While windows allow natural light to illuminate our homes, they also permit outdoor noise to ruin the silence. Are there ways to reduce noise from windows for greater peace and quiet? Sealing window gaps with caulk or installing sound-dampening drapes or shades can help. Learn how to soundproof windows with different methods to reduce disruptive outside noise.
Enjoy the Sound of Silence: How to Soundproof Windows Effectively
From construction noise and highway traffic to dogs barking and birds chirping, windows can never block 100% of all noise. However, there are multiple ways to significantly reduce disruptive sounds. We’ll detail how to soundproof windows with several different solutions. But, first, we’ll clarify the difference between soundproofing and sound absorption to help determine the best options for your home.
Soundproofing vs Sound Absorption
While both soundproofing and sound absorption decrease noise, they do so differently. Soundproofing stops outside noise from traveling through windows by halting or blocking its vibrations in the air. Sound absorption doesn’t block these vibrations but, instead, reduces their noise once they come inside.
Depending on your inside and outside environments, one of these methods or a combination of the two can best help reduce noise.
Seal Window Gaps With Caulk
Soundproofing existing windows can easily be accomplished with acoustic caulk. This caulk is specially-formulated to reduce the noise that seeps through cracks between the windows and wall.
The benefits of acoustic caulk include:
- Durability: Caulk won’t shrink or crack even if windows are repeatedly opened or closed.
- Longevity: Caulking can last several years before requiring reapplication.
- Effectiveness: While effective on its own, the advantage of acoustic caulking is increased when paired with noise-blocking window film. Together, these methods can be one of the most cost-effective soundproofing methods.
Add Sound Dampening Curtains or Shades
Wondering how to soundproof windows quickly and easily? Sound-dampening drapes and double-cell shades can be an effective option. The thick, heavy material and vinyl linings of sound-dampening curtains absorb sound, making it less disruptive.
Similarly, double-cell shades trap sound in between two layers of hexagonal fabric cells. However, since both of these methods only muffle sound, they are best used for light noise pollution and not significant disruptions.
Install Window Inserts
Soundproofing window inserts can be one of the most effective ways to reduce the transmission of outdoor noise. These inserts are made of laminated glass, which sandwiches a thin layer of plastic between two layers of glass. Installed between your existing window and window treatments, these inserts are easily removable or can be installed to raise and lower with the original window.
The benefits of laminated glass window inserts include:
- Significant noise reduction
- Blockage of harmful UV light
- Availability of multiple shapes and sizes
Upgrade to Double Pane Windows
If you live in an older home with single-pane windows, upgrading to double pane glass is considered the best form of soundproofing. Single vs dual pane windows offer no barrier between outside sounds and the glass, permitting almost every noise to filter inside.
Double pane windows consist of two pieces of glass that have an air gap between them. These dual panes and the airspace block noise so significantly, they’re largely considered the best soundproof windows. Replacing single-pane windows with double-pane glass must be done by a professional window replacement company and can be expensive. However, the soundproofing and insulating benefits are so significant that they can save money and frustration over the life of your windows.
The team at Glass West are the Sacramento-area experts on how to soundproof windows and replace them effectively. Call us for all your window maintenance and replacement needs.