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Reducing Noise Pollution: Soundproofing Windows for Houston Homes

soundproof windows

Sound Reduction Methods

Don’t you hate it when you finally got settled in and sit down to dinner with the family when your neighbor fires up the lawnmower? Or you’re relaxing in your study and the guy across the street starts up his hot rod? Or noise from late night parties, trains, trucks, or freeways? What you need is quality new replacement windows with sound proofing/sound reducing qualities.

When it comes to soundproofing windows and doors, there are several construction factors that combine to reduce noise pollution entering your home. These are below:

  • Number of Panes
  • Air Gap Distance
  • Type of Glass Used
  • Frame Material and Construction
  • Quality of Installation

Number of Panes Results in Sound Reduction

The type of window installed in most homes older than the 2000’s use Single-pane glass windows. These are the least effective at blocking sound. Glass is typically 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch in thickness. They were inexpensive for the builder and easily installed during construction of your home. Not only are single pane windows ineffective at blocking sound, they are the worst at both insulating (keeping our a/c inside) and at blocking heat gain from our blazing sun.

Replacing your windows with double-pane (double-glazed) windows offers the advantages of reduced sound transmission (explained in detail later) and in both insulating and reflecting heat away from the windows. Two panes of glass combined with Low-E coatings and inert gases like argon and krypton also help reduce sound transmission while also offering excellent energy efficiency qualities.

soundproofing windows

Air Gap Distance Helps Soundproofing Windows?

In order to make sound less transmissible (sound transmission loss), you have to absorb it or slow it down. Single pane glass in aluminum frames result in a low STC rating. Add a second glass pane and an air gap between them and the STC rating jumps about 25%. Laminated glass is more effective. An air gap of around 1/2 inch has been proven to be optimum.

How Does the Type of Glass Help Sound Proofing?

There are three types of glass used in windows and doors. Standard “annealed” glass, tempered “safety” glass and laminated glass. You will immediately recognize the difference by how the glass properties react when broken.

  • Standard Annealed Glass is heat treated to remove imperfections and allows to cool slowly. Standard glass breaks into very large, sharp pieces. Risk of injury is high.
  • Tempered Glass is further heat treated to a higher temperature. Think of a car’s side windows. When they break, it is in small pieces reducing the possibility of injury.
  • Laminated Glass is two panes of glass bonded to a pvc sheet. Think of a car windshield. It stays together when broken due to the vinyl sheet.

Taking the properties of the above glass types into account, combining glass types in window construction increases the STC rating of the window of door.

So, What is this STC Rating?

The Sound Transmission Class (STC) is a system that measures how well a material or barrier, such as a window, door, or wall, can block the transmission of sound. The STC rating is determined by measuring the transmission loss (TL) of 16 different sound frequencies between 125 and 4,000 Hz. The results are graphed and compared against a reference graph. The higher the STC rating, the better the window or barrier is at preventing the movement of sound.

Frame Type Helps with Sound Reduction

When considering the frame material you want for your home, consider that metal frames are the least efficient at reducing sound. They would need to be thick enough and contain air gap channels sufficient enough to absorb the sound. Houston Window Experts offers quality aluminum windows as well as Vinyl, Fiberglass and Wood framed window styles. Wood is cellular (many small pockets of air) in structure and offers the most efficient sound reduction properties. However, wood windows will require periodic maintenance.

Low, in fact, zero maintenance frames are made of either vinyl or fiberglass. Both of these types of construction offer excellent sound reduction qualities due to air channels built into the extrusions. Both offer a lower overall STC rating compared to wood but the lack of periodic maintenance makes them a smart decision.

Quality of Window Installation

The quality of a window installation boils down to a few of factors:

  • Window Fit – At Houston Window Experts, we accurately measure each window opening and order custom fit-to-order windows for each opening. The typical handyman, in comparison, drops in at the big box store and buys the closes fit available. Then trims, shims and jimmies the window into place and floods the gaps with caulking.
  • Installation Crew Experience – Our crew of company employees have been with us a long time. Their quality of work shows in the pride they take and the time invested in company as well as manufacture training courses makes a world of difference.
  • Available Window Manufacturer Choices – Let’s face it, there are many different styles of homes in our metro Houston area. Homes in The Heights are different than homes in The Woodlands, for example. When you visit our showroom, you’ll experience the difference choice makes. All are top tier, high quality suppliers and we order measured-to-fit custom windows for each installation.
  • Thickness of the Glass also plays a role in soundproofing windows. Thick glass blocks more sound than thin glass. Using glass even as thick as 1/2 inch (not common) would have an STC rating around 35-36. However, most glass in modern replacement and new construction windows is 1/4 inch double-strength annealed glass.

The amount of soundproofing required for windows in a suburban home versus an urban environment depends on the level of noise pollution in the area. In general, urban areas (think Inside Loop 610) tend to have higher levels of noise pollution due to traffic, construction, and other factors. As a result, windows in urban areas should have a higher Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating than those in suburban areas. The STC rating measures how well a window can block sound transmission, with higher ratings indicating better soundproofing performance.

So, if you’re looking to reduce noise levels in your home, double-glaze aka double-pane windows with at least one pane of laminated glass are a better choice than any single-pane window. Also, keep in mind that other factors, such as the frame and installation, can also affect the soundproofing performance of your windows.

SoundProofing Windows

Soundproofing windows are about how they reduce sound with their sound block, thicker glass and larger air space between panes. We can configure any windows from any manufacturer with a combination of glass types to accomplish STC ratings up to 40 and above!

Houston Window Experts has a great variety of manufacturers (more choices than most other window contractors) so that you can get exactly the right window for your home. Windows that match and/or compliment the style of your home, fit in with the guidelines of HOA and historic preservationists, and reduce the effects of noise pollution entering your home. You’ll be proud of the performance of our windows and the curb appeal of your home!

We are the Houston Window Experts! Contact us today for a Free Consultation on how we can help with your window needs. You may also call us directly by dialing 832-900-7024.

Our Services include: Replacement Windows Houston, TX metro area. Houston Window Experts is a privately owned and operated company in Houston TX. For more information about us, please write to info [at] HoustonWindowExperts.com or call our Houston office at (832)900-7024. All material is copyright of Houston Window Experts. Houston, TX.

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