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Thread: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

  1. #1
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    Ravil Nugman

    Default Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    Hi,
    Almost all woodworking tools and machinery are noisy enough. What are the regulations in this regard, allowed noise levels and etc. If I setup hobby workshop in my garage, may I have troubles with complaining neighbors? Our house is in residential area in Edmonton, not acreage.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    I have always had my workshop in my basement even when in a townhouse and never had complaints from the neighbors and I would think the garage is the same thing. As long as you are considerate I don't think you would have any problems. By considerate I am talking with the hours when you are making noise. I generally never started before 9:00am and usually quit by 8:00pm when I was using the noisier equipment (planer and router in my case).

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    I think you will find with the doors closed any noise will be quite muffled. Of course a couple hand made gift don't hurt either

    Jerome
    Elmvale On.
    Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both.
    Benjamin Franklin

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    I firmly believe your choice in equipment will make a huge difference as well.... The screaming noise made from those universal motors is deafening. Machinery using separate induction motors are a pleasure to use, and you can have a conversation with your neighbour while using the planer...

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    If it's a hobby then there is nothing the neighbors can do once you follow local noise regulations. These usually regulate the time of the day when some extra noise is, or is not allowed. It's no different than running a gas powered mower, edge trimmer of power washer. They are very noisy so you don't use them at midnight.

    Having said that, I close the garage door before using my planer and jointer, especially when working with wider material.

    Quote Originally Posted by J. Vibert View Post
    Machinery using separate induction motors are a pleasure to use, and you can have a conversation with your neighbour while using the planer...
    That may be true if your are jointing a 3/4" edge on a 3/4HP 6" jointer. With my 12" j/p combo (yes, induction motor) there is no way you could scream through the noise for any kind of communication resembling a conversation. Add to that the dust collector, and the noise the air makes while rushing around the cutter-head. The motor is not that loud but those cutters hitting the material is not exactly what I'd call a nice background to a conversation.

    I hear that the spiral cutter-heads reduce the noise by 1/2 but as things are, just the noise of the spinning cutters and the air sucked in by the dust collector eliminate the possibility of a chat.

    A rather "quiet" dust collector produces around 70dB. Mine is rated at 74dB. Hearing loss zone starts at 90dB (some dust collectors are even louder than that). An average conversation is around 55-65dB. Hearing loss zone starts at around 90dB, but it could be lower as the correlation depends on the duration of exposure to the noise.
    In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    My table saw and dust collector do not make enough noise to waken my sleeping children who are both right above the garage, and even my wife doesn't think it is very loud. I doubt my neighbours can hear anything more than a low hum. I also typically don't work past 9 or so, and most definitely do not run my router or planer in the evening.

    Quote Originally Posted by raviln View Post
    Hi,
    Almost all woodworking tools and machinery are noisy enough. What are the regulations in this regard, allowed noise levels and etc. If I setup hobby workshop in my garage, may I have troubles with complaining neighbors? Our house is in residential area in Edmonton, not acreage.

  7. #7
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    Ravil Nugman

    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    Thank you for replies!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    In my neighborhood on a Saturday morning you can usually hear about 4 or 6 tablesaws going between all the yard equipment.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    Quote Originally Posted by darius View Post
    That may be true if your are jointing a 3/4" edge on a 3/4HP 6" jointer. With my 12" j/p combo (yes, induction motor) there is no way you could scream through the noise for any kind of communication resembling a conversation. Add to that the dust collector, and the noise the air makes while rushing around the cutter-head. The motor is not that loud but those cutters hitting the material is not exactly what I'd call a nice background to a conversation.
    My apologies... The last time I fired up my 15" stationary planer, it was completely outside, and I was having a converation while boards were being worked. That's not a good comparison to a enclosed shop. However my contractor tablesaw is very quiet while running either indoors or out.
    Last edited by J. Vibert; 06-19-2012 at 04:54 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    my town has a noise bylaw that specifically mentions the use of power tools (no db limit, but they are restricted to after 7AM and before 11PM). I would check to see if your municipality has similar rules.

    Also, if you are just starting out, it might be a good time to "grease the wheels" with the neighbour. a case of good beer, or a nice bottle of wine, or something of that kind, along with a polite note explaining that you will be taking up woodworking and that while you will try your best to be conscientious of the noise, if it gets excessive on occasion you hope they'll accept your apology in advance, and you include this bottle of whatever as a thanks for their grace. That kind of thing puts them in the right mindset right from the start, and it's much more likely to keep things on a good level then.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    That's what I love about this country. There's nothing that can't be sorted out if you buy the other guy enough booze.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    My neighbours complain when I shovel my driveway after the Wheel of Fortune/Jeopardy hour. They complain about everything and per other neighbours, bad mouth/gossip about everybody behind their backs. If I come home after 11PM, they think I'm having an affair behind my wife's back. First time someone says that to you, you laugh it off and explain you work late sometimes. Second time, you explain again, seeing as they're old, but start to think. Third time, you feel really insulted, and while you'd like to tell them to f-off, you just keep your mouth shout and start praying they move/leave sooner rather than later. They are real nosey and frankly insulting with their constant in your face insunuations. Meanwhile they mow their lawn twice a day in the summer. I'm not kidding.

    End result, I stay within the 7AM to 11PM sound curfew on any major reno noise that they could possibly hear and frankly don't give a crap what they care for otherwise at other times. The neighbourly niceness bridge has burnt to the ground over the years with their snide remarks and nitpicky complaints I just don't give a poop any longer. Can't wait til they sell their house and the house turns into a biker clubhouse instead. Rant over.

    In regards to getting rid of sound transmission. Insulation, helps a lot. I insulated my garge door myself, and that really helped with sound transmission to the exterior. I added T1-11 siding over top of my drywalled walls in the interior of the shop, and that also helped abate sound as well.

    Funny story again about the aforementioned neighbours. Their bedroom window faces out to the side of my house that my shop is located on in my one car garage. The garage/shop has a 2X2 foot window facing their side, and often whenever I would use my shop late at night, even though there was no equipment that would have run I could often get a complaint/snide remark the next day. I decided to place a piece of thick cardboard over the window at one point to negate the light from illiminating the window at night, and ever since then, never a complaint even if I was using my equipment at nite. My kid sleeps directly over the shop, and I've never woken him up, so I figured correctly, that they really couldn't hear anything after all and were just being the a-holes that they are.
    Kevin

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    Sounds as bad as my situation (maybe worse)...at least you know which neighbour is being a jerk. Someone in my neighbourhood called the city and told them I was turning my garage into a living space when I was reframing the garage doors and prepping it for spray foam insulation. Inspector showed up the first time and I wasn't home but my wife showed him the garage. Second time he showed up I was home and the garage was done...he was impressed and walked away saying "That's f'in awesome...I want to do the same thing." Someone in the neighbour calls the parking authority whenever anyone visiting us straddles the sidewalk. Of course, our friends shouldn't be straddling the sidewalk (we make sure now) but some people who visit for a short time aren't aware and if we forget...bang, they get a ticket. This has happened to different people on different occasions. Someone in my neighbourhood also filed a complaint with the city about a dog using our name. City called us "back" and said the complaint has been addressed and we asked "what complaint?" and they said, "are you not XXX living at YYY?" to which we confirmed. They told us that a complaint had been filed under our name and address and when we asked if there was any way to check what number the complaint call came from, they said they don't have that information. :P

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    Quote Originally Posted by charlton View Post
    Sounds as bad as my situation (maybe worse)...at least you know which neighbour is being a jerk. Someone in the neighbour calls the parking authority whenever anyone visiting us straddles the sidewalk. Of course, our friends shouldn't be straddling the sidewalk (we make sure now) but some people who visit for a short time aren't aware and if we forget...
    I was going to mention that happened to us as well, but I don't know for sure if it was my aforementioned neighbours, so I left it out of my post. A friend of my wife's did it once, and it was only less than a foot extending onto the sidewalk, but fortunately there was no ticket, just a warning notice. It probably was the same neighbour, but I don't know for sure.
    Kevin

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    not to hijack further, but great story here: my parents had a neighbour like charltons, only they didn't know who it was. But someone was always calling bylaw whenever they had the most feeble excuse to do so. Well, one day the old man who lived next door with his old wife goes off and dies, and so now the wife has to move into a home. She's all alone, and the kids live far away, so my mom, feeling sympathy for her, decides to give her a phone call just to be nice and say hello. When my mom identified herself, however, the old woman must not have understood, because she started talking about how happy she was to have moved out of the old neighbourhood because she was finally away from that terrible callee family! She went on to tell my mother about how often she had phone bylaw on the callee family, and how even now, from the nursing home, she sometimes still called bylaw and made a false complaint about the callee family just because she was bored! My mom had never suspected that it was the old lady next door all those years! My mother had too much grace to inform the old woman that she was actually talking to callee-mom, But it sure was funny to hear the old woman prattle on, thinking she had the upper hand!

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    Good story Callee.

    Here's another one about neighbours (can't help myself at this point ) When my wife was pregnant with our first child, it was the year that the ominous warnings about standing water were going around as West Nile virus being propogated was going to kill us all. The media really did play this up like the plague was about to fall on us, so my wife called the Health dept about what could be done about the neighbours on the other side of us who are gone 10 mths of the year and their plan to not open their pool for the summer.

    A few days later, the nice neighbour fellow knocks on my door, and he's quite agitated about US calling the Health dept. I told him my wife did in fact call, and it was only to out of fear for our health and that of our soon to be born baby. He calmed down, accepted he needed to get someone to look after the pool over the summer which the health dept said he had to now open. Things were OK from then on, and I never heard any further frustration from him on the issue, and our relations with them have been great with them since as they were before that incident. Funny thing was, when I told her about the neighbour's accusation at the door, my wife said she had called to inquire with the Health dept, but had never given an address to the health dept, or at least that's what she tells me. I figured she was having a memory lapse, or that they simply used call display and figured out who we were and the said neighbour. Issue was over as far as I was concerned, so I let it be.

    About 2 years later, I found out from the nosey gossipy neighbour I detest on the other side of me that they had called the health dept, and that a host of other seniors on our street had done the same. I got the chewing, and everybody on the street knew what had happened two years before, but nobody had the gonads to come and take their own chunk of responsibility/blame for something that was likely now in hindsight deemed to have nothing to do with my wife's phone call in the first place. Sometimes you just have to take one for the team I guess.
    Kevin

  17. #17
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    jason jarrold

    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    reminds me of my parents and my situation.....i'll keep it short but let's just say it's really hard to "keep your dogs at home" when you throw your leftover food off your back porch....some people just lack......brains???? that being said, i just worked until 12:30am in my pole barn, routers/table saw/DC....its a benefit of
    A) living with your parents and
    B) having an acre and a half plus awesome neighbors closest to the barn

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    Hello Raviln. Two years ago I built a workshop for someone in my family in the city of Ottawa. Some of the things that we did to eliminate noise were :
    1) No windows on the long wall facing the neighbors.
    2) No windows facing the street. Only one window facing the back lawn.
    3) Used 2 X 6 so I could insulate properly.
    4) Finished with gyproc to deaden a lot of the noise.
    5) I talked with the neighbors on the right and on the left to let them know what we were going to do . This helped in my opinion as I assured them I would not abuse with the noise. And I asked them to let me know if while building I bothered them and I would stop immédiately. They seemed to appreciate these steps.

    Well enjoy your new shop and please be careful.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    Some of these stories are amusing, if not hard to believe - neighbours: what are you going to do?

    On my garage/shop build I talked with both of my neighbours on what was happening - they are terrific so I didn't expect anything or issues. A week before I was to spray insulate I read online (here, or another ww forum) on how poor this type is for sound control, for lack of a better word. With all my tools (and more to come) I thought long and hard about the difference this could make...and cancelled the truck for my own labour and Roxul products...

    With drywall up and paint and even with one window open, my tools do not come close to the noise of the guy four doors down who uses a leaf blower for an hour every Saturday afternoon. Seriously...
    Cheers,
    Thom.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Workshop in the garage, noise and neighbors

    In my previous home, our garage was attached to the neighbours' side of his house..... a townhouse of sorts, the whole street was built this way. I found that the odd cutting board, a little eavestrough repair, a window replacement etc for the neighbours went a very long way for me using loud tools at inconvenient times.
    Paul

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