How to Soundproof a Window and DIY Soundproof Window Inserts
A few years ago, my teenager son and his friends decided to start a band. Somehow, without my consent, it was decided that my garage would be the band practice location.
Of course, I was not amused by all the noise that got out of the garage and into other rooms in the house. The fact that my home office was located right next to the garage only made it worse for me.
I could not get any work done in my home office as long as the band was practicing, which was every other day, for two hours after school!
I set about soundproofing the rooms and I was impressed by the amount of noise reduction I was able to achieve. I, however, noticed that occasionally, some noise from the garage would get into the house through the windows.
It was then that I decided to soundproof my windows. Achieving completely soundproof windows would require you to block them completely. But seeing as I still wanted to let in some light through the windows, that would not be a viable option for me.
If you live in a noisy neighborhood, I bet you have tried all that you can to block out all the annoying noise from outside. What most people don't realize is that soundproofing your home's windows will play a great role in reducing the amount of sound that gets in as well as that that gets out.
I learned a lot when I was soundproofing my windows. For me, it was more of an experiment and I just went with what worked best for me!
I will highlight the various steps you can take to ensure your windows are sound absorbing. Just pick what works best for you and get to work. These steps are pretty easy and will only require a little bit of your time and effort.
How to Soundproof a Window
1. Block the window entirely
As I have mentioned there above, blocking a window entirely will guarantee you of sound deadening windows. You should, therefore, first determine whether or not you can block that window entirely.
Blocking your windows will be easy. However, once you do so you little or no light will get into the room. If you still want some light inside the room, then you can use a different approach.
My garage door has windows and I decided to try to block them just for fun! I got some insulation panels from Amazon at a cheap price.
The idea behind blocking your windows is that there should be no gap left. You will have to cut the insulation panels into the exact fit of your window space.
Insulation panels are not entirely visually appealing, but they are the most effective way of blocking out the noise.This can, however, be easily managed by using curtains over the windows.
If you would want to achieve better sound deadening, then I suggest getting a fiberglass soundproof blanket to cover your windows. Because it is much better than the insulation panels, you will have to spend a couple more dollars on this.
2. Replace the windows with double-pane windows
If you are willing to spend a good amount of your money on this soundproofing project, then you should go with this option. Apart from blocking out the windows, it is another guaranteed way of keeping all the noise in or out.
Double pane windows reduce the amount of noise significantly (by up to 60 %). Other than sound dampening, double pane windows reduce heat transmission. Read more about STC ratings for windows here.
They will keep the room cooler during summer and warmer during winter. With these windows, you will end up saving a lot on the energy bills.
You may also decide to get specialist soundproofed windows in place of the double-pane windows.
Replacing your windows entirely could be a risky move. Most window installers may not be familiar with installing soundproofed windows.
You will need to make sure that whoever installs the windows does it correctly. There should be no gaps or cracks left all around the edges of the windows.
Poorly installed soundproof windows will simply be a waste as even the smallest gap can still let sound in and out of the room.
3. Add an extra layer to the windows
This option is much cheaper than replacing the windows entirely. All you will have to do is add an extra layer of acrylic over the window. This reduces the amount of noise that passes through.
For this to work, you will first have to install a metal frame on your existing window. Magnets are then used to attach the acrylic to the existing windows. You also have to ensure that you make an air tight seal as well.
Using acrylic on the windows works in a similar way as the soundproof window plug (discussed below). However, the acrylic differs in that it will still allow light into the room, seeing as it is transparent.
What’s more, an acrylic layer will only work for minor noise problems. If you are looking to deal with some really loud noises, then this option may not be the best for you.
4. Get sound deadening curtains
Although sound deadening curtains are not entirely effective, they certainly go a long way in blocking out much of the noise. What’s more, they increase the appeal in the room and can be used to hide any foam that you may have used on the windows.
I decided to use sound deadening curtains for the rooms in my house mainly because they reduce the effect of echoes in the room. The curtains are made of sturdy enough materials that soak up any sounds in the room. This makes the room feel quieter.
For the best results, get some curtains that will cover the entire window from top to bottom. I do not recommend using sound-absorbing curtains on their own, but rather as a complement to other soundproofing methods.
Sound deadening curtains can also double up as blackout curtains. They are made of thick materials that can also block out the light.
These curtains will, therefore, allow you to sleep in late without the interference of sunlight!
You might like: Best Soundproof Curtains of 2018
5. Use thick material blinds
Just like the sound deadening curtains, blinds will help reduce the impact of echoes in the room. They will also offer an additional but minimal sound blocking.
If you are going to use blinds on your windows, I suggest using those made of thick materials. For my home office, I went with these Calyx Interiors Cordless HoneyComb.
They have helped in a bit of sound absorption although the difference has not been too significant.
I, however, love these honeycomb blinds due to the fact that they can let in a little light. I did not want my home office to become too dark and as a result, I opted out of the sound deadening curtains.
These blinds proved to be a better alternative for me.
6. Install a barrier panel
A barrier panel is simply a panel made of acoustic foam that helps to absorb unwanted sound and unwanted sound reflections.
If all the above options do not seem to work for you, you can decide to install a barrier panel on your window.
You can easily purchase barrier panels from Amazon. I found this barrier panel to be particularly effective.
The panels come in a variety of sizes. You should ensure that you purchase one that will go past the surface and provide a good grip for air.
For even better sound reduction, you can decide to install double panels on especially troublesome windows.
7. Seal all the gaps
I have already mentioned that even the smallest gaps will let sound inside the room. It is, therefore, important to ensure that all the gaps in the room's windows are sealed.
Depending on how the window installation was done, there tend to be gaps, especially around the edges. You may decide to seal these first and see if it solves the problem for you.
Using adhesive is the most basic way of sealing any gaps. It is also the most inexpensive one. This adhesive acts as a really good window seal.
It is a self-adhesive seal strip that is very easy to install. I especially love that it can withstand just about any weather and you can easily cut it to fit whatever dimensions you need
If this option does not satisfy you, you can decide to get this window insulator kit. The kit is an assortment of materials you would use to insulate around 3 to 5 windows.
Just like the adhesive tape, these are also easy to install and the rolls come in a variety of sizes.
8. Make your own DIY soundproof window Inserts
A soundproof window insert is just a simple frame that is designed to be airtight to your window space. It is also known as a window plug and is usually made of foam or sponge.
Soundproof window inserts are convenient since you can simply plug them in and remove them when they are not needed. For this reason, they are best suited as a temporary soundproofing solution.
For the sake of the neighbors, I have my son place this on the garage door windows. The noise from all the instruments is deadened and once they are done with practice, he simply pull the plugs out.
For smaller windows, you can use two inches of this soundproofed matting and acoustic foam to make the window plug. Making the plugs is easy. You simply need to cut the foam material around 1 inch greater than the window. This will allow you to push the foam into the frame so as to make a snug fit.
If you are making a window plug for a larger window (3 feet wide or more) then you will have to first make a frame that the foam will sit on.
When making a soundproof window plug, you will first have to measure the size of your window. For smaller windows, a frame may not be necessary as the foam can easily stick into the window without popping out.
However, it is better to use a frame regardless of the size of your window.
Making the Soundproof Insert:
You will need to first gather up all the material that you will use. These include wooden board, shell handles, soundproof mat, soundproof foam/ acoustic sponge and some weatherstripping tape.
- 1Measure the wooden board and ensure that you cut it to the size of your window. You will want to ensure that there are no gaps so you will need to make it as snug as you can.
- 2Cut the soundproofing mat to the size of the wooden frame you have just made. Use some glue or bond to stick the mat to the inside of the wooden frame.
- 3Repeat the same process, only this time use the acoustic sponge. Once you have cut it to the desired size, stick it to the soundproof mat.
- 4The final step will be to attach the shell handles to the exterior of your DIY soundproof window insert. This will help you insert and pull out the window plug easily.
- 5The weatherstripping tape should be used to seal any gaps should the plug not fit snugly into the window.
On Soundproofing Windows
I had so much fun working on this soundproofing project with my son. I did not want to go for the sound deadening curtains due to the light factor. I, therefore, opted for the honeycomb blinds and the window plug.
I can now get so much of my work done, even during band practice hours!
Ultimately, soundproofing your window may not entirely block out all the noise (unless you block out the window entirely). What is important is finding a solution that works best for you.
Follow the steps above as you attempt to soundproof your window. Once you are done, you will be sure to enjoy some peace in the house.
In case of soundproofing, the window does not manage to block out all the noise, you may have to consider soundproofing other areas in your house such as the ceiling, walls and front door (that is if you haven't already)
You will certainly be amazed by the outcome!