Windows let a lot of ambient noise into the home, but different types of window soundproofing can help block that noise.
Considering soundproof windows? That’s understandable. Your home should be your sanctuary, and that means creating ideal sound levels. However, getting some well-deserved peace and quiet is often easier said than done. If you live in a city, near a highway, or a similarly noisy location, then you may struggle to find the quiet that you and your sanctuary deserve.
That’s too bad because noise pollution can cause all kinds of problems. For one thing, it can cause elevated stress levels, which leads to high blood pressure, tension, and a weakened immune system. For another thing, it can cause insomnia, which also leads to physical and mental health problems.
And that’s if you don’t have an underlying condition such as anxiety or sensory processing disorder. When you add those factors into the mix, noise pollution can be even more of a struggle.
The good news is that soundproofing can make life quieter. Soundproofing can block the noise from highway traffic, airplanes, leaf blowers, and noise from the neighbors.
On the other hand, maybe you need soundproofing to keep noise from escaping your own home. For example, if you’re a musician or singer, you might want soundproof windows so that you can keep your practice sessions to yourself.
Whether you need noise reduction because you want to protect your own peace and quiet or protect yourself from noise complaints, soundproof windows can help.
Table of Contents
- Types of Soundproof Windows for Noise Reduction
- Types of Soundproof Window Glass
Types of Soundproof Window Frames
- Fiberglass Frames
- Vinyl Windows
- DIY Soundproofing
- Other Soundproofing Options
Frequently Asked Questions
- How Can You Benefit from Soundproof Glass?
- Why Do Windows Let in So Much Noise?
- Is Glass a Good Sound Barrier?
- What Type of Window Sound Barrier is Best?
- How Do Soundproofing Windows Work?
- Can Soundproof Windows Reduce Utility Bills?
- Can You Soundproof Existing Windows?
- How Can You Soundproof Your Windows Without Replacing Them?
- How Can You Soundproof Your Windows Cheaply?
- How Do You Soundproof a Double Glazed Window?
Types of Soundproof Windows for Noise Reduction
When you have too much noise coming in and out of the house, your windows are part of the problem, and choosing the right noise reduction can make a big difference.
Since your windows are thinner than your walls and doors, they naturally let more noise come and go. The good news is that you don’t have to live with the noise. Some people accept noise pollution as a “necessary evil” of living in urban areas, but that’s just not the case. You have lots of window-based options for dampening those irritating sounds. Sometimes the solution is a simple as a double pane window, while other solutions for removing unwanted noise are a bit more complex.
By knowing your options, you can make the right choice for your soundproofing needs. Here are some choices that you should know about.
Premade Soundproof Windows
Of course, one choice is to simply buy soundproof windows for noise reduction. You can find several types of soundproof windows online. Some companies specialize in these types of windows. They’ve researched all the factors that contribute to sound reduction, and they’ve blended those factors together for optimal window soundproofing. Soundproof windows are made specifically with soundproofing in mind, and they can block up to 95% of sound.
Premade soundproof windows are made from something called acoustic glass. Acoustic glass is a type of soundproofing material that places a soundproofing layer in between to layers of regular glass. Combined with the right window pane, acoustic glass can make a huge difference in sound reduction.
There are several advantages to the pre-made noise reduction window. For example, many of these windows come with specific soundproof ratings, so you can judge how much soundproofing you’ll need and know upfront how well these windows will block sound.
Plus, you can have a window expert install your windows for you instead of having to install them yourself, which will save you all kinds of time, effort, and labor.
You can also save your mental energy when you choose this route. You won’t have to become a window expert just to get the perfect noise reduction window. With other types of window soundproofing, you may end up learning more about windows and acoustics than you ever wanted to know. You’ll learn a lot about the best soundproofing material to block external noise. Many people just don’t have that kind of time, and many would rather leave their windows to a real window expert. Pre-made window soundproofing lets people do just that.
Another advantage is that soundproof windows are both convenient and effective for immediate sound reduction, which is why a lot of people choose this route.
Furthermore, if you find a company that uses acoustic glass for their windows, there’s a good chance that they also provide glass doors for sound reduction. If you want to take your external noise reduction even further, then finding a soundproof window expert may be exactly what you need.
However, these windows can also be costly, especially if you want to soundproof more than one room. A single window can cost $1,000 or more.
Now, if these pre-made windows are in your budget, then they may very well be worth the cost. These windows tend to me made from high-quality materials, which means that they can last much longer than ordinary windows. As a result, they may be more cost-effective than regular windows overall.
Furthermore, soundproof windows are also generally energy efficient. They have insulating properties that provide more than just sound insulation. They also provide climate insulation, which can lower your energy bills over time.
However, if pre-made soundproof windows aren’t in your budget, don’t worry. You still have several options for dampening sound, and with a bit of research, you can find many types of soundproof windows.
Once you understand the best soundproofing material and the factors that can reduce external noise, you can look for these factors as you shop for solutions. It may take you a little extra time to get the sound control you want, but once you find it, you’ll be glad that you made the effort.
Types of Soundproof Window Glass
Most regular windows don’t come with a soundproofing rating, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t come with noise-reducing factors. The key is knowing what to look for in a window.
One important factor is having the right type of window glass when you choose your replacement windows. Most window glass is thin enough to let sound travel freely, but certain types of window glass are thicker and able to dampen more sound, thus giving you more sound control. While there’s no such thing as truly soundproof glass, having the right glass for your windows can certainly make a big difference. Combine with the right type of windowpane, the right window glass can reduce the sound vibration that comes from exterior noise.
Here are the types of glass that provide the best sound control.
Acrylic Glass Windows
First, there’s acrylic glass. Now, when it comes to sound vibration, the biggest problem with the standard single pane window is the lack of thickness. The typical glass window isn’t nearly thick enough to reduce exterior noise. That’s where the acrylic glass comes in.
Acrylic glass is thicker than regular glass, so it automatically adds a layer of soundproofing to your replacement windows. While acrylic glass can be more expensive than regular glass, it can also last longer, so you can enjoy overall cost-effectiveness if you make the switch. Plus, acrylic glass is also better for insulation than regular window glass, which means that you may save money on your energy bills.
Laminated Glass Windows
Laminated glass is similar to acrylic glass, and it can make a great choice for replacement windows. Just like acrylic glass, it adds thickness to the windows, making them more soundproof compared to regular windows.
Laminated glass does use regular window glass. However, it includes an extra layer of lamination in between the traditional glass, which is where the added thickness comes from. That extra layer helps to dampen sound, much like a dual-pane window or acoustic glass.
Double Pane and Triple Pane Window Glass
You can also add thickness to your windows by using double-pane or triple-pane windows instead of single-pane windows. Double pane window glass uses two panes of glass with a bit of space in between for a gas such as argon. The gas is thicker than the air you breathe, so it adds a bit of insulation on its own. Triple pane windows add a third layer of glass into the mix, which can benefit those who live in very loud areas. Someone who lives close to an airport, for example, may want to invest in triple-pane windows.
If you’re thinking about getting a triple pane window, though, make sure that a double pane window won’t be enough to get the job done, first. A triple pane window can be especially expensive, and it may not be worth the cost if you’re just trying to reduce day-to-day exterior noise.
Types of Soundproof Window Frames
When it comes to ambient noise reduction, window glass isn’t the only factor that makes a sound vibration difference. The best noise reduction window will also have the right window frame.
You may see a big sound insulation difference with the right window frame. Of course, depending on your location and soundproofing goals, a thicker window glass may be all you need to get some peace and quiet. If you’re only dealing with traffic noise, for example, a dual-pane window may get the job done.
However, if you want added noise protection, you can also look for soundproof window frames. Ordinary wooden frames, when surrounded by glass, don’t do a great job of keeping extreme levels of noise away. Thankfully, window frames do come in other material options, and those options can help you create the quiet environment you deserve.
Here are some of the best window frame options for reducing traffic noise and other exterior sounds.
First, there are fiberglass window panes. Fiberglass frames look similar to regular wood frames, but they have a smooth texture that feels a lot like plastic when you touch them.
People often choose fiberglass window frames for their durability. These frames can stand up to all kinds of weather conditions, so they generally last longer than wood frames. As a result, they can make a cost-effective choice, even though they’re more expensive upfront than wooden window frames.
For soundproofing purposes, the most important thing about fiberglass window frames is the hollow space on the inside. You can fill that space with insulation, which will dampen the noise from outside the window. As a bonus, that insulation can help you save money on energy bills. It’ll prevent air from escaping, so you may not have to run your heater or air conditioning quite as often.
Next, you have vinyl window frames, which look and feel similar to fiberglass frames. Vinyl window frames, just like fiberglass window frames, have a smooth texture and a hollow space that can be filled with insulation. That insulation can reduce traffic noise and other types of noise pollution.
The main difference between vinyl and fiberglass is that fiberglass is made from glass fibers held together with resin. Vinyl material is closer to traditional plastic.
There are a couple of other differences, too. For one thing, fiberglass is stronger than vinyl, which means that it can last longer. Because it lasts longer than vinyl, fiberglass is also more expensive upfront.
Fiberglass can also be painted, while with vinyl, you’d have to stick with the original color. That said, vinyl can come in several colors, so if you do choose vinyl, it shouldn’t be hard for you to find the color that you want.
Now, what if the options above won’t work for you? Maybe you rent your home or apartment and don’t have a lot of control over renovation choices. Or maybe brand-new windows just aren’t in your budget right now. In that case, you may look for alternate soundproofing methods.
Whatever the reason, if you can’t replace your windows right now, you don’t have to put up with unwanted noise. You have several DIY soundproofing options that can help you create a good sound barrier and get the peace and quiet you deserve. You don’t need a lot of home DIY experience to use these options, either. Sometimes, getting enough noise reduction is a simple as buying a soundproof window insert.
If one method doesn’t work well enough on its own, you can also combine methods to get the soundproofing you want. Below are some of the options that you can use, either separately or together.
Use a Soundproofing Sealant or Acoustic Caulk
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First up is something called a soundproof sealant. Soundproof sealant goes by several names, including “acoustic sealant,” “acoustic caulk,” and more. Sometimes, the most bothersome noises don’t come from the windows themselves but from the gaps and cracks that surround them. The acoustic sealant comes in both liquid and tape form.
Acoustic caulk kits are inexpensive, especially when compared to buying entirely new windows. In fact, they’re one of the cheapest soundproofing methods on the market. They can block some sound from traffic and similar sources.
Buy Soundproofing Curtains and Soundproofing Window Blinds
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The next solution comes from soundproofing curtains and soundproofing window blinds.
You’ve probably already heard of blackout curtains, which block out the light and can keep your bedroom dark, even after the sun rises. These curtains can be a godsend to night-shift workers and people whose bedrooms are on the eastern side of their houses.
Soundproof curtains are to sound what blackout curtains are to light. These curtains are similarly important to singers, musicians, and people who want to block noise from outside. They’re made from thick, noise-absorbing material that creates sound insulation.
Noise-blocking window blinds work similarly to soundproof curtains. They hang from the same space where you would hang regular blinds, but they dampen the sound when drawn down, thus creating a sound barrier. If you really want to double-up on your noise reduction, you can use both the curtains and the blinds for extra protection. As an added bonus, both soundproof curtains and noise-blocking blinds can also block a lot of light, so if you need both soundproofing and light blocking, you can get both at the same time.
Compared to regular curtains and blinds, the soundproof variety is definitely more expensive. However, compared to soundproof windows, these noise-blocking options can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Plus, if you live in an apartment or rent your home, you can hang up soundproof curtains or blinds without damaging the walls or existing windows.
Consider a Soundproof Window Insert
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Did you know that you can use a soundproof window insert for noise reduction? Soundproof window inserts provide another alternative to soundproof windows, giving users an option for more soundproof glass.
You can place these inserts into your existing window frames, adding extra protection against outside noise. These inserts reduce unwanted noise by about half, and they may be a good choice for people who live in apartments and want to block noise from the neighbors.
Though they’re not the fully soundproof glass and don’t block quite as much sound like a complete window replacement, the fact that you can simply place an insert over your existing window is a benefit all on its own. You can choose a window insert for a single window, or you can buy several.
Consider Secondary Glazing or Double Glazing
Another DIY option is called secondary glazing, or a secondary window. With secondary glazing, also called double glazing, you add an entirely new, independent window on the interior side of the first window. Secondary glazing puts extra glass and other materials in between you and the noise outside, thus dampening that noise.
Another benefit to secondary glazing or double glazing is that it lets you install extra windows without getting a full window replacement. for the original windows. Therefore, compared to complete window replacement, secondary glazing can save time, money, and effort.
This DIY option can get more complicated than some other options, but you can find tutorials online. You can also hire a contractor to take care of the installation.
Add a Storm Window
Storm windows are a lot like secondary glazing. The difference is that while a secondary glaze goes on the interior side of the existing window, a storm window will go on the exterior side. Storm windows aren’t designed specifically to provide an acoustic barrier, but they often do provide an acoustic barrier because of how they’re built.
The idea behind storm windows is to reduce drafts and create a more comfortable living environment in spite of harsh weather. Because storm windows prevent outside air from leaking into the house, they can also prevent excess ambient noise from doing the same.
As an added benefit, storm windows cost far less than a full window replacement. Plus, they can help you save money on your energy bills, so by installing storm windows, you can accomplish several things at once.
Just like with a secondary glaze, you can either install a storm window yourself or hire a contractor to install it for you.
Use Weatherproof Stripping and Window Plug Draft Stoppers
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Of course, if you don’t want to get a storm window, you can still use the same principles from above to create a good acoustic barrier.
One simple option is to use weatherproof stripping or draft stoppers around your windows. Just like with a window insert, weatherproof stripping can provide a solution for an existing window rather than requiring a full replacement. In this case, though, the solution focuses on the window frame rather than the window glass.
Weatherproof stripping, like some acoustic sealant options, comes in the form of tape. You can place this tape along the edges of a window frame, creating a seal that can also help dampen the sound. This option works best for smaller noise-based annoyances that don’t call for a full window replacement or a dual-pane window.
Draft stoppers can also help with window soundproofing. A draft stopper or window plug is a wedge or piece of material designed to stop indoor air from escaping outdoors. While a window plug is designed for energy-saving purposes, the materials of the window plug tend to absorb sound, which can make your environment more peaceful. You can also use draft stoppers and weatherproof stripping around your doors for extra soundproofing.
Other Soundproofing Options
Some soundproofing options have nothing to do with windows. You can use these tools in addition to soundproof windows, or you can use them as an alternative. If window-based soundproofing is too expensive, or if you want additional noise protection, then these other soundproofing methods can help.
Noise Canceling Headphones and High Fidelity Earplugs
The first option is the simplest: headphones and earplugs.
If soundproof windows and other soundproofing choices simply aren’t options right now, a good pair of noise-canceling headphones may be all you need to get some quiet.
This solution will work especially well if you’re dealing with sporadic noise instead of consistent noise. Active noise cancellation works by providing an “anti-noise” or “counter noise” frequency to cancel out the surrounding noises. Thanks to this technology, noise cancellation headphones don’t just dampen sound or block it out; They actually counteract it. These headphones come in a range of prices, but virtually all of them are less expensive than installing soundproof windows.
If you want to reduce noise without blocking it out completely, you might choose high-fidelity earplugs. These earplugs were designed so that musicians and concert-goers could protect their hearing in loud environments. They’ve also gained a lot of popularity among the Autism, ADHD, and Sensory Processing Disorder communities.
High-fidelity earplugs reduce overall noise without muffling or blocking it. They allow the user to keep hearing clearly without getting overwhelmed with too much sound.
Soundproofing Inner Rooms
If you’re a musician or singer who wants to practice without disturbing your neighbors, you might decide to soundproof a designated practice room instead of making the entire house more practice-friendly. In this case, you can choose a room that’s not surrounded by windows and insulate it with soundproof panels or insulation foam.
Speaking of soundproof panels, you can use them as a solution without soundproofing an entire room.
Soundproof panels, or acoustic panels, are another option for those who are concerned about disturbing their neighbors. If you’re more worried about the sound that comes out of your house than the sound that comes into your house, acoustic panels can make a great choice.
These panels can be attached to a wall, but you can also find freestanding acoustic panels that can be moved as necessary. They come in a range of sizes and prices and are often used by podcasters, musicians, singers, and more to keep their neighbors from hearing too much of their work. They also prevent ambient noise from distorting the desired sound, so if you do any recording sessions in your home, acoustic panels can make your work sound more clear and professional.
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Another option is to use a soundproof blanket for noise protection. Soundproof blankets are multi-layered blankets designed to absorb sound. They’re thicker than regular blankets and can be hung over doors and windows for temporary noise protection. Like acoustic panels, soundproof blankets work well for musicians and other performers. However, they can also work well for people with sensory issues who may want to take a break from everyday noise.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have questions about soundproof windows and how to create a good sound barrier? Below, you’ll find some of the most frequently asked questions about windows and noise reduction. Take a look and see if you find the answers to your own questions.
How Can You Benefit from Soundproof Glass?
A lot of homeowners go back and forth about the decision to use soundproof glass. Anytime you think about remodeling your home, you have to make a big decision, so of course you want to make sure that the decision will be worth all the time and money you’ll put into it.
So, how can you benefit from soundproof glass? And are those benefits worth it? The biggest benefit is that with noise-dampening windows, you get to control the volume of your surroundings. You’ll enjoy a quieter, more peaceful home.
If you or someone in your household has anxiety or sensory processing issues, then the extra quiet can make a world of difference in overall wellbeing. However, you don’t have to have a mental health condition to benefit from soundproof glass. Noise pollution has been proven to cause stress, and prolonged stress can cause hypertension, among other problems.
Furthermore, better noise control means better sleep. If you’re struggling with insomnia, you may benefit from making your environment quieter. Insomnia leads to both physical and mental health problems, which means that better sleep can improve your life.
Why Do Windows Let in So Much Noise?
Windows let in excess noise for two reasons. The first one is that window glass doesn’t block sound very well. The glass is relatively thin, so it allows some sound to come through.
The second reason is because of the cracks and gaps that can surround windows. If a window lets in a draft, then it will also let in extra noise.
If you want to soundproof your windows, you’ll need to address both issues. However, if you only need a small amount of noise protection, you may get what you need from addressing just one factor or the other.
Is Glass a Good Sound Barrier?
It depends on the type of glass. For the glass that you’d find on a regular, single-pane window, the answer is no. Most window glass does a poor job of preventing sound from coming through to the other side, and a single pane window isn’t nearly thick enough to block excess noise.
Remember that the average window manufacturer isn’t too concerned about sound control. They’ll be more focused on visuals than acoustics.
What Type of Window Sound Barrier is Best?
If the regular glass doesn’t make a good sound barrier, then what type of glass will? You have a few options here.
One option is to double or triple the number of glass panes in your windows. The more glass you put between yourself and the outside noise, the more you can block that noise.
To accomplish this option, you can either buy new windows with extra panes, or you can add more coverage by getting a secondary glaze, storm window or window cover.
Another option is to use a thicker specialty glass, such as laminated glass or acrylic.
Overall though, the best type of window sound barrier is the type that addresses both the glass and the windowpane. The glass isn’t the only reason why regular windows aren’t soundproof. The more factors you consider in your soundproofing, the more effective that soundproofing will be.
How Do Soundproofing Windows Work?
Soundproofing windows work by addressing all the issues mentioned above. With soundproof windows, the glass tends to be thicker than ordinary window glass, which prevents some sound from traveling through the glass. Soundproof windows also use sound-blocking window panes, which are often insulated and therefore better at blocking noise than wooden panes. All of these materials come together to block and/or absorb noise before it reaches the inside of the home.
Can Soundproof Windows Reduce Utility Bills?
Absolutely! Soundproof windows address the factors that lead to excess noise inside the home: thin glass and escaping air. It just so happens that those factors can also cause high energy bills.
When a lot of sounds can get through your windows, so can drafts. Soundproof windows have more insulation than regular windows, so they can help keep your heated or cooled air inside the house. Your climate control system won’t have to work as hard, and you may notice lower energy bills as a result.
Can You Soundproof Existing Windows?
Yes. If you don’t have the budget or the permission to replace your current windows, you can absolutely soundproof your existing windows.
For example, you can keep your current windows but install soundproofing curtains. Or you can add a secondary window to the interior side of a current window. You have plenty of options, so take some time to explore which of those options might work best for your situation.
How Can You Soundproof Your Windows Without Replacing Them?
We already mentioned the soundproof curtain option above, as well as secondary glazes and storm windows. Other options include window inserts, acoustic caulk, and window plugs. You can choose one of these options or several, depending on how much soundproofing you want.
How Can You Soundproof Your Windows Cheaply?
Because you have so many options for soundproofing your windows, you also have a range of price options. For the most part, the most expensive options will be the most effective. However, you can combine several of the less expensive options to see some great results.
How Do You Soundproof a Double Glazed Window?
Double glazed windows are already more soundproof than single glazed windows, so they have an advantage from the start. However, you can use extra soundproofing methods that will add even more protection to your standard double-pane window.
By adding a soundproof curtain, a window plug, acoustic caulk, and other modifications, you can add extra soundproofing to your window and enjoy a quieter environment.