches apart. Here's what I'm thinking of doing, and any advice would be much appreciated:

1. Dual pane windows with glasses of different thickness (or one pane laminated). Here I am confused as to what thicknesses to use for the 2 panes. There seems to be some evidence that "thicker is better", but I can't go to above 1/4 inch glass without incurring great expense. There's also some evidence two panes with different thicknesses are better at dealing with train noise than two panes with same thickness. So I'm figuring one plane of glass has to be 1/4 inch, but the other pane can be 1/4, 3/16, or 1/8. I am not sure what to use - advice?

2. The siding of my house is old redwood, full or cracks. I'm thinking that I want to change it to cementboard siding instead of wood siding. Cement/concrete seems like a good way to deal with this kind of noise, I figure it's just like having a concrete wall of 5/8 inch thickness. Please do correct me if I'm wrong. Here's the spec from the cementboard guys:

http://www.jameshardie.com/pdf/technical-bulletin-07272007.pdf

4. 2 layers of drywall with greenglue or quietglue (I can't tell any difference between the two) or quietrock . I would really like to save the half inch of floor space (don't ask), but quietrock doesn't seem to cut it at the lower end w.r.t insulation. On the other hand, I have to verify with an architect whether it's ok to use 2 layers of drywall inside and cementboard outside - cementboard is very heavy, and I don't know if single-stud-16-inch construction can bear all that weight of cementboard and 2 layers of drywall.

Also, assuming I go with greenglue/quietglue, can I use one panel of drywall at 5/8 inch thickness, apply glue, and use 1/4 inch drywall for the second panel? This would help with both reducing the weight and saving that tiny bit of space - if this is more or less as effective as 5/8 over 5/8, I'd be very inclined to go this way.

5. Doors - I'm more or less confused about this. Should I go for a masonite fiber door, or solid wood door, or dual pane glass door with the glass thicknesses like for windows? I can't find enough info to make a call one way or another.

Thanks!
Edited by venkitac - 12/30/12 at 8:57am
post #2 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by venkitac View Post


1. Dual pane windows with glasses of different thickness (or one pane laminated). Here I am confused as to what thicknesses to use for the 2 panes. There seems to be some evidence that "thicker is better", but I can't go to above 1/4 inch glass without incurring great expense. There's also some evidence two panes with different thicknesses are better at dealing with train noise than two panes with same thickness. So I'm figuring one plane of glass has to be 1/4 inch, but the other pane can be 1/4, 3/16, or 1/8. I am not sure what to use - advice?

2. The siding of my house is old redwood, full or cracks. I'm thinking that I want to change it to cementboard siding instead of wood siding. Cement/concrete seems like a good way to deal with this kind of noise, I figure it's just like having a concrete wall of 5/8 inch thickness. Please do correct me if I'm wrong. Here's the spec from the cementboard guys:
http://www.jameshardie.com/pdf/technical-bulletin-07272007.pdf

4. 2 layers of drywall with greenglue or quietglue (I can't tell any difference between the two) or quietrock . I would really like to save the half inch of floor space (don't ask), but quietrock doesn't seem to cut it at the lower end w.r.t insulation. On the other hand, I have to verify with an architect whether it's ok to use 2 layers of drywall inside and cementboard outside - cementboard is very heavy, and I don't know if single-stud-16-inch construction can bear all that weight of cementboard and 2 layers of drywall. Advice appreciated.

5. Doors - I'm more or less confused about this. Should I go for a masonite fiber door, or solid wood door, or dual pane glass door with the glass thicknesses like for windows? I can't find enough info to make a call one way or another.
Thanks!

1. The window manufacturer should be able to provide an STC rating for the window assembly. Like any soundproofing item, the performance is affected by many factors. Most important is good seals. Casement (crank out) windows generally perform best. Laminated glass is good for absorbing sound. It's two thin sheets of glass bonded together with a plastic interlayer (like a windshield). Lam would make up one pane of your insulated glass unit.

2. Air infiltration is always bad. Replacing the siding will allow you to install the windows properly too.

3. there's no three!

4. You should contact Ted at www.thesoundproofingcompany.com on all of this. I'm sure he'll weigh in.

5. Door manufacturers should be able to provide STC ratings. Mass and good weatherstripping is a prime requirement.


Sound proofing takes a balanced approach and you need to address all paths the sound takes. Welcome to the forum. You'll find a bunch of helpful folks here.
post #3 of 19
My house was built in 1946 and just up until this last summer had the original single pane wood windows in it. On top of those were storm windows that didn't do much.

I'm not far from the freeway (1/4 mile), have cedar lap siding and no insulation in the walls. With just replacing the windows with modern Milgard double pane vinyl windows the amount of outside noise I hear (freeway, etc) is about 1/3 what it use to be. The installers measured the windows to fit tight and did an excellent job of sealing them in. I replaced 15 out of 16 of the windows. Opening a window in the back of the house (faces freeway) then closing it, is a shock to most who hear the difference.

In 2013 I plan on replacing all of the siding with Hardi Plank. The cedar is too far gone on 3/4 of the house to be saved. I'm curious to see how the Hardi siding along with insulation in the walls helps with sound. Along with my gas and electric bills. smile.gif

If you have wood windows or even Aluminum, I would think swapping out for anything more up to date is going to make a difference, but YMMY.
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by venkitac View Post

I live about 1300 feet from the train tracks, and the train track noise is not too bad at all. But, the lines are busy and the horns blare at about 110dB from the tracks, very very nasty. I measure about 70dB by the time it reaches my house, and I'm trying to insulate my whole house to the deal with the noise, including the family room where we watch movies (don't have a dedicated basement for an HT). The horn harmonics seem to be peaking between 100Hz-300 Hz and then again at 1000Hz+. At the very low end below 100 Hz, the horn noise seems to be less than 30dB if my octave logging meter is right. I'm shooting to get the house as quiet as possible within reason (can't spend 100s of thousands of dollars). The construction of the exterior wall is single stud, 16 inches apart. Here's what I'm thinking of doing, and any advice would be much appreciated:
1. Dual pane windows with glasses of different thickness (or one pane laminated). Here I am confused as to what thicknesses to use for the 2 panes. There seems to be some evidence that "thicker is better", but I can't go to above 1/4 inch glass without incurring great expense. There's also some evidence two panes with different thicknesses are better at dealing with train noise than two panes with same thickness. So I'm figuring one plane of glass has to be 1/4 inch, but the other pane can be 1/4, 3/16, or 1/8. I am not sure what to use - advice?
2. The siding of my house is old redwood, full or cracks. I'm thinking that I want to change it to cementboard siding instead of wood siding. Cement/concrete seems like a good way to deal with this kind of noise, I figure it's just like having a concrete wall of 5/8 inch thickness. Please do correct me if I'm wrong. Here's the spec from the cementboard guys:
http://www.jameshardie.com/pdf/technical-bulletin-07272007.pdf
4. 2 layers of drywall with greenglue or quietglue (I can't tell any difference between the two) or quietrock . I would really like to save the half inch of floor space (don't ask), but quietrock doesn't seem to cut it at the lower end w.r.t insulation. On the other hand, I have to verify with an architect whether it's ok to use 2 layers of drywall inside and cementboard outside - cementboard is very heavy, and I don't know if single-stud-16-inch construction can bear all that weight of cementboard and 2 layers of drywall.
Also, assuming I go with greenglue/quietglue, can I use one panel of drywall at 5/8 inch thickness, apply glue, and use 1/4 inch drywall for the second panel? This would help with both reducing the weight and saving that tiny bit of space - if this is more or less as effective as 5/8 over 5/8, I'd be very inclined to go this way.
5. Doors - I'm more or less confused about this. Should I go for a masonite fiber door, or solid wood door, or dual pane glass door with the glass thicknesses like for windows? I can't find enough info to make a call one way or another.
Thanks!

We have foam insualtion in the house that really cuts down noise a lot. We have a train that is inaudible in the theater but the train is not as close as your situation.

Double pane argon filled windows probably helped besides the energy efficiency benifit.
post #5 of 19
I'd hire a consultant, someone like Ted from the soundproofingcompany.com, to make certain it's done right. He's a straight shooter, and very knowledgeable.
post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 
WIll do - I've send Ted a message thru the form at www.soundproofingcompany.com, let's see what he says. Thanks for advice!
post #7 of 19
Move? wink.gif
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
The thought did occur to me. However, I live in the SF bay area (palo alto), and you wouldn't use the word "move" lightly around here, given housing prices:)
post #9 of 19
Read these sites:

http://www.soundproofwindows.com/

http://www.climateseal.com/acoustical_window_insert/acoustical_windows.htm

http://www.4specs.com/s/08/08-5690.html


I haven't picked up any windows yet but I will in the next few months. Air gap seams to be the key.


EDIT **** check this for your exterior walls http://www.foammywalls.com/faq/#thethe-accordion-content-13
Edited by Yzfbossman - 12/31/12 at 6:17pm
post #10 of 19
Quote:
The window manufacturer should be able to provide an STC rating for the window assembly.
No, no, no. The single number STC value is worthless in this case...you want the TL (transmission loss numbers).
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Do you mean OITC Numbers?
post #12 of 19
No, I do not mean OITC. I mean TL (Transmission Loss). This is the raw data the lab uses to generate STC, OITC, etc. All NVLAP test reports will include the TL test results which are generated by frequency band.
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Do you mean, so that I can precisely figure out the characteristics at the frequencies I care about? Thanks.
post #14 of 19
When constructs are tested for STC or OITC, Transmission Loss data using ASTM-90 is measured (see an example of test results at http://skyfold.com/documents/en/B3484.7%20Eclipse%20STC%2032%20ASTM%20E90.pdf). These measurements or then overlaid on STC curves to determine the single number which defines (kind of) the performance of the construct/barrier/window etc. OITC uses a different method to achieve the single number OITC rating. STC only considers the frequencies in the range of 125Hz to 4000Hz. OITC considers frequencies in the range of 80Hz to 4000Hz. In testing a barrier labs will measure transmission loss down to the flanking limit of the test facility (usually in the range of 40 to 50Hz) and up to 5000Hz.

Two partitions, or barriers with the same STC value can perform very differently by frequency. Further, high STC ratings can be achieved by lowering the resonance frequency to a frequency below the 1/3rd Octave centered at 125Hz. For audio/home theater, that creates a problem since a high STC value barrier could exhibit high transmission of sounds at say 80Hz (where do most subwoofers start to do their business?)

In your case, you are annoyed with train noise. Certainly the train's whistle is at a relatively high frequency; but, train noise also has a very significant low frequency component. Therefore, the actual E90 transmission loss data is of more value to you than STC or OITC.

There is some data at http://www.architecturaltesting.com/testing/faqs.aspx?id=2 which may be helpful to you.
post #15 of 19
I'd hire a paid consultant who is familiar with the data, someone who can make informed decisions for me.
post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Dennis, thanks.

Yes, I have been trying to get a hold of Ted White. No luck yet....
post #17 of 19
Thanks for the info on STC Dennis. So many numbers in the fenestration industry are total BS in the real world. Don't get me going on energy star.

Pete
post #18 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ted was on vacation, he's back. He had some awesome advice for me - this whole thing is a process we need to work thru, obviously. I'll post a summary of what we are doing once we sort it all out, so that it's helpful to others.
post #19 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by venkitac View Post

Ted was on vacation, he's back. He had some awesome advice for me - this whole thing is a process we need to work thru, obviously. I'll post a summary of what we are doing once we sort it all out, so that it's helpful to others.

Curious as to what you ended up doing?

-- Bill --
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