Nobody likes having to deal with noise, but for some it can seem unavoidable. If you live in an urban centre then it can be impossible to get away from the sound of buses, traffic, trains and alarms; and if you live next to a train station or airport it can be even worse! Everybody deserves to be able to enjoy peace and quiet in the comfort of their own home, but how can we ensure this?
A popular solution is to install ‘soundproof’ or ‘noise cancelling’ windows. This can certainly have a positive impact, provided that the glass replacement work is completed by a professional local glazier or window specialist. Not only will a Pro be able to fit and seal your new windows correctly (a poor fitting can completely compromise the effect of soundproof glass), they will also be able to advise you on the best glass to suit your purpose.
An important thing to tell you now is that the term ‘soundproof’ is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to windows. No window will be completely soundproof, no matter how thick it is or what the retailer tells you.
To give you a better idea of what we mean, let’s talk about the ‘Sound Transmission Class (STC)’ rating system. This will show how effective a window is at keeping out noise. A typical single pane window would have a rating between 26 and 28, while a double pane model would be rated somewhere between 26 and 32 (as you can see, there is not much difference).
A more accurate term is ‘noise cancelling’ windows. These models rely on more than just added thickness to keep sound out. For example, some will contain more space between the different window panes or even fill this gap with a heavy gas such as argon. Others utilise ‘laminated layers’ such as polyvinyl butyral (PVB), which can be applied to a window without affecting the clarity of the glass.
One of these windows will usually have an STC rating between 48 and 54. As a rule, a window will usually need to be rated between 48 and 54 to have any real impact.
Before buying your windows, be sure to ask about whether the whole window will provide protection. Some homeowners have fallen into the trap of fitting noise-cancelling glass only to realise that the rest of the frame ruins the effect.
Keep in mind that noise-cancelling windows alone are unlikely to completely fix your problem. Take your time and look for alternative ways to soundproof a room before deciding on your purchase.
As we mentioned previously, installing soundproof or noise-cancelling windows on your property may not fix your problem entirely, so it will be important to keep your options open. If you do decide to go ahead with the installation, ensure that it is done by a local glazier or window specialist who will be able to properly fit the new windows/ panes. When it comes to window installation, the fitting can be just as important as choosing the right product.
The cost of installing soundproof or noise-cancelling windows can vary between £300 and £1,200 per-window, so it will be important to collect as many quotes as possible. You are advised to book a site visit, as this will allow your Pro to observe the style, size and number of windows you want to replace, allowing them to offer you a more accurate quote.