Hi there, are you wondering whether triple-pane windows are worth it when it comes to noise reduction? Just how effective are they, anyway? After being in the window installation business for close to 30 years, we here at Rescom Exteriors are happy to share some of the basics.
Let’s get you up to speed.
First, here’s the bottom line:
“No ordinary residential windows are completely 100% soundproofed. Like light, sound is a powerful force in our universe!”
If you have an extreme budget though, you could have some unique, ultra-soundproofed, super-thick, and custom-made windows but to say they’re expensive would be an understatement.
- There are many…many different sounds out there. They all fall along the frequency spectrum from high-pitched to low.
- These pitched sounds travel through the air and through many different materials.
- The two ways of measuring sounds are by Sound Transmission Class (STC) and Outdoor/Indoor Transmission Class (OITC).
- Each major triple-pane window manufacturer (as well as single and double-pane), has its own ratings dependant on the type of window, type of glass, type of insulation, etc.
The higher your STC number, the more soundproofed.
The scale starts at 25, which is where you can hear people speaking through a wall. From there, it goes up until you hit 40 — this is considered the privacy threshold — where most sounds fall off the audible radar. Louder sounds become blocked at 50, and at 60, you’re probably in some kind of building that has to do with music or a high-tech 5-star hotel.
- Single Pane = 26-28
- Double Pane = 26-32 (34 with dissimilar glass panes)
- Triple-Pane = 28-35
These are just basic numbers, but they give you a good idea. So, single-pane windows are like the walls in really cheap motels. A double-pane can get much better, more like the walls in nice residential homes. With our Triple-Pane Windows, it’s a little better like a 5-star resort, but about the same as high-grade double glazed.
Windows are basically a stumbling block for sound. They get in the way and force the sound waves to travel through their panes of glass/framing. As they do, the sound waves gets muffled, weakened, absorbed, reflected, and minimized.
The specifics of windows that help them reduce more and more noise are:
- Specialized laminated panes of glass.
- Increasing the distance between panes of glass.
- Space between the panes of glass filled with different gasses.
- Lab-tested weatherstripping helps further reduce sound.
- Perfect, air-tight seals and installation.
- Mixed thicknesses of glass, so the windows can dampen different sounds and frequencies.
If you’re purchasing new windows ONLY for noise reduction, then triple-pane will likely not show enough of a difference. Most would consider the increase over laminated, dissimilar glass double pane windows negligible. But honestly, people invest in triple-pane windows for improved security, energy efficiency, and insulation.
Why aren’t 3 panes better than 2? Because of space. With 3 panes, you get a lot of benefits but it also means there’s less space between the glass.
As sound waves move through windows they become weaker. Walls are one thing, but when it comes to glass these days you have a variety of choices to help increase your STC ratings. Don’t expect your windows to be completely soundproofed, though.
Imagine you’re in a busy train terminal. If you were to sit in a sealed glass cubicle with high-end triple-pane windows, the sound will be dramatically lower. Most low sounds would be gone altogether. The louder noises would be muffled, and the nearby high-pitched squeals of the trains wouldn’t be as bad either.
If your New England home could use replacement windows and you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of triple-pane, Contact Rescom Exteriors. We’ve been at it for close to 30 years, and we’re happy to answer your questions. Thanks for your time today.
Give Us A Call: (508) 233-3000