A Quick Guide to Sound Proofing Windows
Nuisance noise can become a real frustration for people in all walks of life. Whether it’s at home or in the workplace, it causes a range of problems. Fortunately, you don’t have to put up with it.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at noise pollution, why windows are crucial to stopping it and the best course of action for your property’s windows.
Problems with noise pollution
While it may seem trivial to those who haven’t experienced it, noise pollution can be a serious problem with real consequences. At the very least, it can act as a disturbance at home, making it difficult to concentrate whether you’re watching TV, reading a book or just talking to friends.
This can become even more problematic away from home, impacting the quiet environment of classrooms, medical rooms and boardrooms. That also applies to those who work from home, which accounts for more than 1 in 10 UK workers.
Beyond a simple frustration, nuisance noise can cause stress and anger, which in turn leads to a range of health problems, including headaches, anxiety, skin problems, high blood pressure and even heart attack and stroke.
Depending on the type and source of noise, that may even be paired with a lack of sleep, which comes with its own set of problems for mental and physical wellbeing. That often leads to poor performance at work, or even a loss of a job, simply because of a noisy home.
Worst of all, noticeable noise pollution can even make it difficult to sell your property in search of a quieter life. So, where is it coming from?
Causes of noise pollution
Here are some of the most common sources of nuisance noise at home or in the workplace:
- Road traffic
- Passers by
- Bars, pubs and clubs
- Pets or other animals
- General noise from busy city centres
Why windows matter
There’s more to the cause of noise pollution than the source of the noise alone. It’s worth considering why exactly your home is letting that noise in. Letter boxes, keyholes and cat flaps are all common weak spots which should be investigated. But in many cases, it’s down to your windows.
Windows are one of the weakest points in a property when it comes to sound intrusion. They’re large, thin and taut pieces of material, readily influences by sound wave energy. Without the right protection, they essentially behave like a speaker to transmit noise.
Unfortunately, that’s not just the case for old, single-glazed windows. Double or triple glazing struggles to offer a notable reduction as the vibration of the glass compresses the internal air or gas in the sealed unit. Along with the close proximity of glass layers in double or triple glazing, that allows the sound wave energy to continue without much interference.
The solution is secondary glazing
If you really want to reduce the amount of noise getting through your windows, secondary glazing is proven to be the most effective solution. Why? The gap between the existing window and secondary glazing panel is significantly bigger than the gap you get in between double or triple glazed window panes.
That larger gap creates a more significant barrier for sound waves to pass through, meaning they’re much weaker by the time they get to the other side. So much so, in fact, that it can be as much as five times more effective than double glazing. With the right design and installation, it’s possible to reduce noise by as much as 80%.
How to get the best performance
To get the best performance out of secondary glazing, many would assume glass is the most important factor. However, while glass can make a difference, the most important factor by far is the air gap between the existing primary glass and the new secondary glass.
Put simply, the larger the gap, the better. It’s recommended to have a gap of at least 100-150mm, or even 200mm if you have the space available. Any reduction on the size of the gap in an available space will simply compromise performance and allow that bit more sound in through the windows.
Of course, not all windows have 200mm of space available for an internal panel. If that’s the case, we would advise to use whatever space is available and consider the use of acoustic glass to compensate.
Acoustic glass: what you need to know
Given the name, it’s understandable that people automatically think acoustic glass is a sure-fire way to stop sound coming through your windows. While it has its merits, it’s not a miracle solution.
Acoustic glass is designed to absorb and dissipate sound more effectively than standard glass options. However, the difference in performance is relatively small, meaning it’s best suited as part of a ‘belt and braces’ approach paired with secondary glazing, for instance.
If you’re happy to spend extra to put the icing on the cake, acoustic glass can give you a little more consistency in the variety of noise entering the property.
That said, acoustic glass is quite expensive compared to other options, and it’s not essential to achieve great results. So, don’t be put off secondary glazing by that alone.
What’s the best glass to use?
When choosing the right glass for sound reduction, the key question is always:
- How severe is your noise problem and how is it affecting you?
If it’s a mild irritation, such as noisy neighbours chatting into the night, then the focus can be on the air gap. However, if the problem is more troubling and sensitivity to noise has become a health issue, then a combination of an air gap with enhanced glass is advisable.
A combination of the two can then be found to suit even the most affordable budget. We would recommend 6mm glass as a safe starting point for most requirements.
Let’s find a solution for you
Whether it’s a constant disturbance in the workplace or something that’s keeping you up at night, nobody should have to put up with nuisance noise. At Clearview Secondary Glazing, we have helped countless property owners reduce the noise pollution in their workplace or home – and we’re ready to help you.
By putting the air gap at the centre of our approach, and complementing with acoustic glass where preferred or required, we can significantly reduce the noise levels in your property. Call us today on 0114 294 5018 to discuss your requirements.
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