Soundproofing windows is becoming more popular as the world gets noisier. Here’s why: sound vibrations pass easily through glass – as well as cracks in drafty windows. And so if you’re hearing construction noise, traffic or sirens, it’s likely coming through your windows.
Before you tackle your noise problem by soundproofing your windows, it’s important to understand two things. There’s window sound reduction, which stops noise from entering your home in the first place. And sound absorption, which stops the noise that does get in from reverberating around the room.
Soundproofing Existing Windows
Sound reduction involves stopping noise from entering your space. If air can get in through the cracks in your windows, so can noise. Fortunately, soundproofing windows isn’t difficult.
Caulk cracks in the fixed, unmovable parts of your windows, including the interior and exterior surfaces of the frames. The U.S. Department of Energy has a good primer on caulking tips. Weatherstrip the movable parts of your windows with this useful resource on weatherstripping.
For more involved air sealing on older, historic windows, check out this 9 step guide from This Old House, which involves taking the window apart and putting it back together.
Sound damping curtains or heavy drapes can also help block outside noise from penetrating. They may shut out your view, but hey, at night that doesn’t matter and your room will be cozier.
Installing window inserts is one of the most effective ways to soundproof existing windows. Indow Acoustic Grade window inserts reduce up to 70% of the noise coming through operable single-pane windows and up 50% of noise coming through double-pane windows.* Edged with silicone compression tubing, they’re easy to install. The inserts press into the interior of window frames whether it’s to soundproof an office or home. Not only do they block noise, they create a more comfortable and energy efficient space.
Despite your best room soundproofing efforts, the sound that does penetrate can be absorbed once it’s in the room to minimize reverberation. It’s best to avoid minimalist style of exposed brick and wood floors. Consider hanging Acoustic panels. Also, plush rugs with sound dampening rug pads, wall hangings, upholstered furniture and plants will help absorb sound.
*Please note the 70% sound deadening performance is based on tests of Indow Acoustic Grade inserts placed over operable single-pane windows. When placed over operable double-pane windows, Acoustic Grade inserts reduce noise by up to 12 dBA, equivalent to a 50%+ reduction in noise and an STC rating of 42 to 45. Overall noise reduction depends on the sound penetrating your ceiling, floors, walls and doors. Indow inserts are not recommended for reducing noise coming through laminated double- or triple-pane windows.