Outside noises and old windows - is there anything I can do?

jlc102482September 1, 2010

My house was built in 1857 and still has its original windows and exterior storm windows. The house next door to us is quite close by, and unfortunately one of our master bedroom windows faces it. Even more unfortunately, the house is full of loud, annoying, unsupervised teenagers and you can often hear them pretty clearly from inside the master bedroom. It generally drives me insane. (No, they're not loud enough to call the police over, and anyway, our police definitely do not care about loud people.)

Is there anything at all I can do to the window on that side to stop noise from coming in so much? I can't see daylight through any gaps (I don't see any gaps at all, actually) so I don't know what I could do, if anything. It's a smallish double-hung window with an exterior storm on it.

Thanks so much!

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I definitely feel for you, we have a similar situation but with new cheap vinyl windows/aluminum storms and a dog next door who is regularly imprisoned in one bedroom that faces our bedroom. We are looking into soundproofing glass (yeah, it really exists) but its expensive and the storms would have to be custom built to suit it. ultimately I want to put back wood windows there, but I figure the storms can be used with those windows for extra savings. Also, there was a study released by Old House Journal that found that old windows that are properly repaired, fitted, and carefully fitted storms do the best job at retaining heat/cold and noise - Ill look for that study and see if there is anything in it to recommend.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 9:51AM
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Have you already tried blinds or curtains that offer noise reduction? Something like the link below...

I also found a couple of brands of curtains, including some at kmart. It might be worth layering the curtains and the blinds and seeing if that helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: Blinds for sale

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 10:19AM
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Most noise travels through air gaps, even if you cannot see them. So the same leaks that may be letting your warm air out and cold air in are also letting in noise. Try caulking all gaps around the storm windows. You could also caulk the window shut. There are caulks made to be removable for temporary weather sealing if you want to be able to reverse the process.

You may find that the noise is coming through the siding and gaps at the foundation. Foam insulation and tight-packed cellulose are said to reduce sound transmission through exterior walls. Anything you can do to make your house more air-tight will make it more sound proof.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 12:40PM
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You may want to look into Warm Windows, a product that has good insulation value and makes nice Roman shades. Or exterior or interior shutters that you can close and cover the whole window. Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 6:26PM
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Thanks, everyone! I'm going to give all these ideas a try.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 9:26AM
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You might try an interior clear plastic storm panel. Of course, it has to be removed to open the window but it appears you won't be opening the window often.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 2:27PM
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