Whether you live in a crowded downtown or near a busy highway in the suburbs, the external noise will always threaten the peaceful atmosphere inside your home. Though insulated walls and padded ceilings block most of the noise, part of it will still manage to seep through the least protective part of your home – the windows.
Be it the heavy traffic, loud horns, police sirens, or loud neighbors without soundproof windows; you’ll hardly ever have a good night’s sleep. Although the outside chaos is beyond your control, you can still prevent it from disrupting your daily activities. Here’s all you need to know to soundproof a window from traffic noise.
Unlike the walls and ceilings, noise can easily pass through windows, especially through the gaps between the window and the wall. You need to seal off the gaps with a caulking sealant and replace the weatherstripping seal on the window. Attach window inserts at a 5-inch distance on the inside, along with acoustic curtains, to buffer sound waves. If you have the budget, invest in specialized soundproof windows.
Why Windows Need Soundproofing?
Everybody deserves a calm indoor environment to stay productive and restful at night. Not to mention, if you are a work-from-home employee or a student preparing for exams, the noise will affect your productivity and well-being.
Being a relatively thinner barrier between you and the outside world, the windows prove to be ineffective in buffering the external noise. The honking cars, clamoring construction machinery, and loud nightclub music can all leak in through the windows without much difference in intensity.
While the single-pane glass shelters your indoors from harsh outside weather, it proves relatively ineffective in buffering the noise. The reason is that most window glasses aren’t designed to limit high-intensity sound waves. While others are installed so poorly with visible gaps and cervices between their frame and the wall, it carves enough room for the noise to weasel through.
6 DIY Methods to Soundproof a Window
If you live in an environment where honking car horns and wailing sirens are a norm, you need to soundproof your windows from external noise. Although there are plenty of ways to insulate your windows against sound, they all differ depending on the type and intensity of noise you are dealing with.
In other words, you can soundproof your windows without replacing them. Here are the six most affordable ways to soundproof a window yourself:
1. Plant Window Inserts
For areas with high decibel levels, consider reinforcing your windows with an additional layer of window inserts. The glass panel is mounted at a 5-inch distance on the interior end of your main window frame. The airspace inside the two parallel glass panels acts as a buffering zone that muffles down the higher wavelength soundwaves.
While it helps you to achieve greater noise reduction than single-pane windows, it’s a comparatively more cost-effective way of dealing with external cacophony. Look for dual-layered glass inserts consisting of a thick laminated glass panel layered with plastic on the inside that blocks noise that penetrates through the window.
2. Seal the Gaps and Cervices With Acoustic Caulk
The dual-layer glass inserts won’t do much good if there are still gaps between the window frame and the wall that let the noise force its way in. While modifying your glass windows, seal these gaps off to ensure the windows maintain their STC rating.
Unlike other adhesive glues, acoustic caulk provides enhanced soundproofing effects. Here’s something that will help make your windows foolproof to external noise;
Gorilla Waterproof Caulk – This silicone-based acoustic sealant efficiently blocks noise transmission while the windows are closed. Since it is water-resistant, it will also protect the window panes against mold and mildew growth.
Applying caulking sealant is probably the most affordable and hassle-free of all window soundproofing techniques. Load the sealant tube on the caulking gun and apply an evenly thin layer between the gaps and edges of the window panes. Make sure to strip off the original worn-off sealant before you start the procedure.
3. Revamp the Weatherstripping Seal
As someone who loves DIY home refurbishment projects, you must’ve noticed that most windows tend to lose their soundproofing capability with time. It is primarily triggered by the degradation of weatherstripping tape attached to the edges of your window sills.
The silicone or rubber tape ensures no openings are left when the window panes are closed for a quiet interior. Moreover, it protects your window against corrosion by limiting its exposure to harsh weather conditions. Let’s look at some recommendations:
Silicone Seal Strip – With a one-inch diameter, the silicone window sealing strip effectively blocks out noise, offering you quiet and comfortable indoors. With a self-adhesive backing, the weatherstripping seal is easy to install.
4. Hang Soundproofing Curtains
Whether you want to filter the chaotic noise outside or block out the harsh glare of sunlight, sound-dampening curtains help you create calming indoor environments. These specialized curtains are designed from thick fleecy fabrics and have a vinyl lining that blocks traffic noise in your bedroom.
Besides hampering outdoor noise, they help soften the inside noise and eliminate echo. Since they are better suited to cure a lighter degree of noise pollution, prefer instating them alongside other soundproofing methods for better results.
Deconovo Curtains – These thermally insulated blackout curtains are made from top-quality polyester material that absorbs sound and maintains room temperature. The Deconovo curtains elevate the room’s overall decor with their soft drapery and imprinted wave lines.
5. Install Window Shades and Blinds
If you intend to soundproof your home office from traffic noise, window shutters and blinds would be a better option than sound-deadening curtains. These window shades use a combination of plastic tubes and thick fabric with a high noise-absorption capacity.
The darker fabrics also help block the sunlight for temperature control and privacy. You can find shutters embedded with dual-layer cell shades that provide better noise protection.
Insulated Window Curtain – The high-quality PU fabric with dual-lining and fluffy insulation makes this curtain a perfect barrier between indoor and outdoor environments. It protects your room from outside noise and weather conditions.
6. Invest in Double or Triple-Glazed Windows
While replacing your ordinary windows with double or triple-glazed window panes might feel slightly off-tracked and expensive, it can bear surprising results. As their name suggests, the double-glazed windows feature two glass panels mounted on a single frame with a slight distance between them. The two distanced panels are filled with argon gas, acting as an insulation medium.
Though it primarily fends off the outside temperature, it has reduced noise penetration by up to 60%. As for triple-glazed windows, it adds a layer of the glass panel and an insulating gas pocket, ensuring far better soundproofing.
What to Consider When Buying Soundproof Windows
Soundproof windows create calm and peaceful indoors, ensuring your health isn’t at risk from noise pollution. If you are new to soundproof windows, consider the following things when you are out shopping for them;
STC Rating – Known as Sound Transmission Class, STC rating determines how well a particular material can block or repel sound waves. It caters to varying frequencies between 125 Hz to 4 kHz. The higher the STC rating, the more sound the window will block.
Glass Quality and Thickness – For a glass window to effectively block sound waves, it should be at least 3mm to half-inch thick. Dual-layered glass panels with a PVB or EVA vinyl sheet exhibit better soundproofing qualities.
Single vs. Double Layer Window Panes – Triple-layered window panes feature a higher STC rating indicating higher soundproofing than dual-layer panes. They feature two layers of argon gas sandwiched between the glass panels, preventing noise waves from penetrating.
Is Soundproofing Windows Worth It?
Even though DIY window soundproofing methods can’t block out 100% of the outside noise, they help you filter down and minimize the noise to a certain degree. Unlike the excruciating cacophony, these methods help make the penetrating noise feel softer.
However, if you want completely soundproof interiors and have the budget, replacing ordinary windows with dual and triple-paneled soundproof versions would offer better results. Make sure to enforce the specialized windows with soundproofing methods to create a peaceful and quieter indoors.
People Also Asked
What is the cheapest way to soundproof a window from traffic noise?
The cheapest way of soundproofing your window from traffic noise is by sealing off the gaps with an acoustic sealant and re-applying the weatherstripping tape on the window edges.
Can soundproof windows block 100% of outside noise?
Soundproof windows, on their own, cannot block the outside noise completely. However, they reduce the intensity of penetrating sound waves by up to 90%, making them feel much softer.
Are soundproof windows expensive?
Yes, soundproof windows are more expensive than ordinary window panes. Since they use additional layers of glass with infused insulating gas, a single double-glazed or triple-glazed window can cost you up to $1000 or more.
Does window film help soundproof?
Acoustic window films made from PVC or EVA vinyl are an effective way to block excessive outside noise. The film prevents the glass panels from vibrating and carrying soundwaves inside.