Sometimes, if the neighbors can hear what’s going on in your home, they’ll get a better idea of the real situation than if they could see. Sometimes, on the other hand, they’ll get a completely inaccurate idea based on incomplete information. Sometimes, it’s hard to say what’s worse.

Then, you have all the distractions caused by outside noise and familial relations ruined because someone has to work in their home office while the rest of the family (roommates and friends) are having fun in the backyard.

Privacy of your own home is about more than just obstructing the sight. 

All of this can be avoided by better soundproofing your windows and here are some tips on how to do it.

  1. Replacing your windows

First of all, it’s worth mentioning that replacing windows is the most expensive option and, arguably, the most effective one. 

The math is simple: with more panes, you get more barriers, but even the space between the panes acts as a sort of an additional barrier, which means that you get layer after layer of obstacles for sound waves trying to leave your home. The thicker the windows and the more glass panes they have, the better.

If you currently have single-pane windows and replace them with double-pane ones, not only will you get a disproportionate energy-efficiency boost, but you’ll also get a significant boost in terms of privacy. 

With three panes, it’s even better; however, the difference falls off exponentially. While double-glazing is drastically better than single-pane, the difference between two and three panes is not that great.

It’s not just about the number of panes, either. You also have to keep in mind that the quality of the frame and the materials that the frame is made of make quite a difference in this regard. 

At the start of this segment, we’ve mentioned that this is the most expensive and the most effective way to soundproof your windows; however, this doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the most cost-effective. There are far less expensive ways to make a difference that’s almost as significant. 

  1. Installing window inserts

While talking about adding more layers to your windows and the way it increases the soundproofing of your home, what we forgot to mention is that you don’t really have to replace a window for it. Instead, you can go with window inserts. This way, you add some extra thickness to your window and add more barriers without paying too much.

In fact, if you want to go even further with it, you can look for acoustic window inserts. These are the inserts with special sound-proofing properties, which disproportionately help in this regard. Sure, they cost a bit more than regular inserts, but the difference in the soundproofing effect is just monumental. Not to mention the difference between their cost and the cost of a window replacement.

They’re mostly used in home studios; however, home offices and even nursery rooms can greatly benefit from this type of improvement.

Most often, window inserts are made out of glass or acrylic, which means that they’ll stylistically and visually fit. In other words, it will be incredibly hard to tell that an insert is even used (without a closer inspection). 

  1. Seal the gaps around the windows

Sound is like air; it finds a gap and goes through it. 

It doesn’t matter how thick your walls are or how expensive your acoustic panels were, as long as there’s an open window and each of these cracks is like a tiny, invisible window letting all the noise in and out. 

So, what you need to do is identify all the gaps and seal them. Identifying the cause of the gap is also vital. After all, what if your wooden frame is compromised by termites? This would require a completely different approach.

If, however, this is not the case, first, you need to consider weatherstripping. 

To get started, you need to pick the right weatherstripping material. This means getting either foam, felt, rubber, or vinyl. Pick something that’s great for the type of gap you’re dealing with. For instance, foam is amazing for irregular gaps, while vinyl is a more durable solution. 

Then, you need to measure your window and check for the gaps. This is a simple process, but it’s always better to measure than to guess or estimate the amount of material you’ll need.

The preparation stage is also incredibly important since dirt or grime will limit the adhesive properties of the sealant, rendering it virtually useless. Even a mild detergent will make a difference here. 

Most importantly, don’t assume that the problem is fixed. Test the seal and adjust the weatherstripping if needed. 

  1. Use other forms of barriers

A barrier doesn’t have to be a part of the window. Sometimes, an external barrier can do the trick. There are several pretty obvious and natural solutions to this problem, some of which you’re probably already using. 

For instance, you could use curtains or drapes. The heavier, the better. Now, there are some materials that are more effective at this than others. Like with inserts, you could look for special acoustic curtains. These will cost more, but they’ll be much more efficient.

In fact, just hanging a curtain already helps because it stops the window pane vibrations upon being hit by sound waves. This is why they’re so important for any studio layout and some of the cheapest studios even hang blankets as a substitute. Either way, your best bet is to go with a heavy ceiling-to-floor curtain.

Blinds can also be quite effective at this; however, you need to pick the right kind. Cellular shades (also known as honeycomb blinds) are especially effective. Roller shades, Roman shades, and vertical blinds can also be quite effective. When combined with the curtains, they’ll be the most efficient. 

Planting a tree, erecting a screen, a wall, or a fence, or even planting a hedge in front of a window will also give the desired effect. Any barrier helps. 

Wrap up

Ultimately, it’s all about increasing the thickness of the barrier and adding extra layers. Moreover, the nature of the material used plays a huge role. This is why picking soundproofing products instead of their regular counterparts will always give a superior effect. Overall, it comes down to how much effort and resources you’re willing to invest to make your windows really soundproof.