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Outside noise can disrupt your home life, whether you’re trying to meet a work deadline or relax over the weekend. Traffic, loud neighbors, construction, and everyday city sounds can be daily interruptions. Luckily, you can soundproof your windows to help block out noise. Some of these soundproofing methods are easy DIY projects, while others require a bigger investment and professional installation.
Whether you want a quick fix you can do yourself or are ready for a full window replacement, we have several options for how to soundproof your windows to get some peace and quiet.
Why Soundproof Your Windows?
More people are working from home than ever before. No one wants to be in a virtual meeting with frequent background noise interrupting from outside. Maybe you have a new baby who you desperately want to sleep, or you work odd hours and want to get some rest yourself. In these cases, soundproofing your windows can restore tranquility in your home and keep the outside where it belongs.
How to Soundproof Windows
There are several ways to soundproof your windows, some more intensive than others. Here are our top recommendations to reduce noise and increase your home’s energy efficiency—without significantly disrupting your curb appeal.
The more barriers you can put between the interior of your home and the exterior, the more you can drown out outside sound. A simple solution is to install noise-reducing curtains, blinds, or shutters. This is a relatively cost-effective way to block out sound while refreshing your home’s aesthetic. Wooden shutters may suit your home. Since wood is porous, it’s great for absorbing sound. Otherwise, soundproof curtains and blinds can be a big help. Honeycomb cell shades are a well-suited blind for soundproofing.
Upsides and Downsides of Window Treatments
If you live in an older house, the character and charm may be a plus. However, the window frame cracks letting in air and noise aren’t ideal. Applying an acoustic sealant or caulking agent to cracks and crevices can make a small but noticeable difference. Acoustic caulks and sealants are more flexible and longer lasting. Use these products over conventional caulking. Otherwise, you could end up with sealant cracking once it hardens.
Upsides and Downsides of Acoustic Sealant
Installing window inserts is a more labor-intensive but effective means of soundproofing. Window inserts are glass panels that are installed a few inches in front of the interior face of your existing window. The added sound barrier can significantly reduce traffic noise and other outside disturbances if applied to all of your home’s windows. Window inserts are designed to reduce noise by at least 50%. Acoustic-grade window inserts are meant to dampen sound by as much as 70%. This likely isn’t a project you can do on your own, so it’s best to hire a professional installer.
Upsides and Downsides of Window Inserts
Storm windows come with multiple benefits. Not only do they minimize sound transmission, but they’re another great option for increasing energy efficiency. Plus, there’s the obvious benefit of extra security during intense storms. Don’t attempt this method on your own. Involve a professional window installation company for the best results.
Upsides and Downsides of Storm Windows
Double- or Triple-Pane Windows
Double- or triple-pane windows are your best option for major sound reduction. If your home is decades old, you likely have single-pane windows. Most homes built in the 2000s onward have double-pane windows. Triple-pane windows have more significant benefits. Some window experts differ on whether installing multipaned windows versus window inserts is the better option when comparing effectiveness. However, multipaned installation typically results in a tighter seal and more noise reduction.
Upsides and Downsides of Multipaned Windows
Professional vs. DIY Window Soundproofing
DIY methods such as hanging window treatments, sealing cracks, or applying temporary soundproofing materials to the inside of your windows are all relatively simple. You can install them to existing windows on your own without much risk of damage. Installing window inserts or replacing windows are far more complex projects that require professional installation to get the job done correctly. Plus, you’ll likely get a product or installation warranty, which is beneficial if you experience future window issues.
If outside noise is disrupting your home’s peace and quiet, any of these soundproofing methods should make an impact. For drastic noise reduction, enlist a professional window installation company to provide a more permanent and effective solution.
Windows that are more efficient in terms of energy and noise reduction may improve your home’s resale value. Homeowners may want to opt for the smarter investment instead of the quickest. If you decide to install new windows, see our guide on window replacement cost.
Window Soundproofing FAQ
How do I make my windows soundproof?
The most effective way to make your windows soundproof is to increase the layers of glass in your window. While there are simpler fixes, such as window treatments, you’re more likely to solve your noise problems with options such as window inserts, storm windows, and double-pane windows.
Can you soundproof an existing window?
You can soundproof an existing window with DIY and professional methods. DIY methods include using acoustic sealant or insulation tape to close air gaps that allow noise transmission. More effective methods require enlisting a professional to install additional panes of glass on your existing window.
Why can I hear everything through my windows?
If your window or window frame has air gaps, meaning cracks or holes that allow air and noise in, this is likely the culprit. There’s a good chance pre-2000s homes have single-pane windows that aren’t as sound-efficient. Homes built after the 2000s typically have double-pane windows that better block sound.
Do window inserts reduce noise?
High-quality window inserts are designed to reduce noise by at least 50%. Acoustic-grade window inserts are meant to dampen noise by as much as 70%.