When outside noise becomes annoying, it becomes noise pollution. And when there’s noise pollution, soundproofing windows is the best thing you can do to keep calm, healthy, and focused on what you do without frustrating disturbances.
There are several types of noise pollution and not only in urban environments. Anything, from road traffic and aircrafts to nightclubs, children screaming, and sirens, is part of life but also annoying. How many decibels one can stand?
Noise travels and you have two ways to deal with it. The first has to do with sound absorption. You need acoustic panels and soft materials and plants – anything to absorb the sound waves. And then, you need to reduce noise. That’s by taking action so that the outside noise will stop before it reaches your ears. Or, to put it more precisely, to make a scream sound like a murmur.
Since the windows are structural elements, their construction matters. The window installation matters. Anything about windows says whether outside noises will be reduced and even absorbed before they reach you or not. The whole point is to block outside noise by closing the little gaps around the windows and having glass panes designed to keep the sound waves out. Let’s see how all this works.
Forget single-panes. Get double or triple glazing
One of the best things you can do to soundproof windows is to replace the glass. Single panes cannot eliminate noises. What you need is at least double glazing. If you can afford it, get triple glazing windows. That’s three layers of glass panes separated by a filler, usually argon gas. The combination of the multiple layers and the gas can reduce noise.
The spacing issue: you see, to give noise some space to deaden, it’s vital to create enough space between the glazing. But who wants thick glass for the windows? And so, the spacing is filled with gas and protected by spacers – strips of metal or plastic.
Get acoustic glass windows
What is acoustic glass?
It’s laminated glass with at least two panes of glass that are bonded with acoustic interlayers – that’s a plastic film that is layered between the two glass panes.
Seal around the window
It’s important that the perimeter of the windows is sealed. If tiny gaps will allow sound to travel indoors, the STC ratings won’t be met. What is STC? Sound Transmission Class and the way products are rated for their soundproof qualities. It’s a way to measure how much noise is stopped.
Single pane windows have 26-28 STC rating, double glazing windows go up to 26-32 STC, while soundproof windows reach 48-54 STC.
Now, when it comes to these ratings, it’s not only the number of glass panes that makes the difference but also how airtight the windows are – hence, the importance of keeping them well-sealed. Plus, the glass thickness. Let’s talk about that.
Focus on glass thickness
When it comes to window glass thickness, it’s best to get the best possible. To state it better, it’s best to have the best glass thickness combination possible. One good solution for double glazing windows is to get one 1/8” glass and one 3/16” glass. Or, even better, 1/8” glass combined with ¼” glass.
Get window inserts
If this is a very loud neighborhood, a home situated on a very busy street, or a house located next to the airport and you need some additional help to reduce outside noises, you can also get window inserts. With the right fit, you can further enhance the qualities of soundproof windows and so, further reduce noise.