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Noise reduction and Acoustic Glass


Noise reduction windows with Acoustic Glass

If you’re one of the many people exposed to invasive noise at home, you will know just how disruptive it can be. Noise reduction windows are one factor that could help to make home a quieter, stress-free place. They won't completely solve the problem but we demonstrate, when taken along with other measures, they can help to improve your quality of life.

Noise reducing glass

Everest, helping to make your home a quieter place to just be

The pervasive hum of background noise has become ever present. Maybe, an increase in passing traffic is keeping you awake, or maybe dogs barking in neighbouring gardens is cutting through your favourite TV show.


An increasing number of us want to reduce noise, so we can feel relaxed in the privacy of our own home.


Noise is both complex and personal and you might be surprised how many options there are to help with noise reduction. Windows are certainly one factor that could help make your home a quieter, stress-free place to be and Everest have a range of options that could help.

Why are some noises harder to ignore than others?

To really understand if, and how replacing windows can contribute to reducing noise, it helps to understand how sound works.


Sound is a vibration that travels through molecules of air and solid objects until it’s ‘heard’ by your ear. That vibration of sound makes anything it travels through vibrate at the same frequency, which is why you can feel the vibration and hear better if you put your ear to a wall or a window. You can actually see extreme noise vibrate a single pane of glass.


Sound vibrations look like waves hence the term 'soundwave' with different frequencies having a different wavelength. High-pitched sounds have more oscillations, so you will hear them as louder, which is why children playing close-by sounds so noisey but lower frequency noise travels farther, which explains why deep bass from a music festival can be heard for miles.

Why is it so difficult to avoid noise coming into my home?

Points of a home where sound can enter


Sound is difficult to contain because a soundwave can diffract around corners to find its way through any tiny gap.


A standard-built home will have lots of little gaps that sound can find its way through - and sound can also travel through solid walls, floors, ceilings and window panes. You might know that you can hear traffic or voices talking outside, but it’s not always obvious where the noise is coming from or how it’s getting into your house.


The most common points of entry are fireplaces, air bricks, from floors and ceilings, trickle vents and, badly-fitted doors or windows.

How do windows let noise into a home?

Windows usually cover a large surface area in a wall and have three main points of weakness to allow sound leakage into a room:

  • The window pane is a large surface area vulnerable to sound transmission which is variable depending on the type of glazing used. Everest offers a specialist Acoustic Glass that can help to make a big difference.
  • The window frame might have trickle vents, more window openers or could have micro gaps in the seals around the glass. This is where a solid frame with limited openers and high-quality seals and construction will make all the difference. Trickle vents are sometimes required by building regulations.
  • The window installation is critical. Ideally, a frame should fit as snugly as possible in the wall with minimal use of fillers and packers that can create micro gaps. If your specialist noise reduction window isn’t fitted correctly, you won’t benefit from the best noise reduction it can achieve.



Points of a window where sound can enter





It might feel that you’re bombarded with noise invasion from all sides!


You can dial down the noise intrusion in your home by reducing the points of entry in combination with a well-fitted specialist noise reducion window. Not only should the noise reduce, but your home should also become more energy-efficient.

How does noise reduction glass work?


When sound waves hit glass, the vibration is absorbed by the glass and is transmitted out of the other side. Every time sound travels through a solid object, some of the vibrations are absorbed into the object and reduced as they pass through, but a single thin pane of glass can only absorb a small amount.


Double glazing works because there are two panes of glass absorbing the sound vibrations and the gas between the panes also helps to dampen the transmission of soundwaves.


Specialist noise reduction glass goes one step further by disrupting the soundwave, which is the most effective way to reduce noise (apart from having a solid structure so thick it can absorb all of the vibration). The specialist Acoustic Glass uses two thicknesses of panes and also has a laminate PVB sound dampening core between one of the panes. This combined effect of different surfaces and thickness disrupts the energy of the soundwave and reduces noise transference.


Are triple glazed or double glazed windows better at reducing noise?

You might think that three layers of glass are better than two for reducing noise, but, surprisingly, double glazing is better. Standard triple glazing can experience vibrations on the internal pane to amplify sounds.

Triple glazed windows are best for keeping a room warm or cool, so if you want energy-efficient windows, we can combine noise reducing glass, but we wouldn’t recommend triple glazing as an option just for noise reduction (see the comparison table below).

What options do I have to reduce noise by replacing my windows?

The good news is that we have solutions that can help to reduce the noise pollution in your home to make your home a more relaxing space. We don’t claim to eliminate all excessive external noise, but in many circumstances we can help. How much difference you notice with new Everest Acoustic Glass will be dependent on:

  • The quality of your current windows
  • Where the noise is coming from
  • How the noise is leaking into your house
  • How sensitive you are to noise


Noise reduction windows are one of our most popular products, with several options that you can choose:

  • Everest Double Glazed windows with Acoustic Glass
    The solution we most often recommend for reducing noise is a double glazed window with specialist noise reduction glass. Noise reducing glass works by having a two different thickness of glass pane in the double glazed unit with one having a laminate PVB sound dampening layer on the external pane of glass. This combination helps to disrupt sound waves and reduce noise.
  • Everest Triple Glazing with Acoustic Glass
    If your main concern is energy efficiency, we can offer noise reduction glass in a triple glazed unit. As explained above, surprisingly triple glazing isn’t as effective as the double glazed version as the third pane will reduce the effectiveness of the sound dampening offered by a double glazed unit. Triple glazing with noise reducing glass is better than standard double glazing, but we would only recommend this combination if noise is secondary to heat retention.
  • Everest triple glazing or double glazing with other types of glass
    A well-fitted new window will reduce noise if it replaces a single or poor quality double glazed window. Other options to reduce noise include limiting the number of openers in the frame, high-quality seals and good installation, these will all make a difference to noise reduction. So, a standard Everest double or triple glazed window in comparison to an old and badly fitted window will help to noticeably reduce noise levels.
  • Secondary Glazing for sound reduction
    Secondary glazing can also offer excellent results. This is because it can create a larger gap between the external pane and the internal pane creating a noise reducing chamber. The more distance from the window pane to where your secondary glazing unit is installed the better. This can be a great alternative for older properties that have planning restrictions or rooms with access restrictions such as flats.

How does double and triple glazing noise reduction compare?

Standard glass

Noise reduction glass

Double glazing

⭐⭐⭐⭐

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A reasonable option if upgrading from single glazed windows and you will notice a difference in noise reduction.

 

The best option we recommend if you have a well-insulated house that doesn’t have sound leakage points (see above).

 

Triple glazing

⭐⭐

⭐⭐⭐

This will make a difference if you have poor windows currently but not recommended if your over-riding need is for noise reduction. 

Recommended for energy efficiency first.Reduces noise better than standard triple glazing but not the best choice for noise pollution.

How much can you really reduce the noise through your window?

How much you can reduce noise coming into your house depends on what you have now. If your home has old single glazed windows, you will notice a difference simply by adding new double glazing windows.


As described above, noise reduction also depends on how your home is constructed and the main entry point of the noise


Sound is measured by the strength (amplitude) of the waves in decibels (dB)

Single 4mm pane

29dB noise reduction*

Standard double glazed 4mm panes

33dB noise reduction**

Noise reducing double glazed 6/6.8mm panes

40dB noise reduction**

 

* Pilkington Technical Bulletin

**Everest Independent testing



The table above is based on laboratory testing, where the glass is tested in isolation. In real life, there are other factors that might be leaking sound into your home, so we can only offer this as a guide and not a guarantee.


In ideal circumstances, you can expect up to 11dB difference between a single pane of glass and a noise reduction window. This might not seem like very much, but decibels are calculated to a scale that means every increase of 10dB doubles the perceived loudness of sound. Therefore, noise on the other side of a single pane of glass is twice as loud as a noise reducing window.


It’s important to note that noise reduction windows will not make a room silent. They can make a considerable difference to the quality of life in your home, but we don’t claim to make a home soundproof. And you may have to address other issues that are leaking sound into a room.

What do I need to know about installing noise reduction windows?

The glass in your window is not the only element that can make a difference in how much the noise can be reduced. The frame and the installation are just as important, so it’s essential to use an experienced supplier.

    • The seals that support the glass can cause sound leakage if they are faulty or degraded. If you have old double glazing, increased sound levels are an indication you need to change the seals or have a blown unit.
    • The number of opening sashes will make a difference.  Having one single pane of glass with no openers will deliver the highest reduction in noise – but this is frequently not practical for ventilation reasons.
    • Trickle vents built into the frame will allow noise to seep into the room even when the window is shut tight. These may be required by building regulations in certain situations.
    • The frame must be measured and fitted correctly to avoid any micro-gaps that can allow noise to leak into the room.

Why can't we make windows totally soundproof?


Noise is personal and everyone has their own level of tolerance. Once you’re annoyed by a certain sound, you can become hypersensitive so that even the slightest noise will be an issue.


We can’t claim to remove noise completely, as there are many other factors that contribute to sound ingress within your home. But, Everest Acoustic Glass can help to make it a little better.


This might not be enough for someone who is hypersensitive or experiencing significant issues with noise pollution. It is possible to significantly reduce noise intrusion in your home, but you will have to address all the different factors that contribute to this. Your windows are just one part that can help.

How to check your home for noise to assess if new windows will help

Before choosing noise reduction windows with Acoustic Glass, consider the following to see if new windows can dial down the noise in your home:


How is your home constructed? If you have thin walls with minimal insulation, there is a chance sound is entering through the walls. Thicker construction, such as stone-built walls are less likely to be transmitting noise.


How many sound entry points do you have? How many air bricks, trickle vents and fireplaces are there?


How many external doors do you have to the room? Often overlooked, doorways are a considerable sound transmission point. Installing sound reduction glass next to a front door is probably not going to make a noticeable difference.


What quality are your current windows? Are your current windows single glazed, are there gaps, have the seals perished? Do you have a lot of opening sashes that are limiting the effectiveness of the window? The more problems with your current window, the more difference you will notice from new frames.

What else can I do to reduce noise coming into my home?

You might be surprised that there are several things you can do to reduce noise pollution and the collective combination of efforts will make the most difference:

    • Sound dampening curtains made from special fabric
    • Noise reducing paint that can reduce sound transmission
    • Cladding your home and adding a layer of insulation around your home
    • Blocking up air bricks, fireplaces and any small gaps you can find, including covering wooden floorboards with thick carpets

As outlined above, noise is very personal and unfortunately, once you are aware of it, it’s very hard to reduce your sensitivity to it. You’re not alone, 80% of people complain about noise, but hopefully we can help to make it slightly easier to live with.

FAQs

At Everest, we understand that choosing new windows can be a daunting task. So to help you here are some frequently asked questions which you might find useful.

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    Can you soundproof windows?

    You can’t fully soundproof a window. Soundproofing and noise cancelling windows are misleading terms. There is no magic solution to ‘soundproof’ windows that can turn a residential house next to a noisy road, train line or airport into a silent space.


    There are ways to reduce noise, including installing Everest noise reduction glass that can make a significant difference in the amount of noise coming through a window. But, the glass in a residential window can never block out all noise pollution.


    It’s not just the windows where sound can enter a room. Other entry points include chimneys, ventilation bricks and in old houses the general fabric of the building.

  • +
    What are the different types of glass you can have in windows?
    There are many different types of glass for a window all designed for specific qualities. Low-iron glass has exceptional clarity. Low-E glass has a special microscopic coating that improves the thermal efficiency of your windows, helping to prevent heat escaping through your windows to the cold outdoors. Obscure glass offers privacy and easy-clean glass helps to keep hard to reach windows free from dirt. Toughened glass is five time stronger than regular glass and laminated glass has a special PVB layer that makes it more difficult to break. Read more about what types of glass are best for your specific window needs.
  • +
    What is between the glass in double glazing?
    The most effective double glazing contains Argon gas which is an inert dense, non-toxic gas that reduces heat transference from inside to out. Cheaper windows only have air between the panes, and although the gap will make a difference, you will see higher heat transfer than if filled with Argon gas.





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