Most people are aware of the fact that windows, or any other area with glass instead of a traditional wall, is very vulnerable when it comes to soundproofing. This is a problem that many people have been trying to figure out in one way or another, but what about actually changing the type of glass used?
Soundproof glass is becoming more and more popular, and people are having quite a bit of success using it at home, in business buildings, and so much more. It works in a lot of the same ways as other glass out there, and certain options are relatively affordable.
How does soundproof glass work? Does it actually work? Are there other ways to treat these glass areas as well if soundproof glass is too expensive? All these questions are answered below, and the goal is to help people make smarter decisions on keeping a particular area as quiet as possible inside and out.
The Science Behind Soundproof Glass
With any company that produces soundproof glass, they are looking to create a barrier that is nearly impossible to penetrate. It can absorb sound a little bit better because there is added mass, added air space, and a different type of glass than most people are not used to.
A traditional glass window is not the best with soundproofing, and that is because most people are relatively satisfied with how everything works.
Soundproof glass is going to be thicker, sometimes without even having to touch the original glass in the first place. Just by adding some mass, the windows instantly become more soundproof.
Having a little bit of air space between window panes is also essential for soundproof glass. There needs to be some space for the sound to dissipate, which is why most companies that install soundproof glass will heavily recommend going with double-pane options.
Standard glass is going to vibrate as soon as it receives any type of sound wave, and that starts a ripple effect that leads to noise issues.
In order for soundproof glass to be more effective, manufacturers have pretty much perfected how to kill as much sound as possible.
Adding mass is obviously a big part of it, as thicker material allows fewer sounds to pass. Every type of glass has what is called a coincidence frequency, which is when glass actually amplifies sound instead of killing them. That is right, there are some glass options out there that do more harm than good with soundproofing.
This is where multiple layers of soundproof glass come in handy. Having two different types of thickness will cut down on the chance of coincidence frequency, and provide a much better set up for decoupling.
Add this advanced level of multiple layers to the fact that companies use composites on the glass to kill vibration, and people are going to notice a big difference.
Companies continue to make a good amount of tweaks here and there so that everything stays as sharp as possible. Soundproof glass is better now than it was five years ago, and there will probably be considerable improvements in the coming years as well.
Does soundproof glass work And How much of a difference does it make?
On average, a person will hear a difference of about 5% to 15% when upgrading to soundproof glass. This is good news for people who might be in particularly noisy areas, as that extra bit of help makes a huge difference.
That percentage might not seem like much, but it is going to make a pretty big difference for those who suffer with noise every single day.
There is usually a sound or two that really sticks out in particular for people who are ultimately looking for soundproof glass. As long as it is capable of helping eliminate that sound, they are fine with paying the price.
Is Soundproof Glass Capable of Handling All Sounds?
Even though soundproof glass is billed as eliminating all sounds, the truth is that some sounds will still be audible. It is generally accepted that good soundproof glass is going to block about 90 to 95% of sounds. Only extreme frequencies are going to find a way through, but that is still extremely impressive for many people.
Some commercial level materials get closer to 100%, but they are still going to let some sounds come through. Most people who are looking for something to help with their home will settle for soundproofing that falls in about 90%.
The hardest frequencies to block are low range. That is good news for people who are having a lot of trouble with controlling human voices or animal sounds, because that is mostly going to be blocked.
Examples of low-frequency sounds that might be a little problematic include a bass drum played inside, or thunder coming from the outside. Sound will be reduced, but still audible.
How Much Does Soundproof Glass Cost?
As great as soundproof glass sounds, there is a reason why it does not come standard with a lot of different homes and buildings.
It is pretty costly for the most part, and only people who really need this level of soundproofing will feel like it is a worthy investment.
The material is what makes installing soundproof glass so expensive, as the installation process does not take too much extra effort.
It is just a properly formulated piece of glass that does its job extremely well, and it takes a long time to create each piece perfectly.
Where Can You Buy Soundproof Windows
While every soundproof window option is pretty expensive, it is important to make the right decision before putting a lot of money towards a project.
Shopping and looking for the right details will make a person feel that much more comfortable. Here are some of the things to look into while you’re shopping for soundproof glass.
Sound Transmission Class Rating (STC)
Used for all types of soundproofing material, the STC rating is a number that qualifies how useful material is when controlling sound.
Most companies are going to proudly display their number, because they want to differentiate themselves from the competition. If a company does not show it prominently, that means they might not be rated very highly.
Soundproof glass has a wide range of ratings, and it largely dictates the overall price. For example, glass that is in the mid to high 20s will be considerably more affordable than glass in the mid to high 30s. It is all a matter of understanding what sounds need to be eliminated based off of what people hear daily already.
Total Number of Panes
One of the basic concepts of soundproofing is having a space between two layers of material to help dissipate sound as much as possible. As great as two layers might sound, what about even more?
While it sounds great in theory, it becomes more and more expensive with additional panes added. There becomes a point where the cost is more than the actual benefits, which is why most will only go with three panes at most.
For soundproofing only, two panes of glass should be sufficient. They will have different thicknesses, and a laminate will work particularly well.
Another great option to look for is a low-E coating. Having the finishing touch on a soundproof glass might not seem like a major deal, but it worth it in the end.
It is touched on a little bit more in this article, but the cost of soundproof glass is a huge focus when deciding on the right option.
People need to stay under budget to feel like they can soundproof as many glass areas as possible, and that sometimes becomes difficult if the goal is to achieve 95% or more with coverage.
It is important to shop around a good amount, because soundproof glass is becoming more and more popular. With more popularity means more competition.
That translates into lower prices, and it is creeping towards the point where more people are finding it worthy of an investment.
Think about just how much of an impact sound makes, and what the absolute maximum budget is. There are ways to lower the price a little bit, either by hiring an affordable professional to handle the installation, or taking care of everything with a do-it-yourself approach.
People who do install soundproof glass on their own run the risk of not having everything properly sealed. This means their significant investment might not be as effective as it should.
Are there any bonus advantages to Soundproofing Glass?
With the amount of money spent on this glass, people will be looking for ultimate soundproofing first and foremost. That does not mean that other advantages are not useful.
Opting for a low-E coating with soundproof glass is going to help keep temperatures as stable as possible indoors. This means that a person would likely see their energy bill drop a bit, as there will be less random temperatures penetrating through the glass.
A lot of glass also offers an anti-radiation coating that helps with sun protection. Not that many people are aware of just how much damage the sun can do even to stuff inside of a home, but it is necessary to take certain precautions so that there is reduced exposure. Anything from the walls to furniture can fade if it is getting direct sunlight, but anti-radiation coating can help.
Alternative Options For Controlling Sound From Windows?
If the sticker price for soundproof glass is too much to handle, there are some alternative options out there that help people improve their overall situation.
It is not going to provide the same amount of soundproof capability as glass, but it will make some noticeable improvements.
Basic Touchups And Crack Filling
Windows that have been in use for a while might have some vulnerable areas that people are not all that familiar with until they check.
Going through a basic check to see if there are any touchups needed makes a lot of sense before investing in other soundproofing methods.
Maybe the glass is separated a bit, creating a gap that is allowing sound to travel through. There might even be a small crack that is keeping everything a bit more vulnerable.
Whatever the case is, get the current set up as good as new before judging whether or not it needs further assistance.
Not everyone wants to have curtains pulled to provide soundproofing assistance, but soundproof curtains are a very affordable way to treat a certain area.
They are made of a thick type of fabric that can kill sound pretty easily, and also absorb sounds from inside.
A more advanced soundproofing method is to use a window plug to control sounds as much as possible. These are customized to fit right inside a window so that they seal everything off and provide a good amount of soundproofing.
The same drawback to soundproof curtains also apply to window plugs. It is hard to enjoy the view with everything covered up, but it provides some a temporary solution for people who are worried more about soundproofing rather than what the outside looks like.
Double or Triple-Pane Regular Windows
While soundproof glass is the best method out there right now as far as controlling sound is concerned, double-pane windows help out to a certain degree as well.
They are better than single-pane for obvious reasons, but no one should consider them as equal to actual soundproof glass. At the end of the day, these are still regular windows that do not have the same soundproof qualities as a more specific type of glass.
Be aware that some companies will try to claim that adding extra panes makes things soundproof. However, that is not always the case.
The material matters quite a bit, and if the price seems too good to be true, they are likely just adding layers to the mix, not actual soundproof glass. Even a triple-pane option of regular glass will not match up to a two-pane option of soundproof glass.
Is Soundproof Glass Worth The Investment?
There is no doubt that soundproof glass is a very impressive type of material that just about anyone could benefit from in some capacity. However, it is a little too expensive for the majority
of people to justify the cost. People can spend thousands and thousands of extra dollars on soundproof glass, only to see a small benefit in a particular situation.
Soundproof glass also only works if a person is willing to invest in other soundproofing material as well for the entire enclosed area. Just because a window is particularly well taken care of does not mean that other areas are not vulnerable.
For a particular room, soundproof glass might make sense. It is going to provide the best overall value, and it is going to last a long time as well. Think of it as a long-term investment if professional recording or complete silence is taking place in an area.