Living in a noisy neighborhood can be a devastating experience. Loud noise from busy streets and constant arguments from passers-by seeping into your home or office can have dire consequences. Not only does it affect your productivity, but also your well-being.
In most cases, the single-pane windows are the main culprits – permitting noise to travel through them easily. So, looking for soundproof alternatives to protect your space from outside noise is brilliant.
Unfortunately, not all windows are genuinely soundproof. A double-glazing window is not; it will significantly reduce the traffic noise than a single-pane window, however.
But is it worth it?
Read on to find out dual-pane windows’ limiting and best applications before choosing.
Noise Reduction vs. Soundproof
Most manufacturers often tout their double-glazing windows as “soundproof,” and this is far from the truth. Dual-pane windows are not soundproof. They are capable of reducing noise but not blocking everything.
Buying a ‘soundproof’ window won’t stop noise from sabotaging your privacy. What you should expect is a significant noise reduction for a quieter living condition. Still, you’ll still hear that outside noise, but it will be less distracting and annoying.
For an utterly soundproof home, you need to employ more technique and material than replacing your windows. This process usually involves expensive construction-level changes like decoupling the wall.
To sum it up, replacing your single-pane home window with a double-glazing window won’t magically make your home soundproof but a more silent, conducive space and definitely worth it.
How do Double-pane Windows Reduce Noise?
To understand how dual pane windows offer better noise reduction, there’s a little science to grasp first.
Outside noise causes the window pane to vibrate, which, in turn, vibrates the air molecules in your space. This explains how noise enters or escapes your room. The window pane in the noise path acts as an obstacle in reducing the noise. It’s evident when you close the window and the noise level drops.
For double-pane windows, it’s an identical principle. The only difference is a dual-glazing window has two panes instead of one.
In this case, noise has to go through the first pane, the air filling in between, and travel through the last pane before reaching your sensitive eardrum.
As noise passes through these different chambers, it becomes softer and quieter. The secret to achieving a serene environment is putting more barriers between you and the noise source.
Factors Affecting the Soundproofing Ability of Double-Pane Windows
As stated earlier, double-pane windows are not soundproof but provide noticeable noise reduction. But how well they perform against external noise depends on the following factors:
Glass composition & thickness
Thickness is crucial in sound insulation – the thicker the glass, the better! Thicker dual-pane glass offers more resistance to the noise path because they have more mass. They are more likely to dampen noise better than thinner ones.
Another worthy-nothing factor is the type of glass. There are a couple of them out there, but acoustic or laminated glass is the clear winner when it comes to sound reduction.
Acoustic glass is usually thicker than regular ones, while laminated glass has plastic in between two glass panes to enhance sound insulation.
Size of the air gap
The thickness of the glass pane is only the essential factor. The space between them equally plays a crucial role in sound absorption. Just like the glass thickness, the wider the gap between the panes, the better acoustic performance you get.
Close panes cause resonance, sabotaging the sound insulation and poor sound insulation. Wider air gaps cause the sound wave to lose some energy further before the second glazing.
In short, you want thick glass panes and large air gap sizes for efficient noise reduction.
Most homeowners often ignore the build material of the frame. While it might not seem to play any role in sound insulation, the frame helps minimize infiltrating noise vibrations.
Remember, thickness is central to soundproofing. With this in mind, you can guess that a frame made with high-density materials such as wood, fiberglass, and vinyl would provide better sound absorption and dampening results.
Aluminum frames are actually very good at the conduction of sound. Pairing thick glass with this frame can cancel your noise reduction efforts.
Needless to say, making the right window choice without proper installation can be counterproductive. It might be best to hire a professional for the job to ensure there are no misalignments or gaps for noise to pass through.
An air-tight installation improves the double-glazing soundproofing performance for a quieter space.
How much air-borne noise a material can block is measurable, and it’s called Sound Transmission Class, STC, rating. It gives you an idea of the material, in this case, glass, effectiveness in attenuating noise.
You want to go for the double pane windows with higher STC ratings – the higher, the quieter your room will be. STC rating can also help you make a better choice when faced with several options. It’s paramount that you favor the ones with higher ratings.
Is a Triple-pane Window Better than a Dual-glazing Window?
In terms of sound insulation, triple-pane windows are significantly better at absorbing and dampening outside noise.
The reasons are not far-fetched: they have more panes and air gaps than dual-pane windows, which are more of a barrier to cause noise to lose its intensity before reaching you.
Upgrading your home’s single-pane window is a brilliant noise reduction decision. This move will help protect you from unwanted noise, making sleeping or working in your space notoriously challenging.
Aside from sound reduction benefits, double-pane windows can improve your home’s thermal efficiency for lower utility bills.
The most important thing to know is choosing the right double-glazing window for the job. Factors like air gap size, STC rating, and thickness should be at the back of your mind when shopping for a new window.
After making the right pick, ensure it is appropriately installed to optimize the window’s sound-blocking performance. On top of that, you can employ other noise-reduction techniques, such as adding soundproof curtains, furniture, etc., for a more peaceful and quiet environment.