Soundproofing windows from traffic and other outdoor noises
Oh, if I only had a dollar for every time I heard this question, how do I soundproof my windows, from neighbors, traffic, and airplane noise? This is a question that will continue to be asked until engineers, Architects and contractors finally realize that this issue is not going to go away by itself. Lawsuits have been filed due the lack of soundproofing in many newly constructed housing tracts, office buildings, and high-rise apartments. The best way to soundproof a window is to simply replace it with a genuine soundproof window. This is much easier said than done, however there are companies who have specialized in soundproof windows for decades. One of these companies is Milgard. Their Quiet line series of windows is an economical and effective method for adding much needed soundproofing to any new construction. They can also be custom designed and installed into any existing window frame or structure. Another option is to install a window insert from a company called "soundproofwindows.com" Their window is basically a very efficient window insert that requires no real construction or major alterations to install it. They claim from 75 % to 95% efficiency. I personally have heard some very good things about their products. The next best solution is to purchase a ready-made window insert from a company called Magnet Seal windows. The Magnet Seal is also an insert, but it is less costly and can be custom fitted to most window frames. Keep in mind that if there are mini blinds or regular Venetian blinds, they will most likely need to be altered or removed altogether. The Magnet Seal insert is removable for those times when you just have to have an open window, no matter what the noise situation is. It is fitted to the window frame via a magnetic track system. Now the last option is one that will block out the light, but is still very effective as a sound blocker and absorber. It is what is referred to as a window plug (patent pending). This is a plug made with 2" closed cell foam mat (2" America Mat is the perfect choice for window plugs) that is cut to fit completely within the window frame itself. It is necessary that the closed cell foam plug be cut 1" larger than to actually linear measurement of the window frame itself. For example, if the window is 3' X 3', you would cut the window plug 3' 1" X 3' 1" so as to have ½" of extra foam around the perimeter of the plug, making the foam plug fit tightly into the window frame, much the same as a cork fits into a bottle. Remember, that the window plug, though quite effective at sound reduction, is still a black vinyl material that will not pass light. The window plug can easily be removed however to allow the light in during the daytime when sound control issues are not so critical. Most of the time window plugs are used at night in bedrooms to allow folks to sleep despite the noise outdoors. At night when you are asleep, light coming in the window is not an issue. The best way to cut this foam window plug to the proper dimensions is to use an ordinary kitchen type electric meat knife, you know, the kind you got for Christmas back in 1982 and have never used since. Well break it out now, it will pay for itself in only one use, believe me. It cuts the foam mat like butter, does not harm the knife and gives you a nice smooth cut even at corners. No frays or ragged edges! How cool is that? Many professional foam installers actually carry an electric meat knife in a holster on their belts. The pros know.
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