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Are Windows to Block Out Noise Worth the Money? [Explained]

Graeme Clarke October 10, 2017 Soundproofing

The incessant hum of your neighbour’s outdoor air conditioning unit. The high pitch of brakes screeching to a halt. The stress of rush hour traffic. Most of us, whether in the city, suburbia or even further out from the urban centres, don't know what the sound of silence is really like. Those who do likely have had windows to block out noise installed.




Noise pollution today is more than an inconvenience. It’s a health risk, contributing to everything from anxiety to high blood pressure. And, throwing up some heavy curtains or quick-fix acoustic sealing isn’t going to solve your sound troubles.


Ask the experts – even the Australian Window Association will tell you, the most practical way to dampen noise enough to create a soundproofing impact is to use two panes of glass, ideally of different thicknesses, separated by ample space. Otherwise known as an insulated glass unit (IGU), which is what your local window professional will install when you pay for either new double glazed windows or retrofit soundproofing double glazing.


Even in knowing how effective double glazed windows are for blocking out noise, how do you know they are really worth the money for you?


If you want to dig deeper into the value of double glazing for soundproofing, why not listen to the individuals who are already experiencing the difference? 


By taking a look at how noise reducing windows work and seeing the best soundproof window reviews firsthand, you can make a wise decision when it comes to investing your hard-earned dollars toward a quieter home.



How Can Double Glazing Stop Noise?




For noise and vibrations to penetrate an IGU, sound has to travel through glass, air space and then a second pane of glass. For serious noise pollution issues like trains, nearby road traffic and aircraft, thicker panes of glass can be used, a wider air space, or special glass such as laminated or acoustic-grade glazing.


With the help of a professional, it is possible to come up with enough of a sound dampening effect based on the frequency and decibel level, to drown out invading sound. The goal is to create an indoor environment in which you can relax in peace. With double glazing installed by experienced professionals, that’s a very realistic objective.


One property owner who had been coping with the sound of a massive 23Kw heat pump compressor outside his home had the professionals at Thermawood put in four IGUs with laminated glass and 10 mm of air space between, as well as acoustic seals. Even with his retrofitted windows being right next to the pump, the noise levels plummeted considerably.


After their retrofit, another couple had the incredible experience of not waking up to hear the sound of the nearby trains going by. They couldn’t believe it!



How Can You Increase the Value of Your Soundproofing Investment?


You know double glazed windows are the best solution. But, did you realise you can end up paying thousands of dollars more (or less) depending on if you get new double glazed windows or retrofit double glazing?


If you want to know if paying for windows to block out noise is worth it, step one is to not overpay. 


Thermawood retrofit double glazing costs significantly less because it involves removing only a small part of the timber window frame to install a patented dry glazing system into the existing timber frame to double glaze your existing windows.  (As well as less detriment to your property – ripping out old windows for a full replacement can harm your wall cladding, let alone your aesthetics).


With new double glazed windows, your existing window is completely torn out and a new system is installed. Retrofitting, on the other hand, is the process of converting existing timber windows. The current wooden frame is converted to allow for the new IGU to be seamlessly installed. 


With Thermawood's smart process of retrofitting, you can enjoy affordable soundproofed windows even if you have complex or unconventional wooden windows. 


As one customer explained in his review, he had, “a combination of fixed and awning sash windows, and also one sliding window, one sliding door, and one regular glass door…” He got IGU double glazing units for each one!


If you feel that new double glazed windows are too pricey, you’re not the only one. In one soundproof window review, a customer noted her own challenges with new double glazed windows,


“I have been looking for an affordable and high quality double glazing system for over 5 years. Each time I asked for quotations I was disappointed with the technology as well as the huge cost. It never made sense to me to replace perfectly fine existing window frames as this is very labour intensive and costly”.


After her retrofit, she noted not only her acoustic improvement but also lower heating and cooling bills, all at “a very affordable price”.



How Do You Know Soundproofing Windows Will Stop Your Noise Problems?




Not sure if double glazing will make a significant difference for you? The sound insulating benefits of an insulated glass unit – glass pane, air space, and second glass pane – are crystal clear. One homeowner noted on an independent online renovation forum:


“I have just changed from single glazing along the rear of my house to double glazing. There is a vast difference in sound reduction (just by ear not measurement) to the extent that you can no longer hear someone calling through the closed windows (well, it’s very muffled). Mine is 4/10/4mm. I put it there for thermal rather than sound reasons but have been very surprised at how much difference in sound it has made”.


The key is getting the right windows in terms of thickness, the type of glass, and the size of the air space, to dampen your unique noise pollution issue the right amount. This customisation can go as far as each room of your property, for example, thicker glass may be necessary for bedroom windows overlooking a busy street but not for those facing your backyard or your neighbour's home. At Thermawood, a trained franchisee will take the time to evaluate your specific circumstances to create an effective, tailored retrofit solution. 


And, you also need a high-quality window conversion. There are many double glazing solutions on the market, but in order to get noticeable results, you require retrofit double glazed windows with adequate acoustic seals and a professional installation.


Otherwise, you may:

  1. Pay too much for special glass you didn't need for all rooms.
  2. End up with cracks and openings that will allow sound waves to travel into your home anyway.


However, with the combination of a retrofit double glazing system (which will cost thousands less than new double glazed windows), performed by an experienced hand, you can transform your home into the quiet haven it should be at a reasonable expense – just like James and his family in their beautiful Victorian home did.


James's family were in a situation in which their newborn baby wasn't able to sleep properly, this meant they weren't sleeping properly. The sound of traffic on the street outside the baby’s window was out of control. It sounded like cars were driving through the middle of the bedroom! As a young family, James and his wife needed an affordable solution.


After testing the current decibel reading, the Thermawood franchisee determined a combination of Sound Stop Laminate with argon gas double glazing and acoustic seals machined into the windows would do the job.


The result:

  • A huge 75% reduction in noise.
  • A price well under budget.
  • Beautiful windows.
  • A well-rested baby.




Quality soundproof windows make a world of difference. And, they don’t have to cost as much as you may assume. With retrofit soundproofing, you can have it all. An affordable price, beautiful windows, and the comforting sound of silence. 


You know what your experience may be like from hearing what others have gone through. Ready to learn the details and the mechanics of noise reducing windows? Download our free guide.


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