When a person is living in a rental, they do not have the same type of flexibility as some other living situations. It can be very challenging to make improvements that will impact sound, because some rental spots will have more restrictions than others.
The first step is to understand what can and can’t happen in a rental. If there is nothing specific in the lease, contact the landlord to explain the situation. Often times, they will be a little understanding with specific noises causing a problem. They might even ease up a bit on limitations if a person approaches it the right way.
Still, it is important to keep in mind some critical tactics that can be used as pretty easy, affordable soundproofing methods for a window. Starting with the right approach is always key in the beginning, and then making the right move after that.
1. How to Soundproof a Window in an Apartment
Before jumping into any soundproofing method, it is important to understand where the source of the noise. If someone can’t determine where the noise is coming from, it is going to be very hard to find a solution the first time. It might end up costing quite a bit of money trying different things, only to find that a pretty simple solution worked in the end.
One way to tell if there is a particularly weak area around a window is to feel around. If a certain part of the window feels different, it could be the source of a problem. In some cases, there might even be air passing through just slightly, which is a major cause for concern in regards to sound, inside temperature, and more.
Once the source of the sound is identified, there are a few inexpensive soundproofing options out there for people to try out. They all take time to set up properly, but they are relatively inexpensive.
2. Acoustic, Heavy Curtains
Just about every window in a home is going to have curtains up already to complete a look. This makes it a very easy solution to replace those curtains with something a bit heavier and explicitly designed to help with noise control. These curtains (source) are fairly inexpensive, and shopping online will show that there are a lot of different color choices as well.
Worst case scenario, someone who is renting will need to put the old curtains up before leaving the home. That is suggested in the first place, simply because no one wants to donate their curtains to the next person moving into a rental. They can be used in the next home if there are window issues there.
Not only do they control sound, but it also helps quite a bit with light control. It is very overwhelming for some people to have to deal with heavy lighting issues inside certain rooms. If someone is trying to sleep when it is still daylight out, these curtains come in handy. Cutting down on light and sound makes for a very peaceful experience inside.
3. Window Seals
Curtains are a great place to start at first, but if that does not work as well as one would like, the next step is to check out some acoustic window seal options. By using a seal, it adds an additional pane of glass to help create dead space. This limits sound transmission from noises coming from outdoors.
Seals are pretty easy to install, but they do need screws to work properly in most cases. This is where it make it a little tricky for someone who is renting. Make sure to ask the landlord, or to look through the lease agreement before starting. The last thing a person wants to do is face a hefty fine because they did something they were not supposed to.
The good news is, if it is an actual problem, a landlord will look at this as a cheaper solution than having to fix it themselves. Maybe they will be just fine with the solution, and taking it off before moving is still possible.
Make sure to fill all the holes after everything is uninstalled. That is usually sufficient enough when people are moving out to satisfy the landlord. (source)
4. Clear Sound Barrier
A person can create a custom size window panel with a clear sound barrier. These barriers usually come up to 4 feet wide, and connect using Velcro to the frame of the window. Since they use Velcro instead of something more permanent, it is pretty easy to take on and off if a person is in a rental home. The only drawback is, it is not exactly feasible for all window styles.
Light passes through pretty well, but some people do not exactly like the look of these barriers. It changes up the look of a window a bit, but most people are willing to adjust. These can work well with acoustic curtains, or just as a standalone option.
Ask the Landlord for a Permanent Solution
In certain situations, the sound on a daily basis might be unbearable. In order for a real solution to occur, the only option is to go with soundproof windows. This will take a decent amount of convincing to a landlord, but it is possible if a person shows why they are putting in this type of request.
Soundproof windows work very well, as they have multiple layers of glass that have a little bit of air gap in between each one. They are expensive, which is why a lot of landlords will not initially install them. In urban environments, they make a lot of sense, because it can be a challenge for people to have peace and quiet indoors.
It does not make much sense for someone renting to invest in these windows, unless they have no other choice. Not only are they expensive, but they need cut just the right way to fit the specific windows. That makes it impossible to take the windows to the next location when a person moves out.
If a landlord does decide to make the change, it might prevent needing any other solution out there. Most consider it a last-ditch effort though, because landlords are not going to commit to something like this based off a suggestion.
Is There Such a Thing as a Temporary Soundproofing Fix?
All the tips listed above are considered somewhat temporary, but that is about as close as a person can get for something quick and easy to install.
The truth of the matter is, a soundproofing fix requires adding materials and structures that are pretty big and heavy. To do that with a window, there needs to be some modification to the surrounding area. Anything too temporary is just not going to work, and it ultimately ends up being a waste of time.
As mentioned before, the more open dialogue a person has with the landlord, the better. At the end of the day, they want a home that is very beneficial for not only the current resident, but future people down the road. If they feel like investing now to improve the windows is the way to go, they might just do it in the end.
Learning How to Soundproof a Window in an Apartment.
Windows differ from every other part of the wall, and just a little bit of space can create a leak for sound to get through. They are essential to light up a room naturally, but they aren’t that great when it comes to controlling noise.
The best thing to do in any location is to look and feel around the entire window area to see where the troubled areas are. Some windows do not need that much assistance, while others are struggling in the sound department.
There are options out there for people to count on, but keep in mind that there are limitations put on people in rentals. Do not be afraid to ask for a bit of lenience if the noise issue is bad.