How to Soundproof Windows-12 DIY Cheap Methods
Perfectly positioned windows in a room can be the best inlet of fresh air into the room. On the other hand, room windows in a noisy environment can be one of your greatest nightmares if you don’t look for solutions as to how to soundproof windows fast.
When we bought our new home, everyone was super excited because now we will get to have our own big house and yard to ourselves and the children will have enough space to place backyard games.
The only problem was that the house was close to the highway. You know what it means closing close to the highway right!. A lot of automobile noise make their way into your home.
I work from home and its hard concentration when you are hearing the loud horns and movement of cars and heavy trucks just a few meters away from the home.
I knew I had to do something about this noise issue and the only way I figured out was the best solution was to soundproof my home. This involves soundproofing the rooms’ windows, doors, floors, and ceiling.
We didn’t want to use the services of a professional soundproofing company because we didn’t have the budget for that. As such, we decided to take on DIY soundproofing projects in the house to keep excessive and distracting noise out of our home.
I like home improvement projects and it was exciting to work on them. Soundproofing existing windows is easy if you already know what works and does not. We did a lot of research and tried a lot of how to soundproof a window ideas.
In the process, I learned a lot and I am about to share with you some of the best soundproof windows techniques that will help you also take control of how much noise you are exposed to.
You might not necessarily be living close to the highway, but you might be living in a noisy apartment, in a noisy industrial area just to mention a few, you can use these soundproofing windows tips here and I believe you will be able to enjoy your peace once more.
12 Affordable Ways to Soundproof Windows
Below are some window soundproofing techniques that work. Depending on your budget, I am sure you will be able to get something to help reduce noise coming in from outside the house.
1. Seal Gaps and Cracks on Windows
Noise passes where air passes and this is because the two main types of noise are airborne and impact noise. If there is are little opening or gaps in the windows frames, on the windows itself or around the peripherial of the window, as long as air can pass through it, so will sound also.
Luckily, there are ways you can take care of these cracks and gaps. To do this, you will need window acoustic caulk and a weatherstripping tape.
The acoustic caulk will be used to fill up any insightful holes that might be around the windows cavities. This will last for years and the seal will still be in place.
We use this acoustic caulk from Sashco. It works great by creating a permanent, elastic and professional seal.
One thing I also like about it is that there are about five different colors to choose from namely; white, tan, grey, almond and clear colors. You get to select which color will match your room decor or windows colors so that you don’t end up with some awful sighful windows.
I opted for an acoustic caulk sealant over regular caulk sealant because it is a more efficient way to seal a gap or crack than the regular sealant.
Before I forget, if you don’t already have a caulking gun at home, it might be advisable to get one alongside to help you effectively apply the acoustic caulk.
Seal Gaps using a weatherstripping tape
Another way you can block noise and save energy leaking through windows is by using a weatherstripping tape. You will find different weatherstripping tapes in the market all doing the same thing.
Some are made of rubber, others foam, silicone and among others. Some gaps you might want to use a weatherstripping tape to seal than the caulk.
They are cheap and seal noise, dust, and inserts of the windows. Weatherstripping tape is easy to use. You need to measure the length of the area you want to cover, clean the spot and cut accordingly and install it.
It’s a very powerful sealant as well.
2. Hang Soundproof Curtains
Curtains come in different colors, designs, thicknesses, and sizes. They are a great way to cover room windows up and add esthetic appeal to the room as well.
soundproof curtains are not just curtains that only cover the windows and block light and window, they are however made to have the ability to block noise and sound energy to a certain degree.
sound deadening curtains are able to block out noise to a certain level. They block noise from entering the room and from leaving the room. This will depend on how loud the noise or sound it. The curtains can only block noise to a certain level but not completely get rid of it if it is a loud sound.
They will only reduce the level of noise coming from outside. So don’t expect magic with soundproof curtains alone. However, you can make them more effective at combating noise by adding additional soundproofing techniques here to reinforce their effect.
I used these thick 3-in-1 soundproof curtains and I am well pleased with them. They provide soundproof, blackout and thermal insulation through their patented technology. However, there are other cheaper soundproof curtains too but not that very effective like these. There are about 4 different sizes and 12 colors to choose from.
3. Install Soundproof Blankets
Another way to cover a window and block noise is to use soundproof blankets. Soundproof blankets are thicker than most curtains and are more efficient at noise reduction.
You will find them been used in recording studios and music rooms to reduce sounds. The work by absorbing the sounds before it leaks in or out of the room.
You can make use of soundproof moving blankets on the windows. But you need to get sound deadening blankets that already have grommets to make it easy to hang. You only need a curtain rod or simply use hooks. These are often slightly expensive than the cheaper ones.
If you choose to get cheap blankets, chances are they are most likely not having grommets already. So what you might need to do is sew them yourself or take them to the tailor to create a hanging grommet on them.
Unlike curtains, blankets are not usually very appealing to the eyes. So if you care more about visual appeal, then you should use the curtains.
Another way will be for you to hide the blankets with the curtains in front of them. You first hang the banket and then hang the curtain over it to cover it up.
4. Hang Window blinds
These are especially very good for home offices and bedrooms. But you can also use them for any room you like.
Windows blinds just like the window curtains come in different colors and thicknesses. Since you are looking for a blind that is able to reduce the level of noise entering the room, you need to go for the thickest as much as possible.
The mass has a direct correlation with sound reduction. The more mass you have over an area, the less sound energy will pass through it.
Window blinds are pretty easy to install and they help in reducing the noise that passes through them. Plus, they are able to control the level of noise entering the room a well.
This will give you the privacy and quietness you need for work or sleep. I got these cordless single cell shade blinds for my home office and the kids’ bedroom. They serve the purpose of keeping lights out of the rooms, improve privacy and reduce echoes and levels of noise in the room.
5. Install Soundproof Windows Acoustic panels
Soundproof window acoustic panels are another effective way of reducing echoes and noise from entering the room. These panels are mostly found in recording studios. They also come in many sizes, thicknesses, shapes, and colors.
Acoustic foam panels are usually thicker and bulker and as such add additional mass to the windows. This intends to reduce the passage of noise or sound through them.
When you are putting these acoustic foam panels, you should know that they are going to add an additional mass to the window and it might appear slightly heavier. The extra mass will help in reducing the sound through the window.
Mostly acoustic soundproof panels are good at blocking high frequency noise like that of loud conversation, television, and other airborne noise.
They are not very effective with impact sounds or structural noises.
These acoustic panels are not however visually appealing and if you are really concern about the appearance of the window in the room, you can first stick the acoustic panels over the window and put a beautiful soundproof curtain of your choice over it.
This way, unless someone outside the room is looking through your window, they might notice it. If you live in an apartment whereby the rules state that the appearance of the windows facing outside should be one color. You might have to look for a way to mask its appearance from outside which is possible.
6. Make a Simple Window Plug
soundproof window plugs are a great way to soundproof existing windows. They are fairly easy to make, they are cheap and they do the work of blocking out noise exceptionally well.
You simply plug them in the window when you need some quietness and remove it when you want to.
Window plugs are often made of materials such as foam, sponge or other porous materials. Their purpose is to absorb, stop and reflect sounds.
If you want your window plug to reduce a lot of noise, when making it, you need to add soundproof materials to add more mass and make it more soundproof.
The good thing about these plugs is that they are less expensive, they provide thermal insulation and also block out light from entering the room through the window.
The only downsides are they are don’t have any style and using them during the day time, they block out light from entering the room, which to some people might be viewed as negative. But will be a good thing for day sleepers.
How to make a soundproof window plug
The items you will need to build your own soundproof window plug include; soundproof mat, acoustic foam, a wooden board and pull handle.
Measure the area of your window. This includes the height and width and depth of your window opening. This is essential to determine the thickness of the plug.
Next will be to now build your window plug out. I will not go into more detail on that here. I will do that in another post that will be more detailed on how to make a window plug.
7. Get Soundproofing Window Kits for the Windows
Soundproofing window kits are some of the DIY projects that you need to work care because it’s not that simple.
This is often done by attaching a piece o acrylic or glass ver the inside the window. When done right, it’s probably of the best soundproof window projects that you will ever do.
However, for it to be very effective, the glass you use is important. Laminated glass or acoustic grade glass is best than regular glass. Because those glasses are made with soundproofing in mind.
The window kit should be able to hug the window tightly as much as possible to prevent gaps that will leak sound. To accomplish this, you need to install a metallic frame on the window and use magnetics to hold the glass in place.
If making one is much of a hassle for you, then you can get this soundproof window kit. This kit does not include the glass and screwdriver. You need to get those separately. Otherwise, the other materials are included.
8. Install Window Soundproofing Film
Window soundproofing film comes in different colors and thicknesses. Unlike the soundproof other soundproofing windows ideas I already shared, soundproofing window films are an alternative way to cover your window glass.
whether you are looking to maintain a transparent window or not a soundproof window film may be perfect for you.
You can choose a color that is transparent to maintain your original window look or select a colorful one to change the way the window look, Either way, you will be adding additional layer of cover to the glass.
Most of these window films are just stickers made with different materials. The way you add it to the window is, just peel and stick to the window glass pane. Use a knife to cut off any excess edges and if you find that the one you order is too large, just measure the window pan and cut accordingly and stick it.
We use this Frosted 3D window film for the bedroom and the bathrooms. It blocks lights and gives some level of privacy.
Acoustic window film is a great way to cover cracks in the window glass and reduce some decent amount of noise. You should, however, note that these window films will not completely eliminate loud noise but will reduce it a bit.
Window films are more effective when you use them in conjunction with other window soundproofing materials like curtains, blankets, acoustic calk, weatherstripping tape, and the likes. This way, they will work together to significantly reduce the noise.
9. Get Soundproof Window Inserts
If you like DIY projects like me, then you will like to create soundproof window Inserts for your windows. Essentially, these window inserts are sliding panes that go over the interior of the window.
When made correctly, you can get rid of a lot of loud noise that passes the window. If you would like to make one for your window. Here are some steps to guide you.
Before anything, you will need these materials for making your DIY soundproof window inserts. These are; a wooden board, soundproof mat, shell handles, soundproof foam/ acoustic sponge and weatherstripping tape.
Now that you have gathered the materials needed, you can then follow these steps to create a soundproof window insert.
Measure the wooden board and ensure that you cut it to the size of your window. You will want to ensure that its the right fit and leaves no gaps in between.
Cut the soundproofing mat to the size of the wooden frame you just made. Now its to stick it to the wooden frame. Using glue or bond, stick the mat to the inside of the wooden frame.
Measure the acoustic sponge just like the mat and stick it to the mat with the glue or bond.
You can now attach the shell handles to the exterior of the DIY soundproof window insert you just created. The shell handles will help in inserting and pulling the window plug easily out.
To take care of any gaps should your window insert not fit snugly, use the weatherstripping tape to seal the gaps.
Now you have a complete window soundproof insert ready to block out some noise in your room.
10. Block Window Entirely
A lot of DIY windows soundproofing products offer this. However, if you still want some light inside the room, then you can use a different approach.
You can cover room windows that you will you don’t need lights inside and it is well ventilated without windows. Otherwise, you will be suffocating inside it without air.
Before you consider this option, you should try the above-suggested soundproofing window ideas. But if after trying them, you still feel the need to block entirely, then you should take the necessary steps to block it completely.
You can remove the existing window and or leave it on and install drywall or sheetrock over the window opening.
You can also use some cheap soundproof panels and cover it completely. This way, no sound or light will come in through that window again.
11. Change Windows to Double Pan or Triple Pan Windows
Double pan or triple pan windows don’t come cheap. You should try this if you are willing to spend some fair amount of money. The investment will be well worth the money though.
Apart from blocking out the windows, it is another guaranteed way of keeping all the noise in or out.
Double pane windows reduce the amount of noise significantly (by up to 60 %). Other than sound dampening, double pane windows reduce heat transmission.
The higher the STC of the window, the better the soundproofing.
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.
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.
If you opt for this, I will recommend you get a professional to help you in installing them. Because if not done well, you will be defeating their purpose which is to reduce the noise entering through them into the room.
The other way is, instead of getting already made double pan windows, you can get them custom made by a soundproofing company. This way, they will be made tailored specifically towards the needs of your home rooms windows and the level of noise your home is exposed to.
12. Rearrange the Furniture in the Rooms
Sound travels in a straight line until it hits an object or obstacle, then it either passes through it or it bounces back. That is why sound materials are able to absorb sounds while others reflect or block it from passing.
The level of sound that is either blocked or absorbed depends on the intensity of the sound energy as it reaches the material and the soundproofing capability of the material the sound is trying to pass through.
As the sound hits the object, it looses some of its energy and bounces around.
So in order to absorb more sound energy using room materials, you need to place them at vantage points so that when the sound energy is bouncing around in the room, it can get absorbed by home objects.
furniture, bookshelves, cupboards, and sofas can help in this regard. You can block some level of sound by place bookshelves and cupboards in front of the window. This way when sound passes through the window inside, it hits the shelves first some will be reflected and others absorb.
The level of sound energy will reduce as well. but don’t place the shelves directly touching the window as it will bring about complete darkness.
You can use old blankets, cut them and sew and hang on the windows if you don’t have money to buy soundproof blankets.
In any case, household items can be used to reduce the amount echoes in a room but not completely block it out. install a thick carpet on the floor is a very good idea too.
Why Should You Soundproof Your Windows?
Windows and doors are the biggest openings in any room. Windows are also the thinnest part of any room and as such, there are prone to outside noise than anywhere else in the room.
So, if you are fighting a noise battle in your home, you should definitely look at the windows and soundproof them.
Because you may not know, but a lot of sounds pass through them.
All sorts of sounds are made outside your room and when you hear them in the room, they are distracting and irritating sometimes. Sounds such as cars on the highway, people yelling, dog barking and many forms of sounds.
To reduce these noise levels, one of the best places to start soundproofing is the windows because they are the thinnest and likely letting in a lot of unwanted sounds. As you can see above, I have mentioned a lot of ways to soundproof a window. The best part of it is that you can do it yourself.
How Much Do Soundproof Windows cost?
Soundproof windows are by far the best way to eliminate any form of sound from entering a room. But you must know that the sound of silence doesn’t come cheap.
From what I have gathered, a CitiQuiet insert for a 3-foot-by-5-foot window doesn’t start with anything less than $1000. This includes installation and depending on the features you want, the price will vary.
It is even more expensive if you need a custom made soundproofing windows. A custom made soundproofing window costs close $10,000 per window and this does not include installation.
Rui Ponte, a Bethesda, Md., architect who designs high-end restorations and new construction, once specified $250,000 worth of triple-pane, laminated-glass windows for a 6,000-square-foot custom home in an airport flight path.
It said that more is even charged if you want to block out super loud occasional thunder or ambulance sirens.
The additional soundproofing to cover siren or thunder could cost you a whopping extra $25,000 according to Storyk. Is it really worth it?.
Well, I will leave you to decide on that. I don’t know your budget or pock size towards this project. So it will be your decision to make if you will want to replace your existing windows with soundproof windows.
Are Soundproof Windows Also Energy-Efficient?
Not really. Energy-efficient windows are designed differently to soundproof windows.
Soundproof windows primarily use thicker and laminated glass and large air gaps between panes to deaden sound while on the other hand, energy-efficient windows primarily depend upon low-E-coatings and gas between thermal panes to reduce heat transfer and increase energy efficiency.
According to Scott Warner, “There are different kinds of physics going on”
You can make your soundproof windows more energy efficient by adding low-E-coatings. But on the other hand, you can’t easily make an energy-efficient window soundproof without changing its glass and construction.
Final Words on Soundproofing Windows
When it comes to how to soundproof windows, it will boil down to your preferences and budget. This is because there are many ways you can reduce noise through a window.
In these soundproofing ideas discussed above, you will find what will work best for your needs. I personally have used a couple of these techniques in our home to reduce the noise coming in through the windows. If you recall from the beginning, I mentioned how much noise our home was exposed to.
It is worth mentioning that, some of these methods are not going to be very efficient on their own. So you will need to combine different techniques to achieve better soundproofing results. The more methods you are able to combine the better.
You will have to look into soundproof other areas of the room too such as the doors, walls, and floor. But for now, let us tackle the weakest point of entry first. Which is the window.
I took my noise exposure into my hands by doing something about it and I am happy you are doing the same too. Noise pollution affects millions of people worldwide. People develop health issues because of noise pollution around them.
Luckily for us, there are many ways we can soundproof rooms cheaply these days without employing the services of professionals.
The methods help me and my family out in the midst of the noise and I hope they help you too.