Sound proof windows

NaRoDecember 1, 2011

Hi all,

There hasn't been a fresh soundproof windows thread in a while, so I figured I'd ask for the latest info on dealing with a road-noise problem.

We have a neo-Colonial on a busy street, and cars zoom by in the middle of the night and wake me up. I want to do what I can to sound-proof the bedroom windows-- two dormers and a side window, both single-paned.

The contractor figures dual-pane sash replacements will help, but I've seen suggestions about laminated storm windows and about branded soundproof windows that fit behind your existing windows.

Thoughts on what would actually work here to reduce the sound from the street-- while not making our windows look weird or out of place-- are appreciated.

Thanks, N

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PRO
Windows on Washington

Your contractor may, in fact, be mistaken if the storm window/single pane combination uses a heavy duty storm window.

In most peoples applications, the added thickness of the glass in most replacements and the improved air tightness result in better noise attenuation.

That being said, we replaced windows in one customer's home where the noise was not affected and at some frequencies, worse.

The customer was not the original owner of the home and at some point, the previous homeowner had installed a laminated storm window. The replacement windows that were installed were double pane and certainly more airtight, however, the lessened mass in the new glazing package as compared to the laminated glass storms did allow for a bit more low frequency range (highway droning noise).

If you want to leave your existing windows in place, see about getting your storm window glass changed out for laminated glass (assuming you have storm windows).

Make sure they are sealed tightly and the weatherstripping on the interior window is functional and tight.

After that, you can install and interior storm window.

In both cases, laminated glass will give you the additional mass needed to help cancel out additional sound.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 2:16PM
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brickeyee

"In both cases, laminated glass will give you the additional mass needed to help cancel out additional sound. "

And using multiple separate layers of glass with different thicknesses often helps more than two identical layers.

Each layer has its own noise transmittance values, and the differences often help with one layer attenuating the frequencies the other is less effective at.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 3:04PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington

Yes, offset glazing does give a good performance in STC improvement.

The Laminated sash is great from both ends in that it adds mass and gives the differential thickness required for the different frequency range.

Mass, Air space, and thickness are the 3 key points of STC window.

This is why triple pane provide no advantage, and sometimes provide less STC performance, than a good double pane window with thicker glass.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 5:00PM
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pam29011

Have you looked into sprayfoam insulation as a way to improve the sound barrier between your bedroom & the street? My understanding is that it offers better insulation and because it seals gaps against air infiltration, it's better at blocking noise.

We're planning a reno on our 2nd floor, on the side that faces the street, and will use spray foam to help cut down on noise (and insulate our puny 2x4 exterior walls). I'm also thinking about putting it in the walls around the bathroom to reduce the noise of my husband showering in the morning. Those extra 15 min of sleep are worth it :)

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 10:05PM
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NaRo

We are looking into sprayfoam insulation, as well. The house is semi-gutted after a giant tree smashed it.

Does something like this make sense-- http://www.soundproofwindows.com/ ? It seems to be a window put inside your existing window.

I think we have capacity for storm windows. So getting something called a "laminated' storm window might help? And am I understanding you guys to be saying that a dual pane window might make zero difference b/c the glass is equal thickness?

Again, thanks for your guidance-- N

    Bookmark   December 1, 2011 at 10:21PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington

Spray foam is an expensive route to go if you are using it solely for a sound abatement application.

Roxul safe and sound will work just as well as open cell foam and deliver a similar R-Value per inch.

Interior storm windows with a heavier thickness of glass will work just fine.

I would first look at your exterior storm and see if you can change the glass out in that unit to maintain the appearance. Having 3 windows to open to get some fresh air is a bit cumbersome.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 7:20AM
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toddinmn

Laminated glass has a higher stc mostly because of damping not mass. Laminated glass will perform worse the colder it gets as well.I would update your current window as WOW suggested before buying new storms unless you don't have storms now. The airport (MAC) program in MN uses storms that due not not have laminated glass. They can get the desired rating they want using a thicker glass even on single pane windows. Larson's SCS storms (sound control storms) are reasonably priced , they do not use laminated glass.A dual pane window may not perform better because of the smaller airspace, it may perform better if your existing window are in poor condition, not sealed well, ect.
Dense packed Cellulose works very well in existing walls for sound.I also would not do an interior storm .You also may want to have a blower door test done on your house as well.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2011 at 8:24AM
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NaRo

Thank you all for your generous feedback. I still find it a bit confusing, but at least I know some of the questions to be asked.

Toddinmn, I chuckled at the thought of doing a blower door test. At the moment windows, walls, and insulation are missing--our house is semi-gutted b/c a giant tree smashed our house and we're in the middle of rebuilding.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2011 at 9:55AM
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Mom2BoysWisconsin

Beyond your windows, double cellular blinds also help block out sound in addition to insulating from the heat in the summer and the cold in the winter.

Here is a link that might be useful: Info on Double Cellular Shades

    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 8:41PM
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Hedek

Hi it's my first post, not sure if I should start a new thread for this question.

I live in a condo. The building still has its original 1977 bronze aluminum double pane glider windows (W47''xL65''). They don't close anymore so I want to replace them.

My concern is noise reduction and my constraint is that whatever I replace them with, has to look like the old ones to preserve the building's external appearance.

After searching the internet and getting quotes from contractors, it seems my best option in terms of noise reduction is a bronze aluminum double frame (not pane) system with a 1/4'' laminated single pane glass in the external frame and 1/8'' glass single pane in the interior frame. The space between the two is at least 4''. Both frames are fully operable which means the air space isn't sealed and therefore contains no gas. (a cut of the window linked below)

1. Any idea how much it should cost per unit (including installation) for 4 windows? Suppose I could convince my condo association to replace all our windows, how much would it be for 60 windows instead?
2. Is that a good solution to reduce noise? Are there better ones?
3. How energy efficient would it be? Compared to traditional double-pane fiberglass or vinyl?
4. Is anyone familiar with this brand? Monray/DeVac is it any good? I couldn't find any review or comments about them.
5. Is there any other window type/brand you would recommend?

Many thanks

Here is a link that might be useful: Monray DeVac 600

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 3:34PM
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eastbay10

My first choice would not be "new" aluminum windows. Most HOAs that I have worked with are okay as long as the exterior is bronze so you can also look at aluminum clad wood, fiberglass and painted vinyl. I am also not a big fan of painted vinyl but that's another story.
You are on the right track with your glass choices but I would choose the frame first and then find out what your glass options are. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 5:21PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington

1. Pricing totally depends on myriad of factors that would be impossible to determine given the current details. Installation requirements, permits, cost of materials, overhead, etc, etc, etc. Really tough to tell on this one but that is a hefty window so be prepared for a substantial price.

At the end of the day, what is a good nights sleep worth though?

2. Looks like a very solid window and that glazing you mention should have a pretty good (32+) STC rating. That will be a huge improvement over what you have currently.

3. Very comparable is you are getting a window with some sort of Low-e coating. The larger air space will be about as effective as a sealed smaller air space.

4. Monray is pretty well regarded.

5. Window offerings can be somewhat regional. I have used a Milgard aluminum window in a similar project and had happy customers.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 6:12PM
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Hedek

Wow that was quick, you guys are awesome!

eastbay: it seems fiberglass is more expensive? how high of an STC can be achieved with fiberglass windows? I couldn't find any offering with an air space wider than 1/2''
And of all the contractors I contacted, none even mentioned or offered aluminum clad wood. Is it expensive too?

windowsonwashington: which Milgard aluminum windows would you recommend the for highest STC? And do you know what's the widest air space they offer?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 7:39PM
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PRO
Windows on Washington

Regular old window frames with Laminated glass will normally give you about all the sound attenuation that most folks need.

I don't think they make and STC frame window in aluminum.

I do know that they do one in vinyl that works quite well.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 7:40AM
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brickeyee

A white noise generator can be used for a lot less money than trying to replace windows.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 1:28PM
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Hedek

Found this extremely interesting study: http://www.jglacoustics.com/acoustics/ss_articles/acoustical_glazing.pdf

It offers a break down of how air space and laminated glass contributes to STC.

Here is a link that might be useful: Study

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 7:49PM
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