Best house windows for the money

Are Soundproof Windows Worth the Money?

“Things are getting louder, and people are getting more sensitive, ” says Rich Galietti, sales manager of CitiQuiet, which has been manufacturing soundproofing window inserts for 25 years (Home Depot recently began selling them).

Galietti says soundproof windows are most popular in urban areas beset by idling buses, highway traffic, and police sirens. “We hear, ‘I love my view, but the highway below is so loud, ’” Galietti says. “That’s when we’re called in.”

But do soundproof windows deliver the peace and quiet they promise? Or are they another home improvement fad that sounds good but falls short of claims?

Let’s take a look.

Related: Repair or Replace Your Old Windows?

What Are Soundproof Windows?

No residential window blocks all sound, all the time. “Soundproof” is shorthand for noise reduction windows that block up to 90% to 95% of noise coming through windows.

Sounds with low frequencies, like garbage trucks grinding trash, are harder to block than sounds with higher frequencies, like birds chirping. So when you shop for sound-reducing windows consider “what frequencies you want to soundproof against, ” says John Storyk, an acoustical consultant and a founder of the Walters-Storyk Design Group based in Highland, N.Y.

The acoustics industry makes soundproof window shopping easier by rating the sound-stopping quality of windows on a sound transmission class (STC) scale; the higher the number, the more a window inhibits sound.

Your basic, single-pane window has an average STC rating of 27; a dual pane window has an average STC rating of 28. Soundproof windows, however, have STC ratings of at least 45, and some climb to the mid-50s, which block as much as 95% of noise.

How Do Windows Block Sound?

To reduce sound, you must create a barrier between the sound and ear that captures the sound. Homes do that with walls, roofs, and windows that block sound waves from entering.

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