Brick Keeps Outside Noise, Well, Outside.

Noise is widely recognized as a form of environmental pollution. Thousands of US cities have established noise regulations. We would all like our homes to be as quiet as reasonably possible. On a personal level, we have all experienced a next door neighbor cutting their grass along the sides of the adjacent houses, a dog barking, or a truck passing in front of our house.

The bottom line is simple... houses with brick as the siding material are quieter than houses with other siding materials.

Although the science of sound engineering is complex, the basics are simple enough. Sound is measured by a decibel scale (dBA). The higher the number, the noisier it is:

  • A whisper is 20 dBA
  • Normal conversation is 60 dBA
  • A heavy truck is 90 dBA
  • A rock band is 110 dBA

Reducing sound in walls is measured by a Sound Transmission Class (STC) single number rating. The higher the number the better that wall is in reducing sound:

  • A typical residential wall system with brick siding would have an STC rating of 53
  • That same wall system with another siding material would have an STC rating of 36

For example, where the outside noise level is 70 dBA and the brick siding provides STC 53, the indoor noise level (at least near the façade in question) will be roughly 17 dBA (less than a whisper). That same outside noise of 70 dBA and a wall with non-brick siding providing an STC of 36, the indoor noise level will be roughly 34 dBA (much more than a whisper).