Whether you live in an urban, suburban or rural area, rising noise levels make noise pollution nearly impossible to avoid. It comes in many forms including loud neighbors, barking dogs, traffic, railroads, airports, sirens, crowds and more. Long term exposure to constant loud noise does not just degrade your quality of life, but is proven to be unhealthy. Neuffer offers custom built soundproof windows featuring special noise reducing glazing. Learn more about how soundproofing works and what level is appropriate for your home.

How Does Sound Work?

To have a better idea how to reduce sound, it helps to understand a little bit about how it works. Technically speaking, sound is a pressure wave that travels through a medium such as air via vibrations. These vibrations are translated by your ear into electrical signals and then perceived as noise that we measure in decibels. For a better idea of their practical meaning, here is a short table with common sounds and their level.

Decibels Activity
10 dB A person breathing
50 dB A conversation at home
70 dB A vacuum cleaner
90 dB A jet approximately 1.6 km (1 mile) away
110 dB A music concert

How do Soundproof Windows Work?

Noise pollution consists of unwanted and unwelcome sounds. It may be a single sound or a mix of many in a busy city. Noise reducing glazing is a form of glass designed to provide acoustic insulation by reducing sound waves that move through windows. By lowering the acoustic energy of the sound wave, its noise is reduced. Sound waves impacting any material experience some degree of reduction, but that is typically not sufficient in many modern areas which is why a specialized glazing system is employed to maximize the effect.

Soundproofing is achieved via a combination of window construction techniques including:

  • Using multiple panes of glass with different thicknesses
  • Setting panes at different distances apart
  • Noble gas in the air gaps between panes
  • Cast resin and special anti-sound foils

Although soundproof windows often appear similar to standard double glazing or even triple, they feature a combination of features to reduce exterior noise. First, the individual glass panes are thicker and the air cavity between them is larger. This helps to reduce the resonance of loud noises while making it more difficult for sound to pass through.

Another special feature used to help soundproof a window or door is filling the glass units with an inert gas such as argon or krypton. These gases are more difficult for sound to pass through than normal air. As the sound waves move through the gas, they lose energy and thereby volume. Soundproofing is available for both new buildings and renovations alike and available in different levels of protection, up to 45 db. Additional help choosing the appropriate level can be found below.

How to Choose the Right Level of Soundproofing

Absolute soundproofing which allows no noise whatsoever to pass is generally impossible in residential applications. However, unless you are a recording studio, it is unnecessary anyway. The effectiveness of soundproof windows is measured in decibels (dB). This unit defines the perceived intensity of sound. When choosing a window and noise reduction level, the decibel value listed is most important.

In order to simplify your decision, standardized levels have been created such the German building code VDI 2719, introducing the sound absorption class. The table below explains each.

Please note that perceived noise can differ depending on the distance to the origin of the sound and the relative position of the window on the house (e.g. roof or basement). Therefore, it is important to evaluate and at times even measure the noise levels in your area. Choosing to soundproof more than necessary for your area will only increase the cost without providing any additional benefit.

Traffic Type (cars per hour)

Distance from House to Street

dB Absorption Value Absorption Class
Large residential street (10-50) 85 - 120 ft. 30-34 dB 2
Thoroughfare (50-200) 300 - 400 ft. 35-39 dB 3
Main street (1,000-3,000) 300 - 400 ft. 40-44 dB 4
Major street (1,000-3,000) 100  - 330 ft. 45-59 dB 5
Motorway (3,000-5,000) 100  - 330 ft. ≥ 50 dB 6

Proper Installation is Critical for Sound Reduction

As with thermal installation, the best soundproof window cannot make up for incorrect fitting. Only a professional should install your sound proof windows to ensure they are able to perform their best. Otherwise, outside noise will enter the room via gaps between the window and wall or unsealed edges around the window frame leaving your noise problem unsolved. The last thing you want is continued traffic noise in the bedroom after buying new windows!

An example of the special considerations which have to be taken into account for soundproof windows, it is very important that the material for the sealant has a similar value as the construction component itself. This can be achieved with optimized PU-construction foam. However, even with these special sealants, please make sure that the connection joint is open to vapor diffusion from the outside.

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