If you’ve been considering the idea of replacing the aging windows in your home, the topic of soundproof windows has likely come up. Depending on the experience you’ve had with the older windows, this particular attribute may be of special interest. Are there really soundproof windows that can be installed in a residential setting? If so, what would you need to ask to ensure that your new windows included this benefit?
The short answer is that there are currently no glass windows on the market today that will block all outside sounds. You can purchase windows that filter out quite a bit of outside noise. Those are the types of windows that you want to consider for your home. Here is some basic information that will help you accomplish the goal.
Understanding What’s Meant by the STC Rating
If you want to find the best soundproof windows, a good place to begin is by understanding the sound transmission class or STC. This is a rating designed to identify how effective a barrier happens to be in terms of blocking airborne sounds. The rating can be applied to more than windows. It also applies to doors, ceilings, interior walls, partitions, and exterior walls.
The scale used to establish the STC rating is based on the degree of noise reduction the material provides. For example, a rating of STC-35 means that the material is capable of reducing the intrusion of outside noises by 35 decibels. This is typically based on a scale that focuses on the transmission of frequencies between 125 and 4,000 Hz. Ratings are established in controlled environments, such as laboratories.
This means that a higher STC rating indicates the material will provide a more effective barrier against noises originating outside the space. In the case of windows, this means that glass and other materials with a higher rating will block more outside noises.
What would be considered a good STC rating for windows? You’ll find that many experts would recommend something along the lines of an STC-55 to STC-60. Fortunately, the higher quality window manufacturers of today can offer windows with this type of rating.
Factors That Go Into Soundproofing Windows
Over the years, different approaches of how to soundproof windows were developed. Some of them are no longer on the market, since they are less effective than strategies that came about more recently. Today, you’ll find that soundproofed windows rely on methods like the type of glass panes used, the spacing found in between the panes used in double and triple-glazed windows, and the type of gas used between those panes.
For example, making double glazed windows soundproof would likely mean utilizing a combination of lamination along with the spacing and use of clear gas between the panes. Along with reducing noise transference, this also helps to make the glass more effective in blocking heat and cold. The result is that it’s easier to control the temperature indoors while keeping street sounds to a minimum.
The same is true with triple glazed soundproof windows. The right combination of glass, spacing, gas, and a tight window construction all come together to create windows that are highly energy efficient and prevent the intrusion of more outdoor sounds.
Can Any Window Style Be Treated for Soundproofing?
When you inquire about replacing the doors and windows in the home, it’s natural to wonder if all window styles can be treated for sound proofing. The good news is that there is no style of window that cannot be manufactured so that it helps to reduce the amount of outdoor noise filtering into your home.
The manufacturer can explain how to soundproof windows and doors before they ever get to you. This typically takes place during the assembly process, but it may also occur earlier in the creation of each new window. In all cases, the methods used to soundproof windows Canada are in compliance with current regulations. You can bet that the windows will come with a higher Energy Star rating as well as provide greater filtration of noise.
Does Soundproofing Cost Extra?
It’s true that soundproofed windows will cost more than other types of windows. This is not completely due to the soundproofing alone. To some degree, the soundproofing is a by-product of the methods used to ensure the windows are more energy efficient. Since you already know that windows with higher energy ratings will cost more per unit, the fact that triple pane soundproof windows are more expensive should come as no surprise.
The bottom line is that you will pay more for the best soundproof replacement windows. What you get in return is more peace and quiet within your own space. Since those same windows will also make it easier to heat and cool the home, you can also enjoy a greater level of comfort.
Is It Possible to Soundproof Existing Windows?
There is more than approach to soundproofing existing windows that homeowners can try. One is to make use of what’s known as acoustic caulk. This would mean applying the product in any areas where tiny cracks are present. For example, you could use the caulk to close in tiny gaps that have developed between the window sashes and the rails that allow them to be opened and closed.
Laminating the panes is another strategy that may help. Since the material can be clear as well as tinted, it will not interfere with the ability to look out of the window. What it will do is add another layer to the glass that reduces sound transference by a small degree.
There’s also the potential of adding soundproof window inserts. Also known as acoustic window inserts, these are clear devices that fit snugly over the window glass. Most are designed so that they look like part of the original window style and they don’t block the ability to look out or allow sunlight into the space. They will help block quite a bit of noise.
Does It Take Longer to Install Soundproofed Windows?
The soundproof material for windows won’t add any more time to what’s already needed to remove an old window, prepare the opening, and install the new one. On average, you can expect standard-sized soundproof residential windows to require around a half-hour of installation time. Any variances from the average are more likely to come about because of any repairs that must be made before inserting the new window, or because the window is a custom size or design.
How Important is Soundproofing? Are There Any Real Benefits?
If you have any doubt that soundproofed windows are a good choice, talk with someone who decided to go with this option when they replaced their residential windows. Those who work nights and sleep days will likely tell you that they found it easier to get to sleep and rest comfortably.
People with noisy neighbors are also likely to mention how much quieter things are inside since they installed the new windows. The same is true for people who live on busy residential streets. Even little things like muffling the sounds of celebrations and fireworks on certain holidays is seen as a bonus.
Whether you’re ready for new windows or would like to hire someone who knows how to make glass windows soundproof, do consider how this one feature will make life easier for you. If you think about it, there will be no problem in identifying several instances when noise reduction would be a good thing.