How To: Soundproof Windows

By Scott Sidler • March 18, 2019

how to soundproof windowsThis post is sponsored by Indow, but the opinions expressed are all mine, mine, mine. Hope you enjoy my thoughts!

Is there such a thing as soundproof windows? Is it even possible? Believe it or not, I get a ton of questions about the sound issues from historic single-paned windows. There is no doubt that the noise that comes through your windows is greater than the noise that comes through your walls. Duh! That train, garbage truck, drunk college kids stumbling home from the clubs every Friday night (that one is personal to me!) all conspire to disturb your sleep or anything else you do in your house.

So, can you soundproof your windows, or is there a window you can buy that is soundproof? I’m going to spoil the surprise right now by telling you that there is no such thing as soundproof windows, BUT there are things you can do to dramatically cut down on the noise coming through your windows no matter what kind of window you have. What if I told you that you could cut down the outside noise by as much as 70% with something that could be installed in just a couple minutes? Read on to see how I did it.

The Closest Thing to Soundproof Windows

We cleared up that nothing under the sun will make your window soundproof. To compare this to an everyday idea there are very few items that are truly fireproof. Many things are more fire resistant than others but almost everything will burn if you get it hot enough. The same idea applies to soundproofing in your home. While you can’t create a monastery in your bedroom you can get pretty darn close by blocking a large amount of the most bothersome outside noises.

My favorite way to get the peace and quiet you need is by installing an Acoustic Window Insert. Indow is a manufacturer of interior press-fit storm windows and they offer several different grades of insert like Shade Grade, Privacy, and my favorite Acoustic. Their Acoustic grade inserts can reduce sound transmission by up to 70% on most single-paned windows. And just like everything I recommend, they are extremely DIY-friendly to measure and install.

Even their Standard grade inserts block up to 50% of sound transfer which is no small potatoes when you live on a busy street like I do.

How I Used Indows

When my wife and I found out that we were having our second child we knew it was time make some extra room, and for us that meant turning our unfinished attic into a bedroom that could house a couple crazy boys. You can check out how to project turned out in this post here. My boys are quite a handful like most small boys and it was important that we kept them from being awoken by traffic on our busy street.

There are four original wood windows in their bedroom and I need to make sure that they didn’t open them and fall out and also that their sleep (and my precious rest) wasn’t interrupted by road noise. So, we called up Indow and they sent us the tools to measure the windows and submit our order for our four sound blockers. I put together a video of the installation process below which is super simple, took all of five minutes each, and made all the difference in the world.

Long story short, my boys sleep about 10-12 hours a night without interruption! I’m not saying that’s all thanks to the Indow inserts, but a quiet and distraction free environment certainly helps them (and my wife and I) get the rest they need.

To me it was a no brainer that the windows no matter what age or type are the weakest link when it comes to unwanted noise in a room. While there was no truly soundproof window on the market, and as any of you know I’m not interested in replacing my original windows since that is always a losing proposal a simple press fit insert that can block 70% of the outside noise seemed like the perfect solution. Not to mention the energy savings you can get from adding an interior storm.

You can find out more about Indows by visiting their website right here. If you’re struggling with lots of noise they might be the right choice for you like they were for me.

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10 thoughts on “How To: Soundproof Windows”

  1. How well do indows help with heat insulation? I assume it keeps the drafts out and maybe has an option for low-e glass?

  2. Great to know and thank you for the fun video!! I have gotten very accustomed to the sound of the train that rumbles by all the time and it never wakes me anymore. When we first bought this 60 year old house I thought the train would drive me nuts! Now it rocks me to sleep.

  3. Thanks for your article. I have seen indow in action and they are good. For Ken, please consider compared to a new window plus tear-out, purchase new window that doesn’t look like the others, new trim and on and on, this is nice option for many.

  4. Generally, the people that can even think that the sound coming from a tiny speaker on a smartphone is ANY good, well, I feel very sorry for you. It is very annoying to most anyone else nearby.

    You should have mentioned the price of these Indows window inserts. At $36 MSRP per square foot, that is really expensive. Oh, I’m quite sure that the more square feet that you purchase from them, that the price would come down some, but still.

    A better demo would have included the much lower frequency of the sound of say, a large truck rumbling past or sirens from a fire truck.

    1. Ken, Indow (as well as most any barrier) is pretty poor at blocking low frequency noises since those literally shake the building and travel thru solid substrates, but for blocking mid and high frequency sounds Indow is excellent.
      Yes the specialty grades are around $36 per SF, but the standard grades start around $24 and both of those are cheaper than high end replacement windows that claim to do the same thing.
      If you can save original windows and have a little quiet I say “why not” but that that’s just my 2 cents!

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