Reduce Train Noise with Office Soundproofing

Office soundproofing is key to concentration and productivity. That's exactly what this marketing firm found out when they moved in right next to active train tracks. If you're looking for office soundproofing ideas put to action, read on. Our blog how to soundproof a home office covers converted home workspaces.

Marketing firm Foto Crush needed a new home. The historic Olympic Mills Building was perfect for their design work for clients like Disney, Dreamworks, and Apple. It's an updated warehouse with lots of large windows, so plenty of natural light.

It was perfect, except for the noisy trains right outside.

It was perfect, except for the noisy trains right outside.

"The office, with all of its windows, seemed perfect except I cringed at the thought of blasting train horns and worried that the windows would be too drafty," said Cheyenne Pepper, Foto Crush owner. She told the property manager that she'd take the space if they took the train noise reduction seriously and added office soundproofing to the lease.

Property Manager Mike Larkin assumed if one tenant was affected, others were too and began searching for office soundproofing ideas. He decided Indow Acoustic Grade window inserts would be the best fit. They can reduce up to 70% of outside noise and stop drafts.

Best of all, the inserts could be removed and stored if future tenants didn't want them installed for any reason. The inserts are compression fit, so require no mounting hardware to install and stay in the window frame. That compression tubing is what creates a seal against noise and drafts while also creating an air pocket between the insert and window to further insulate against noise.

Office Soundproofing Ideas

Mike reviewed different office soundproofing methods before determining Indow window inserts were the best for their situation. Foto Crush needed soundproofing for an open floor layout, which is a more difficult than a traditional commercial office space.

  • Acoustic Panels

    These help minimize sound bouncing around inside. They can be hung from the ceiling or added to walls. Because of the number of windows in their building, and because the main noise was coming from outside, Mike didn't think these would work.

  • Carpet & upholstered office furniture

    These additions also absorb sound, but not enough to mitigate train noise.

  • Sound Masking

    Sound masking is popular in open space offices, is not really a form of soundproofing. It creates background noise so no individual noise is disrupting. This also wouldn't work with the high and low-pitched sounds of passing trains.

  • Acoustic Panels

    Most guides pointed to treating windows first, by adding another pane or acoustical drapes. Because his tenants wanted natural light, he couldn't add drapes or anything that would block those big, gorgeous windows.

  • Indow Window Inserts

    Window inserts reduce noise from the outside and absorb noise inside the office. They also don't block natural light.


customer testimonial on train noise reduction from indow window inserts

"Acoustic Grade Indow window inserts seemed to be the only solution to insulate the train noise. We realized that if we fixed our window problem we could lease the space for market rates, instead of leasing far below market. The return on the investment has been outstanding and we like happy tenants!"

– Mike Larkin, Broker & Property Management, Elliot Associates, Portland, Oregon

Read more case studies.
employee happy with sound reduction

Train Noise Reduction for a Happy Customer

"The noise reduction is so impressive we put Indow window inserts into the second floor offices for another tenant. They used to have to interrupt their conference calls but after the window soundproofing upgrade they don't even notice the train noise. We have budgeted to upgrade the entire west side of the Olympic Mills building with Indow window inserts."

Office Soundproofing Ideas & Tests

Not sure if these office soundproofing ideas will work for you? Try these action items to test your office space for where and how noise is affecting your teammates. Then, you can figure out what actions to take to soundproof your office.

The Clap Test. Stand in a room, clapping and listening to its echo. You will find rooms that are more susceptible to echo and may need more cushioning surfaces to absorb sound.

The Say Anything test involves our beloved actor John Cusack. Go outside with a boom box and walk around the building with music blasting. A colleague inside can note what areas in your space seem to have better or worse noise entry from outside. It may seem silly, but it helps you understand your building envelope better. And hey, maybe your neighbors will think a gesture of love is being demonstrated to one of your staff.


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bedroom with window with Indow inserts installed for soundproofing in San Francisco


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