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Window Soundproofing: Clearly a Challenge




This is why window soundproofing is so important. Windows, particularly the single-paned varieties, are very efficient at transmittng sound. If you look at the sound transmission coefficient (STC) of conventional window installations, you’ll find that louvered windows post an STC of around 18, while single-paned glass windows clock in at around an STC of 26–28. Learn more about STC ratings.

Typically, until the STC of a window is somewhere in the high 40s to 50s, the sound reduction isn’t adequate, and it’s certainly not soundproof until well beyond that point. Increasing STC by 10 equals an approximate doubling of the soundproofing. So, comparing the figures, it’s clear that ordinary windows let sound pass in and out freely—and it takes some work to change that.

window soundproofing
Take an intelligent approach to window soundproofing: Assess your situation, set realistic expectations, and then follow the most effective steps to achieve your goal.

First, figure out what type of window soundproofing you need. Take a look at the source of the sound and your specific requirements. There are two basic subdivisions:

  • Light soundproofing required: for low to moderate-volume sound; mid to high-frequency sound sources; or noise reduction, not elimination.
  • Moderate soundproofing required: for moderate/high volume sound; low / mid / high frequency sound sources; or noise reduction, and moderate elimination.
  • Heavy soundproofing required: for high sound pressure levels; low-frequency sources; or complete soundproofing for recording, privacy, or security.
window soundproofing

Light soundproofing is all that’s required to block most conversation, ambient noise, and city sounds. Here, the goal is simply to put some material between you and the window to reduce the sound to a tolerable level. Using acoustic absorption sheets, in single or multiple layers, in front of the window has provided successful window soundproofing for customers who were bothered by street, traffic, and conversation noise. Plus, sheets are removable when soundproofing isn't needed, so you get all the function of a physical barrier and still keep the use of the window.

soundproof floor

If you're looking for a more effective solution to blocking out sound other than our acoustic sheets consider Audimute’s isolé™. It has the same absorptive qualities as our acoustic absorption sheets, but it has been coupled with our Peacemaker® sound barrier material, producing a superior portable door and window soundproofing product.

soundproof floor

Other alternatives for moderate noise reduction include exterior storm windows, adding transparent or translucent plastic film to the glass (adds mass, to reduce sound transmission), or replacing the window with a thermal or double-paned hardware store window. Naturally, some of those methods require light to moderate construction and may give only fair results, so talk to an expert before getting started.

For real soundproofing, it’s difficult to avoid moving into the high-dollar category. One method that has been successful for window soundproofing on a budget is to build a “plug.” Starting with a window-sized core of MDF or other fiberboard, build a plug for the window that will cover the glass and seal tightly to the frame. Wrapping the plug in a sound barrier like Audimute Peacemaker will significantly increase the effectiveness, as will designing the plug to create a sealed air gap between the glass and the plug. (Note: Peacemaker is made of recycled rubber and is not typically used as an exposed surface; if the plug will be exposed to excessive heat from direct sunlight or other light source, we recommend using Peacemaker as the cored between two layers of MDF or other board). Plus, again, it’s removable, so you get your window back.

soundproof floor

Finally, the big guns: If you’re looking for true, solid, window soundproofing, you’ll need to explore:
  • installing a second full-framed window inside the first, so that there is a double seal, double glass, and large space of dead air;
  • installing special sound control windows designed for soundproofing; or
  • removing the window entirely, making it a wall.

The help of an expert is invaluable for making the right choice. Don’t hesitate to give Audimute a call at 866-505-MUTE (6883). We’re dedicated to getting the right solution for every customer and every need, and we can help you get the most out of any soundproofing project.

Absorption Sheet Window Soundproofingisolé Window SoundproofingShop Peacemaker
Window soundproofing is one of the more challenging aspects of any soundproofing project. In most rooms, the walls transmit some sound, the doors more, and the windows … might as well not even be there, at least for soundproofing purposes.