Last Updated on March 3, 2021 by Facundo
We all know how frustrating it can be to have noisy neighbors, or to live on a very busy street where there’s constant noise.
In some cases, a personal of mine, your sleep can be affected, so making sure that you can reduce those outside noises as much as possible is a must.
There are many ways to address this issue, which I’m going to detail in this article.
I won’t be covering some obvious ways like “removing the entire window” since it seems pointless to me.
Yes, it may be the best way to get rid of the noise, but the whole point for you being on this blog post is that you need to find ways to reduce the noise coming in thought the window.
Steps to Soundproofing a Window
- Use a Weatherstrip: Attach the weatherstrip to the frame and this should create an air-tight seal when closing the window.
- 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.
- Install Acoustic Curtains: Hanging good-quality acoustic curtains will absorb some of the sound.
These three steps are the absolute most basic ways you can soundproof a window, but in this post I will list a couple more, should you need them!
Soundproofing vs Sound Absorption
Soundproofing is the process of isolating or blocking the sound, not allowing it to enter or to leave a room.
To do this you will need to use materials that are designed to not let sound through, like mass loaded vinyl, drywall, etc.
Sound Absorption relies on materials that are good at absorbing sound, such as acoustic panels, acoustic blankets, etc. to reduce the echo inside of a room.
Sound absorption, while not being great at soundproofing, will still help with it, which is why you might want to use it in conjunction with sound-blocking materials to achieve the best results.
Now, let’s get into the guide.
1. Seal all the Gaps
You may not realize this, but even the smallest gap will let air through and this means that sound will be able to as well, and even though it’s a small gap the difference between sealing it and not doing so is massive.
Think of it this way;
If you close a door of a room completely, the noises outside of that room will be reduced a lot, but if you open the door just tiny bit, it’s going to feel as if the door was completely open or if it wasn’t even there to begin with.
Many of the noises that are bothering you inside your home are probably being allowed in through tiny cracks and gaps, luckily there’s a really quick fix for this;
Use Weathersptripping Tape
Note: Get a foam weatherstrip that has an adhesive backing, for ease of installation.
Weatherstripping is by far the best item to soundproof a window since it helps create a seal between the window and the frame once it’s closed.
If I only were able to choose one of all the steps on this list to follow, it would be weatherstripping.
How to apply a Weatherstrip
This all depends on the type of window you are dealing with. If it’s a “slide up and down” type window, then you can apply the regular foam tape both to the top and the bottom of it, while attaching a brush-type weatherstrip on the sides.
If it’s a regular window, then you should only use the regular foam weathertstrip, constantly checking that no gaps are being left unsealed once the window is closed.
This is the weatherstrip that I recommend, and you can get it on Amazon for dirt cheap.
Tip: If air can come in, then so does sound. This means that you should close the window and feel if there’s any air getting through; If you can feel the airflow, you need to work on that specific stop a little more.
Another way to check for gaps and cracks is by using a flashlight. If everything is sealed up perfectly, no light should be seen between the window and the frame.
Use Acoustic Caulk
This is extremely easy to do, plus it’s fast and very effective.
You need to get this Acoustic Sealant and using a caulk gun you can begin the application.
Where to use Acoustic Caulk?
It’s designed to fill small 1/8” gaps to ½” gaps and should be applied between the frames of the window and the walls.
Note: After you have applied it, give it about 48hs to dry completely.
Important Note: Most acoustic caulk is meant for interior use and won’t withstand the weather if used outside.
If you have any awkward shapes that you need to soundproof and just can’t with tape, then acoustic putty is the perfect solution.
It can easily be molded to fit any shape required and it provides a dense layer of sound insulation.
It’s mostly used to cover electrical boxes, which are commonly overlooked but if there’s a place on any window you are trying to seal and just can’t with the other two methods, then this one might save you.
2. Install Soundproof Curtains on the Windows
Soundproof curtains are definitely a good investment, especially if you just want to reduce the outside noise a little without spending a fortune.
Just know that Soundproof curtains aren’t that good at blocking out the sound mainly because they don’t form a perfect seal around the window, plus they tend to be better at absorbing sound rather than blocking it.
If you want them to be as effective as possible then you should make sure to purchase some that are heavy, tightly-woven and a lot longer and wider than the window you want them to cover.
You may also be interested in reading about how effective soundproofing curtains actually are.
These blackout soundproofing curtains are very affordable and have a huge number of positive reviews on Amazon, so you can’t really go wrong with those ones.
If you want curtains with two layers, which will make them a bit better at keeping noise from entering the room, then I recommend these ones.
3. Get Soundproof Window Panels
The next best solution is to get some soundproof window panels.
These are made out of vinyl and are available in a couple different colors.
They are custom made, which means that you will have to measure your window and purchase it online after telling them the measurements.
Since they are custom made, the delivery takes at least three weeks.
These are attached to the wall through Velcro strips and you can take the whole pane out whenever you feel like it.
Since these are fairly expensive, another option is to make them yourself, BUT remember that they need to be attached to the wall around the entire window, otherwise a soundproof curtain would be much wiser.
If you want to make them yourself you could get some Mass Loaded Vinyl, which is most commonly used for soundproofing a car, but it can still be used in homes since it will block sound amazingly well.
The one issue is that it’s very heavy, so you shouldn’t use grommets to hang it from the wall.
My solution is to get some Velcro and tape it around the entirety of the window and attach the vinyl that way.
Also, since it only comes in black, you could use some fabric to make it look the way you want it to.
Another way to make them is by using plexiglass instead of the mass loaded vinyl. This will also help a lot with reducing noise and the great thing is that it actually lets the sun shine through.
4. Change the Glass on the window
While this might be a pain to do because it would take a lot of time and dedication, changing the glass in your window to a good quality laminated one could absolutely help with noise reduction.
In some cases, it’s even better to do this instead of purchasing double-pane windows simply because of the type of glass in them.
5. Install Storm Windows
Another good option is to install storm windows on the outside of your home.
Having another set of windows in front of the old ones will naturally decrease the amount of noise coming into your home.
What is the best material?
The storm windows you install should be made of laminated glass. Laminated glass is better at reducing noise than tempered glass because it has an extra protective layer of plastic that provides an additional barrier
6. Make a Window Plug
A window plug is simply a piece of foam that you cut to the exact shape of your window while making it just slightly bigger, this way you can push it into the frame and the pressure will hold it in place while creating a tight fit.
Acoustic foam isn’t really the best way to block sound, it’s great for acoustic treatment but not for soundproofing.
It will still help and it’s an extremely affordable material, you could get some acoustic foam like this one.
One big con to this method is that the acoustic foam will completely block out any light from coming in through the window, this is where the next step could come in handy…
7. Make noise reduction inserts
A soundproof insert is simply a frame that is designed to be attached to the frame of your window in an air-tight manner.
It is very similar to a window plug, but in this case, I don’t recommend you use acoustic foam but acrylic plexiglass instead.
The great thing about these inserts is that they can be removed at any time, but also, contrary to the window plugs, they don’t block the light from coming in.
You will need to make wooden frames and attach the acrylic plexiglass to them, fill the edges of the window and the frame with glazing putty and then apply some weatherstrip on the side that’s going to be in contact with the frame of the house’s window.
Lastly you would need to screw the insert against the frame of the window.
This is a lot of work, but it is definitely a good solution, especially since once you’ve installed them, you can simply leave them on.
8. Upgrade your Windows
This is by far the most expensive option and will probably require you to hire a professional to do the work since it consists in replacing the entire window.
Replacing your current window for a double-pane or even triple-pane window will reduce noise dramatically by up to 60%. It’s the route you could go if you have the time and budget for it.
An added benefit of double- and triple-pane windows is that not only are they excellent at reducing noise but also at reducing heat transmission.
This means that they will keep your house warmer in winter and cooler in summer, meaning that your energy bills will end up being lower.
Make sure, if you decide to go for this last option, that the person who installs your windows actually knows about installing soundproof ones.
If there is any gap left between the frame and the window, then the whole point of installing soundproof windows is lost.
Soundproofing a window isn’t that complex, unless you want to replace the entire window, plus it’s not even that expensive to do.
You should start by plugging every hole and gap you can find and adding weatherstrip to the windows while also investing in some curtains.
If this isn’t enough then make sure to get a soundproof window panel or make it yourself, like the ones in step 2.
If any of this doesn’t reduce the noise as much as you’d like, then you might consider in actually changing the windows. But I would try all the other steps before doing that.
I hope this information was useful, see you on the next one!