Why Do My New Windows Let in More Noise?

Allie Ogletree
Written by Allie Ogletree
Updated September 22, 2021
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Poor window installation may cause new windows to let in more noise

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Whether you’ve just installed new single-pane or double-pane windows, one thing’s for sure: there should definitely not be more noise than before installation. If you've installed double-pane windows but still suffer from noise pollution, you might have a problem.

How Sound Enters Through Windows

The science behind the sound may feel a bit like a mystery, as there are a few reasons why noise pollution could be entering your home (which you’ll see below). But, before we get into that, let’s take a minute to talk about how sound gets in through your windows.

When windows have cracks, holes, gaps around them, vents, or poor material, sound pollution can enter through those crevices, leading to those frustrating noises.

Factors That Affect Window Noise

Factors That Affect Window Noise
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A handful of factors can cause unruly sounds to slip in through your windows. To help you troubleshoot what’s causing your newly installed panes to leach noise pollution, look for the following issues:

  • Low-Quality Windows: Double-pane windows generally provide better sound insulation than single-pane windows. If you experience noise after installing double-pane windows, quality issues may be the reason behind the sounds. In some cases, a high-quality, single-pane window might outperform a poor-quality, double-pane version. When choosing good windows, look for panes with thick glass, which helps block and absorb sounds.

  • Poorly Installed Windows: If you have new, high-quality windows, then poor window installation may be the problem. Noise doesn’t just enter through the glass; it also enters from around the windowpane and window sash.

  • Inaccurately Measured Windows: Incorrect measurements may create gaps in the windowpane and window sash leading to unwanted noise, making it hard to fall asleep at night or concentrate in the daytime. 

  • Type of Surrounding Material: The type of material that surrounds the window, whether wood, glass, or metal, may also play a part in the amount of sound that slips through. Metal is a lower-end insulator, while wood and vinyl are better options. Keep in mind that wood requires more maintenance.

  • Inadequate Caulking or Insulation: Last but not least, the amount of window caulking or foam insulation a contractor places around the window affects the level of sound blockage, too.

How to Fix Noisy Windows

By now, you’re probably wondering what you can do to fix the incessant sound pollution. While there are top soundproofing companies near you that can identify the cause of your noise issues, avid do-it-yourselfers should be excited to know that you might be able to get away with a DIY project. 

Regardless of which route you choose, consider these seven tips on how to alleviate noisy windows.

1. Use Soundproof Curtains

If you spent a good chunk of money on your windows and don’t want to replace them, one way that you can reduce noise is by installing soundproof curtains to your windows.

2. Apply Acoustic Sealants

Also known as acoustic caulks, sealants can drastically reduce sounds entering through the small cracks in your windows. Regular sealants or caulks won’t do, however. Be sure to choose an acoustic compound to do the job

3. Use Window Insulating Spray Foam

Spray foam hardens and dries when applied to sneaky gaps or holes in windows, making it an ideal way to seal cracks responsible for sound pollution. This option is fast and easy to spray on and may just do the trick to seal off outdoor noise.

4. Add a Plexiglass Layer

Another option some homeowners choose is adding a layer of acrylic or plexiglass to the inside of the windows. Plexiglass has benefits over glass windows that make these materials a match made in heaven for noise cancellation. 

Firstly, plexiglass is not resonant, meaning sounds won’t echo and bounce off these layers as easily as they would a hard glass pane. Installing a plexiglass layer also helps dampen and absorb external sounds, keeping your home’s interior quieter.

5. Opt for Spacious Panes

For the best sound control, as well as higher energy efficiency, choose windows with more space between panes or even an additional pane. 

6. Use Triple-Pane Windows

Triple-pane windows, which cost about 20% more than double-pane, increase the energy efficiency of the glass surface by up to 50%. While triple-pane windows alone don’t do much to mitigate noise transmission, using a combo of laminated glass and triple-pane windows can help. 

Note that each double-pane window costs between $350 and $500 installed, so keep in mind these extra expenses if you decide to add additional windowpanes.

7. Get a Professional Window Inspection

Whether you installed the new windows yourself or used a local window installer near you, it’s a good idea to have a professional look at the issue to troubleshoot the cause of your new, drafty panes.

When considering which window company to hire, be wary of too-good-to-be-true prices, as they may not include installation costs, the price of screens, or other window components on the off chance that you need to replace your windows.                                                        

Avoid companies that apply high-pressure sales tactics, and consider those with positive consumer reviews on a trusted online site and are appropriately licensed, insured, and bonded.

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