Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Things That Make Noise

It has taken a year, two, or maybe three to design and build your dream home. Finally, you have moved in and are spending your first week at home. This is a week of truths as you learn how your home functions and how well it allows for peaceful sleep.

What about noise? While designing and building your home, did you think about all of the things in a home that make noise? From where will the noise come, what kind of noise will it be and who will hear it? This is an important step to consider when working with your architect and looking at the architect's floor plans.

On page 264 of my book Designing Your Dream Home, is a checklist of things that make noise. Some of these include appliances which are a big contributor of noise, especially ice makers. It starts off with you hearing the ice drop followed by water released to refill the ice making tray. If you have an ice maker in a bar, how close is that bar located to a bedroom? Is the ice maker located near your favorite chair or sofa where you take naps? Believe me, it will disturb your sleep!

What about your laundry room walls? Are they opposite any bedroom walls or media room walls? Would the sound of the washer and dryer or that of a person working in the laundry room disturb you?

Don't forget about dishwashers and dishwasher drawers as well as the kitchen exhaust fan.

There is a great deal of noise that is generated from a bathroom. The toilet flushing, the shower water running, faucets running, the exhaust fan turned on, and hair dryers blowing are all culprits. Think about what rooms and areas of your home are next to, above, or below all bathrooms. Imagine someone being in one of the bathrooms shown on your floor plans using any of these items listed above. Who might be disturbed by the noise?

Exterior noise such as cars moving on your driveway, street traffic, and HVAC equipment are major causes of noise. How does the location of all bedrooms relate to the driveway or street. Make sure HVAC equipment is not located under a bedroom window or for that matter outside your dining room window.

Another common complaint heard regarding noise is hearing a person walking around on the floors above or hearing a person walk up and down the stairs. You certainly do not want a bedroom located next to the staircase.

Garage doors opening are often a welcoming sound as it let's you know your love ones have arrived. However, if your love ones are arriving late at night or departing very early in the morning, perhaps you don't want to know. If there is a bedroom obove the garage, it is almost impossible to silence the sound of the garage door opening and closing.

One of my pet peeves is hearing the chime of the security alarm being turned on late at night by the last person home or turned off early in the morning by the first person up. Pay close attention to the electrical plans which will show you where these will be mounted.

Lastly, don't forget about the sound coming from a TV, especially the media room which usually has a sound system that can produce substantial noise. Again, think of what rooms are above, below or next to the media room.

Fortunately, there are various soundproof options on the market that you can discuss with your architect and builder. Some of these include acoustical wall products, sound membrane on the floor, fabric in the ceiling, floor floaters, silent joists, soundboards, and fiberglass insulation. Night Night!


Anonymous said...

We have built a couple of houses and still make mistakes with the noise issue. It just happens to be one of the things that is overlooked but is definitely noticable. Definitely something to think about and be aware of!! Great ideas, Susan!


Paul Anater said...

That's a great consideration that is never obvious during the planning phase of a residential project. Thanks for the reminder to stay mindful of noise.

Misti of Studio M Designs said...

Glad you found me Susan! I love learning from others, and you are definitely one to learn from.
So many details in building a house, it's nice to have our very own consultant to lean on.
I'll be back to visit soon.