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Author Topic: Am I on the Right Track?  (Read 4143 times)


  • Guest
Am I on the Right Track?
« on: May 21, 2013, 06:13:54 PM »

Hello All,

First of all, thank you for this resource, it has been an excellent place to learn about what is effective, and what is not!

About 8 months ago I bought a townhouse on a fairly busy street, and I am now in the process of attempting to add in some soundproofing features that will make the space more "friendly" to those of us that are more sensitive to the noise (namely me!).

I have always lived on busy urban streets in apartments that are located directly on main roads.  It never bothered me before, and I did not anticipate that this would bother me at all.  We loved the home and bought it because it suited our needs perfectly, but now that I have become sensitive to the noise, I cannot simply un-notice it.  My concerns grew over time and I started to panic about buying a home on a noisy street that no one could possibly want - and since the market has slowed down quite a lot in our area, its a major worry for me.

The option to sell is there, but I would prefer to invest some money to make the situation better, and increase the home's value (and market appeal) in the event that we do sell.

We live in Vancouver (British Columbia), and I have contacted a few window suppliers locally to see if they have any experience in soundproofing windows, and if they could manage the install.  I have included this email below as well for your knowledge.

Based on the facts regarding my home, and the knowledge that I have gained on this forum, I want to make sure I am on the right track to addressing my issues, and I wanted to see if anyone here had any personal experience, or professional input that would help.

The Home
-  2 storey townhouse, very close to a busy street - maybe 30 feet away.  This street has two lanes each way and is an arterial road, but is literally lined with townhouses for miles (so obviously others are living with the noise!)
-  Built last year - very new construction.  Wood Frame with Hardie Board siding and excellent RW values in the roof insulation.
-  Almost all of the windows are horizontal sliders, and they are vinyl frames with double paned standard glass IGU's
-  Two spare bedrooms face the street, as does our living room
-  approximate window measurements are below in the email I sent to the window providers

I have spoken with a couple of local people and most of the suppliers suggest getting the IGU's replaced with laminated glass sealed units with each pane measuring 6.30mm.  As far as I understand it, this will reduce some noise because of the thickness of the glass, but it will not cut the noise tremendously, and there is still the question of how good the frames are and how much they might leak sound.  I also considered going with one pane of laminated glass on the outside, and standard glass on the inside in order to battle resonance, but the other concerns are still there. 

I am willing to add in an interior storm window (like soundproof windows), and I have enough sill space to be able to have the glass at least 3" apart and still have room for my blinds.  My big question is - will this perform significantly better than changing the IGU's and what are the best specs given my current set-up (should I get 6mm laminated glass storm windows, or change the IGU's and add a storm window of standard glass?).

Is there anything else I should be keeping in mind?

Thanks so much all, I will post the email that I sent to the window suppliers in another post since I am sure I have exceeded the character count


  • Guest
Re: Am I on the Right Track?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2013, 06:15:56 PM »

Email I sent to suppliers



Good Morning,

Last winter I bought a townhouse on a busy road, and over time the noise has started to bother me.  Since then I have looked into some soundproofing options, and as far as I understand it the windows are the best place to start.

The home is new and was built less than one year ago with mostly vinyl slider frames and a couple of small fixed windows.  All of the IGU’s are dual pane 3mm glass (cardinal Low E 179 Glass).

I understand that replacing the IGU’s in the frame with thicker or laminated glass may address some of the noise, but I do not believe it will be enough for me to appreciate the difference.  Because I am in a strata property, I cannot simply replace all the windows with a specially made sound control window.  However, I understand that one of the best methods to control sound through windows is by adding a second interior window with laminated glass mounted a couple of inches back from our existing window. This is the option I am looking to explore.

Overall, my home has 10 windows.  The windows break down as follows:
•   2x large sliders in master bedroom and living room.  Two operable panes.  Total window size approximately 6ft tall by 8ft wide.
•   4x small windows.  Fixed.  1.5 ft x 1.5 ft
•   2x small sliders in stairwell and dining room.  2 total panes, one operable pane – approximately 3.5 ft tall by 4.5 ft wide
•   2x three pane sliders in the bedrooms.  One operable pane on each window, approximately 3.5ft tall by 5.5 ft wide

There are two upstairs bedrooms with windows facing the busy street.  These are the three pane sliders with one operable pane.  One of those bedrooms has an additional fixed window (the small 1.5x1.5ft)

I would like to try adding in second windows to these two bedrooms to start, and if they decrease the noise by a noticeable amount then I will do the rest of the house.  Based on everything I have read, the best way to achieve maximum performance for low frequency traffic noise is to go with mass and an air gap as large as possible.  Laminated glass seems to be the best choice for sound attenuation so I would like to go with a single lite, relatively thick, and match the structure of my existing operable windows.

I have several questions for you regarding this, and would like to hear your feedback.  Should everything sound good, then I would like to book an appointment to get this done as soon as possible.

1.   Do you have experience with this type of installation?  Specifically for noise control?
2.   What kind of performance could I expect with a second window – specifically with regards to sound attenuation?  If you could give me an idea of what this type of installation would give me for an STC rating that would be great!
3.   Approximately how much would this cost to do?
4.   Approximately how long would it take to get the windows installed?
5.   Will it be removable in the future?
6.   How big does the gap between the two windows need for optimum results?
7.   Could there be any foreseeable moisture problems between the two windows?
8.   What is the process for consultation and installation?

Additionally, do you also do window screens?  I would like to get some of those made for all of our windows as well.

Thank you very much for your time in this – I look forward to speaking with you soon.


  • Guest
Re: Am I on the Right Track?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2013, 04:26:36 AM »


Just about any laminated glass will improve your sound transmission loss as long as it is SEALED. Your problem may be the seal on the window unit rather than the material that it is made from.

Usually, vinyl windows are installed in one piece on the framing - without any caulking or seal. Sound can/will enter any cracks that it can find. Good thermal insulation requires that ALL gaps be sealed at two points; outside and inside. A good non-hardening caulk should be used for this. THis can also double as a sound-proofing measure.

Check the the seal mechanism on the window. It must be soft rubber and NOT open-cell foam or felt. It must also go around the entire perimeter of the window, WITHOUT GAPS, 360 degrees... complete seal.

Thick glass is ALWAYS best. Mass is your friend when attempting to sound-proof. I have several calculators available on my publications page. Also you might find my paper 'How to find out how much isolation you need' helpful.



  • Guest
Re: Am I on the Right Track?
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2014, 06:56:37 PM »

Is there any update from the OP?