Considerations to Have in Mind Before Soundproofing Your Home
The high-pitched noise emanating from motorcycles as they move along in your neighbourhood starts out low, increasing as the motorcyclist passes your home, is a situation akin to the Island of Man TT races. The noise pollution is annoying, to say the least.
Consider this, traffic noise pollution is the second largest environmental issue that Europe is facing, right after air pollution, causing over 60,000 premature deaths every year, it is a major health hazard. Moreover, this noise also causes heart problems, high blood pressure and increases one’s susceptibility to diabetes and stroke for many people.
Soundproofing: How It’s Done
The first thing to know about sound insulation is that it is only as good as its weakest point. You can invest in the latest sound insulating windows, build thicker walls, and stuff the walls with insulation and still not achieve the desired results. This is especially the case when each of these systems works in isolation. As KJM Group explain, they need to work together and complement each other.
Sound Insulation: How Does it Work?
Soundproofing can work in one of three ways or a combination of the three methods. The number one method is dampening. For this method, you can add mass to the structure to reflect sound. In doing this, you create a dense material acoustically dead surface that produces does not vibrate or has very little vibrations.
The second method you can use is the absorption method. With this method, you use materials that can absorb sound, preventing it from passing through to the other side of the structure – for instance, the other side of the wall.
The third method you can use for soundproofing is decoupling, whereby you create a barrier between structures. This prevents sound from passing between the 2 structures as vibrations. The gap created is effective, as vibrations cannot transmit through the gap.
How Acoustic Glass and Soundproof Windows Work
Acoustic glass sound proofs your property by dissipating and deflecting sound waves. To achieve this, the glass uses a combination of thick structure, the space between the glass and the use of acoustic interlayers to disrupt the transmission of sound waves.
As you can appreciate, the denser a material is, the better it is at soundproofing. Therefore, the thicker the glass the more effective at soundproofing it is. However, the glass does need to be set at varying thicknesses.
That is why adding an additional pane, for instance in a triple-glazed window, only yield minor improvements in soundproofing. Unfortunately, this is not a fact that many door and window sellers do not understand enough to educate homeowners on.
Given that sound passes through objects in a linear direction, making use of different glass thicknesses in a combination will be more effective in sound disruption and dissipation.
Acoustic glazing improves the effectiveness of this approach to soundproofing. It involves the use of different glass thicknesses as well as the application of special PVB interlayers while manufacturing the glass. The interlayers provide another layer with thickness variation that also absorbs sound, thereby making it more effective at soundproofing.
That being said, it is important to note that there are different variables that need to be considered in addressing different types of noises.
Soundproofing Secondary Glazing
Should you be unable to replace your existing windows, you can use secondary glazing to improve sound insulation. For instance, if you live in a conservation area or you own a period property, secondary glazing will increase your energy efficiency and reduce the noise transmitted into your house.
While installing secondary glazing that is energy efficient will not automatically improve your soundproofing, typically the home’s energy efficiency triples. Sometimes double-glazed windows come with a better seal that yields a small soundproofing effect.
As you can appreciate, you need specialist acoustic triple- or double-glazed window panes to negate noise pollution from entering your home. These types of windows yield a high level of sound insulation. However, secondary glazing can go a step further by cutting noise by as much as 70%.
The secondary glazing will dampen and absorb the sound waves just like double or tripled-glazed panes do. However, it adds a decoupling feature as the secondary glazing is detached to the window.
With the right gap between the primary and secondary glazing, you can achieve high levels of soundproofing.