Soundproofing Windows & Doors

We often take quiet spaces for granted. They are the still spots that slot seamlessly into the world around us. Rows of green-lamped desks that line dusk libraries. The English garden, rose and lily jewelled. The time spent between cotton sheets on sunny Sunday mornings with cups of tea.

But living in the city we can find those seconds of stillness stolen from us. The time that we spend realigning, breathing easy, lost to the ceaseless sounds of planes, trains, cars and the noise of eight million people living on top of one another.

We don’t think that’s right.

The Science of Sound

Sound is a pressure wave that travels to your ears by making the molecules in the material between you and the source vibrate. In order to make the journey, a sound will sacrifice a small fraction of its energy to pass onto the next molecule, meaning the loudness of the sound will diminish the further it has to travel.

Fairly straightforward – except not all materials are made the same. For instance, air is actually a poor conductor of sound because its molecules are spread further apart, requiring more energy to pass from one to the next. Aluminium is a great conductor of sound because its atoms are all packed closely together in a uniform lattice, meaning it will easily vibrate. However, other solids such as brick, which have an irregular structure, don’t conduct sound well because they aren’t easily vibrated.

So when it comes to soundproofing, there are two major things we can do to decrease the energy of the sound: give it a longer journey, and make it travel through non-conducting materials. This is achieved by putting more mass in the way of the sound, and using special ‘unvibratable’ substances.

How Sound is Measured

The loudness of a sound depends on how much energy is behind it, and is described by the amplitude of the wave which is measured in decibels (dB). The pitch of the sound is determined by the frequency of the wave cycle per second and is measured in hertz (Hz). So, the higher the decibels, the louder the sound, and the larger the hertz, the more high pitched it is.

Understanding Decibels

The decibel is a logarithmic scale and goes up by a factor of 10 for every increase of 10 decibels. This means that an increase or decrease of just a few decibels translates to a considerable difference in the perceived loudness of a sound.

Sounds of the City and the Suburbs

When Sound Becomes Noise

Living in central London you can practically set your watch to the planes roaring overhead. And mornings wouldn’t quite be the same if it wasn’t for big red buses and little black cabs. In fact, you have probably already found yourself acclimatised to the ambient noise around you. It’s the exceptions – the revving motorbike, the odd barking dog, sudden sirens – that tend to stick out the most.

The actual definition of noise will depend on your specific sensitivity to sound – and this can be affected by a whole range of factors. On the extreme end, some people will suffer from hyperacusis, where sounds such as neighbour’s TVs or car engines can seem much louder than they should. This can be caused by other underlying conditions and affects around 1 in 50,000 people.

To most it’s simply agitations, but those agitations can quickly become serious problems. When they start distracting you from your work, interrupting your sleep and affecting your health, it’s not just noise anymore. It’s pollution that is affecting your life. And much like air pollution, something needs to be done about it before the effects become grave.

The most common noise complaints are:

  • Traffic noise
  • Construction
  • Anti-social behaviour
  • Barking dogs
  • Music
  • Airplanes

Did You Know?

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that noise pollution causes Europeans to lose over 1 million years of healthy living per year.

Source: newscientist.com

Sleep, Noise Pollution and Your Health

It’s one thing to get enough hours of sleep every night, but it is the quality of your sleep that’s most important. Being disturbed by noise pollution, and having your sleep cycle constantly disrupted, has serious knock-on effects that not only affect your performance the following day, but can wreak havoc with your mental and physical well-being.

Night Noise Guidelines

WHO guidelines recommend bedroom noise does not exceed 30dB (LAeq) at night to ensure good quality sleep. For the rest of the house, the WHO recommends an annual average of under 40dB (LAeq) to prevent adverse health effects from night noise.

How Big is the Problem?

  • 40% of people in the UK are exposed to road traffic noise exceeding 55dB.
  • 20% of people are exposed to levels exceeding 65dB during the day.
  • 30% of people are exposed to levels exceeding 55dB at night.

Source: eea.auropa.eu

Your Sleep Cycle

Key to getting a good night’s sleep is the ability to pass through all five stages of the sleep cycle four to six times per night. If you wake up feeling groggy in the mornings, or like you need to get a few more hours’ shut eye, your sleep cycles are likely being disturbed.

Always Alert

When you’re asleep your brain is still very much awake and continues to process the sounds around you. Sudden or loud noises can easily snap you out of any stage of your cycle and disrupt vital regenerative processes.

120 Minute Sleep Cycle

Light Sleep

Stage 1

The transition from being awake to being asleep.

~5 Minutes

Light Sleep

Stage 2

During this time your memories and emotions are processed, and your metabolism is regulated. Your temperature drops and your body prepares to enter deep sleep.

~55 Minutes

Deep Sleep

Stages 3 & 4

Also known as delta sleep, during this time your body repairs muscles, boosts immune function, releases hormones and replenishes energy stores for the day ahead.

~30 Minutes

REM Sleep

REM

This is when you dream. During this period of rapid eye movement, your body is inactive whilst your mind is at its most active. Your memories and emotions are regulated and your body synthesises most protein, which is important to ensure you remain healthy and strong.

~30 Minutes

Noise and Your Health

When it comes to your wellbeing, poor sleep is just one factor affected by noise. Regular exposure to elevated sound levels can cause increases in hypertension (blood pressure) and cardiovascular diseases, as well as hearing damage and an impaired immune system.

Mental Health

Headaches

20% of people suffering from noise pollution count headaches as one of the side effects.

Source: sciencedirect.com

Stress

Exposure to loud noises causes a stress response. Chronic exposure to loud noises keeps stress levels elevated for longer.

Impaired Learning

In children, exposure to noise has proven to impair longterm memory, reading and speech perception.

Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Anxiety

A 28% increase in anti-anxiety medication has been associated with a 10dB increase in aircraft noise.

Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Physical Health

Hypertention

The HYENA study found that for every 10dB increase in nighttime aircraft noise, the frequency of hypertension increased by 14%.

Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

Heart Disease

The relative risk of heart disease increases by 6% per 10dB increase in exposure to transport noise over 50dB.

Source: sciencedirect.com

Strokes

People exposed to higher levels of road traffic are 14% more likely to suffer from stroke, especially those over 65.

Source: academic.oup.com

Diabetes

Exposure to road traffic noise has been shown to correlate with incidences of road residential transport noise.

Source: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

£7-10 Billion

The estimated annual cost of urban road noise pollution according to the UK government. This places it alongside the cost of road traffic accidents at £9 billion.

Source: gov.uk

How Noise Gets In

If there’s a way for noise to get in – it will. Noise is a pressure wave that will travel through the path of least resistance until it finally loses energy. This means that your walls might be doing their best to block it out, but if your windows are weak, you’re going to have a problem. To put this into perspective, the walls of your average London brick terrace will have an acoustic performance of ~55dB. The single glazed sash? Only between 10-15dB.

Windows are the main culprit when it comes to noise entering the home. This is because they are thinner than most other parts of the building – it’s not because glass is a good conductor of sound. The problem is made worse, however, by poor fitting of windows that create air gaps, and is compounded by the fact that up to 70% of a building’s outward facing structure is comprised of windows.

Doors are the next problem, and again the issue is the same. If the door is thin, made of inappropriate material or was poorly installed, noise is going to creep its way both through the door and around the frame.

Ventilation, whilst it does its job, is simply a hole in the building. Noise will happily filter its way through. The good news is that there are specialist noise reduction ventilation systems that can be installed which will reduce noise pollution while still ensuring good airflow.

Lofts and roofs are also a good entry point for noise as they tend to be made of thin tiles and thermal insulation. Thankfully this problem can be tackled by installing acoustic insulation and plasterboard in the loft.

How to Make Your Home More Tranquil

When it comes to actually reducing noise in your property, there are many solutions out there on the market. But with so many options to choose from it can be a bit of a headache deciding which is best for you.

To make your life a little bit easier, we’ve compared the strengths and weaknesses of some of the most popular products available.

Sound Blocking Curtains

Price: £

Performance:

Pros

  • These are the most affordable of the ‘solutions’ available on the market.

Cons

  • Tests have found that installing these curtains has a very marginal effect on reducing noise, and are recommended only in conjunction with other noise reduction products.

Noise Reduction Glazing

(i.e. installing glazing inside current frames.)

Price: ££

Performance:

Pros

  • This will be cheaper than installing completely new windows.
  • The noise reduction will be greater than curtains.

Cons

  • It is unlikely that uPVC frames will be able to support the thicker acoustic glass.
  • If the frames themselves are not acoustically treated, noise will still get through, effectively making the glazing redundant.
  • Replacing the glazing will likely mean altering the appearance of the frame itself.

Secondary Windows

Price: £££

Performance:

Pros

  • Depending on the window that is installed (i.e. a single pane vs an acoustically treated double glazed unit), these will provide superior levels of noise reduction.
  • Can be installed in most properties in conservation areas or listed buildings where altering the outside of the building is not permitted.

Cons

  • Secondary windows take up considerable sill space.
  • There is a higher risk of condensation between the windows.
  • If the secondary window is single pane, or untreated double glazing, the effects on noise reduction will not be optimal.

Soundproof Windows

Price: £££

Performance:

Pros

  • Will reduce noise pollution better than any other product on the market.
  • Add considerable value to properties that suffer from noise pollution.
  • Will also improve thermal efficiency.

Cons

  • Will tend to be the most expensive solution on the market.
  • May not be able to be installed in listed buildings or conservation areas.

How We Can Help

We want modern life to be a bit more peaceful. Time at home to be more restful. We want you to be able to shut the front door and close the city out, which is why we custom make all of our windows – to tailor a solution to your home. That way we can guarantee effective reductions in noise regardless of the shape or size of your property, and the severity of the problem.

We conduct a sound survey at a time that suits you. That way we can understand the decibel levels we’re dealing with and the noise frequency range.

Our expert acousticians will help you understand the best products for your property.

All products are manufactured from ethically-sourced timber within 10-14 weeks of placing the order.

Installation takes between 1-2 days per window and our team will take away your old frames.

We will conduct a courtesy follow-up in a month’s time to check everything is hunky dory.

Your new windows and doors are covered by a 10 year insurance-backed guarantee from the Consumer Protection Association so you can rest assured that your home is in safe hands.

The Sound Survey

Before we begin any project we conduct an on-site sound survey to scope the size of the problem. Conducted by our in-house acoustician, certified by the Institute of

Acoustics, we measure the min, max and average noise levels, as well as the frequency range. This will give us the information we need to recommend the right products for your home.

At the same time, we look at the rest of the structure and will make recommendations on other areas that may need to be improved to ensure optimal soundproofing.

Remember: soundproofing your home is only as strong as the weakest link!

The Product

We are constantly researching and developing new ways to improve our products. It’s the reason why we’re market leading.

Glazing

The most important part of our soundproof windows is the glazing itself.

A soundproof window contains two or more sheets of glazing of different thicknesses to combat the coincidence frequency. This is the frequency at which glass of a certain thickness will effectively not stop the sound at all. Using two different size sheets negates this effect.

Each pane is comprised of two panes of glass, separated by an interlayer of polyvinyl butyral (PVB). This is specifically designed to prevent sounds in the 1000 – 3000 Hz range – the most sensitive range for humans.

Multi-Layered Timber

All of our products are manufactured from ethically-sourced, engineered timber. It is cut across the grain to improve sturdiness and reduce swelling, and is treated in the factory to further harden the wood and reduce elasticity.

Acoustic Seals

Top of the line acoustic seals are affixed to the frame to ensure there are absolutely no air gaps through which sound can penetrate when the window is closed.

Multi-Point Locking System

Our windows are installed with a multi-point locking system to ensure that the seal is as tight as possible all around the frame.

Acoustically Tested

Our top end windows have been rigorously tested by UKAS-accredited lab Exova to discover the true noise reduction value of the window unit as a whole. Key to these tests are determining values for the following three factors:

Rw

This value indicates the number of decibels by which a product will reduce apparent noise.

Ctr

The Ctr value is an adjustment factor to account for low frequency noise sources e.g., urban road traffic or railway traffic at low speeds.

C Value

The C value is an adjustment factor to account for high frequency noise sources e.g., living activities (talking, music, radio, TV), high speed rail and traffic and jet aircraft.

The Installation

Our products are top of the line, but our installation method is a cut above the rest. We have refined the whole process to be able to guarantee optimal performance of our windows and doors in every home.

Expanding Foams

Expanding sound insulation foam is installed around the frame to fill in every nook and cranny in the brickwork. Providing excellent thermal insulation, it is free from harmful plasticizers, is designed to withstand serious mechanical stress and boasts a maximum sound protection of 63dB.

Acoustic Tapes

Expanding acoustic tapes are used to separate the frame from the structure itself, dramatically reducing vibration transfer through the surfaces. This is especially important for low frequency, bassy vibrations, and renders a 44dB reduction in noise.

Acoustic Sealant

Finally, non-hardening caulk is applied to both the inside and outside of the frame to plug any tiny air gaps that may have been missed earlier. The last line of defence against the passage of sound.

“The installation team were extremely efficient and worked hard to cause minimal disruption. In a matter of days all of our old windows were removed and disposed of and replaced with their brand new frames.”

– Nathan

Supplementary Services

Bay Windows

Replacing the windows is one thing, but the actual bay roof tends to be empty and ill-equipped to deal with noise. We can install acoustic insulation and plasterboard within the roof itself to ensure there are no weak points.

Wall Treatment

Although most external walls will be good insulators, elements such as air bricks can compromise any soundproofing. And in the case of noisy neighbours, thin party walls can present a considerable problem. We deal with this by decoupling walls, installing acoustic vents and more.

Even Greater Thermal Efficiency

With all the adjustments we’ve made to ensure our windows are completely airtight, we’ve also made sure they keep the heat in and the cold out.

Our team has been vetted by Trading Standards to ensure that we can deliver the service you deserve. As part of the Buy With Confidence scheme, you can rest assured you’re in safe hands.

Conservation Sash Windows

The Market-Leading Soundproof Sash Windows

The inner city classic has had a modern makeover. With our soundproof sash, maintain all the elegance of the timeless sliding frame design while benefiting from tested reductions of up to 45dB.

Soundproof

Glazing: up to 40dB

Frame Thickness: 165mm

Soundproof+

Glazing: up to 43dB

Frame Thickness: 165mm

Overall Reduction:

  • Rw 43dB
  • C Value 43dB
  • Ctr 39dB
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Ultra

Glazing: up to 47dB

Frame Thickness: 189mm

Overall Reduction:

  • Rw 44dB
  • C Value 44dB
  • Ctr 40dB
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Mechanism:

  • Traditional weight and pulley
  • Modern spring box

“I had my old sash windows replaced by The Soundproof Windows around 6 months ago in my converted Shoreditch warehouse/loft… it still ranks as the best ever home improvement I have undertaken, and I have had many over 20+ years.”

– Carlos

Mock Sash Windows

Designed to look like the traditional from the outside, our mock sash windows benefit from the sturdier frame design of tilt and turn to deliver reductions of up to 51dB.

Soundproof

Glazing: up to 40-43dB

Frame Thickness: 68mm

Overall Reduction: Estimated Rw 43dB

Soundproof+

Glazing: 45-46dB

Frame Thickness: 78mm

Overall Reduction: Estimated Rw 45dB

Ultra

Glazing: 50-51dB Triple Glazing

Frame Thickness: 88mm

Overall Reduction:

  • Rw 47dB
  • C Value 46dB
  • Ctr 44dB
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Additional Glazing Bars:

  • 20-65mm
  • Standard: Warm Edge in White
  • Optional: Silver, Black, Grey, Beige, Brown

“Traffic noise was the principle driver for replacing my windows and the difference is both remarkable and a step up from any sash option in the market.”

– Trustpilot Review

Casement Windows

From standard casement to like-for-like replacements perfect for conservation areas, we can boast reductions of up to 51dB in our triple glazed option.

Soundproof

Glazing: 40-43dB

Frame Thickness: 79 or 95mm

Overall Reduction: Estimated Rw 38dB

Soundproof+

Glazing: 45-46dB

Frame Thickness: 79 or 95mm

Overall Reduction: Estimated Rw 43dB

Ultra

Glazing: 51dB Triple Glazing

Frame Thickness: 113mm

Overall Reduction:

  • Rw 45dB
  • C Value 45dB
  • Ctr 42dB
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“The windows fit perfectly, look beautiful and block out the noise from the busy train lines that run underneathour windows.”

– Holly

Tilt & Turn Windows

With a multi-point locking system, the tilt and turn can be opened from the top or the side for effective ventilation and added security.

Soundproof

Glazing: 40-43dB

Frame Thickness: 68mm

Overall Reduction: Estimated Rw 43dB

Soundproof+

Glazing: 45-46dB

Frame Thickness: 78mm

Overall Reduction: Estimated Rw 45dB

Ultra

Glazing: 50-51dB Triple Glazing

Frame Thickness: 88mm

Overall Reduction:

  • Rw 47dB
  • C Value 46dB
  • Ctr 44dB
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“The windows perform incredibly well and I no longer get woken up by the first flights coming across London to Heathrow at 5am.”

– Gareth

Secondary Windows

If you can’t change your external windows, or have serious noise issues, our secondary windows are the only solution.

Soundproof

Glazing: 40-43dB

Cavity: 100mm

Frame Thickness: 68mm

Overall Reduction: Estimated Rw 43dB

Soundproof+

Glazing: 45-46dB

Cavity: 100mm

Frame Thickness: 78mm

Overall Reduction: Estimated Rw 45dB

Ultra

Glazing: 51dB Triple Glazing

Cavity: 100mm

Frame Thickness: 88mm

Overall Reduction:

  • Rw 53dB
  • C Value 51dB
  • Ctr 49dB
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These specialised acoustic windows are installed inside the room to add a seriously resilient barrier to sound.

Sill Space

The one drawback of secondary windows is that they will mean losing window sill space, although if noise is a serious issue it’s the solution.

LEARN MORE ABOUT SECONDARY WINDOWS >

“The constant noise from the motorway is now a thing of the past. I can hardly hear any sound from the trains also. It is the first time since I have moved into this flat that I have really felt at home.”

– Chrisa

The Studio Line

With a multi-point locking system, the tilt and turn can be opened from the top or the side for effective ventilation and added security.

Soundproof+

Glazing: 48dB

Frame Thickness: 130mm

Overall Reduction:

  • Rw 48dB
  • C Value 47dB
  • Ctr 43dB
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Ultra

Glazing: 59dB Triple Glazing

Frame Thickness: 260mm

Overall Reduction:

  • Rw 59dB
  • C Value 48dB
  • Ctr 54dB
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Featuring two separate glazing units, there are no internal mechanics to compromise the integrity of the frame, which makes a huge difference when it comes to reducing noise transference.

LEARN MORE ABOUT STUDIO LINE WINDOWS >

Soundproof Doors

With both front and French options, our soundproof doors simply shut noise out. Fitted with specialised sound excluders around the frame, we have a wide range of timber and glazing designs to choose from.

Front Doors

Our front doors are comprised of a high performance German acoustic door board inner and timber clad outer for that authentic wood finish. Delivering up to a 42dB reduction in noise, they sit flush to the frame and come with extra safety features optional.

Soundproof+

Glazing: 43dB

Ultra

Glazing: 51dB

Timber

Reduction: 42dB

French Doors

Featuring top of the line acoustic glazing, our soundproof French doors let all the light in and keep all of the noise out. Manufactured with concealed hinges, they are designed to safeguard against tampering and unauthorised entry.

Soundproof

Glazing: 40-43dB

Frame Thickness: 68mm (79 or 95)

Overall Reduction: Estimated Rw 43dB

Soundproof+

Glazing: 45-47dB

Frame Thickness: 78mm*

Overall Reduction: Estimated Rw 45dB

*This door is only available in the high performance range.

Ultra

Glazing: 50-51dB + 51dB Triple Glazing

Frame Thickness: 88mm*

Overall Reduction: 47dB

*This door is only available in the high performance range.

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“I am very pleased with my new windows and doors – they make a big difference to the levels of airplane noise in the house.”

– Lara

The FAQs

Will you be able to eliminate all of the noise?

Outside of laboratory conditions it is impossible to reduce noise to zero. Ambient background noise will always be there, whether it’s the air moving through the house, a clock ticking or car passing by. What our windows do is reduce noise pollution – the disturbing noises – to the level at which you can barely notice them.

To hear the difference visit our YouTube channel: TheSoundproofWindows

Which product do I need?

The right product for your property will depend on a wide range of factors, from what can actually be fitted into the property itself, to what the noise source is and how sensitive you actually are to it. We cover all of this during our initial survey and can help you better understand the appropriate products over the phone too.

Is the success of a product down to the glazing installed?

Yes and no. With some products, the glazing will be the largest element of the unit, and therefore the area that is most exposed to sound. However, acoustic glazing is effectively redundant if the unit as a whole is not designed to prevent noise transference. Simply; the noise will find a way around the glazing.

How do I compare soundproof products?

There are many products out on the market that boast acoustic glazing. However, a lot of these products will not have the necessary elements of the frame treated too. If you are finding it tricky to understand how our products weigh up against others, please talk with one of our advisors who will be happy to help.

What sort of guarantees do you give for acoustic performance?

All of our top range products have been tested in a laboratory for acoustic performance. The results of these tests are based on the performance of the whole unit, not just the glazing. If you need more information on these tests, please just ask.

Can your products be installed in a conservation area/listed building?

We have a range of heritage products that have been designed to be installed in conservation areas. And as all of our windows are customisable, we can create completely bespoke products for the installation in listed buildings.

Are timber products difficult to maintain?

All of our products are manufactured using engineered timber to ensure that they can stand the test of time. Equally, each unit is factory finished in a controlled environment using high quality Teknos wood coatings designed to last for years to come.

If you are done with sleepless nights, want to know more about soundproof windows & doors to bring back peace and quiet, we’re here to offer expert advice and solutions.

GET IMPARTIAL ADVICE ON SOUNDPROOF WINDOWS AND DOORS NOW >