When it comes to sound insulation around your home, windows are probably the weakest points where sound would leak into your home. When unwanted noise from the outside world, e.g., Street traffic or noisy neighbor dogs, may be causing you distress in your own home, then it is time to soundproof your home.
According to a research by the World Health Organization, the impact of noise on the European population may be the cause of premature deaths from accidents and disease. In their study, 3 in every 100 people in Britain are dying because of lacking peace and quiet.
There are several ways to soundproof your windows. But, first, you have to identify how sound enters through the windows to find the best solution.
After you have successfully identified the cause of sounding leaking through your windows, you can then proceed to look for the best solution.
- Understanding how noise enters into your windows
- 9 DIY Ways to Soundproof a window
- Tips for soundproofing your windows
- The Costs of DIY Window Soundproofing
- Benefits of Reduced Noise pollution into your home
The First step to take when soundproofing your home is to understand how sound enters your home through the windows. Identifying the weak spots that let in noise will help to find a better solution to soundproof your window. The type of materials used in the construction of your window can also have an impact on the level and amount of sound entering your home.
Sound can enter via cracks, small openings, vents placed in your windows or through the window due to weak absorbing sound material.
Therefore, the first step to effectively soundproof a window is to identify the weak spots. After this, you can look through the list below to find the best ways to tackle the problem.
1. Apply Acoustic Sealants or Caulk
As stated earlier, sounds enter your home is through the cracks and crevices around your windows. Cracks are usually found around the corners where the window and the wall join together.
When you identify the cracks, you can start by removing any old caulk or peeling off the paint to expose the cracks better. After this, proceed to clean off dust or dirt by using some soapy water. Wait for the surface to dry and apply caulk to seal. Always be careful when selecting the type of caulk to be used. Conventional caulk will harden and eventually crack whereas acoustical caulk is made to last for more year and is flexible avoiding cracking.
The tools and materials needed are an acoustic sealant, caulk gun or a dispensing device, a knife or retractable razor blade scraper to remove the old caulk and a smoothing tool to smooth the joint once the caulk has been applied.
When it comes to the choice of sealant to buy, there are many brands out there. For interior applications, stick to a caulk that can take paint, this is because latex and some silicone caulk can take paint; therefore you can use them and paint over once done. When using silicone caulk that cannot be painted over, make sure the caulk color matches the surrounding area to give a better finish.
2. Apply Window Insulating Spray Foam
Window foam can be applied to gaps between your windows or even the smallest holes. When the window foam is applied, it expands and hardens effectively filling holes or gaps that leak in sound or even letting cold air into your home.
There are three primary types of spray foams namely; High-density spray foam, Medium density spray foam and Low-density spray foam. Each of these spraying foams comes with its advantages and disadvantages, and you can read more on them here.
Application of foam is quite easy, and you can do it faster, the foam comes in spray cans. After application of the foam, you can peel off any extra foam that goes past the gaps using a knife.
3. Soundproofing Curtains
Soundproofing curtains are one of the simplest ways of soundproofing a window from external noise. They are not costly and furthermore, they are easy to hand up. But, do soundproofing curtains work?
When I first installed soundproofing curtains, I got from Amazon, and they were very effective in blocking noise. Soundproofing curtains reduce the reflection of sound when transmitted. Soundproofing curtains work by absorbing the noise thus making it die more quickly making it more pleasing to be in a room from a sound standpoint.
If you hear a lot of loud exterior sound, then soundproof curtains may not be as effective but may work to make the problem in hand less of a nuisance.
When choosing a soundproofing curtain, always be careful. Most soundproof curtains marketed as being soundproof might have thick material but lack the soundproofing properties.
An excellent soundproof curtain should be not only thick but also be heavy, woven tightly and covers the window opening to create a better seal. Two soundproofing curtains I used and would personally recommend are the NICETOWN Blackout Curtains and Deconovo Blackout Drapes Blind Curtain.
4. Window Plug
Also known as a window foam or window insert, a window plug is designed to block, reflect and also absorb any external noise. Apart from block out noise, soundproofing window plugs will also block out natural light from the outside world.
This method is convenient since a window plug is easier to install and remove; it can be taken off to allow natural light when not in use and be plugged in when you need some quiet time or at night. If you cannot do without light, then you can check our next window soundproofing idea.
If you can do without natural light, then window plugs are a great and practical option for blocking unwanted sound. Also, installing a window plug may negatively affect the aesthetic of your interior home.
5. Add an Acrylic layer to the windows
Using an extra layer of acrylic is another cheaper option that you can try to soundproof your window. Adding an extra layer of acrylic over the window works similarly as using a window plug (discussed above). However, using acrylic unlike window plugs will not block out natural light.
For this method to work, you should have a metal frame on your existing window or install a metal frame. With the metal framework in place, you then use magnets to attach the acrylic to the windows. When installing the acrylic, you should make sure you have an airtight seal to prevent sound leaks.
With this method, you can only block minor noise problems. For loud noises, an acrylic layer will not be effective, and this option might prove futile.
6. External Storm Windows
Storm windows are mounted on your current windows to act as additional protection. Apart from providing security, outside storm windows can also serve as sound barriers when placed in the right manner.
Blocking noise entering from your windows via the external storm windows depends on the thickness of glass used, tight seals to avoid air entry and stronger construction. This being a DIY job, it should be as professional as possible to ensure better results. Apart from acting as sound barriers, external storm windows can also provide additional insulation, increased energy efficiency and better exterior appearance.
7. Furniture for Soundproofing
Also known as acoustic furniture or sound absorbing furniture, these refer to furniture which has been designed to create a comfortable place and still improve the soundproofing properties of a room. When strategically placed, acoustic furniture can help in absorbing sound thus reducing its transmission.
Upholstered furniture, chairs, and sofas that feature plush fabrics are the best in dampening sound. In offices, acoustic meeting pods, acoustic baffles and many more innovative designs can work best.
For better results, the placement of the furniture should be as close as possible to the source to block sound penetration effectively. In our case, place the furniture as close to the window as possible.
The two methods that follow below are DIY projects but depend on your skills. Also, these require extensive works to be done around your windows and you should consult or hire a professional to undertake the projects better.
8. Replace the windows with double-pane or Triple pane windows
With double paned or triple paned windows, soundproofing is not as effective as it should be. While the effectiveness of reducing noise using this method might not be that good, the cost incurred is high.
However, this does not mean that double paned windows are not effective in reducing noise transmission to your home. If properly designed, double paned windows can be better in reducing sound transmission.
Choosing acoustic grade glass or thicker glass are some of the factors that will enhance the effectiveness of a double pane window. Apart from this, some double glazed window manufacturers will include special gases such as Argon to increase the soundproofing characteristics.
With triple glazing, you get three panes of glass. Compared to double glazed windows, there are minimal changes if you decide to go with a triple glazed window. However, if you live in colder areas, then triple glazed windows will also act to minimize heat loss.
9. Block the window entirely
Unwanted sound can be a nuisance. When it is getting in your way of doing things, then it is better to deal with it and get a quieter space.
Blocking a window entirely should be the last try to if you need to soundproof your home. First, determine whether you can block the window entirely and the effects such as no natural light etc. Unlike using window plugs that can be removed and placed when in need, blocking a window entirely will involve changes to the design of your home or office which might not be a viable method.
With soundproofing, your home, blocking the window entirely will guarantee desired results are attained.
- Before any DIY soundproofing, it is essential you have the right material and tools to undertake the project.
- Proper identification of the problem at hand will lead to better results and better quality during the project.
- Sound like light reflects. This means it can bounce off from one surface to another. If your room features hard surfaces, then the sound will bounce multiple times before losing energy. Therefore you can try using sound absorbing materials like the curtains mentioned above to prevent sound reflection.
- Where you can, try to reuse materials to save on additional costs.
- When carrying out extensive works on your window, it is better to consult an expert for better advice.
You do not need a big budget to soundproof a window. However, depending on the complexity of the project you might end up coughing up more dollars.
Labor costs can also be eliminated by doing the project yourself. Sometimes you may end up saving up to $500 in fees. Soundproofing methods such as installing new windows should be done by a professional who has adequate skills and is aware of electrical or plumbing issues involved.
Smaller soundproofing methods such as adding soundproof curtains, caulking are good DIY projects.
When calculating the cost of soundproofing a window, you should factor in the number of windows to be soundproofed, the size and the materials to be used.
The biggest advantage of undertaking soundproofing works around your home is the peace and quiet. A good soundproofed home give the owner a better place to retreat and relax when needed.
A soundproofed room and also add an extra insulating value to your home thus saving you from bills incurred. With regard to soundproofing a window, heat escape from your home will be minimized; thereby heating will be reduced saving you an extra dollar.