Laminated or Triple pane for better noise blocking

jjgarden_z5aApril 29, 2006

Finally, I've got some estimates on windows from 2 companies. The price is ~$30/window difference.

Company A - Window City Industries product

Laminated glass (3mm/3mm + plastic + 3mm) filled with argon gas. No option to the type of gas

Warm edge spacer, can choose soft coated or hard coated LowE

PVC Frame has more chambers which the sales rep claiming it provides better noise reduction

Company B - Vinyl Windows Designs product

Triple pane with 3mm glazes. Between 2 glaze, a 1/2" air space. Can choose kryton gas

Warm edge spacer, can choose soft coated or hard coated LowE

PVC Frame has lesser chambers but reinforced with aluminum for extra strength

I need to replace all bedrooms' windows. My bedrooms are along my neighbour driveway and they like to slam on the doors, especially their entrance door. I know none of the options is 100% soundproof but I would like the best whatever I can. Unfortunlately, none of them have STC ratings on their products. Also, hard to justify how good their installation is. But I know one of them is a member of SAWDAC (The Siding and Window Dealers Association of Canada is credibility by delivering consistently high standards of products, installations and business ethics.)

Your comments and suggestions are appreceiated.

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Your question poses several questions - and is good for a few comments as well.

First, argon or krypton fill does not effect the overall sound propagation perfomance of the window.

Second, the width of the overall airspace between the inner and outer lite is more important than the number of lites in the IGU. When you say that company B's product has an airspace of 1/2" in a triple pane do you mean overall airspace or do you mean 1/2" in each of the two pockets for an overall airspace width of 1"?

Third, LowE coatings have no effect on sound propagation...softcoat or hardcoat is an energy performance issue and not a sound propagation one.

Fourth, warm edge spacer is also an energy performance issue rather than a sound performance one.

I would be curious to hear why the salesman of company A suggested that more chambers is better for noise reduction - his reasoning behind that claim.

I am also a bit curious if there are other issues involved besides slamming doors. It seems a bit of an excess to replace several windows strictly for slamming doors - I am not criticizing, but rather asking if there may be other factors to take into consideration?

When dealing with sound-blocking performance of any object there are three things to consider - mass, damping, and stiffness.

When dealing with glass, stiffness is a given and there really isn't anything that you can do to affect that particular variable.

Mass, on the other hand, can be changed. It is possible to affect sound performance by increasing the thickness of the glass in the IGU. But, this method will have varying degrees of effectiveness depending on the particular frequency range that you want to attenuate (opposite of amplify). This is the area where folks generally think that triple pane will outperform dual pane due to the increase in mass. And, at some frequency ranges that is true. But, without going into LOTS of additional words, the mass of a single lite versus the combined effect of the overall mass of several lites, with airspace between them, is not the same thing and does not have the same perfomance values in comparison.

The last factor is damping and this is where laminated glass comes in.

Basically, laminated glass consists of two lites bonded together by placing a plastic interlayer between them. In a sound performance roll, the plastic interlayer reacts differently to the sound wave as it passes thru the material and causes an increase in sound transmission loss. A laminated product consisting of 1/8" glass x 1/32" plastic interlayer x 1/8" glass - 9/32" overall - will have about the same sound blocking ability as a piece of 1/2" monolithic glass. Obviously an advantage.

Lots of information for you to ponder...I hope it makes sense.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 8:40PM
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Hi Oberon,
Thanks a lot for taking time to respond my thread. Sorry for confusing my question by posting irrelevant info such as LowE and gas fill.

For the triple pane, the total air space is 1". Unfortunlately, I don't know the air space for the laminated window.
The sales rep from Company A said that each time the sound hits the chamber's wall, it performs some damping effect. So more chambers, better sound attenuation.

The major concern of the slamming doors is that it happens any time of the day, 5 in the morning, after midnight. Literally, if I want to take a nap on weekend, it is impossible. It really disturbs my sleep. As a matter of fact, I have to see doctor because of that.

From the research that I have gathered so far, I got 4 options to help attenuating sound: laminated glass, triple pane, more air space between lites or a combination of 3. I wish I could have the laminated glass and much more air space but it is not what I can get after shopping around. All windows companies that I have talked to so far do not provide an option of increasing air space. I basically limited to these laminated glass, triple plane or 3mm/air space/6mm offset (bounded to the same overall IG width) options. I learnt the type of noise that I have encountered is low frequency noise. In general, aircraft and road traffic falls into 200-400 Hz. I don't know the slamming door noise would be in the same frequency range. I even went a step further to get some scentific calculation of reducing resonance effect. With the dual pane 3mm glaze, I think I have to have at least 35mm air space to make the resonance below 200Hz.

Anyway, I finally found some STC rating for Company A's laminated windows. It sits around 33-35.

Hope it clarifies my question.

One more question, Oberon, I have seen some threads you repeatedly mention it is very important to have the window properly installed. How do I know the quality of the installer? As far as I know, none of the windows companies have their installers join any certified program.


    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 10:42PM
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No need to be was a great question and extra information is always good!

One other aspect of sound performance is duration. You can actually become attuned to a sound so that you really don't notice it anymore even though it is there...we have all experienced that.

But with a short duration noise such as a door slam, it is impossible to ignore - it is something that is going to get your attention even if it isn't very loud.

Obviously if you can dampen the sound enough it might be below the threshold of really bothering you....but it is a bit more difficult than stopping some other sorts of noises.

Before you decide on changing your windows totally, you might look at the possibilty of storm windows - especially inside storms - that are made with laminated glass.

There are several companies that offer such "sound proof windows" inclusding one called "soundproof windows" (oddly enough). I think that in many cases the add-on of the storm does work really well. It gives you the damping ability of the laminated glass, plus it allows a pretty nice airspace between the various layers of the window system.

Now it is important that both the original windows and the add-on are tight. Sound can squeeze thru any little opening in the window and even a tiny opening can let in a lot of sound!

So far as quality of the install goes, I am not really an expert in how to tell what you are getting or the best questions to ask. BUT, there is a guy who posts here who is very much an expert in those areas and I have learned a lot from him.

He may be reading this thread, but if not, I might suggest you start a new thread asking the exact question that you asked me.

His name is Guy and if you ask an install question on a thread I suspect he will see it and give you some great advice. He owns an install company and was responsible for install of over 1/2 million windows a year for a few years...although he has scaled back to much more manageable levels now.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 7:16PM
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Thank you Oberon for providing different option. I have also done some research on the Internet and the soundproof windows company did get my attention but unfortunlately they don't have any branch office nor dealers selling their products. There is no such a thing from where I live.

My windows are not energy efficient. I bet they were installed in the late 70's. They are just 2 separate glazes, sliding windows. I need to replace them soon or later. But the noise issue has made the move much faster than I would like to have and I need to look for more than just windows.

Getting an indoor storm window does not seem to be an option in my area. I am still not sure among the laminated windows and triple pane which one will give me a better sound damping capability.

I'll post a new thread about the installation question


    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 8:01PM
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Okay...I meant to ask that and I forgot - the "are you also concerned about energy performance" part.

Saw the new thread, hopefully you will get some good advice there!

Back to the original question - I mentioned that the LowE and argon/krypton won't make a difference in sound performance, but they will make a great deal of difference in energy performance so obviously that is a no-brainer. They are well worth any extra cost!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 7:39AM
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A couple of years ago I replaced most of the windows in my house. I made it a priority to have new windows that would provide better sound insulation.

I went with Milgard windows. They offered me a cost effective solution. Something called offset glazing option. Rather than having two panes of equal thickness, one of the panes is sligtly thicker than the other. I can't quote any sounds stats or anything, but I do know it made a hugh difference in hearing outside noise with the windows closed (compared to my old double pain windows).

At specific issue was a neigbhor dog that barked at 3:30 AM each and every morning. The new windows made big enough difference that when my window was closed, I was able to sleep through the dog barking.

As I recall, it was only $30 difference per window for this option.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2006 at 11:03PM
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I would like to add that I've been in a friend's house who has cheap vinyl replacement windows and Harvey storm windows. It's like a vault inside. As soon as you open the windows you can hear all the traffic and neighborhood noise. It's loud. Shut the window and it's silent.

I myself am struggling with some new traffic noise with heavy trucks that is driving me crazy. Unfortunately some of my window sills are rotted so I need to fix those first before I add storm windows.

If my windows were in good shape I would say get the storm windows and try them out.


    Bookmark   June 8, 2006 at 8:26AM
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I bought a Milgard dual pane laminated glass door for my bedroom and it is alot quieter than the single pane door I replaced.
They use to have specs on how many decibels it would reduce noise versus non-laminated and it seemed significant.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 7:18PM
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I asked a question about noise reduction in another thread, but my conditions are different than yours, unfortunately. I think that one of your problems can be that you have sliding windows/doors. The window people here told me that sliders let it much more noise than windows which swing in or out. Where I live, in the Grim Mainland of China, where people have sliders, they have two sets to help keep out the noise and pollution...and they work pretty well.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2006 at 8:43PM
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I'm bringing this thread back to life. Some great information here. I live in a house that is 2 years old and I have the double-pane windows installed throughout. Just cheapos probably around $100-$150 each. The windows are standard size 32x72 (not sure of exact numbers). The problem is that my master bedroom is a terrible place to sleep because of noise and temperature issues.

I live next to a freeway and the noise is terrible late night when the motorcycles whiz by. Also, the window near the bed has a leak. Looked everywhere to find the dang air leak and I can't find it, even got my magnifying glass out to look for any gaps in the caulking.

Today I had a window company come out and I received a bid of $800 each for the krypton triple pane windows. Total cost was $1600 installed. I offered $1500 and the guy wouldn't budge on the price.

He did the spectrometer test on the window and I was losing 175-250 BTU for the bad window. It was high noon and today was about 75 outside. These windows get the morning sun so its always a bit warm. He said that the triple pane windows would drop that to about 10BTU or maybe even 0.

He quoted me $685 for the double pain argon windows.

Anyway, hope someone can advice on what my best option is. Does $800 seen like a fair price. Should I go with the double-panes?

This company is listed in Dallas BBB and has an A+ rating with no reports filed since they have been in business for the past 13 years.



I have 2 long skinny windows in this room probably 32x72.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 6:09PM
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The information you have provided isn't sufficient to give you an answer of any value. Why don't you start by identifing the brand name of the window you looked at. I know of a triple pane window that can be purchased for $500 installed that isn't worth half that amount.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2009 at 11:33PM
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Neither krypton or argon added to an IG airspace have any appreciable effect on sound propagation.

For improved sound performance adding a gas such as sulfer hexafloride (SF6) to the airspace does work quite well, but SF6 in the airspace will also lower the energy performance of the unit.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2009 at 1:51PM
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I have a similar problem, I am deciding between two options for installing noise reduction windows in my house in Bogota, Colombia. I have quotes from 2 companies:

The first one ( uses two laminated glass panes separated by an air space in a aluminum frame that is cut into two and unified by a poliurethane material, forming what they call a sound barrier or a thermal break.

The second one ( regular monolitic glasses of 5mm separated by a similar airspace in a normal aluminum frame, they say tat the separated aluminum frame is not that good at blocking sound, nor is the laminated glass.

Anyway, the second costs about half of the the first one. so I was wondering how much difference could there be on the 2 systems.

Best regards,


    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 12:38AM
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Ask them what the overall STC rating is. (Sound Transmission Class)

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 12:48AM
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The second company either doesn't understand sound performance in windows, or else they are simply being misleading. Either way, the laminated option with thermally-broken aluminum will outperform the standard 5mm glass option.

As skydawggy said, ask for STC numbers if they are available.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 7:15AM
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I know this is an old thread, but what are the most inexpensive windows for sound proofing? What do Milgard windows cost on average? I have 10 windows that I would want to sound proof, but from the prices I have seen, replacing 10 windows sounds like it's going to be around $5k... That's way too much...

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 5:20AM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

It will be more than a mile.

The cost of the materials alone in the Milgard STC series will far exceed your $500 per unit projection.

Last one that we did for a client was North of $1,000 per unit. If you want performance out of that window, you are going to be faced with an expensive unit.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 7:06AM
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If you think 500 is too much for laminated glass, i would love to see your face when your children get their college tuition bills.
Laminated glass will FAR exceed 500 per window, you need to adjust your budget and perhaps save up some money in order to be in a more realistic setting.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 8:28AM
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Got it. Yea I had no idea what windows should / would cost. It isn't a lot of money considering what sound proofing would mean to me, but saving for a big wedding and just don't have $10k for windows... Are there cheaper options to soundproof windows?

    Bookmark   May 23, 2014 at 1:30PM
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Windows on Washington Ltd

Soundproof = $$$$

Your cheapest option for doing anything in the soundproof family is going to be a storm window option.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 7:54AM
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The least expensive method of "soundproofing" was mentioned earlier in the thread and that is differing the thicknesses of the glass in the IG unit. Nominal upcharge compared to the cost of laminated glass. He mentioned that he can now sleep through a barking dog next door at 3 am. That's pretty good testimony!

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 10:31AM
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