Soundproofing window treatments

Written by nancy smith
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Soundproofing window treatments
The distance sound waves have to travel, determines how much noise enters a room. (Colonial Window Panes with brick building reflected image by Jorge Moro from Fotolia.com)

When it comes to soundproofing your windows, there are two ways of addressing them. One is sound absorption, where window treatments help muffle sound already in the room. The other is sound reduction, where window treatments deal with sound before it enters the room. Focusing on the thickness of the windows, the air space between glass panes and the dampening helps reduce noise entering a room.

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Thickness

The thicker the windows are, the longer it takes for sound waves to travel. Doubling up the windows helps to soundproof them. In homes where it is not possible to change single windows into double, it is best to look for thicker window panes. To improve efficiency, double panes should be as thick as possible. A person on a budget can think about installing one thick window pane and one thin one instead of two thin ones. This method helps maximise the amount of sound waves being blocked.

Air Cavity

The width of the air space between double panes plays a part in reducing sound. Make sure you have as much space between the windows as you possibly can. If you are considering installing double windows or upgrading your panes, take into account the thickness of each glass pane to figure out how much air space you will end up with. Some companies sell double windows with cavity spaces filled with an inert gas like argon. This will help minimally.

Dampening

If you have two window panes in a single frame, sound reaching the outer glass will also affect the inner glass, because they are connected. Using separate frames for each pane and breaking up the single frame with silicon will reduce vibrations.

Other Treatments

Other sound-reduction treatments include paying attention to cracks and openings of windows and frames. One way to cut down on cracks is to install a picture window instead of an operable one. Purchase laminate windows, which can cut down as much sound as thicker unlaminated windows.

Other sound-absorption techniques include purchasing soundproof curtains and blinds to muffle the noise already in the room. You can also buy the insulating fabric to sew into your existing drapes and blinds. The quality of sound-absorbing products available varies, so you will have to experiment. Another product on the market is window plugs. These are made of insulating material like foam and are used to fill the space between one window pane and another. The plugs don't let light into the room, and they can deteriorate if removed constantly.

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