Urban homes frequently experience a number of noise pollution from traffic, school zones, airports, construction and buses. Outside noise generally leaks through windows and doors with poor seals or gaps. A lot of products can help block or absorb sound from coming in through windows. The best method depends on the seriousness of the sound coming through, your aesthetic and also your budget.

Light Sound Blocking

Acoustical or soundproof curtains are some of the easiest-to-install options for blocking outside sound. These heavy curtains have an insulating material that serves as a barrier to sound, heat, heat or cold coming through the window, however they are more efficient at blocking out light and outside temperatures than sound. The curtains may also help absorb sound within the space by reducing reverberation and echo. Acoustic curtains can be custom-ordered to fit any size of window or door or may be used as a room divider. Fabric alternatives include suede, microfiber, velour and velvet.

Alternative to Curtains

Designed to reduce aircraft and traffic noise, acoustical shutters are a patented product offering an alternate solution for sound insulation on windows. All these plantation-style wood shutters promise to reduce noise by 25 to 50 decibels. Customizable, the shutters can be made to any size, completed with any paint colour or wood stain and also customized to fit French doors or sliding glass doors.

Blocking the Source

Sound travels via vibrating air molecules, so preventing that vibration is a significant element in blocking sound. Soundproof window inserts are just like a second set of windows positioned behind the existing windows. These windows include laminated glass with an inner plastic layer that prevents vibrations. A pocket of air between every window adds additional insulation from vibrations. Spring-loaded seals at the frame compress the glass panels to stop vibration as well. Window inserts additionally prevent dust, dirt and pollen from entering the room. The glass panels can be raised and lowered the same as a regular window when fresh air is desired.

Plug the Leaks

Reinforcing window frames with caulking and weather stripping helps enhance the window’s ability to block sound, but to truly soundproof a window, then you’ll need a treatment made for this function. Window plugs, which behave as sound blockers but also block the view and light, are made from 2-inch-thick closed cell foam mats. The mat is attached to a lightweight backing board made from composite materials such as MDF. The plug must fit the window cavity snugly, without gaps in which sound could bleed through. Attaching a handle to the backside of this plug helps with easy insertion and removal. Window plugs are a good option for bedroom windows, especially in the event that you work at night and need a quiet, dark environment to sleep during the day.