Is it too noisy outside the window? Perhaps the neighbors are doing repairs or their daughter is learning to play the piano. Or maybe you just live too close to the road? Nobody likes noise anyway.
However, the good news is Canadians don’t have to put up with outside noise. Window manufacturers take noise issues seriously, and now there is a good choice of windows with noise reduction features. Plenty of noise reduction windows provide soundproofing qualities nowadays. But to be honest, not all of them are worth the extra cost. Let’s consider some of the best soundproof windows and find out which work best for you and your budget.
Window Noise & SoundProofing
The key reason for soundproofing a window is simple: you want to prevent exterior noise from entering your space. But, to make this happen, it’s essential to be aware of the type of noise you’re dealing with.
You can face two different types of noise, and each one needs different soundproofing techniques to use in order to deal with the noise:
- Airborne noise. Examples are talking, sounds from TV, traffic, equipment, and other outside sounds.
- Structural noise. It happens when an object bumps into a structure – for example, a window, etc. – and the soundwaves from the accident go through the structure itself. This type of noise is also called an impact noise. Examples include noise on your windows such as rain, storm, etc.
What is Soundproofing and does it work well?
If you live in an old house or your windows are made from lower-quality materials that let noise outside come into your space, you might decide to replace your windows. Soundproofing windows are a great choice, but there is not a single window that will cancel 100 percent of the sound.
To be considered “soundproof,” your window should block somewhere from 90 to 95 percent of external noise. These windows are rated based on sound transmission class (STC) rating . The higher the STC rating, the better impact you will get from noise-blocking windows.
Sound Transmission Class (STC)
This system is used to measure the sound transmission loss of interior walls, ceilings and floors. Adopting this idea from the acoustics industry, window manufacturers utilize the STC scale as a tool to determine the soundproofing features of the products.
Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class (OITC)
Usually it measures the sound transmission loss of exterior glazing applications. Nowadays, the OITC rating System is used to estimate any barrier intended to block out low-frequency sound. However, keep in mind that windows manufacturers use the OITC rating System less frequently than the STC rating System.
That is why you need to clarify whether windows have a high STS rating before ordering to be sure this is something that lives up to your noise canceling demands.
How to Soundproof Windows
Soundproofing your windows sounds like something complicated and time-consuming, but in fact, it’s not as bad as it seems. You can apply different methods for window noise reduction. Eventually, the time and money you spend having your windows cancel external sounds will significantly depend on your budget and what you’re trying to achieve. Here is the list of popular methods to soundproof your windows:
- Retrofit Laminated Glass Installation
- Window Inserts
- Sound Proof Glass
- Laminated glass
- Window soundproofing film
- Soundproof window blanket
- CaulkingBecause sound needs air to travel through, a good place to start may be the caulking seal around your windows. Because caulking can sometimes dry up after a few years, an increase in sound performance can be as easy as putting a new seal around the frame.
- Retrofit Laminated Glass Installation The next step up, in terms of price and performance, is a retrofit replacement. With retrofit or “insert” replacements, a new insulated glass unit gets put into your existing frames. It is possible to make this insulated unit with a laminated soundproof or security glass. Because the glass is already in the sealed unit, the functionality of your window isn’t affected, but there is an improvement in energy performance and sound transfer. This is however still a window replacement and thus can cost more than double of what you would pay for any aftermarket addition.
- Window InsertsA window insert is a covering that is crafted with soundproofing materials and foam added to a wooden board. It helps to absorb soundwaves ultimately. When outside noise starts getting through the window, you can just set the window insert in place. It is supposed to absorb and block soundwaves, therefore making an efficient barrier for your window. When there is no need for the plug, you may just use the handles to separate it.
- Sound Proof GlassDifferent window manufacturers offer their own variations of high-performance soundproof glass. This glazing is usually used in a double pane unit window only, with a thicker, tempered inner pane for best performance. This kind of glass usually has a dual function: it significantly blocks noise and acts as an additional security barrier, as it stays intact even if shattered.
- Laminated glassMost manufacturers acknowledge that if you after excellent soundproofing in your windows, you should pick laminated glass. Laminated windows, in fact, possess a layer of plastic inserted between two outer layers of glass panes. This plastic is supposed to block noise and external sounds that are regularly transmitted through the glass.
But keep in mind that laminated glass is usually rated as a high-end window add on, so having it installed will bump up the cost of your window replacement project.
- Window soundproofing film
A window soundproofing film is a modern technology that works similar to noise cancellation headphones. It is an internal layer sandwiched within two layers to prevent external noise and keep your internal environment noise-free. There is a strong lamination core in this film right in the middle between 2 layers of polymer. Ideally, the film is to be installed on a double-layer window with internal and external glass sheets since it acts as a dampening film that decreases the noise a lot.
- Soundproof window blanket
A soundproof blanket is a covering that is denser and thicker than your ordinary blankets. They are also known as mover blankets and used to cover the furniture when it is being transported. But when it comes to windows soundproofing, they are extremely useful as well. While they can’t block 100% of noise, you will get a noticeable increase in noise cancellation.
Best Windows for Noise Reduction
If you are eager to stop the outside noise from getting into your space, soundproof windows win the battle every time. These windows for noise reduction are designed to decrease the number of decibels you hear being inside your house. The issue is that they are expensive and might demand a full replacement of your windows and frames. If you struggle with the noise in your home and can put up with a bit of change to your house, then you definitely need the best windows to block sound with the right type of glass. There are two types of soundproof glass:
- the double-glazing type that combines soundproofing and insulating properties
- the laminated glass type that combines soundproofing and security performance
Double or Triple Pane Windows?
So now you have to think over the big question – what to choose – double or triple pane windows. Do triple pane windows really worth your extra investments? Well, everything depends on the situation. If you live somewhere in the cold area – then probably you may upgrade to triple pane windows, but we still discuss here the soundproofing qualities. And from that perspective there is little to no difference.
A standard double-pane window offers an STC rating of about 27. But extra features like sound-absorbing spacers and other add ons can increase the rating to around STC 34.
You probably think that three panes of glass should offer superior soundproofing over two panes, right? Incredibly, testing shows that triple-pane windows have similar STC ratings as dual-pane windows with dissimilar glass thickness because triple-pane windows have smaller air spaces. It allows sound to reflect and amply as it moves through the glass.
The better option if you want to increase noise canceling is to go for the laminated glass option.
Double or Triple Glazing?
When it comes to double or triple glazing for sound insulation, you’re going to get a better overall experience with double glazed windows:
- They will cost significantly less, primarily if you use retrofit double glazed windows rather than new double glazed windows.
- You are still welcome to enjoy thermal protecting benefits without losing the desirable solar heat gain on chilly days.
- You won’t need a brand-new, thick frame to hold the triple insulated glass units in place. It means you can preserve your current timber frame, as well as the original look of your windows.
Acoustic double glazed units would be best for noise reduction over your usual triple glazing. But, you could add a laminated outer pane of 6.4mm glass into a triple glazed unit, which would more than likely outperform the acoustic double glazing. That is why it is advisable to talk to the specialist to find out your current noise issues to make the right choice.
After reading that much information you might still be curious what glass and windows to use so you finally block all the external sounds and get a quiet space? Well, the answer is – use laminated glass.
Laminated Windows Cost
Laminated windows are the best choice when it comes to soundproofing. These windows get a layer of plastic-like material known as polyvinyl butyral (PVB) between the glass panes. As such, they can efficiently avoid up to 95% of external noise.
On average, one should expect to pay about $950 for a laminated double pane window. For a laminated triple pane window, the final price will exceed $1,000. Besides the excellent soundproofing capabilities, these windows prove challenging to shatter than standard glazed glass.
If you want to get a more precise quote on laminated windows or windows inserts you are welcome to reach out to our experts:
|38 Auriga Dr, Suite 200|
Ottawa, ON, K2E 8A6
|205-810 Quayside Drive|
New Westminster, BC, V3M 6B9