Although you may love the view you have from your home, the accompanying noise might not be so inviting. Whether you are subject to the sounds of commuter traffic several stories below or noisy neighbors, soundproof windows can be part of your solution. Otherwise, you could suffer poor sleep, hearing reduction and other problems.
If you live in an urban or suburban area, your home is exposed to significantly more noise than people living in rural communities. To protect your ears and your sanity, it is essential to take appropriate measures to reduce the amount of noise entering your home. Even some rural homes need additional soundproofing if near a train line or similarly loud location.
Homeowners can use soundproof windows to significantly reduce the amount of noise entering the home. Depending on which model you choose, you can eliminate up to 95 percent of the sounds normally coming through the windows. The sound transmission class (STC) scale on the window will indicate how much sound it blocks.
Developed by the acoustics industry, the STC is an easy way to compare window options. As the number rises, so does the amount of noise blocked by the window. Soundproof ones begin at 45 and can reach into the 50’s, while regular windows are in the 20’s.
Manufacturers use different techniques to block the sound that comes through their panes. One way is to use glass that is thicker than regular window glass. With multiple panes, leaving more air space between the panes will further reduce the noise entering through the window.
Laminated glass can also be used to reduce noise. This is glass sandwiched with a special plastic designed to minimize sounds.
While the STC can inform you about sound reduction, it doesn’t indicate energy efficiency. If you are interested in that feature, you can add low-E coatings to the windows. This simple upgrade will reduce your power bills, paying for itself in no time.
Newly installed windows should not have any leaks or gaps. However, as time passes you should inspect them to be sure they are still solid. Otherwise, noises can creep in through the openings.
To complement the soundproofing effects of the new windows, you need to minimize the other ways noise travels into your home. Purchase special noise-absorbing drapes that coordinate with your home decor. Look for wall-hanging quilts and thick tapestries that can act as an additional sound barrier on the walls.
Alternatively, you can use heavy furniture against the walls to block sounds from the outside. Go for real woods and large designs, such as a wall-to-wall bookshelf or large cabinets. Fill the space to further diminish the sounds from that direction.
Your home should be a place for you to retreat from the outside world. Start by eliminating the excess sounds that are entering into your home via the windows. Follow through with other techniques proven to help soundproof the rest of your home to get the most out of your investment. Then, enjoy the quiet!