Building Science in Action

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Owens Corning

Business & Marketing Dropping the Other Shoe: Using the Silent Treatment to Woo More Home Buyers

“Hey, knock it off in there!”

Noise. It’s hard to escape it. No wonder it’s such a high-value consideration with more and more home buyers. One recent survey revealed 62 percent of the homeowners said reducing home noise is important and they would be interested in a quieter new home.

Many factors go into the comfort and livability of the homes you build. Everything from the home’s floor plan and siting to floor covering, plumbing fixtures, and HVAC specification can influence “the livability factor.”

To that list, acoustics takes an increasingly high rank as buyers seek secluded retreats within the home, away from noise-producing activity. For example, noise can be particularly bothersome in rooms with high-vaulted ceilings. What steps are acoustic-smart home builders taking to enhance their properties? Here are a few field-tested approaches:

  • Sound always seeks the path of least resistance. Doors and windows represent acoustic breaks in the building envelope. Consider extra measures to seal those assemblies airtight, which will help thwart exterior noise intrusion.
  • Lightweight steel framing dampens noise better than wood studs.
  • Pad plumbing and electrical conduits with resilient material and hangers.
  • Use carpeting to dampen the sounds of foot traffic, especially in open plan settings.
  • Floor cavity insulation also helps contain footsteps and other noise-generating activity.
  • Insulation in the wall cavity suppresses inter-room sound transmission. Acoustic batts, for example, can improve Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings by four to 10 decibels (dB). A 10 dB increase doubles perceived sound and a 10 dB decrease halves it. So a six dB reduction effectively reduces noise propagation by 30 percent.
  • Focus sound control on home theatres, family rooms, home offices, kitchens, bedrooms, laundry rooms, any room adjacent to a garage.
  • Insulation around ductwork can help eliminate unwanted pops and pings caused by HVAC system expansion, contraction, and vibration.
  • When specifying sound-dampening materials like insulating batt or rollstock, look for ASTM certification. Some insulation carries other third-party certification, such as a listing in the USDA BioPreferredSM Catalog or GREENGUARD Children & Schools CertifiedSM.
  • Of course, always look for materials made in the U.S.A. and incorporating a high composition of recycled content.

In a marketplace that rewards differentiation, acoustics can be a trump card – a high-value, affordable way to separate your brand from competitors.

One more tip to take to the bank: More than 60 percent of surveyed home buyers state their sales agent never mentioned sound control in the new home pitch. If you’re looking to make an indelible mark with top prospects, exploit that overlooked sales hook.

Shhhhh … you may have the playing field to yourself.

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