I have a home recording studio at home, and I need things to do that do not get sound from outside.
I also have a very light sleep, so just the slightest noise to wake me up. I love working at night and going to sleep very late, which means I still sleep in the morning. The chaos from the street did not allow me to sleep. That is why I had to soundproof the windows of the house that look on the outside.
I want to share with you in this post the attempts I have made over the years and what worked and what didn't.
In general, it is good to remember that thick material is needed and often to block the sounds that pass through a window. It is good to have many soft and dense materials in the rooms to reduce the echo and perceive the much quieter and quieter places.
Do you know those annoying reflexes that you have if you talk in an uninhabited house?
Here, they happen because the sound bounces like in a pinball machine gone crazy from the walls to the ceiling to the floor and vice versa, for our ears it is very stressful to be in acoustically very reflective environments. Very reflective environments seem "unnatural" to us. This happens because in empty houses there are no furniture, sofas, bookcases, carpets, on which the sound can stop and absorb.
How to soundproof windows from external noise. Guide in 4 easy steps.
- First step: Understanding if you can lock the window (DRASTIC but effective method)
Undoubtedly the easiest way to soundproof a window is to completely block it, close it. The sound cannot be blocked if no DENSI materials are used. The more density there is between you and the outside of the window, the more insulation you will get. If the window is an essential part of the room due to light or aesthetic issues, the soundproofing process will be more difficult, but not impossible.
Obviously this method is the most extreme and it is only advised in the case in which the room in question should for example be used for the recording of musical instruments, and not inhabited, in fact it is not good use to close a window because in this way the passage is prevented air.
Many homeowners mistakenly buy pyramid-shaped sound-absorbing panels (those that are often seen in recording studios for instance) because they are cheap and give that feeling of professionalism.
There are people who love to place them just about anywhere around the room or to plug holes, without any criteria. The bad news is that the pyramidal panels are good for cutting off the reflections and echo of a room (the truth is that not even this task does it 100%) and not to prevent the outside sound from entering inside.
If the window in question does not serve you, it is good to block it completely, it is the simplest way to avoid that annoying noises enter. In this case I recommend insulating panels that can be purchased at any hardware store. Blocking the window may not be the most aesthetically pleasing solution, but remember that it can always be covered and hidden by curtains.
If serious insulation is needed, because the external noise is unsustainable, and you have some money to spend, then I recommend these acoustic insulation panels. I used them at the home of a friend who lives above a bar and needed to make one of the rooms in his house quieter to be able to practice with the piano (and not to annoy the neighbors during the day), we plugged the window directly with 3 of these panels (Amazon link). And the result was excellent.
- Second step: plug all the drafts and holes
It is very important to remember that WHEREVER YOU PASS THE AIR, PASS THE SOUND. So even if you have a bomb-proof triple-glazed window, if there are holes around the frame or even worse on the edges of the glass, the sound will continue to enter undisturbed, almost as if the window were not there.
It must be borne in mind that a window capable of thermally insulating well will also be able to isolate the sound coming from outside, but it is good to take a careful look and check that all the holes are closed.
These measures will be useful especially if your window is a bit old, in fact with old windows they tended to be poorly constructed by today's standards, and with a little silicone placed along the edges of the glass you can already begin to verify a great improvement, the glasses will stop vibrating and the strongest drafts will be blocked (and with them the sound that goes along with the air).
Window seals can be used, such as these (Amazon link).
And for the perimeter of the glass it is good to use special silicone for glass (Amazon link).
For the structural holes around the window instead, it is good to use some mastic like this. (Amazon link)
REPEAT: DON'T EVALUATE ANY HOLE, AS LITTLE. WHERE AN ALTERNATIVE WIRE ALSO PASSES ALSO THE SOUND.
Third step: replace the window directly
If you have the possibility, it is better to replace the window directly with a triple-glazed and wooden frame. This kind of windows are called soundproofing anti-noise. There are specialized technicians who fit this kind of windows, of various prices according to the needs. Substitution undoubtedly represents the most drastic but at the same time the most effective and aesthetically valid solution.
However, it will be necessary to remind those who install it to cover all the holes and holes around the window with silicone. Don't rely on people who improvise editors, but contact specialized technicians if you really want soundproofing that lasts forever.
- The fourth step is to buy sound-absorbing curtains
I have already written about the effectiveness of the sound-absorbing curtains on this site. (Amazon link) They do not serve to block the sound coming from the outside, but they can help to give the first filtering hand and then besides being excellent elegant furnishing elements, they are fundamental for the internal sound of the room.
What does it mean?
The sound as I said before loves to bounce and reflect from here and there in the room, and the glass of the windows is one of the most reflective materials that normally exists in our homes. When you have to think about the sound comfort of a room, the first thing to go and cover are glass and mirrors.
In this way the decibels "around" for the room will be the same, it is only that they will be stopped by curtains before going to reflect on the glass, making the room to our ears warmer, more welcoming and with less auditory stress. Or it will be easier to live in it, give it a try and let me know below in the comments if you notice the difference.
Try going to the bathroom and talk, then go into the living room or another room furnished with lots of soft and dense furniture and materials. Do you feel the difference?
Dover, would you rather stay around and chat amably for 3-4 hours with your friends?
The bathroom as well as being uncomfortable is also acoustically tiring, in fact it is not a room in the house designed to spend a lot of time (although many people like to think otherwise), listen to music and watch television.
The curtains will be thicker and heavier, the more insulating and absorbent the result will be, the ideal is to use more curtains one on the other to create more layers. It is good to allow the tent to make many folds and to remember not to buy curtains that "rightly" enter the perimeter of our window. Consider that the sound passes smoothly from the sides, so it is good to have curtains that are decidedly higher and wider than the window that they will occupy, and to foresee that there will have to be many folds to "make thickness".
I use these at home. (Amazon link)
I hope I have been useful to you and to have clarified all the doubts about the best way to soundproof the windows of your case, in case you want to deepen it, I suggest you take a look at the article on sound-absorbing curtains on this site.