Installing soundproofing materials can be a disruptive process, requiring changes to the walls, windows, or ceiling. Soundproofing curtains are becoming an increasingly popular alternative, but are they the best choice for you?
If you haven’t considered soundproofing curtains before, there are a few things you should know before purchasing. We’re going to break down how they work, their advantages and disadvantages, and an alternative solution, so you can make the best choice for your home.
What Are Soundproof Curtains?
Soundproof curtains can also be known as sound-absorbing curtains, sound deadening curtains, acoustic curtains, and sound dampening curtains depending on the manufacturer you purchase from and the type of soundproofing you are trying to accomplish.
Regardless of the name, these curtains are made of heavy, thick materials like polyester, velvet, or suede that you hang above your window frame. They usually have a porous surface that allows them to absorb sound waves in order to make a room quieter.
A truly effective and high-quality soundproof curtain will be heavy, tightly woven, and run from ceiling to floor with several inches of fabric going past each side of the window. It’s essential they cover as much area around the window as possible so that the folds of the curtains can create a seal around the sides.
However, though many manufacturers market curtains as soundproof, they are usually ineffective.
Do Soundproof Curtains Work?
To answer this question, you need to know about the types of soundproofing.
There are two main types of soundproofing: sound reduction and sound absorption. Sound reduction stops or blocks sound from entering a space; using sound reduction will help keep your space free from outside noises such as weather, outdoor conversations, and traffic. Sound absorption, also called sound deadening, stops sound already inside a space from echoing and reverberating.
According to a wide array of reviews, soundproof curtains are incredibly effective for sound deadening applications, but they are not useful as sound reduction. What does that mean? Sound deadening materials work by reducing vibrations to reduce echoes in a room, but they will not reduce the decibel level of sounds entering the room.
Soundproof curtains are a simple additive to lessen the problem of overwhelming sounds, but they are not perfect problem solvers.
The Advantages of Soundproof Curtains
Soundproof curtains do contribute to noise reduction, keep a room from echoing, and provide a small amount of thermal insulation. While soundproof curtains should not be used to completely replace standard insulation in your walls and windows, they do contribute to added insulation for a warmer room in the winter and a cooler room in the summer.
Because these types of curtains are made from heavy material, they are often thick and opaque, so if you are looking for increased privacy, they can be a decent solution. They are also fairly inexpensive, running around $50-100 per window for good quality curtains.
The Disadvantages of Soundproof Curtains
Soundproof curtains have several disadvantages as well.
They are not as effective as other noise reduction solutions, such as soundproof windows or noise reduction window inserts. Their thick, heavy nature makes them difficult to transport, hard to install, and challenging to wash and maintain.
They can also make main living spaces too dark for comfort, limiting the number of rooms where they can be installed unless you are willing to pay increased electric bills and have a reduction in the amount of natural light.
This is especially disadvantageous for people trying to soundproof during the day. If you need quiet in your office but want all of the benefits of natural light (such as increased productivity, better moods, etc.), a soundproof curtain won’t be able to work as effectively unless it’s completely closed, blocking out all of the light.
An Alternative: Indow Solutions That Can Help
Indow offers window insert solutions that are a perfect alternative to soundproof curtains, with a lower price point, easier installation, and an overall more comfortable experience.
Just press custom-made Indow inserts into your window frames — with no mounting hardware or permanent damage — and enjoy your increased quiet. You’ll sleep better, feel better, and enjoy your space more. Noise-reducing windows have never been so easy to obtain.
Our acrylic glazing edged in our patented silicone compression tubing creates a tight seal and dead air space between the insert and your window. This dead air is essential to noise reduction because anywhere air gets in, noise can too. To keep the noise outside, we ensure a precise, snug fit by custom making each acoustic window insert using our laser measuring system.
Every grade of Indow window inserts reduces outside noise by 50% for single-pane windows and our Acoustic Grade does an even better job, reducing noise by 70%*. Indow inserts are very easy to install and remove, with no damage to your window frames. They not only block outside noise but also prevent inside noise from bothering your neighbors.
And you don’t have to sacrifice natural light to get the sound reduction you want. However, if you want both sound reduction AND reduced light (say you get chronic migraines or you want better sleep quality), you can choose Indow Sleep Panels instead, which block 100% of light and offer superior soundproofing. The best part? You can choose which windows you want light-blocking panels and which you want just noise blocking for a truly custom experience.
While soundproof curtains may be less expensive and easy, they provide minimal performance and cut out all natural light while soundproofing is occurring. If you want high-quality soundproofing without sacrificing natural light, you want Indow inserts.
*We want to ensure our inserts help solve your noise problem. Overall noise reduction depends on the amount of noise coming through your walls, ceilings, floors, doors, and existing windows. Noise reduction will be less when placed over double-pane windows. Read our full Noise Reduction Sheet to learn more.