03:18AM | 11/02/06
Member Since: 11/01/06
7 lifetime posts
I live near a major highway and want to install triple pane windows that offer the most sound reduction in a new addition. Some will be fixed but there will be two that can open and one doorwall. I have been to Anderson and Pella showrooms and my builder recommended Jeld Wyn which I know nothing about. Does anyone have any thoughts on any of these products? Thanks in advance for your feedback.


03:52PM | 11/02/06
Member Since: 05/13/05
40 lifetime posts
Hi Sandra,

As a general rule, triple pane may not be the best alternative if your promary concern is sound reduction. In fact, depending on whose window you are installing, a dual pane could out-perform a triple pane in sound attenuation.

Stopping unwanted sound thru a window is determined by three things – mass, stiffness, and damping. 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.

It really isn’t possible to increase the stiffness of glass, so that leaves damping the sound as the only remaining variable.

Glass has very little damping ability, but when putting a layer of a more viscous material between two of lites of glass we substantially increase the units ability to dampen sound – thus the advantage of laminated glass. In fact, a single pane of 1/4" laminated glass consisting of two 1/8" lites with the plastic interlayer actually has as much sound blocking ability as a 1/2" lite of monolithic glass.

Two things you want to look at when comparing windows - whatever glass is installed - first, how tight are they 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" does the frame feel to you? They will probably feel about the same I suspect, but any flimsiness or anything else that may make you wonder about how "sturdy" the window is, can affect sound.

Next, which ever window you decide to choose, it MUST be installed correctly. I would venture a guess that better than 90% of all window problems involves installation, and if you want to stop sound from penetrating the unit, then installation is vital.

A fixed, versus an operating, window is usually going to give you much better sound attenuation. 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 the window MUST be tight when closed.


07:29PM | 11/08/06
Member Since: 04/28/06
42 lifetime posts
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 for you 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 low to mid 30s, while laminated is closer to 40. It can be pretty costly though.

As for the three brands you mentioned, Pella and Andersen are solid, quality companies. Jeld-Wen is rather interesting, since they have acquired other window companies (notably Norco, Wenco, Pozzi, and Caradco) and relabeled them all as Jeld-Wen. Their features and level of options vary between their sub-brands. With all of their acquisitions they join Pella & Andersen as some of the very largest manufacturers in the industry.


03:44PM | 11/09/06
Member Since: 05/13/05
40 lifetime posts
Hi TruBlue,

Good answer - I personally am not fond of the STC rating system - I much prefer the OITC. And it is nice to see that folks are starting to see it more frequently.



01:40AM | 11/10/06
Member Since: 11/01/06
7 lifetime posts
Thank you for your reply. I would be interested in looking into the laminating glass window. Can you tell me what manufacturer makes it? I will also research the OTIC ratings, is there a number I should be striving for? Six years ago we replaced our windows with a combination of Pella and Anderson Renewal double pane windows they did not prove to be of much help reducing the road noise problem. I was present when they installed them and before framing them in they stuffed the narrow opening between the 2 x 4's with insulation, but I'm wondering if this time I should request a foam insulation be used to fill in around the window frames. We love our location or would just consider moving but instead we would like to stay in our neighborhood and do what we can to make our new addition as sound proof as possible. Are there other suggestions you could make as to what we should consider when framing out the new addition to reduce any sound coming through the walls?


05:12AM | 11/10/06
Member Since: 04/28/06
42 lifetime posts
Hi Sandra

Here's some answers for you. As to which manufacturers offer laminated glass, pretty much none offer it as standard, although all of the manufacturers you mentioned should have it available as a special order with extended lead times, so plan the window order well in advance. Take your pick. Since you have a combination of Pella & Andersen on your home, I'd start with those two.

As to what OITC number to strive for, upper 30s or more would be REAL nice if you can get it. For STC ratings 40 or more.

I would definately use foam insulation (non-expanding kind) around the windows, not fiberglass. This insures a continuous seal around the window without any gaps, and also is a better air and water barrier.

Oberon I'm with you in that I MUCH prefer OITC ratings. STC was OK in its day but isn't as practical and useful as OITC now is. It looks like we continue to frequent the same window and glass forums!


04:21AM | 11/11/06
Member Since: 05/13/05
40 lifetime posts
Yep, we do seem to haunt many of the same sites...probably all of them? lol


06:34PM | 11/26/13
The least expensive way to increase the STC is to hang a sound blanket over your window, but this also is not very aesthetically pleasing. There is a recent product on the market I found that both blocks noise and looks good inside the home. You can choose your own colors as well:


11:45AM | 03/07/15
Member Since: 03/06/15
1 lifetime posts
I recently replaced all of my windows with Low e (argon). They are horizontal sliding windows. It does not do much to abate outside noise. I heard there are laminate windows available that fit on your existing window so they will still operate as intended. Have you heard of a company in Florida that offers this service? Do you have any recommendations? I need to replace my bedroom patio door next. Any suggestions for noise reduction and energy efficient would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.


02:10PM | 03/26/15
I purchased a condo in Denver before I realized how busy the street is. I either need to reduce the noise or move but I don't want to invest a lot. Does anyone know if Window World's 4000 Series Double-Hung will just be a waste of money? There are no noise ratings in their brochure. Thank you.
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