The sounds of modern life can be enjoyable – like children playing and laughing – or distracting – like trucks and buses rumbling by. Whether enjoyable or not, noise reduction windows should help keep as much of these sounds outside our home.
Single pane windows, in particular, are simply not designed to reduce the outside noise that impacts the peace and quiet of our home. But Custom Windows can help!
Noise Reduction Window Myths:
Myth 1 – Using Argon gas instead of air helps reduce noise.
Argon helps the insulation value of a window, especially on very cold days. But it does nothing to help control noise!
Myth 2. A Triple Pane window will reduce your noise.
While a dual pane window is clearly better than a single pane window, a major reason is because of the space between the two panes of glass. A third pane will, at best, do very little to help sound and may actually reduce the noise reduction because it reduces the space between the panes!
How Can You Reduce Noise?
There are many ways to reduce noise and Custom Windows can help you understand what may work best for you and within your budget. Some of the options we can discuss include:
Storm Windows: A low cost but very effective way to improve noise control is to put a single pane storm window over your existing windows. Even over an older single pane window, a storm window can provide a dramatic reduction in noise. A storm window will not provide the same efficiency improvements that a modern dual pane window will, but if sound control is your only need, a storm window is a great solution.
Dual Pane Windows: Most modern dual pane windows will provide a very noticeable improvement in noise control and if you live in a quiet neighborhood, this is probably all you will need. But not all dual pane windows are the same – thin single strength glass, lightweight frames and poor sizing / installation will all compromise the noise reduction of your new windows.
STC-Offset Glass: Dual pane windows use the same glass thickness for both panes normally. Custom Windows can use different glass thicknesses for each pane which results in a noticeable improvement in overall sound performance. The different thicknesses both increases the overall glass mass but also changes the resonant frequencies for each pane which helps reduce noise.
Laminate Glass: Similar to the STC-Offset concept, we can build windows using a Laminate glass for one pane which works in two ways. First, the laminate glass is thicker than the other pane, so it works similarly to the offset thicknesses above. Also, the laminate itself acts to absorb some low frequencies better (e.g. rumbling of trucks and busses).
Specialized Sound-Control Windows: Custom Windows offers Milgard’s impressive QuiteLine series of windows. The QuietLine series is simply the best solution for noise reduction currently available. You can see how effective below!
How Do You Reduce Noise?
The most common measurement of sound reduction in building materials is the Sound Transmission Coefficient or STC. STC is a numerical rating in decibels (dB) that relates to how much a building material will reduce noise coming through it. Simply stated, the higher an STC rating, the more noise reduction there is.
It is important to note that a difference of one or two points is not very noticeable. A difference of 3 to 5 points is, however, and a difference of 10 points is normally perceived as the outside noise level being reduced by half.
So with that in mind:
|Window Type||Typical STC rating in decibels||Notes|
|Single Pane||21 - 22||Older windows may get worse due to failing sealants|
|Modern Dual Pane||27 – 29||Significant improvement|
|STC-Offset Glass||33||Another significant step up|
|Laminate||35||A smaller step, but important in some situations|
|QuietLine by Milgard||40 to 46||Almost the same as a brick wall!|
(Storm windows are not listed above because the effectiveness can vary based upon the existing window and type of installation method used. But a storm window can often exceed a laminate glass dual pane window and even approach the QuietLine STC levels, though not with the energy efficiency of a modern dual pane solution.)