How To Soundproof Your Home

Centra Estimator Brad Dalzell from Vancouver, BC talks about how vinyl windows with laminated glass can soundproof your home.

As the amount of traffic increases and as homes are being built closer and closer together, the demand for better soundproofing in homes is growing. As a home owner, I’ve researched some simple options you can choose when renovating your home or building a new one.

The most common measurement for the reduction of sound through a wall or window is called STC or Sound Transmission Class, sometimes referred to as Sound Transmission Coefficient. The STC is the amount, in decibels (dB), that sound is reduced through a wall. For example, if the street noise outside is 70dB and the noise inside is 40dB, the wall has an STC of 30. To learn more about a decibel, click here.

In terms of sound, the 2 main areas of concern in a home are your walls and windows. Most builders will insulate the outside walls making the house more energy efficient but will leave the interior walls without insulation. Simply adding standard fibreglass baton insulation will increase the STC of your walls at a relatively low cost. If you can’t or don’t want to rip open your existing walls you can add another layer of

The other part of a room that is usually a sore spot for sound transfer is windows. The best way to sound proof a window is to add layers of laminate glass. Laminate glass is 2 panes of glass that are sandwiched together with a layer of clear plastic in between. Laminate glass’ primary function is as safety glass so that if the glass breaks, it will be held together, preventing sharp pieces of glass from projecting away. Laminate glass is commonly used on the front windshields of cars. drywall/gyproc to your walls and use a product like Green Glue to fasten the new drywall on. Green Glue converts sound energy into heat and is a cost effective way to soundproof a room.

Often times a bi-product of making your home more energy efficient (for example, adding insulation or changing old, single-pane windows into new, energy-efficient vinyl windows) is a quieter home and is often adequate enough for houses in quieter neighbourhoods.

Adding one or two layers of laminate glass, provided that the window frame is newer energy-efficient, is a better way to reduce the transmission of sound. A single pane of regular glass will have an STC of approx 26-28. A single layer of ¼” laminate glass achieves an STC of 35. With today’s double-pane, energy efficient windows, making one side of a double-paned unit laminate glass, with a standard ½” space, will achieve an STC of 39. Making both panes of the windows laminated is the best way to reduce the sound transmission through a window and can increase the STC to 42, but the additional cost may not be worth it to the average homeowner. For a glazing STC ratings table, click here. The most important thing to note is that sound will travel by the easiest means possible. What this means to the home owner is that improving the STC of a wall will only work if all the components of that wall, such as windows, have a higher STC as well, and vice versa. To learn more about how Centra can help you soundproof your home, feel free to contact me at info@centra.ca

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