Are you tired of hearing that traffic noise or noisy neighbors? Unfortunately your window is probably the biggest culprit for letting outside traffic noise in.
Does that mean you have to board up your windows to get some peace and quiet? Thankfully, that’s not the case. Instead, you can soundproof your windows and get good results even if you live on a busy street.
Don’t worry, below we’ll not only be discussing 8 easy ways that you can soundproof your windows from traffic noise.
Let's soundproof that window!
Buy Noise Blocking Window Film
What on earth is noise blocking film? A noise blocking window film is basically a high density flexible plastic or vinyl type film that you stick onto your window. Glass vibrates really easily and so it passes sound straight through.
When you stick a layer of film on your window it reduces any vibrations which helps block out traffic and other outside noise. It works a lot like soundproof wallpaper in that respect. Except it's transparent.
All you have to do is peel the film off its sheet and gently press it onto the windowpane, ensuring that it covers the windowpane completely. These soundproofing window kits work really well to block street noise coming through your window.
Install or Replace the Weather Stripping Tape
This method of soundproofing your windows against traffic noise is another easy method to follow that isn’t expensive. It not only keeps noise out but also keeps heat in, so it’s especially useful in Winter. Using weatherstripping tape is especially helpful if your windows are not sealed properly.
You can install weatherstripping tape on your own without any professional help. All you need is some cleaning supplies for the window frame, a pair of scissors and the weatherstripping tape. It’s important to note that there are different kinds of weatherstripping tape, made out of various materials.
Which weatherstripping tape should you use? Well, that really depends on how big the gaps are around your windows. Keep in mind, that the weatherstripping tape is going to show up quite clearly, so you might want to choose a tape that’s more pleasing to the eye.
Foam tape is known to be one of the best weatherstripping tapes around because it fits onto the window frame tightly but doesn’t stop you from being able to open and close the window. This works well to soundproof a door too.
This is probably your easiest noise reduction win if you want to know how to soundproof a window in an apartment.
While weatherstripping can be used on windows that have not been sealed correctly, there are other ways that you can seal gaps. Here’s what you can use:
- Standard or Sanded Caulk
Caulk can be used to fill gaps that are up to 1/8 of an inch in width. If the window is situated next to a tiled wall, purchase a caulk that’s the same colour as the grout in the tiles. The Window & Door Max Shield All Weather Caulk is a standard caulk that can be used, and it does the trick. I’d also like to add that there are quite a few colours available so that’s a huge bonus. Maybe you’ve got bigger gaps to fill, that are more than 1/8 of an inch in width. In that case, you’ll want to use a sanded caulk.
We've done some reviews of the best acoustic sealant options on the market.
- Foam Fill
Foam fill is a pretty handy mixture that seals gaps from the inside. Low-expansion foam is one of the best foams you can use to seal window gaps. Why not use high expansion foam?
Low expansion foam expands up to 30 times its size and is suitable for filling small holes, openings, and cracks. On the other hand, high expansion foam expands up to 300 times its size, so you can understand why you wouldn’t use it to seal a gap around your window. The Loctite Foam Window & Door Sealant is a good one to use.
Hang Soundproof Window Curtains
Honestly, the method of hanging up curtains is not as effective as the other methods we’ve mentioned but we must admit that it’s far more attractive. And, if you’ve already got curtains hanging up over your windows, then you don’t need to go through the trouble of buying and installing curtain rods.
What exactly do soundproof window curtains do though? You’ve probably guessed it already; these curtains are designed to absorb sound.
Do soundproof curtains work? They reduce outside noise but don't block it completely. Any noise that comes through window has to move through the curtains first before it enters the room. It’s like using furniture to absorb sound but these curtains are actually designed to do that.
Not sure where to find soundproof curtains? You can check out our reviews of the best soundproof curtains.
Replace Your Regular Window Glass with Laminated Glass
Laminated glass is commonly known for its ability to absorb noise because of how it’s designed. Laminated glass is made up of 3 layers. Two of those layers are panes of glass and the third or middle layer is plastic.
This middle layer absorbs sound. Replacing your windowpane with laminated glass might be one of the most effective ways to reduce outside noise. Laminated glass can reduce noise by 20 decibels if it’s installed properly.
Can you replace the window yourself? Yes, you can. Take a look at how you can do it:
What You Need:
- Different size pry bars
- Putty knife
- Silicone or Caulk
- Before you do anything, you need to make sure that you have the right size laminated glass pane. It would be a good idea to take the measurements of the existing windowpane and have a laminated glass pane cut to the same size.
- If your window has been designed with a strip in the frame, you’ll need to use the pry bar to lift the strip and remove it.
- Now you’ll need to create a gap between the windowpane and the outside frame, using the pry bar or putty knife. Just like you did in step 2, pry the frame away from the glass all along the sides so that you can remove it the windowpane.
- Now you’re going to focus on removing the old silicone and replacing it with new silicone. Wherever you see silicone on the inside of the window frame where the windowpane was, use the putty knife to remove it. You can apply the silicone along all the edges on the inside of the window frame or to be safe, you can put the silicone where it was originally.
- Insert the new window into position. You have to insert the bottom of the windowpane at an angle and then slowly position it upright until it fits into place.
- Pop the strips back in and there you have it!
Install Window Inserts
Noise reduction window inserts are panels of glass that you insert into the window frame, leaving a gap between the existing glass and the insert. The space in between the two panes prevents sound vibrations from moving through the insert and into your home. The best window inserts you can get are made from laminated glass.
As you would’ve seen above, laminated glass is incredibly helpful when you’re trying to combat loud sounds. The laminated glass has a middle layer or intervening layer that is made from plastic. This does a great job of blocking outside traffic noise from coming in through the window.
How To Install Window Inserts:
- Do a test to see whether the insert will fit into the window frame. Don’t remove the film yet. Rest the base of the window insert on the windowsill. Evenly align the window insert in the frame by checking how much overlap there is on both sides.
- Make sure that the compression is even on both sides by nudging it to the right or to the left. Once the bottom is evenly aligned, you can tuck in the corners and push the bottom into place. Make sure that both sides of the bottom are evenly compressed.
- Working upwards, gently push the sides of the insert into the frame.
- Once you get to the top, press the middle edge into the window frame and work your way out to the corners.
- If your test fit was successful, you can go ahead and install the window insert. The installation is very similar to the test fit, but you’ll need to do some other things first. (Your window insert may have come with a safety chain, if that is the case, you’ll need to install safety chain brackets).
- With the backside of the window insert facing you, start at the upper corner of the window insert and remove the film slowly, pulling it off at an angle. Wipe it down with a microfibre cloth and a cleaning solution.
- Before you place the window insert into the window frame, ensure that the windowsill is clean. Static can attract dust particles to the backside of the window insert.
- Push the window insert into place as you did during the test fit. If you need to adjust the compression tubing, just pinch it, and pull the tubing into place.
- Now you can peel the front of the film off.
Use Furniture or Household Items to Absorb Sound
If you’re not wanting to go through lots of trouble to soundproof your window, then you should try placing furniture or household items either in front of the window or you can just add more furniture to the room.
The more objects you have in the room the more sound will be absorbed. It will definitely contribute to a quieter space but be aware that it won’t make a huge difference.
Flat and sturdy surfaces are not going to help much with sound reduction, but if you invest in some soft, uneven furniture or surfaces, that will help to absorb the sound waves coming through your window.
You probably really like your windows and don’t want to cover them up but if you feel like you can do without one, you can also cover the window completely. For example, you could put a bookcase in front of the window. The bookcase would absorb most of the noise so that you don’t have to.
Make a Window Plug
A window plug prevents noise from entering or exiting an area. It’s a much cheaper option to choose from when it comes to soundproofing windows and it’s known to be quite effective. A window plug is made using highly density materials (for example, Mass Loaded Vinyl) that contribute to the absorption of sounds on either side of it.
You have the choice of making either a temporary or permanent window plug. If you’re working or living in an area where there’s constant noise, you’ll want to make a permanent window plug. Otherwise, you can make a temporary window plug which you can use any time it’s needed.
How To Make a Window Plug:
- Utility knife
- Caulking Gun
- Staple gun
- One 1/2" x 4' x 4' of MDF (medium density fibreboard)
- Green Glue
- Acoustic foam
- Neoprene mat
- Spray glue
- Weatherstripping tape
- First, you need to measure the interior of the window well. Write down the measurements for the length, width, and depth of the window well. You should allocate roughly half the depth for dead-air space to help combat low-frequency noise.
- Cut the MDF board, using the measurements you took in step 1.
- Do the same for the neoprene foam and mass loaded vinyl.
- Secure all the materials together with bond or spray glue. If you’re worried that the materials aren’t secure enough, you can use a staple gun as well.
- Lastly, attach the handles to the outside of the MDF board.
Not everyone is a fan of window plugs because they get inserted over the opening of your window and tend to block out incoming sunlight.
If you’re using a temporary window plug, it won’t be too much of a problem because you can remove it at any time to let the sunlight in.
But, if you’re in desperate need of a permanent window plug, there is a way to ensure that it allows sunlight to shine through. Simply place a layer of reflective film between the window and the side of the plug pressed up against it.
While not quite as effective you could also attach a blockout fabric shade. It attaches with velcro so it's much easier to install.
Soundproofing your windows is not something to be left to the professionals. Anyone can do it with the right tools. Once you'd soundproofed your window check out our tips on how to soundproof the rest of your room.
If the steps laid out under the different solutions don’t quite make sense, and you need to see someone doing it themselves, then go ahead and watch a YouTube tutorial.
Try the cheapest, simplest solutions before the more expensive ones. Cheap doesn’t always mean that it won’t work. If you want to soundproof your window to block outside traffic noise you may need a combination of the solutions we described above.