Does Your House Have Traffic Noise?

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Preferred Properties

One of the great things about Hoover Alabama is its convenient location.  Depending on where you are in town, it is 10-15 miles to downtown Birmingham City Center Business District and UAB.  We also have the Galleria Shopping Center and the newer Patton Creek Shopping Center located at the intersection of I-65 and I-459. The Summit Shopping Center is located at the corner of US HWY 280 and I-459.  One of the things that aids the convenience is the number of highways.  Highways are great, however, they can create a lot of noise.   If you live near a highway there are some things you can do.

To improve the noise INSIDE your house (especially in older homes), you can upgrade your windows.  Windows have a STC rating.  The higher the STC rating, the more noise resistant.  Now would be a good time to upgrade your windows since you can get a tax credit for putting in energy efficient windows.  Energy efficiency will also help with the noise.

If you live right ON TOP of the freeway (which most of us do not) you may want to check out sound proof windows.  I don't know anyone who has needed them, however, if noise is a HUGE problem, you might want to check on these.

Backyard waterfall

If you live in a new home, you may not be able to hear traffic noise INSIDE your home, but you can when you go outside.  What should you do there?  Sometimes a wall can help. The wall must be solid - no decorative holes. The noise you hear comes from the tires on the cars and trucks.  So, your wall MUST be higher than the tire location to help.  We have so many hills around Hoover, Alabama, you'd have to see where the road level actually IS to know if the wall will help. Trees help some, but not as much as a solid wall.

 You can also use water features to block the traffic noise.

 The water feature has to be fairly large and make a good amount of water noise itself (just one little trickle isn't going to work).  I was in a house one time where the people had built an 8 foot wall across the back patio and had a water fall coming down the wall into a pool.  The waterfall was beautiful and it totally blocked the traffic noise.  The waterfall above was VERY soothing.  You could leave the bedroom window open and hear the waterfall all night. If you have a big backyard, it might take more than one fountain in the backyard to work for you.  You could just make a noise free zone where you sit or enjoy eating outside.

A well landscaped backyard that includes evergreen trees and one or two water features will go a long way toward making your backyard a pleasant place (and will help with resale value).  Calling a landscape architect would help.  They can really help your yard have a unified look

If you'd like to learn more about removing traffic noise from your home, check out my February newsletter.


Comments (23)

Jon Quist
Tucson's BUYERS ONLY Realtor since 1996

Noise can be a big issue. There are homes around here that the government has stepped in and tried to help "sound proof" the houses. They were close to the airport. Airplane noise.

Of course the airport was there before these homes were sold or resold. Somehow the planes now make noise!

What were the buyers thinking when the home was purchased? There are actually disclosure forms to call attention to the noise. And jets overhead would be a dead giveaway.

Think, people.

Jan 22, 2011 03:03 AM
Joetta Fort
The DiGiorgio Group - Arvada, CO
Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder

I need that 8 foot waterfall. My hubby's not going to be happy with you!

Jan 22, 2011 03:22 AM
Alan M. & Associates (
RE/MAX Crest Realty - Vancouver, BC Canada - Vancouver, BC

I live behind a busy road, (it wasnt busy when I first moved in) and I did exactly what you suggest in your blog.  I installed a water feature that distracts from the car noise.  It works!

Jan 22, 2011 03:46 AM
Julie Baldino
Front Door Realty - Vancouver, WA
Opening Doors to New Chapters...

My dentists office backs up to the freeway. They built a monstrous water feature in the back and you barely notice the buzz of traffic. Plus its a pleasure to look at while your teeth are being worked on!

Jan 22, 2011 04:10 AM
Robert Courtney
Lihue, HI
Century 21 All Islands, RA, CDPE, MCRE, CIAS

Windows are open most of the year here.  We rely on screens!  8-)  Pesky bugs!!  Toni just kidding!!  It is interesting that most of the windows sold on Kauai are double paned with screens.  Sound may be an issue for some, but for most it is the insulating benefits.  

Jan 22, 2011 04:40 AM
Karen Crowson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Rancho Bernardo, CA
Your Agent for Change

Sometimes suburban noise grows a little at a time, as neighborhoods get built out and more folks move into a community.  We have to get creative in finding ways to create peace and harmony. I like your suggestions.

Jan 22, 2011 06:19 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Toni:  What a great post.  So many really cool ideas I would never have thought of.  I have several folks who will be delighted to see your suggestions.  Thanks so much.                January 22, 2011

Jan 22, 2011 07:02 AM
Brad Hornshaw
Brad Hornshaw Realtor Lynnwood, Bothell, Everett - Lynnwood, WA
Realtor, Listing Agent, Buyers Agent, Investments
Hi Toni Great post. Good info I would not have thought of the waterfall nice touch, Thanks for sharing......... Brad
Jan 22, 2011 08:46 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Great ideas! I'm fortunate to live where my outdoor sound is a "water feature" - a creek. Of course there's also an occasional coyote, but unless the coyotes get too close, we can't hear any of it from indoors.

Of course, I'd love to build a water fountain at the side of the yard. So far haven't convinced my husband that it's necessary!

Jan 22, 2011 10:57 AM
Jayne Clement
Keller Williams Realty - Los Feliz, CA
Los Angeles Short Sale Agents

Freeway noise seems inescapable in the lower priced geo areas of Los Angeles.  Everytime there is a great priced property on the market, the map reveals it to be a stone's throw from a freeway.  Even the seemlingly benign 4 lane highways can be an issue if you're living on a hillside and the sound is bouncing up the fact, the sound can be worse the farther up the hill you are (further away from the road...!), as opposed to right across the street from it.  Noise is a killer to property value.

Jan 22, 2011 12:34 PM
Kimberly Brandon
Smart Moves Real Estate - Venice, FL

some great suggestions - but I think the tax break for new windows ended 2010.  enjoyed the comments

Jan 23, 2011 11:17 AM
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas

Toni, this  is good advise for anyone with a traffic noise problem.   

Jan 23, 2011 04:33 PM
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

Great tips.  It goes back to buying the house.  Location, location, location.

Jan 23, 2011 04:36 PM
Peter Michelbach
David Grace R/E - International, IT

Toni --great post -- reminds me of one of my listings which I got under contract, Friday last...opposite a main road...suggested to the buyers of adding 5mm glass, instead the 3 mm thickness, add a aviery with a a dozzens of parots, plant during the winter season thick growing native bushy plants, thus also adding colour, beautiful aroma, to enhance  the setting for that romantic evening, as the master bedroom is in the front in the "bad position".....great ideas, like your suggestions, thank you for sharing!

Jan 24, 2011 02:25 AM
Karen Pannell
Real Living / Home Realty - Owensboro, KY
Owensboro KY Real Estate -270-903-2167 Homes, Cond

What a great post with great info!  I am going to reblog!  Best wishes in 2011!

Jan 24, 2011 11:24 AM
Sandy McAlpine
Search Lake Norman Homes For Sale - Lake Norman NC

windows, insulation, water garden or fountain, all great ideas! Thanks for the post

Jan 26, 2011 07:45 AM
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

This is good advice, but I just turn down my hearing aid! :>)

Feb 04, 2011 04:26 PM
Matt Robinson
Professional Investors Guild - Pensacola, FL

Great ideas.  I actually lived in a house about 100 yards from a busy road, and it never bothered me.  I kind of liked the traffic noise.  However, I have shown houses to buyers who wouldn't stand for even half the noise we had.  I guess it's really a preference thing, but certainly a nice fountain and a border of mature trees would help.

Sep 06, 2011 05:46 AM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • Green • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Some people don't like noise, but most people don't like the dust and pollution coming from traffic. Yet, some people don't mind. Tastes are different:)

Aug 05, 2014 04:45 PM
linda e

not sure how to spread the matter to the internetians. the urgent matter we have is the noise problem, we don't know what to do. staff all around the city did help us at all. the owner living 3249 e23rd ave vancouver bc v5r1b6 puts up the silver plate at the post nearby. that's alright, however, that plate is hanged for 24hours a day, without day or night, sunny or rainy or cloudy, the plate is there. is there anything we could do about it? noises make us annoying, study/ sleep/ concentration, reading books, more and more. i'm begging for God to help us too. God did something, but thing couldn't be solved at all. plate is there, annoying is there, the plate owner is sturbborn. what could we do. spread all this to your friend and help us, thank you

Aug 28, 2015 10:45 AM

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?