If you live on a busy street, near railroad tracks, by an airport, or in any area where there’s a lot of activity outdoors, your home may be plagued by a serious problem: noise pollution.
One of the biggest contributors to noise pollution in any home are windows. If the windows in your home are older or are made of lower quality materials, it’s safe to say they’re likely a major contributor to the noise pollution in your home.
In some cases, materials like sound deadening curtains or window inserts are enough to cut out obnoxious noises. However in some cases you may need to take more drastic measures and replace your existing windows with soundproof windows.
If you’re building a new home in a rural area you may even consider installing soundproof windows from the get-go. Before you opt for soundproof windows, though, you’re probably wondering how much they’re going to cost you and if they’re actually a worthwhile investment. Let’s take a closer look.
How do Soundproof Windows Work?
In order to reduce unwanted noise, a barrier between the source of the sound and the space you want to soundproof needs to be created. By creating dead space between your window and the interior of your home, you can effectively dampen soundwaves and prevent them from entering your home.
Window manufacturers aim to soundproof windows by increasing the sound transmission class (STC) rating of a window. The higher the STC rating, the more effective the windows are at preventing the transmission of unwanted noise.
In order to improve a window’s STC rating, manufacturers employ several techniques, which include:
- Making the glass thicker, which adds mass to the window. Mass plays an important role in soundproofing, as the thicker a material is, the less soundwaves can pass through it.
- Create dead space between the window panes. The aim here is to reduce sound resonance, which in effect reduces the vibrations that soundwaves create.
- Laminated glass, which features a layer of plastic-like material between the glass panes in order to minimize sound transmission.
Are Soundproof Windows Really Soundproof?
While the goal of soundproof windows is to block out noise, in reality, there is no way to completely eliminate all noise. This because sounds have different frequencies, and typically, lower frequency sounds, such as thunder, are harder to block than high-frequency sounds, such as children playing or a train whistle. However, with that said, most soundproof windows can successfully block up to 95% of noise.
An important point to note is that when you’re shopping for soundproof windows, you want to pay attention to the STC rating. As mentioned, the higher the rating, the more soundproof the window will be.
As a point of reference:
- A standard single-pane window has an STC rating of about 27.
- A standard dual pane window has an STC rating of about 26.
- Soundproof windows have an STC rating ranging from 48-54.
Higher-end soundproof windows (50+ STC Rating) can effectively block up to 95% of unwanted exterior noise.
How Much do Soundproof Windows Cost?
Now, to answer the initial question: How much do soundproof windows cost?
If you’re thinking about replacing your existing windows or installing soundproof windows in a new home, be prepared to spend a sizable amount.
Soundproof windows aren’t cheap. They feature additional specialized materials that standard windows lack, and those materials drive the cost way up.
The price, of course, varies depending on the type of window. To give you a ballpark figure, here’s a look at the average price of different types of soundproof windows:
Double Pane Windows
The average cost for this type of window ranges from about $385 on the low end to around $850 on the high end, with an average price tag of roughly $618.
There are several factors that will affect the price, including the type of window, the brand, and the materials that are used to frame the glass; the cost of labor will also play a part in the price.
However, generally, aluminum double hung windows are the most budget-friendly, while vinyl and fiberglass fall in the middle of the road. Wood windows are the most expensive and can cost as much as $900, if not more.
Triple Pane Windows
Triple pane windows are more effective at blocking out sound than double pane because they feature an additional layer of glass. However, this additional layer of class also means they cost more; usually about 10 to 15% more.
On average, triple pane windows will run you between $550 and $1,085, with an average price tag of about $818.
Laminated windows are the upper echelon of soundproofing. As mentioned, laminated windows feature a layer of plastic-like material known as polyvinyl butyral (PVB) between the glass panes, and as such, they can effectively eliminate up to 95% of unwanted noise (depending on the framing materials and whether they’re double or triple-hung).
The materials required to laminate glass, as well as the complex process that’s required to make them, means that while these windows offer the most soundproof power, they also cost the most.
On average, you can expect to pay about $950 for a laminated double pane window. For a laminated triple pane window, you’re looking at a price tag that will exceed $1,000.
In addition to the powerful soundproofing capabilities, these windows are also much more difficult to shatter than standard glazed glass.
Other Soundproofing Options
There are other methods that you can use to try and reduce the transmission of unwanted noise.
For example, you can hang noise dampening curtains or drapes over the windows. These curtains or drapes are made of dense fabric and create a barrier that blocks out undesirable sounds.
In a similar fashion you can install a window insert. A window insert works in a similar manner as double/triple pane windows in that it creates dead space to dampen sound.
Lastly, you can use weather stripping around the windows to seal up any gaps. Gaps are open pathways for sound, so sealing them up can certainly help to reduce the transmission of unwanted noise.
Are Soundproof Windows Worth the Investment?
It depends. As you can see, soundproof windows are pretty costly. If the noise level isn’t severe, you may want to try alternative methods to soundproof standard windows.
However, if the noise pollution in your area is high, soundproof windows may be a worthwhile investment.