Latest Discussions : Windows & Doors


08:30AM | 05/04/04
Member Since: 05/01/04
3 lifetime posts
I'm looking for "sound reduction" windows. Also sometimes called laminated windows or accoustical windows. We live on a noisy street & want to replace our existing windows with something better. They are sometimes used near airports but I haven't found much about their use for traffic noise.


Daniel M Kaufer


02:16PM | 05/11/04
Member Since: 05/10/04
1 lifetime posts
Using a laminated inside pane of a sealed unit reduces the sound level about 3dBA. Supposedly using a laminate on the outside reduces it by another 3dBa but I don't think the science is as good on that. This is assuming you are already using a sealed unit. Almost anyone can make a sealed unit with one or more panes laminated.

Opening windows usually leak more sound than fixed windows. the worst sound reduction you have in a window or wall will overpower improvements elsewhere so fix things like air leaks or wall sackets too.

There is a company in Seattle called Milgard that makes specialty windows.

there is no particular difference going to a tripple pane instead of a double pane, but if you can get a 2 or 4 inch spacing between the window panes it is quieter. (very hard to find)


12:28PM | 11/20/06
Member Since: 11/19/06
1 lifetime posts
Jeld-Wen makes a Soundmaster patio door that has 1/4" glass for the exterior pane. It is supposed to be 20% better at sound reduction. I don't know if they offer the same technology for windows. I am considering this Soundmaster door, but have not yet made a decision. Anyone have experience with this or other sound-reducing doors or windows?


05:26AM | 11/21/06
Member Since: 04/28/06
42 lifetime posts
Laminated insulating glass, which almost every window manufacturer has available, is excellent at significantly reducing sound. Here's a message I posted about a week ago on the same subject (slightly edited):

The ability of a window to reduce outside noise is commonly rated in 2 ways - either via its Sound Transmission Class (STC) or via the Outdoor-Indoor Transmission Class (OITC). The higher the number the better the window is at reducing sound.

A noise reduction of 10 decibels represents cutting the noise level in half. So a rating of 25 (which is 2-1/2 times greater than 10) means that the product reduces the outside noise by approx 25 decibels, cutting the noise in half 2-1/2 times, or cutting it by over 80%.

STC ratings have long been the standard by which window companies have measured noise reduction. However, they only give an indication of noise reduction of high frequency sounds such as voices, birds, etc. OITC ratings are relatively new, but would be a much better indicator of noise reduction because they're based on lower frequency noises such as traffic, lawn mowers, etc. Therefore OITC ratings are usually a few points lower than STC ratings because the lower frequency sounds are more difficult to reduce.

My recommendation would be to get laminated glass in an insulating glass unit. Laminated glass is highly effective in reducing noise thus improving STC and OITC ratings. It's produced by permanently bonding two pieces of glass together with a tough plastic interlayer between them. It also blocks 99.5% of the sun's ultraviolet rays, protecting furniture, etc. from fading.

If memory serves (sorry I didn't look up exact numbers), double and triple glazed windows (non-laminated) typically have an STC of about 25-30, while laminated is closer to mid 30s but can be as high as 40. It can be pretty costly though.


04:31PM | 11/28/06
Member Since: 05/01/04
3 lifetime posts
Thanks for the ideas, but I haven't found them to work....for us. We had new combination thermopane plus laminated-storm windows installed,last year. We also have lined drapes too. They still allow a lot of road noise to come through! I'm just about convinced that it will take either a)dense shrubbery, or b)moving further back from the roadway (we're now ~150 feet), or c) smaller windows.


Dan Kaufer

Scandia, MN

Daniel M Kaufer


03:07AM | 12/02/06
Member Since: 05/13/05
40 lifetime posts

If you have dual pane windows and laminated glass storms on your home and you are having issues with unwanted sound in your home then I would suggest that there is another issue involved.

The ability of a material to stop unwanted sound from passing thru - including glass - is determined by material mass, material stiffness, and its damping ability.

Increasing the mass of any object will have an effect on sound transmission. Increasing the mass of a window (making the glass thicker) will increase sound attenuation, but not nearly as much as might seem obvious, and since it really isn’t possible to increase the stiffness of glass, that leaves damping the sound as the only remaining variable.

While glass itself has very little damping ability, laminated glass - when putting a layer of a more viscous material between two of lites - substantially increases the units ability to dampen sound. In fact, a single pane of 1/4" laminated glass consisting of two 1/8" glass panes bonded to the plastic interlayer actually has as much sound blocking ability as a 1/2" lite of monolithic glass.

Two things you may want to look at in your situation are -

First, how tight are your windows when closed? That is huge. If the window doesn't sit very tightly in the frame, then you will have sound getting thru the unit.

Second, how "heavy" or tight do the frame/sash assemblies feel to you? Again, they should feel solid - looseness is bad for both energy performance and sound blocking ability.

I would venture a guess that better than 90% of all window problems involve installation, and if you want to stop sound from penetrating the unit, then installation is vital. Are these replacement windows or are these windows in a new construction? If replacement, whose are they and what "type" of replacement window?

All factors considered, a fixed, versus an operating, window is going to to have much better sound attenuation performance, however, having a house-full of windows that can't be opened is not very appealing to most people, so again we come back to the earlier comment that your windows MUST be tight when closed.

Generally, a wider airspace in the IGU is very important when considering sound blocking ability, and having separate storm windows are a definite advantage to blocking sound - especially if they are laminated. But, again if the storm isn't tight then the advantage of the laminated glass and wide airspace is wasted.


02:23PM | 12/12/06
Member Since: 12/11/06
2 lifetime posts
I wanted to put some windows in to block sound from my dogs on my screen porch from annoying the neighbors. What would be the easiest and cheapest way to get good sound reduction and still look good enough to pass neighborhood covenant laws? The openings are 27"x62" and 36"x62" and are on top of about a 1.5 foot lower wall.


03:10AM | 04/15/14
When Oberon talks about "airspace", does he mean "air" or a vacuum space (no air at all)?


04:41PM | 02/28/15
I had the Jeld-Wen 4500 series windows with sound package installed a few months ago and it was a huge waste of money. Did not reduce mid-range or high-frequency sound a bit. (Never expected it to affect low frequencies.) Extremely disappointed in their performance and recommend you avoid them.


08:40PM | 09/18/15
Member Since: 09/18/15
1 lifetime posts
Laminated windows did NOT help.

I live about 30 feet above a hill that has consistent traffic. About 1990 I added a 2nd story addition with double pane windows.

The views of the Mountains are spectacular but the road noise was just too much, so I rented the house out for about 23 years and recently moved back.

I talked to several window companies and decided to try laminated windows and also to vary the thickness on the two panes of glass.

I also replaced my cedar siding with hardi-plank (cement board) AND even added a layer of soundboard underneath the hardi-plank.
I got no more than about 10% sound reduction and I considered the whole effort a total waste of money.

Unless there is something wrong with the installation, which I seriously doubt since I used a highly rated company, I am beginning to think that the only way get rid of noise is to deflect it somehow away from the windows somehow.


1) Would it help to add a storm window to the exterior side of the windows

2) Would more caulking around the window or some other sound deadening material help. (I don't want to have to remove the window)

3) Would adding some 3/4 plywood and trying to deflect the sound away from the windows help?

PS -- Dense Shrubbery will NOT work.

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