Noise pollution is an unfortunate byproduct of modern life. Luckily, solutions like acoustic windows have been developed to mitigate this. Sound insulating glass is a special type of glass designed to minimize the transfer of sound waves. Often called soundproof glass, there are actually many levels of acoustic insulation which offer differing levels of reduction. This is measured in decibels, or dB for short. Typical use cases are homes located in busy urban areas, near streets with heavy traffic or airports..
Levels of Soundproof Windows
Sound is a form of acoustic energy, specifically vibrations traveling in waves through the air. To achieve better noise reduction, the energy of these sound waves must be reduced. Absolute soundproofing which allows no noise whatsoever is usually impossible in standard residential construction. This is why noise reduction is measured in different classes and unless you're a recording studio, 100% soundproofing is unnecessary. We offer three different types of sound insulation glazing for windows and doors.
Sound Protection Class 2 - 32 dB
Class 2 is best for residential streets with 10 - 50 vehicles per hour and 30 meter (100 ft) distance between the house and street.
The acoustical glazing has a sound insulation value of up to 32 decibels. They are constructed with 4 mm float glass externally, a 16 mm gap between panes and another 4 mm float glass on the interior side. The overall thickness measures 24 mm.
Sound Protection Class 3 - 37 dB
Designed for residential streets with 50 - 200 vehicles per hour and an average 30 m (100 ft) distance between house and street.
The glazing has a sound insulation value of 37 decibels. They are constructed with 8 mm float glass externally, a 16 mm gap between panes and 4 mm float glass internally. The overall thickness measures 28 mm.
Sound Protection Class 4 - 43 dB
Class 4 is aimed at those on major streets with 1000 - 3000 vehicles per hour and a 10 - 30 m distance between house and street.
The glazing has a sound insulation value of 43 decibels. The pane construction consists of 9 mm cast resin externally, a 12 mm gap between panes and 6 mm of float glass internally (9/12/6). The overall thickness then measures 27 mm.
Sound Insulation Glass vs Standard Glazing
At first glance, sound insulation glass appears to simply be standard double glazing. This is not the case. The design of noise reduction windows offers several special features which insulate against outside noise. First, the individual glass panes are thicker and the air cavity between them is larger. This reduces the resonance of loud noises by making it more difficult for sound waves to move through the window. The more difficult it is, the more energy the sound waves lose making them quieter.
Another special feature which can be added is filling the space between each piece of glass with an inert gas like argon. These gases are more difficult than normal air for sound to pass through, again lowering the energy and thus volume.
Finally, the entire window must be carefully sealed to eliminate and prevent any air space or existing gaps between the wall and frame. Otherwise, you are creating problems with both soundproofing and condensation.
Acoustical Windows are only as Good as their Installation
Noise can be an ongoing source of annoyance and stress for homeowners. Whether planes overhead, cars outside or a neighbor's dog that never stops barking, it can have a very real and very negative effect on your quality of life.
We offer Aluplast vinyl frame windows with sound insulation in classes two through four. However, soundproof glass is only as good as its installation. Ensuring an airtight installation, eliminating extra room between the wall and frame and properly sealing edges will all help achieve maximum performance. Whatever your project, if sound insulation and eliminating as much exterior noise as possible is your goal, it is critical to let a certified craftsmen do the work.