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What Types of Noise Barrier?

By December 28, 2018October 14th, 2019Acoustics
Brick Barrier

A noise barrier, also called a soundwall, noise wall, sound berm, sound barrier, or acoustical barrier, is an exterior structure designed to protect inhabitants of sensitive land use areas from noise pollution. Noise barriers are the most effective method of mitigating roadway, railway, and industrial noise sources – other than cessation of the source activity or use of source controls.

Choosing the right type of noise barrier is tricky and we have reviewed the types of noise barrier available on the market. We show the acoustic quality of the barrier, the manufacturers of the products and the cost of each type of barrier from cheapest (£) to most expensive (£££££).  

Wood Barrier

Cost: ££ (Affordable)

Wood fences are an affordable and attractive option to any garden and are common in most households. However, most wood fences are ineffective as a noise barrier due to their lack of mass, air gaps, damage and height. 

A close-boarded acoustic timber fence with no air gaps or damage (which can reduce acoustic performance) will work well in many cases. Some wood fence options can provide added absorptive and reflective properties too, depending on the noise problem you are trying to solve.

Wood Barrier

Manufacturers of acoustic timber fences:

Metal Barrier

Cost: ££ (Affordable)

Metal barriers are impressive structures due to their modular construction. They are cost -effective (with the right advice) and are quick to install. There are absorptive options to prevent sound reflecting/ bouncing around, whereas a non-absorptive choice can cause the sound to reflect into unexpected areas and in an unpredictable manner.

The cost of metal barriers may surprise you – the benefit of steel is that it can be moulded in various ways to meet specific barrier requirements. Steel can also rust and deteriorate over time.

Metal Fencing

Manufacturers of metal or modular construction barriers:

Brick/Concrete Barrier

Cost: ££££ (Expensive)

This is a solid long-term investment due to the material being long-lasting and extremely durable. This is why this solution exists along the majority of highways throughout the world and many installations are decades old. However, being one of the most expensive options available this may not be an affordable option in most cases and may be an unnecessary expense based on your requirements.

Brick walls can be an attractive addition to your property. While precast concrete can be a less attractive option, they can be a viable option for commercial requirements.

Brick and precast concrete can reduce a significant amount of noise due to their natural high mass/density material and are worth considering in high noise polluted areas. This material is excellent at reflecting and redirecting sound to other areas due to its highly reflective qualities. However, this material will struggle to reduce echoes and reverberating sound and can in some cases increase the noise level.


Glass, Polycarbonate or Acrylic Sheet Barrier

Cost: ££ – £££ (Affordable to Mid-Range)

Acrylic and toughened glass fences obstruct the line of sight to road traffic and are mainly used to reflect sound from roads. They are supplied in modular sections by combining absorptive sections (e.g. Quietstone®) and reflective section (e.g. acrylic or glass sections). These options provide a high aesthetic benefit of glass with the long lifespan and sound absorption qualities of Quietstone® at affordable prices.

Glass Barrier


Earth Berms/ Bund Barrier (Wall of Earth)

Cost: £££££ (Most Expensive)

Walls of earth, or berms, are an excellent way to reduce the amount of noise that enters your property. They can be built in a variety of ways. 

A well-built berm will be very aesthetically pleasing, however, can look unattractive if poorly constructed. They are also an eco-friendly option but require considerable effort to build and can be very costly.

Wall of Earth

Temporary Noise Barrier

Cost: £££ (Mid-Range)

Temporary noise barriers typically reduce noise from building and construction sites. They are quick to install and generally are attached to Heras fencing ™ (metal fence) which can give a reduction in noise. Other examples of its use are for music festivals and can be a practical solution for a generator or fixed plant installations. 

Although this solution may be quick and ideal for a temporary solution, it does have limitations due to the material and gaps that may allow passage of noise.


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