Sound reduction windows may be just what you need to reduce or eliminate annoying outside noise. If you live near a busy intersection the steady traffic may keep you awake at night. Or perhaps your noisy neighbor is starting a rock band and you need some relief from the constant drone. Noise pollution of this magnitude is common in urban areas and can lead to a loss of sleep and cause undue stress in your life. In extreme cases, it can lead to hypertension or other health related issues. The solution could be the installation of sound reduction windows.
How Glass Thickness Affects Sound Reduction Windows
All windows provide some level of noise reduction. In recent years, window manufacturers have developed new products with the goal of reducing noise levels even further. One of the design considerations is the glass itself. The sound reduction value is commonly referred to as an STC Rating. The higher the STC rating the greater the noise reduction benefit. Let’s take a quick look at how different glass can affect the noise diminishing qualities of sound reduction windows.
Single Pane: You won’t find anyone claiming that a single layer of monolithic glass is going to reduce noise levels. Depending on the thickness of the glass and other factors, at best monolithic glass windows would have an STC Rating of 26 or 27, and more likely to be around 24.
Double Pane Glass: Standard double pane glass, a.k.a. insulated glass, will have a slightly higher STC Rating compared to monolithic glass. However, if the only variable is the number of panes, the improvement is marginal. STC Ratings for most insulated glass windows ranges from 28 to 32. While it’s true that the airgap provides some noise insulation benefit, the window would perform much better if the layers of glass were different thicknesses.
Triple Pane Glass: Contrary to popular belief, the STC Ratings of triple pane windows is generally about the same as standard double pane windows. If the three layers of glass are of equal thickness, each layer would tend to block the same noise frequency. Not to mention that the air space in a triple pane window is much smaller than the gap of a dual pane window.
Laminated Glass: The primary purpose of laminated glass is strength and safety. Nevertheless, it can add one or two points to the STC Rating of the window. Even more, if the layers are unique in thickness. Boost the air gap up to 4”, like the windows you see at the airport, and you can reach STC Ratings in the low 50’s. While this sounds exciting, the windows used at airports are far too cost prohibitive for home use.
Other Design Considerations
It’s important to note that there is much more to the design of sound reduction windows than simply choosing the right glass. All aspects of the window assembly are engineered for optimal performance. This includes sound absorbing spacers, dissimilar glass thicknesses, optimization of the air space between the glass, and the selection of frame materials. Our Sound Barrier Windows, with an STC Rating of 40 to 46, are among the top-rated sound reduction windows on the market.