All you need to Know about Soundproofing Old Windows
Less noise means peace!
Whether it’s noise from chirping birds, highway traffic, or loud neighbors, some of these sounds are likely to impede your peace. In the worst-case scenario, the noise may intrude your sanctuary rooms or workplaces.
It is true that you cannot control the noise from outside. But it is also true that you can reduce or black all these noises by having soundproof windows.
Are you looking for a way to overcome the outdoor noise that penetrates through your old windows? You are in the right place! The techniques of doing so are as below!
First things, First!
The best soundproof method for your old windows will depend on your window conditions. So, be sure to scrutinize the needs of your old window before settling on the suitable soundproof method.
It’s equally important to start fixing the minor issues before moving to the more problematic areas. If your old windows do not have glass panes or are seriously cracked, consider replacing them.
Why Old Windows allow Noise Penetration
Older windows that are not well maintained are likely to have holes or cracks. Some may suffer from rot and through this, they’ll allow the entrance of external noise through the frames or sashes.
If the damage to your old windows is significant, our methods may not be handy- If anything applying the techniques below on old windows is “useless” and may end up being more costly. You can consider replacing the old windows with other new vinyl windows. Also, badly damaged old windows cannot be well soundproofed and will not function effectively.
Even though new windows are a costly solution and will require expertise in installation, they’ll give you satisfactory services. If you’re not dealing with a tight budget, the new windows are the best to consider. You can as well buy new windows and save costs by going for DIY soundproof solutions that are budget-friendly.
- Window Inserts
Is your surrounding environment full of noise pollution? These may be honking motor horns, blasting music, wailing sirens, and much more. If this describes you, it is time to soundproof your old windows with window inserts. This is a simple yet effective way of blocking the cacophony.
The inserts are neatly installed in your window frames, five inches at the front parts of your windows’ interior face. Some air spaces are left between the old windows and insert. These spaces keep sound from penetrating through your glass windows. This, in turn, results in noise-reduction.
The glass inserts come in different categories. It is advisable to go for inserts with glass lamination. The lamination consists of two glass layers and an intervening plastic layer. All these layers help to block the sound vibrations effectively.
To get more sound reduction benefits, consider installing the glass inserts on single-paned windows instead of double-paned windows.
Have you heard of the STC? This acronym refers to the Sound Transmission Class scale, which is higher for double-paned windows. Because of this, a laminated glass insert will not increase the ranking. That is why they often work better on single-paned windows.
- Sound-dampening Window Curtains
Soundproofing your old windows needn’t be a daunting task. Let’s look at a DIY way of making this possible.
The market, both online and physical, is now witnessing the selling of very many sound-dampening window curtains. These windows help to soften noise vibration and also reduce any harsh glare.
The curtains are usually sold at a low and affordable price to suit the needs of your pockets. They range from $20 – 150. What makes the curtains sound-dampening is their thick and heavy fabrics.
Typically, the standard fabric used is velvet with vinyl materials that can absorb the interfering sounds. The fabrics also help to minimize echoes and, therefore, any noise that you hear indoors will fade out quickly.
It is worth noting that these curtains don’t block the noises. Instead, they dampen the sounds and thus are suitable for any light sound pollution like birds or crickets chirping. Additionally, the curtains act as blackout curtains with foam backing to help block out noise.
They block light and absorb light noises hence the best options for relaxation rooms. So, if you work on night shifts and you need a peaceful day rest, be sure to include the sound-dampening window curtains in your must-buy shopping list.
- Double-cell Window Shades
Here’s another useful method!
Cellular shades which are also called honeycomb shades have rows of hexagonal tubes made of fabric stacks. The cellular shades serve different purposes like blocking out light, preventing the penetration of heat during summer, and retaining heat during winter. They are also useful in absorbing vibrating sound, thus reducing echoes.
Single single-cell cellular shades come with single-layered cells and thus absorb a limited amount of sound. On the other hand, double-celled shades come with two-layered cells that absorb even more sound.
Just like the sound-dampening window curtains, cellular shades are ideal for persons who want to reduce noise pollution.
- Consider Window Plugs
Building window plugs is one of the simplest solutions that you ought to consider. While other methods are costly and need an expert’s help, the plugs are affordable and boast an easy setup.
Though affordable, they do not compromise on performance and effectiveness. Window plugs help to fill the front spaces in your old windows. This is made possible with wood, soundproof matting and acoustic foam layers.
The wood board and mat at the front foam absorbs sound waves by blocking the noises that penetrate through it. The wood will require handles on the back area to facilitate easy removal and installation.
Another advantage of plugs is that they are not permanent. With the handles, you can pull them out or add them to your old windows when need be. This feature comes handy, considering that they also come with some disadvantages.
For starters, they lack an aesthetic appeal, and so, if you find them unattractive, you can pull them out. Next… they can block all the incoming light. Therefore, if you’re not experiencing constant noise problems, you can pull out the plugs and enjoy the natural sun rays of the day.
- Seal All Air Gaps
If you’ve installed decent triple or double-paned windows to replace your old windows, but you’re still experiencing external noises, there’s more to handle! Check if these new windows have air gaps that may be admitting sound.
You’ll notice the presence of air gaps by temporarily removing the window trim. This helps you access the window edges from where you can notice the gaps. Fill the gaps, holes, or cracks with acoustic sealant. The sealants have polymers that help to fill even the tiniest holes. With this, you’ll be blocking any external sound vibrations.
Acoustic caulk bonds firmly with most wall materials and window frames, including drywall and wood. Unlike silicone caulk, they are flexible, will neither shrink nor form cracks. Additionally, acoustic caulk is ultra-durable and will remain for an extended time.
More good news: acoustic caulk comes in various colors; you’ll choose what best fits your preferences. Some of these turn clear when they’ve dried up. Others retain their authentic color even after drying up. Either way, you can paint both to match your walls’ color.
Be keen as you check for the holes. Avoid applying the acoustic sealant in the areas that can affect your windows’ regular operation. You can combine this method with any other soundproof methods to get extra noise protection.
- An Additional Plexiglass Layer will help
One more thing; you can consider adding an extra protection layer on your old windows. This layer will attach your windows to the acrylic sheet and block incoming noises.
If you’re tight on budgets, go for this! It is affordable yet effective. The extra layers act as storm windows that fill air gaps and prevent sound penetration. Be sure to have the exact measurements of your window frames before deciding on the layer size to use.
To install the layers, make a simple wood or metal frame and build it intensely on the window frame. The wood will create dead air spaces between the plexiglass sheet and your window.
Ensure that you’re using a thick plexiglass sheet. Thin plexiglass sheets do not offer significant sound protection. Also, refrain from using very thick layers that will block sunlight completely. Something around ⅜” – ½” thick will work correctly.
Let the layers be slightly broader and taller than your old windows. This way, you’ll be able to wedge the layers securely in place.
Did You Know?
The light-weight window solutions can fix quieter noise pollution. Conversely, problematic sound pollution like construction noises will demand replacements.
You may begin with simpler soundproof solutions then move to the better solutions if need be. Also, there’s a great benefit in compounding more than one method.
Choosing any of the above methods will help you reduce the sound intrusion from outside. Some are more affordable, and others perform better. Even as you decide what to use, be sure that the method best meets your problem’s severity, gives you enormous benefits, and comes with easy setup.
It’s time to get your inner peace!