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Soundproof Window Glass
One of the most important aspects of soundproof windows is the soundproof window glass that you use. For the most part, soundproof window glass will be double paned, which allows the two panes to work together in order to kill or deaden much of the noise that tries to enter the home from the outside. Laminated glass is also a very effective way to create both an impact resistant window and one that effectively deadens exterior noise.
Double Pane Glass
Double pane glass is effective at soundproofing windows when the thickness of the panes are varied. For instance, the outer pane might be a three-quarter inch while the inner pain will be a half inch in thickness. The difference in thickness is effective at deadening more sound waves as they enter through the window surface. In addition, The space between the two panes is the principal way in which noise is deadened. So, for instance, having a gap that is 2 inches to 3 inches is much more effective at deadening noise than an air gap of 1 inch to 2 inch.
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Some window manufacturers use a laminated glass to deaden noise. Laminated glass is actually too thin panes of glass that has an interlayer in between them that binds the two panes together and makes for a very sturdy solution that is perfect for hurricane windows. The other affect is good noise control because sound waves have to travel through not only the two panes of glass but the interlayer, which kills sound waves pretty effectively.
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Single Pane Windows
Single pane windows can be used with the existing window in order to create a large airspace between the single pane window and the existing one. The larger the gap, the more effective the window is at noise attenuation.
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Triple Pane Windows
Some consumers will opt for a triple pane window, which creates two air gaps, one between the outer pain in the middle pain and between the middle pain and the Interpane in which to deaden noise. However, unless the window is really thick in with oftentimes triple pane windows simply have a smaller gap between the panes, which doesn't make them more effective necessarily at noise attenuation.
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Replacement Windows For Sound Abatement
Good afternoon, Dane, I've really appreciated reading your site, though I haven't seen much discussion on sound abatement. I'm hoping you may provide some answers here.
We live in a 1940s one-story house in Knoxville, TN, with what we can only assume are original single-pane wood windows. Most of the windows are non-functional, i.e. hard to open, won't stay shut, cracked. We do have storm windows in place, but those also appear to be quite old.
We live off a moderately busy street. The noise has not bothered me in the 2.5 years we've lived here until very recently. Now, rumbling street noise is all I can hear. I'm hoping new windows might provide at least a little more sound abatement over what we have now, plus we should certainly (I hope) see some energy savings.
We have received three quotes to replace 22 windows in our home?
Champion Comfort 365: quoted $18,900 18 windows, combining two three-window sections into sliders; installation in ~6 weeks
Marvin Infinity: Local window installer, quoted $18,400 for 21 windows (we realized after he left that he left out a window); installation in 4 months
Provia Endure: same local installer as Marvin; quoted about $13,000 for 21 windows; installation in 4 months
I've looked into some of the brands you mention as your favorites (Okna, Soft-Lite, Sunrise, Kensington) and so far I'm only finding an Okna provider locally. The only window they mention specifically is the Okna Eco Pro. I've also contacted another "platinum" Provia provider locally to get price comparison as well as installation time.
Are any of these windows particularly good at blocking sound? If not, is there another company I should be looking into?
Are there specific upgrades I should ask about in regards to sound abatement?
Is it worth waiting 4+ months for Provia vs. Champion, assuming we could get Champion pricing down a bit? I'd love to get this done before winter
Would you recommend we look into the Okna provider although they only seem to offer the Okna Eco Pro (others on your site seem to be better regarded)?
I appreciate any help you can provide.
Melanie - Homeowner - from 2020
[Site Editor's Answer]
Hi Melanie, so the ProVia Endure quote is the one I would focus on, unless fiberglass is something you feel strongly about. Fiberglass is, on average, 30% more than vinyl. I don't feel like the 30% extra cost is really worth it, especially if you are going with a top tier vinyl window.
The Endure is a very good window, a top tier vinyl window, and that price quote is quite solid.
In terms of noise abatement, new high quality vinyl windows will go a long ways to blocking outside noise. One way to further augment this is with an offset glazing option. I would go back to the ProVia rep and ask him if you can increase that STC by offsetting the glass panes so they have different thickness. This reduces more sound frequencies than a double pane window. Some companies have NRG or noise reduction glass. Ask if they do as well.
I would wait for the lead time to save two thousand dollars myself, but that is a long time to wait.
The Okna Eco Pro is an excellent window, probably a bit better than the Endure. I'd get a bid from them and just see how they compare. What do you have to lose?
Tim - Site Editor - from 2020
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