Soundproof Curtains: Do they Work?

Last Updated on March 3, 2021 by Facundo

With so much false marketing going around about certain products being that much better than what they actually are, I thought it would be a good idea to address the question of whether or not soundproofing curtains really do work, since they seem to be marketed as a fantastic and cheap solution, and I think that we need to be as sceptic as possible about these claims.

So, let’s start this post by asking the question;

Do Soundproof Curtains Work?

Soundproofing curtains work by stopping sound from reflecting off the walls, effectively lowering the natural echo of the room.

They are not however, a good soundproofing method since they don’t block sound, but rather absorb a part of it, meaning that most outside noise will still be able to enter.

This means that they will help remove the reflection of the soundwaves on the hard surfaces inside the room but won’t provide as much isolation from outside world.

They still help with lowering outside noise, just not as much as we were led to believe.

This means that if you have a lot of exterior noise, using soundproofing curtains will help, but if you really want to reduce the exterior noise as much as possible, then you should consider installing soundproof windows.

What are Soundproof Curtains good for then?

Have you ever been in a huge and empty room? They have a lot of natural echo, and this is because there are no sound-absorbing materials anywhere to be found which allows the soundwaves to bounce off every surface, creating that echo, otherwise known as reverb.

Soundproofing curtains will help lower those reflections quite drastically, which in turn will make the room FEEL quieter, even though the outside noise will still be able to get in.

This is a good reason to get such curtains, even though there are many different ways of dealing with this issue, like getting a couch, a rug, filling a bookshelf with books, etc.

But if you are dealing with an echoey room, then it could be beneficial to purchase thick- soundproofing curtains to further alleviate this issue.

How much do Soundproofing Curtains Cost?

You can certainly find a pair of acoustic curtains for $15-$60, making them a pretty affordable solution to noise reduction.

Just remember that they aren’t as effective at soundproofing, even though they are called “soundproofing curtains”, as they are at treating the acoustics in the room (reducing acoustic reflections).

Should you invest in soundproofing curtains?

The answer to this question will totally depend on your needs, but in most cases I’d have to say no, let me explain;

While soundproofing curtains work pretty well at absorbing sound, or treating the acoustics, they don’t really block that much of it, even though they are marketed as such.

If you are already on the market looking for new curtains then it won’t hurt to get thicker ones to at least lower the outside noises a bit, but don’t think that they will work like magic.

So, don’t go changing your old curtains for soundproofing ones unless you were already thinking about changing them regardless.

Better Soundproofing Methods

There are definitely better- and even more affordable methods of soundproofing a room than installing acoustic curtains on the windows, and here are some of them:

Properly soundproof the windows

I wrote an entire guide on how to do this, which you can fin here, but there are a couple steps before installing curtains that work a lot better, and here they are;

  1. Use a Weatherstrip: Attach a weatherstrip to the frame of the window and this should create an air-tight seal when closing it (make sure there are no unsealed gaps).
  2. Use Acoustic Caulk: If there’s a small gap between the frame and the wall, which tends to happen on older windows, use caulk to seal them.
  3. Change the Windows: This is by far the most expensive step in here, but if you really need to lower the outside noise, installing double- or triple pane windows will do wonders.

Of course, after weatherstripping and sealing the gaps with the caulk, you could install soundproofing curtains, but the other two steps, especially the weatherstripping, are way more effective.

What are the best soundproofing curtains?

Look, there are hundreds of options of there and, in reality, most of them will help at least a little without costing too much.

Just remember that companies market them as “soundproofing” curtains, when they actually only reduce a little sound, so don’t expect miracles.

To be effective, a soundproof curtain has to be heavy, thick and tightly woven, but arguably more important than this is that they have to cover the whole window, or more. They should go from ceiling to floor and also a couple of inches past the sides of the window.

If they are wider than the window, then this means that the curtain itself will have more folds which will help seal it off better.

My recommendation for soundproof curtains are the NICETOWN blackout soundproofing curtains, mainly because they are cost-effective.

These are great because they have two layers, making them a bit better at keeping noises out.

Other Recommendations

Like I mentioned earlier, you should do a couple different things to soundproof the window before getting curtains, so here are a couple recommendations assuming you already did that.

Get two curtains

Well, having twice as much material on the window will yield better results.

This might not be as pretty, but it will work better than just having one curtain.

Buy Long Curtains

Buy the longest curtains you can find.

If you look at the ones I recommended, you’ll see that they come in different sizes.

Choose the ones with a length of 95” since this means that they will not just hang a bit over the floor, but they will be in contact with it.

This provides a much better seal and makes it harder for noise to enter the room.

Get ceiling mounts for the curtains instead of the regular ones that attach no the walls.

The whole reason for this is so that the curtains are closer to the ceiling, preventing sound from entering through the top.

Dense = Better

The thinner the curtain, the easier it will be for sound to get through them, and this will neither help soundproof the room nor absorb the soundwaves for acoustic treatment purposes.

So, get curtains that are as thick and dense as possible.

Materials

In order for the curtain to really be effective at blocking sound it needs to be of a heavy- and tightly woven material, and make sure that they are layered curtains since the extra lining makes them a lot more effective.

You should be looking for ones that are made with a suede, polyester or velvet material.

Benefits of Soundproofing Curtains

There are other benefits to soundproofing curtains, not just noise reduction.

Note: Most of these benefits also apply to regular curtains, except for heat insulation.

  • They block out the light: This is essentially what regular curtains are for, however soundproofing curtains are thicker which means that they will also do a better job at keeping the sunlight from coming in.
  • They are easy to install: No prior experience is needed.
  • Better insulation: Not only can they keep light and sound from coming in, but they are also super effective at conserving heat and cold, making them more energy efficient, effectively lowering your utilities bill.

Conclusion

Soundproofing curtains should actually be called sound dampening curtains, since they don’t block the sound from entering or leaving the room… they just help reduce it a bit.

If you get high-quality curtains like the ones I suggested, then you should be able to notice an overall noise reduction.

Depending on the quality of the curtains you purchase, how you set them up, and if you use two pairs instead of one for just one window, you might achieve a greater or lesser reduction in noise.

I would suggest applying a weatherstrip to the windows, as well as the doors to be honest, and checking that there are no gaps left unsealed, since this is by far the most important soundproofing principle.

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