how to soundproof windows

How to soundproof windows 2024: block sound from the outside world

Need a guide with how to soundproof a window? Here is the best way to block out external sound

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Sure, you’ve soundproofed your room with the best soundproof paint or the best soundproof panels on the market, but something isn’t quite hitting right. You’re still hearing noise from outside, which means you’ve forgotten one thing in particular. You forgot to soundproof your windows. While soundproofing your door helps a bunch, you can’t skimp out on your windows.

Street noise can be a nuisance for almost everyone at some point. It comes in various forms, such as police sirens, construction work, bustling restaurants, loud nightclubs, barking dogs, honking car horns, and general road traffic.

These noises have the potential to disrupt your peace, alter your home’s ambiance, and in some cases, even impact your overall quality of life.

How to soundproof a window

When it comes to sound insulation, windows are often the weakest link in a building. They’re naturally the thinnest barrier separating you from the outside world and serve as the primary entry point for unwanted noise into your home. So, without further ado, let’s get into our guide on how to soundproof windows to get the best acoustics for your setup.

Use Double Cell Shades To Soundproof Windows

Consider the installation of double-cell shades, also known as honeycomb shades, for effective sound control. These shades consist of rows of cells or hexagonal tubes of fabric stacked atop one another.

They serve multiple purposes, such as blocking out light, preventing indoor heat buildup in the summer, retaining warmth during the winter, and absorbing sound that enters a room to reduce echoing.

While single-cell shades possess only one layer of cells and offer limited sound absorption, double-cell shades, like those offered by First Rate Blinds, boast two layers of cells, rendering them more effective at sound attenuation. Similar to sound-dampening curtains, they are most suitable for individuals confronted with low levels of noise pollution.

Soundproof Windows With Window Inserts

To combat noise pollution, especially in areas with loud disturbances like car horns, sirens, or blaring music, consider installing soundproofing window inserts. These inserts consist of glass panels placed within the window frame, positioned approximately 5 inches in front of your existing window’s interior surface.

The space between the insert and the window effectively blocks most sound vibrations, providing superior noise reduction compared to double-pane windows alone (more on those later). The most effective inserts utilize laminated glass, a thick material composed of two glass layers separated by a layer of plastic that effectively absorbs vibrations.

Soundproof windows are rated on the Sound Transmission Class (STC) scale, which measures the decibel reduction in noise volume they offer. Typically, these windows score between 48 and 54 on the STC scale. A higher STC value indicates greater noise reduction.

To put it in perspective, an outdoor noise level of 98 decibels (db), such as a motorcycle engine, would be reduced to only 44 db indoors (98 minus 54). This is no louder than a typical indoor conversation. Interestingly, an insert installed in front of a single-pane window often provides more noise reduction than one in front of a double-pane window.

This is because double-pane windows usually start with a higher STC rating, so the addition of an insert may not significantly boost their overall STC. The cost of a window insert typically ranges from $350 to $800, including installation. This price is either less than or on par with the cost of the next option: replacing your windows entirely for soundproofing.

Invest In Some Soundproof Curtains

For a cost-effective and budget-friendly means of mitigating noise while also reducing harsh light, consider adorning your windows with the best soundproof curtains. If you want to invest in this relatively cheap sound-dampening option, check out our top picks for the best soundproof curtains.

These sound-dampening curtains, typically priced from $20 to $60 per panel, are constructed from dense, weighty materials like velvet. They are frequently lined with vinyl or a comparable sound-absorbing substance. In addition to muffling sounds, these curtains also help to minimize echoes.

Nevertheless, they are not designed to completely block sound but are more apt at mitigating mild noise disturbances that could disrupt your sleep, such as crickets or chirping birds, rather than effectively quelling the noise generated by heavy street traffic.

A majority of these window treatments also function as exceptional blackout curtains, featuring a foam backing that aids in blocking out light. Curtains that absorb sound and block light are ideal choices for bedrooms and other spaces designed for slumber and relaxation. They are especially favored by individuals who work night shifts and require daytime sleep.

Replace Your Regular Windows With Soundproof Double Pane Windows

When confronted with moderate outdoor noise disturbances like sporadic lawnmower roars or passing cars, consider swapping out single-pane windows for their double-pane counterparts. Single-pane windows, frequently found in homes aged 15 years or older, consist of just a single glass sheet nestled within the window frame.

Conversely, double-pane windows, commonly seen in newer homes, feature two glass panes separated by a layer of air. Single-pane windows lack an air barrier between the exterior and the glass, permitting the passage of nearly all outdoor sounds through the glass and into your living spaces, creating a noisy indoor environment.

Single-pane windows typically sport an STC rating ranging from 26 to 28. This falls slightly more than half of what soundproof windows provide. Toward the upper end of this spectrum, a single-pane window would decrease the noise volume generated by a passing car (70 db) to 42 db (70 minus 28).

In contrast, the airspace between the individual glass panes in a double-pane window effectively obstructs outdoor sound vibrations, delivering superior noise reduction benefits. This translates to an STC rating ranging from 26 to 35. Compared to a single-pane window with an STC of 28, a double-pane window boasting an STC of 35 would reduce the noise volume produced by a passing car to a mere 35 db.

This signifies a 7-decibel more substantial noise reduction compared to the single-pane window (70 minus 35). Although this difference may not seem significant, to the listener, a 7-db variance equates to an approximately 87 percent perceived volume reduction. Replacing a single-pane window with an equivalent double-pane version typically costs between $350 and $900.

In summary

That pretty much wraps up how to soundproof your windows, whether you’re running on a tight budget or seeking the perfect acoustics for your home studio. Soundproof curtains are an extremely cost-effective way for many, however, they may not offer enough sound dampening for those who seek near-perfect silence.

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