Your windows are for letting in light and scenic views, not noise. When you close your windows, you can reasonably expect the sound pollution from outside to dampen considerably or disappear entirely, but unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Sometimes, closing your windows may seem to do little good. You’ve closed and latched all the windows in your home and you can still hear every word your neighbors say. Each car driving down the road is as loud as if you were standing on the sidewalk.
There are many reasons why you might have noisy windows. Some window types, like single pane windows, are just inferior when it comes to sound control. Your windows may also have been installed poorly. Your two options are to replace the windows or to alter your current ones. If your windows are new or you can’t afford to replace them, there are some cheaper options that may help.
How to soundproof existing windows
If you’re attached to your current windows or unable to replace them for whatever reason, there are still steps you can take to give your ears a rest. First, you’ll need to identify where the sound is getting in. With windows, sound is typically “leaking” through gaps in the frame or the glass itself.
- Caulking – The easiest and cheapest solution. If your windows are a few years old, it’s likely some of the caulking may have dried up. Replace the caulking seals around your windows and see if the sound problem gets better.
- Additional panes – If your seals aren’t the problem, then it may be the glass itself. Windows with more panes usually have better sound insulation, and you don’t actually have to replace your whole window just to add an extra pane. You can choose to have an additional layer of laminated glass installed for a pretty low price. Do be cautious, though, this option can mean you lose the ability to open your window.
- Replacement panes – You can also have your existing window panes replaced with a more soundproof glass. This won’t cost anywhere near what replacement windows will, but it will still be considerably more expensive than adding additional panes or reapplying caulk.
Certain window types have better sound installation than others. Generally speaking, the more panes, the quieter. If your windows are single pane, you might consider upgrading to double pane, for example.
Materials can also make a difference. If you’re planning a window upgrade, consider the differences between wood, aluminum and vinyl.
- Aluminum – Of the three main window materials, metal is the least efficient at dampening sound. It is, however, the cheapest option.
- Vinyl – Vinyl is better at blocking noise pollution and is not much more expensive than aluminum.
- Wood – Wood is another good choice for keeping out sound, but it is the most expensive option and typically requires more maintenance.
Triple pane windows
Yes, this is an option. While double pane windows provide much better sound dampening than single pane, triple pane are even better. Triple pane windows can be as much as 50 percent more effective than double pane windows at blocking sound. They do come with a bigger price tag, though. Be prepared to pay about 20 percent more for triple pane windows.
My windows are new, why are they still noisy?
You also have to consider the quality of the installation. Single pane windows installed well can actually prove to be quieter than poorly installed double pane windows. The same applies to material choices. If your new, high quality windows are letting in more noise than ever, the issue may be from the installation itself. Common installation mistakes that lead to noisy windows include:
- Poor measurements that lead to unwanted gaps
- Insufficient window caulking
- Misapplied foam insulation
Always have windows installed by certified professionals with a solid reputation. The professionals at Vinyl-lite have been installing high quality windows for over 40 years. Visit our Replacement Windows to learn more about what sets us apart from the competition and request your free estimate today!