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Author Topic: Soundproof Replacement Windows  (Read 14762 times)

RadioCityBill

  • Guest
Soundproof Replacement Windows
« on: June 15, 2007, 05:08:18 PM »

Living in Connecticut, some of the more popular brands (i.e., Milgard) just aren't available in my area. I need to replace all the windows on my newly purchased home (between the fact they are drafty and not very energy efficient and let vast amounts of exterior noise in)Most manufacturers I've queried don't have any idea about STC or what their windows can or can't do, noise wise.

I'm hoping someone may be able to reccomend a few window brands and/or companies that sell sound deadening windows. Since the existing windows are at least 40+ years old I know this is my first step before I consider any other window approach.

I thank you in advance.

Bill

johnbergstromslc

  • Guest
Re: Soundproof Replacement Windows
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2007, 10:46:57 PM »

How bad is your noise problem? 

If the noise from outside is mild, upgrading from an old single glazed (usually hand-built in those days) window to a modern, factory-built double glazed one will probably be sufficient.  Roughly, the difference will be equivalent to a hollow core interior door versus a solid-core/steel entry door with good seals: 15-20 dB (old window) vs. 25-30 dB (new). 

Personally, I'd stay away from any window marketed as 'soundproof'.  The substantial additional cost is not worth the meager benefits they provide.

If you want a soundproof window, you can simply install 2 double glazed units in the same opening with an airspace.  When they're both closed you'll get an STC of 40+, probably better isolation than your exterior walls are giving you.  That's the cheapest way to do it.  Downside is that it looks kinda weird and most of the time, walls aren't wide enough to install them that way. 

Another option is to make a plug for the opening, out of wood (room darkening) or plexiglass (saving your view).  With good seals and thick material (in addition to new windows) you can also achieve STC 40.  Check [http://www.soundproofing.org/options_sound_control_for_windows.htm for details. 

I'd suggest investing in a sound meter.  If the average exterior noise is less than 70 dB, don't worry about it.  Ordinary windows will take care of it.

Based on admittedly limited experience, Andersen and Marvin windows are excellent.  Call your local window distributor and see if you can order/afford custom units with a thicker spacer (the metal strip between glass panes).  Sound isolation calls for a large airspace, but thermal performance maxxes out at 1" between panes.  It might be too expensive, but give it a try...                   

RadioCityBill

  • Guest
Re: Soundproof Replacement Windows
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2007, 11:21:59 PM »

Noise wise, I'm set back four houses from a main road that receives alot of truck traffic ... not to mention quite a bit of motorcycle traffic where they think noisy mufflers are "cool". I also have a train that passes on the opposite side of my home just on the other side of the lake. I'm sure I'm never going to get rid of that completely but it would be nice to tone it down. In the back bedroom that's still intact the motorcycle noise is as loud as a television set to a "low, comfortable, somewhat less than average" volume level.

As far as walls go, I gutted my living room as I didn't like the knotty pine and discovered no drywall and hardly any insulation within the walls. I'm going to opt for either fiberglass or cotton bats at an R13 value (leaning toward cotton batts) and toying with the idea of a mass vinyl barrier before the drywall. I'm also trying to compare standard drywall verses a product like Quietrock 525 (5/8" thick) to see if it's worth the added expense or should I just do two or three layers of conventional sheetrock (perhaps 1/4") to bring me to 3/4" thickness.

I'd like to avoid the window plug idea, as I would like to be able to open my windows, but I suppose that's one way to improve the end result. I just got a reponse back from Marvin along with a copy of page 43 from their Performance Education Handbook. It seems their windows average an STC of 28 and laminated glass will achieve an STC of 32. They have windows in their product line that rate up to a 42, but with no pricing I have no clue if I can easily afford those.

Also, thanks for the memory jog - I actually do own a sound level meter I use to use for work - now all I have to do is unearth it amoung all the boxes in my garage.

johnbergstromslc

  • Guest
Re: Soundproof Replacement Windows
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2007, 10:35:15 PM »

Now for the walls, I guess...

I would also personally recommend against Quietrock or MLV. 

What I've found works best is to convert the wall into a staggered stud wall, thickening the top and bottom plates, window and door studs and corners with 2X2's then adding the staggered interior studs.  You can then get R-19 into the cavities and with double drywall and good sealing, achieve an STC of 50, give or take, depending on the type of siding you have. 

You will lose 2" of space and will have to relocate electrical boxes and make provisions for trim, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper than Quietrock or MLV; for each 4 linear feet of wall it's 2 bucks to widen the plates, 6 bucks for studs, 8 bucks for the additional drywall - 16 dollars more.  The cheapest/least effective Quietrock is over $60 with shipping and the cheapest MLV I've seen is $48 for 32 sq. ft. 

You'll need access to a table saw to rip down trim extension pieces, though.     

You'll also save money on heating & cooling with thicker insulation.  And you won't have to wait for a specialty product to be shipped across the country; you can get it all at Lowes/Home Depot. 

I think with STC 50 walls and STC 32 windows, you'll be happy. 

By the way, window plugs can & should be made removable.  They just need to fit tightly in the opening with good perimeter seals to be effective.  I have plexiglass plugs with magnetic seals in my bedroom windows (in addition to custom IGU's with laminated glass) and they're quite easy to remove when I want to get some fresh air.  And at 1/2" thickness, they work freakin' great, too!!     

RadioCityBill

  • Guest
Re: Soundproof Replacement Windows
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2007, 11:22:59 PM »

Now for the walls, I guess...

I would also personally recommend against Quietrock or MLV. 

Any particular reason? Do these products not work or is it because of the alternative you offered below?

Quote from: johnbergstromslc
What I've found works best is to convert the wall into a staggered stud wall, thickening the top and bottom plates, window and door studs and corners with 2X2's then adding the staggered interior studs.  You can then get R-19 into the cavities and with double drywall and good sealing, achieve an STC of 50, give or take, depending on the type of siding you have. 

You will lose 2" of space and will have to relocate electrical boxes and make provisions for trim, but it's a hell of a lot cheaper than Quietrock or MLV; for each 4 linear feet of wall it's 2 bucks to widen the plates, 6 bucks for studs, 8 bucks for the additional drywall - 16 dollars more.  The cheapest/least effective Quietrock is over $60 with shipping and the cheapest MLV I've seen is $48 for 32 sq. ft.  (Super Soundproofing at http://www.soundproofing.org/infopages/flooring.htm).   

Unfortunately for me, this isn't a viable option. The house itself is tiny, and I mean TINY! This was one reason I was considering sound-reducing sheetrock and MLV barriers, even though I know the performance isn't as good as a double thick wall with staggaered studs.

Quote from: johnbergstromslc
I think with STC 50 walls and STC 32 windows, you'll be happy.  

Do you think I'll achieve a decent amount of noise abatement with a high density insulation and perhaps multiple layers (perhaps 3) of 1/4" sheetrock if you believe products like QuietRock or Surpress drywall products aren't effective enough?

Quote from: johnbergstromslc
By the way, window plugs can & should be made removable.  They just need to fit tightly in the opening with good perimeter seals to be effective.  I have plexiglass plugs with magnetic seals in my bedroom windows (in addition to custom IGU's with laminated glass) and they're quite easy to remove when I want to get some fresh air.  And at 1/2" thickness, they work freakin' great, too!!      

Sounds like this is certainly cheaper than buying those "add-on" windows offered by some. I'll have to revisit that once I get my walls back together and new replacement windows installed.

puckyhuddle2

  • Guest
Re: Soundproof Replacement Windows
« Reply #5 on: June 20, 2007, 08:30:59 PM »

I'm in the same boat. I'm on Long Island and all manufacturers with acoustical replacements don't distribure here (milgard, harvey).  I appreciate all answers and opinions, but really, plugging up the window with wood? Having 2 sets of windows? Why not just buy some soundproof headphones like they have at airports? That's just as practical, and much cheaper.

I did get STC info from Simonton windows, which are supposed to be very decent mid/higher-end windows.  Seems the way to go is a double glazed laminated window. Laminated seems to be the key to cutting sound. Simonton's 5500 series laminated had an STC of 35. Anything higher is probably overkill with an older house like mine, since the walls aren't muh better. I found a distributors price list on the web, and double hungs run about $325, but the laminate is another $10 per sq ft, which can add up. Probably $550 installed for average window.

RadioCityBill

  • Guest
Re: Soundproof Replacement Windows
« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2007, 08:51:40 PM »

Since I have my walls apart, adding or replacing insulation isn't a big deal (except for the cost) so i figured I'd try to get things a little bit better considering all the noise in the area. I spoke with a friend who is very knowledgeable on sound and he advised that unless I were to do with staggered stud construction walls that most imporvements will lessen higher frequency noise (voice range) and not do all that much for the low frequency noise (traffic, passing rail trains, etc). I'm going to try to do as much as I can but I guess there's a practical limit I'm going to reach due to budget constraints.

I found that Marvin windows also provides STC info, with their windows averaging in the STC 32 range with figures going up to 42 or so. It was suggested adding storm windows will improve that figure, but I'll need to confirm that the windows will not suffer any ill effects with the storms due to heat, etc.

There has to be some good products out there - I see noise abatement programs implemented at airports such as Boston's Logan Airport and there has to be products that will provide reasonable performance - it's just trying to find them!

Gee, all this just for a little quiet.

bjnash

  • Guest
Re: Soundproof Replacement Windows
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2007, 01:36:08 AM »

Living in Connecticut, some of the more popular brands (i.e., Milgard) just aren't available in my area. I need to replace all the windows on my newly purchased home (between the fact they are drafty and not very energy efficient and let vast amounts of exterior noise in)Most manufacturers I've queried don't have any idea about STC or what their windows can or can't do, noise wise.

I'm hoping someone may be able to reccomend a few window brands and/or companies that sell sound deadening windows. Since the existing windows are at least 40+ years old I know this is my first step before I consider any other window approach.

I thank you in advance.

Bill

Remember the difference between a acoustical window and a ordinary double or triple paned window is: THE STC!  If the manufacturor can't give you an STC, he hasn't a clue as to how well it will block sound over the required frequency range.

Also, STC can be misleading as a window may turn in terrific sound blocking at easily attained higher frequencies, but not at the lower wher it's most needed.  One needs to review the STC curve to see this.

Milguard seems to have the best window.

Interior window?  See http://www.soundproofing.org/sales/magnetseal_windows.htm

BJ Nash - Senior Soundproofing Technical Specialist
Super Soundproofing Co
www.soundproofing.org
888-942-7723

johnbergstromslc

  • Guest
Re: Soundproof Replacement Windows
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2007, 10:10:20 PM »

RadioCityBill:

Quietrock and Supress do work - my issue is cost.  If you screw up with a piece of drywall, it's no big deal.  You might be able to use the scrap for something later and, if not, it's only 8 bucks gone.  Quietrock/Supress will cost you $60+ per error.  If you're a do-it-yourselfer, you will make mistakes. 

Since you apparently don't have the space to sacrifice for a staggered stud wall, you can make your own Quietrock. 

First, drywall:  Forget about this 1/4" stuff.  5/8" is what you need.  More mass = better soundproofing.  Put on the first layer, seal the joints, edges, gaps, etc, mud and tape.

Then, put up a second layer of 1/2" or 5/8" with Green Glue - sold on this website.  Green Glue provides a viscoelastic damping layer in between the drywall, just like Quietrock or Supress.  Works the exact same way.  The recommended 'dose' is 2 tubes/sheet ($30/sheet) but you can use just half of that and get good performance, too.  At 1 tube/sheet, plus an extra layer of drywall, it will run you $23-25 more per sheet than a normal drywall job.  A bit more expensive (and less effective) than staggered studs, but a hell of a lot cheaper than Quietrock.  You'll enjoy doing it yourself, too....     

First, check out all the details at: thegreengluecompany.com

Regarding the windows:
Maybe it would be a good idea to forget about all the 'research'.  Call a local window manufacturer, talk to a salesman and ask him to give you a quote for for the extra cost of laminated glass in a regular double-glazed unit.  Pretty sure that will be the most cost-effective way to go. 

RadioCityBill

  • Guest
Re: Soundproof Replacement Windows
« Reply #9 on: June 25, 2007, 12:59:06 AM »

RadioCityBill:

Quietrock and Supress do work - my issue is cost.  If you screw up with a piece of drywall, it's no big deal.  You might be able to use the scrap for something later and, if not, it's only 8 bucks gone.  Quietrock/Supress will cost you $60+ per error.  If you're a do-it-yourselfer, you will make mistakes. 

Since you apparently don't have the space to sacrifice for a staggered stud wall, you can make your own Quietrock. 

First, drywall:  Forget about this 1/4" stuff.  5/8" is what you need.  More mass = better soundproofing.  Put on the first layer, seal the joints, edges, gaps, etc, mud and tape.

Believe me, this is one thing that bothered me about buying "engineered" sheetrock - also worrying about damage caused at delivery. With regular drywall I can afford to buy some extra to have the spares handy in case of an accident.

Quote from: johnbergstromslc
Then, put up a second layer of 1/2" or 5/8" with Green Glue - sold on this website. 

OK, I can't find a link to it - a little help please?

Quote from: johnbergstromslc
Regarding the windows:
Maybe it would be a good idea to forget about all the 'research'.  Call a local window manufacturer, talk to a salesman and ask him to give you a quote for for the extra cost of laminated glass in a regular double-glazed unit.  Pretty sure that will be the most cost-effective way to go. 

Sounds like a plan - I hope to do that tomorrow. I appreciate your insight on this.

Bill

johnbergstromslc

  • Guest
Re: Soundproof Replacement Windows
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2007, 12:12:02 AM »

Radio:

Here's a link to a purchase page for Green Glue:

http://www.soundproofing.org/ggpages.htm

It looks like it's 18 bucks/tube individually, just under 15 bucks/tube when you buy 12.  Don't know about shipping - it'll probably tell you that when you 'checkout' and give them your credit card info.

If you need better installation instructions, check out the link I gave you to the manufacturer.  They have a lot of info on their site.   

joel

  • Guest
Re: Soundproof Replacement Windows
« Reply #11 on: October 15, 2008, 10:34:39 PM »

Here's the actual Green Glue installation guide link:
http://www.soundproofing.org/greenGlueApplication.pdf