General contractors that work on remodeling projects for multi-unit buildings, offices, residential and other real estate have a profitable opportunity to professionally resolve noise intrusion problems because DIY projects are proving to be insufficient.
Some may be tempted to try various DIY tactics to reduce external noise like blocking the window with furniture, caulking gaps between the wall and window, installing weatherstripping, adhering vinyl window film, or hanging thick window curtains, blinds, or shades. These stopgap measures do not truly address the heart of the problem: noise entering through the windowpanes and seals.
Fortunately, there is now a permanent solution that contractors can offer for solving external noise issues: a professionally engineered and installed window that goes behind the existing window that is specifically designed to stop up to 95 percent of external noise. It can be cost effectively matched in style with the existing window, functionally open and close, and installed rapidly without disruptive, expensive remodeling.
To begin, it is important to review some of the most common DIY window soundproofing options and their limitations:
DIY window soundproofing limitations
When it comes to window soundproofing a host of DIY methods are well intentioned but have only a limited effect:
Blocking the window with furniture
Although this option is free, placing sofas or other furniture next to the window in an effort to absorb some sound waves will do little since sound has complete access through most of the entire window.
Caulking gaps between the wall and window
The caulking will reduce some sound that may enter through small gaps between the wall and the window’s borders, but the effect will be minimal at best.
Installing or replacing weatherstripping constructed of materials like foam, rubber, or vinyl can reduce some external sound entering from any small gaps around the perimeter of the window. This does not address the main source of external noise intrusion, the window itself.
Vinyl window film
Essentially these are window stickers that are peeled off and stuck to the existing window until it covers the entire pane. Window films do little to stop intrusive noise from entering a dwelling.
Window curtains, blinds, and shades
These may absorb some external noise when completely drawn but will also block out natural lighting as well as the view.
Replacement window design constraints
General contractors have an important consultative role to play when DIY efforts fall short. Since even most professional window installations are not specifically designed to reduce excessive noise intrusion, these efforts can also offer less than the desired result.
Dual pane windows
Dual pane windows will not keep out the noise because they are not designed to do so. The dual panes act like a drum and reverberate in response to external noise vibrations. The result is that the noise as sound vibrations transfers right through the panes. The seals of most dual pane windows degrade within a few years, which allows even more outside noise to pass through.
True soundproofing windows
For a much more effective option than DIY attempts or replacement windows, general contractors are turning to soundproofing companies with expertise in engineering products used in very noise sensitive environments like recording studios.
Similar to recording studio window soundproofing technology, a secondary soundproofing window is installed inside, behind the existing window. The product is custom designed specifically to match – and function – like the original window. Installation is simple and fast with virtually no cleanup, making them efficient for contractors to install and usually quite profitable.
The inner window essentially reduces noise from entering on three fronts: the type of materials used to make the pane, the ideal air space between original window and insert, and finally improved, long-lasting seals. The combination can reduce external noise by up to 95 percent.
The first noise barrier is laminated glass, which dampens sound vibration much like a finger on a wine glass stops it from ringing when struck. An inner PVB layer of plastic further dampens sound vibrations.
Air space of two-to-four inches between the existing window and the soundproof window also significantly improves noise reduction because it isolates the second window from external sound vibrations.
Finally, spring-loaded seals are placed in the second soundproof window frame, which prevents sound leaks and helps to stop noise from vibrating through the glass.
The bottom line for general contractors is that they can quickly provide homeowners, office managers, and real estate professionals with true window soundproofing when DIY efforts fail. Since these are quick and easy to install, offering them as an option to a contractor’s existing services can be quite a profitable option.
Randall R. Brown is the owner of Soundproof Windows, Inc. (and a hands-on inventor and businessman.) Soundproof Windows, Inc. is a market leader in soundproof windows and ships its products worldwide.