Whether your windows are two or twenty years old, when given the option most Canadians would prefer as little outside noise as possible to enter their home.
Yet most homeowners shopping for new windows rarely consider their noise-reducing properties. Even if the company’s windows are ENERGY STAR rated, noise transmission is usually not one of the criteria when evaluating a window’s performance.
But a lot of customers who purchase and install vinyl windows, notice an increase in external noise when compared to their old aluminium or quality wood windows.
So how can you make your windows more soundproof? As with most things, that greatly depends on your budget.
How to reduce noise in your existing windows?
If your windows are still relatively new or are in a good condition, it may not make financial sense for you to do a replacement just for noise-reduction purposes. In this case, you will probably be looking at some additions that can help your windows eliminate the excess noise.
Because 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.
- Laminated Glass
If caulking is still in perfect condition, and the window is well sealed, chances are the sound is getting transferred through the glass panes. Another “aftermarket” option for noise-reducing windows is an additional laminated glass pane that gets put onto your existing windows. There are plenty of companies that offer this service at a range of prices. Ultimately though this option is cheaper than getting a new insert window or doing a full-frame replacement. You do have to be aware of the type of product, because a lot of the time once the laminated glass is put on, you can no longer open your window.
- 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.
How to get the most noise-reduction from new windows?
If you are looking to get more sound-reduction from your windows and your windows are in a bad enough shape that you considering a replacement, there are several things you can do.
Acoustics The acoustic performance of glazing assemblies is expressed in two terms:
Sound Transmission Class (STC) is used to measure the sound transmission loss of interior walls, ceilings and floors.
Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class (OITC) measures the sound transmission loss of exterior glazing applications.
The acoustic performance of glazing assemblies is expressed in two terms: Sound Transmission Class (STC) is used to measure the sound transmission loss of interior walls, ceilings and floors; and Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class (OITC), which measures the sound transmission loss of exterior glazing applications. High sound transmission loss – good sound insulation – is desired in many commercial curtain wall applications. Limiting sound transmission through glazing requires review and testing of the entire glazing system. Laminated glass and insulating glass tend to produce higher OITC ratings because the laminate dampens vibration and the air space limits sound transmission. An important feature of the human perception of continuous sound is that an increase or decrease in sound pressure level by 3 dB or less is barely perceptible; an increase or decrease of 5 dB is clearly perceptible; and an increase or decrease of 10 dB is perceived as a doubling or halving of noise level. For more information, refer to the Glass Association of North America Glazing Manual. The following chart indicates typical laboratory-measured sound transmission losses for various glass configurations.
Consider getting triple pane windows
You always hear about how much more energy-efficient triple-pane windows are compared to double pane. Same is true when it comes to sound reduction. A triple pane window can eliminate 15-20% more noise.
For ultimate performance, get soundproof glass
Different window companies 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.
At Ecoline Windows, we offer a variety of choices when it comes to getting the most sound-reduction from your new windows.
Learn everything you need to know about replacement windows:
Find out how much a new window project should cost
See our full line of replacement vinyl windows
Follow the replacement process in our visual infographic