People interested in windows that improve sound reduction for their homes often ask, How thick is window glass? Most people won't choose windows based solely on the thickness of the glass but if sound reduction is a priority it's helpful to know glass can resolve or reduce your sound problems.
In general thicker glass will be better at reducing noise intrusion but the engineering of windows is more complex. Window sales reps often talk about the strength, durability, and energy efficiency of the product, but the thickness of the glass is the most important element in reducing the amount of noise entering your home. Read on to learn more about window glass and sound reduction solutions.
There is plenty of logic involved when it comes to how thick window glass needs to be, and that starts with how thick the average sheet of window glass is. The thicker the glass is, the less fragile it is in your window. An average sheet of window glass, otherwise known as ‘Single Strength’ glass↗, is 3/32” thick. Single strength glass is used in most residential windows.
Glass for larger windows or doors will require thicker glass. The manufacturer will likely use ‘Double Strength’↗ glass, of course it depends on what makes the most sense for the size of the product. Double strength glass is slightly thicker at 1/8”.
If you are working with a contractor or vendor they will likely take care of these decisions for you based on building codes and manufacturing requirements, but you should absolutely ask questions and make sure you are on the same page. It's important for the contractor and vendor to understand what your needs and goals are with your window or door project.
As mentioned above, the thickness of the glass in your windows can change depending on your needs and what is available through the window brand you choose. Know what your priorities are and keep them in mind when making a selection.
The thickness of the window glass does matter. In addition to blocking sound waves, some glass arrangements can amplify sound waves. The thickness of the glass also matters in product construction decisions because the glass has to fit within the frame and for bigger windows, thick glass improves the structural stability of the window. It’s also important to remember that the thinner the glass size, the more fragile the glass is. Thin window frames are popular and thinner glass would work if sound reduction isn't a concern but if thin glass is used in a door it becomes a safety hazard for anyone who uses it or is near it (that's why storm doors and patio doors use tempered glass).
Thicker glass can definitely help with sound reduction, especially if you live in a city or on a busy street. Single pane windows don’t generally work well with sound reduction, so if that's what you have in your home it could be time to upgrade. In fact, single pane windows no longer meet energy standards. Double pane windows, which are better for sound reduction, were introduced in the 40s or 50s and became the standard product in the early 2000s.
To improve sound reduction qualities, some manufacturers use double-strength window glass (1/8” thick) instead of the standard single-strength option. Homeowners often ask for triple-pane, quadruple-pane, tempered, and laminated glass as solutions for sound reduction. While those options may be beneficial, we typically recommend dissimilar glass.
Dissimilar glass is specifically designed to solve for noise problems. Like a standard double pane window, dissimilar glass has two panes of glass but each are of different thickness. This type of window glass blocks different sound frequencies on an individual level for better overall sound reduction. One way to understand the effectiveness of sound reduction is to measure the STC ratings for windows. These scores typically range from 18-38, and those ratings also depend on the window type.
Though there are many things to consider when purchasing glass of any thickness, there are some sizes of glass that work more effectively at sound reduction for homeowners. Going beyond the average Single-Strength glass and exploring Double-Strength and Dissimilar Glass is a good way to start your own research. If you’re looking at window glass from the perspective of finding the most effective way to reduce sound into and out of your home, you’ll be able to find windows that are not only effective at sound reduction, but that are a lower likelihood of breakage as well. For more information on other sound-reducing window options (including a deeper look at dissimilar glass) you can visit Brennan’s website to learn more.
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