Best Windows for Sound Reduction

Best Windows for Sound Reduction

The idea of soundproofing one’s living space has crossed everybody’s mind at least once. Whether your place is situated next to a construction site or playground or is hounded by traffic noises all day long, eliminating unwanted sounds is a major challenge faced in all households. As much as we insulate our home's exterior walls noise still makes its way into our homes. 

Another way exterior noise enters our homes is through windows and that's what we're talking about in this post. Let's take a look at how sound reduction windows can help resolve our noise problem. 

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Soundproofing Window Solutions

There are several things you should know about soundproof windows. The first is that  “soundproof” windows are those that reduce noise by blocking up to 90% to 95%↗ of noise coming through windows. The second thing to be aware of is that some soundproofing solutions block only certain frequencies—sounds with low frequencies are harder to block than sounds with higher frequencies. 

One of the most important things to be aware of when shopping for soundproof windows is sound transmission class (STC) ratings. STC ratings allow you to compare soundproofing abilities of windows fairly. The STC rating scale indicates how much sound is inhibited, the higher the number the better the window does at blocking sound. The STC ratings of soundproof windows touch at least 45, with some climbing as high as the mid-50s. To put things into perspective, the basic single-pane and dual-pane windows have an average STC rating of around 27 and 28↗ respectively.

Sound Reduction Depends on Glass

In order to block outside noises from entering your home, there needs to be a combination of multiple factors working together. 

Firstly, noise reduction is directly proportional to the thickness of the glass. Thin glass panes do a sub-par job of keeping the noise out.

Secondly, it helps a lot to add spaces between the panes of glass↗. The greater the gap between sheets of glass, the better sound protection the glass window system will provide. Inserting heavy and inert gases like Argon in these spaces help reduce noise even further.

Lastly, sandwiching a layer of PVB (polyvinyl butyral) between the panes of glass helps reduce unwanted outside noise, as the glass-plastic-glass system acts as a perfect insulator, without negatively impacting the clarity of outdoor views.

The Best Windows for Sound Reduction

One of the preferred choices for sound reduction are windows with dissimilar glass which offer reliable and long-term performance. Another alternative can be to incorporate a laminated outer pane of 6.4mm glass↗ into a triple glazed unit, which is highly likely to outperform the acoustic double glazing in this field. Remember, not all window manufacturers allow so much customization and any customization to windows increases the cost of the product. 

Homeowners often ask about triple pane windows as a noise solution but the cost of triple pane windows compared to double pane windows often steers them toward more cost-efficient solutions. 

Windows with Low-E Dissimilar Glass

As the name suggests, windows containing Dissimilar glass are fairly similar to a routine double pane window system except the fact that they consist of two panes of glass with different thicknesses. Glass panes with different thicknesses block different frequencies,  resulting in a window unit that blocks a greater range of frequencies than a  standard window unit.

Such windows, if ordered with Low-E (Emissivity) glass, are cost-effective, energy-efficient and provide effective sound control. While a standard dual pane window has an STC rating of 27, installing appropriate options↗ boosts that number all the way up to 34.

Windows made Specifically for Sound Reduction

Window manufacturers are aware of noise problems for homeowners, especially those located in high-trafficked areas, near highways, airports, or railroads, that's why some vendors include noise-reduction windows in their product catalog. Usually, these windows are better priced and backed with product warranties. Take a look at two options below. 

Milgard Quiet Line Series

In order to achieve some of the best sound control ratings, Milgard’s Quiet Line Series↗ noise reduction windows can be one of the go-to options as well. With three layers of glass, Quiet Line Series can provide a STC rating as high as 48, which amounts to impressive noise reduction. You can also opt for laminated glass and heavier glazing options for premium noise reduction to tackle extreme conditions.

Moreover, they come with a ten-year warranty period which includes replacement if found to be defective in materials and/or workmanship. 

Interior Soundproof Windows

Interior Soundproof Windows are usually fitted inside the frame of your existing window, thereby, providing a large airspace between the existing window and the new one. Sound needs air to move and this dead airspace increases noise reduction dramatically, and as a result, their STC ratings hover in upwards of 50.

Interior soundproof windows can be used as a welcome alternative to replacement windows, but the drawback is that they’re not as aesthetically pleasing or customizable. 

Although there are qualitative benchmarks for noise reduction, it is subjective in the broader sense, depending largely on the homeowner’s desired comfort level. 

And with sound control becoming a growing trend in the construction industry, window upgrades are an effective and high-value way to increase the acoustic performance of houses. 

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