How to Soundproof a Window and DIY Soundproof Window Inserts
A few years ago, my teenage 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. You know how these things go.
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!
Needless to say, the window frame in my office was rattling uncontrollably.
Soundproofing Windows For Noisy Neighbors
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 didn’t take long before I ended up searching for ideas on how to soundproof windows.
And that’s when I found the Fantastic Frame treatments. These are without a doubt the best option for soundproofing an existing window. Each window insert is custom built to create a perfect airtight seal.
The magnetic seals make them super easy to remove for cleaning, and then the ¼” thick glass combines with your existing window to block sound through by 10+ decibels!
If you’re looking for a recording studio quality soundproof window, they even have up to an STC 56 window with their Tru Acoustic.
If you live in a noisy neighborhood, I bet you have tried all that you can to block out all the annoying sounds from outside.
What most people don't realize is that soundproofing your home's windows will play a great role in reducing the sound waves that get in as well as that get out.
I learned a lot when I was soundproofing a window. 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 absorb sound.
Just pick what works best for you and get rid of that noise pollution once and for all. You will learn how to soundproof your windows cheaply using different methods. The steps are pretty easy and will only require a little bit of your time and effort.
No more loud neighbors or traffic noise.
How to Soundproof a Window
What You'll Be Needing:
1. Block the window entirely
As I have mentioned above, blocking a window entirely will guarantee you sound deadening properties.
You should, therefore, first determine whether you can block that window entirely.
Blocking your windows will be easy. However, once you do so, little or no light will get into the room.
A lot of DIY window soundproofing products offer this. However, if you still want some light inside the room, then you can use a different approach.
After all, a noise blocker for windows shouldn’t sacrifice the light you’re getting in, right?
My garage door has windows and I decided to try different window soundproofing methods just for fun! I got some insulation professional acoustic 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 frames.
Insulation panels are not entirely visually appealing, but they block noise well.
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 existing 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 soundproof windows project, then a double pane window might be worth considering.
Apart from blocking out the windows, it is another guaranteed way of achieving superior sound reduction performance.
Double pane windows can create an effective sound barrier (by up to 60 % compared to single pane windows). Other than soundproofing qualities, they provide thermal insulation.
Read more about Sound Transmission Class - 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.
Specialized Soundproof Windows
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 soundproof windows or how to go about sound reduction in your house.
However, installing double-pane windows will act as acoustic panels on windows which will provide the best results – just like the ones you use on your doors.
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 not provide much soundproofing control as even the smallest gap can still let sound waves in and out. Keep in mind, if you are not using acoustic grade glass of laminated glass, you will not notice a huge acoustic difference.
Are Triple Pane Windows Worth It?
Some experts believe triple pane windows provide exceptional performance in dealing with outside noise but the truth is that good quality double glazed windows will also work wonders.
In our tests we've found no significant advantage when using triple pane windows.
3. Add an extra layer to the windows
This option is much cheaper than replacing the windows entirely. All you have to do is get a piece of acrylic glass to create a second layer over your existing window.
The highest performing option is with the Fantastic Frame window inserts. These inserts have a frame with magnets making it very easy to attach it to the metal trim pieces that come with it.
The construction creates an airtight seal and allows you to take advantage of the most powerful window soundproofing method – 2 thick panes of glass with a large airspace in between.
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.
This can also be considered to be a cheap windows soundproofing idea so if you’re low on the budget – you might as well consider this.
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 echo 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.
Noise reducing 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 2022
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.
They also provide the best way to soundproof a window, in my opinion.
These blinds proved to be a better window noise reduction 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 window noise reduction, you can decide to install double panels on especially troublesome windows.
7. Seal gaps
I have already mentioned that any window opening will let sound inside the room.
It is, therefore, important to ensure that your window frame is sealed tight.
Depending on how the window installation was done, usually there are some gaps, especially around the edges.
You may decide to seal these first and see if it solves your noise pollution problem.
Silicone Adhesive Seal Tape
Using adhesive is the most basic way of window treatments. It is also the most inexpensive one. This adhesive acts as a really good window seal.
They’re also known as sliding window noise reduction since it helps reduce noise coming from the moving parts of the window panes which are often very hard to 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.
An acoustic caulk can be a cheap and effective solution for small gaps.
You can easily load a caulking gun with this Green Glue acoustic caulk.
The Green Glue is latex-based and bonds very well with windows. We tested it in a house close to a busy street and the difference was incredible.
The sound vibrations were no longer noticeable. We've also measured a drop of about 4-5dB of noise before and after.
8. Make your own DIY soundproof window Inserts
A soundproofing 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.
What’s so great about this is that you can make removable soundproofing for windows which might temporarily block out some natural light – but they can get removed as soon as the noise is gone (in my case, this is the moment when my son’s band stops playing.)
Noise reduction 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.
Get Along With Your Neighbors
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 pulls the plugs out.
For smaller windows, you can use two inches of this soundproof matting and acoustic foam.
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 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 insert, 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.
Adding Extra Noise Control To Inserts:
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 insert. This will help you insert and pull out the 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 window 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, sound proofing windows may not entirely block out all the noise (unless you block out the window entirely).
Every Building Is Different
What is important is finding a solution that works best for your noise pollution problem.
For example, a soundproofing windows kit might be very helpful and easy to install – but it might not provide 100% efficiency. Tempered glass is not always the best solution.
Professional installation will ensure more peace in your house.
Don't Forget To Soundproof Other Areas Of Your 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)
Or try window soundproofing tape as it has proven to be in my case – before getting work done around the rest of the house.
You will certainly be amazed by the outcome!
- Block The Window Entirely
- Replace The Windows With Double-Pane Windows
- Add An Extra Layer To The Windows
- Get Sound Deadening Curtains
- Use Thick Material Blinds
- Install A Barrier Panel
- Seal All The Gaps
- Make Your Own DIY Soundproof Window Inserts