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Soundproofing has become a fact of life in our modern society, and when it comes to replacing windows, knowing if tempered glass provides enough soundproofing is an important factor.
Many homeowners consider tempered glass because the cost is less than other types of glass, and it has increased durability. While those factors make it a cost-effective glass, research finds that when it comes to soundproofing, tempered glass may not be the ideal material choice.
Compared to other types of glass, tempered glass is not widely recognized as more soundproof. Tempered glass is widely used for its strength and durability; whereas, laminated glass is usually preferred for soundproofing.
Below we explore situations where tempered glass may be considered for soundproofing, as well as other alternatives for soundproofing that may be more soundproof than tempered glass alone.
Where Can Tempered Glass be Used for Soundproofing
Our modern world is full of more noise than ever before. Whether it be traffic, lawn maintenance equipment, construction, loud music, the sources of sound pollution can be endless. One of the easiest ways to combat the extra noise is with good soundproofing measures.
The best materials for soundproofing tend to be those that are the densest. Wood, lead, bricks, and particle boards that are used to make up our homes tend to be some of the best options for soundproofing; however, leave little options for windows.
The main reason that tempered glass isn’t widely used for soundproofing windows is that it is specifically built for durability, less than soundproofing. The method used to temper glass involves rapid heating and cooling of normal panes of glass. The resultant tempered glass has increased durability for impacts, as well as a safer way of breaking.
When looking at window pains for ground floors, where the risk of breakage is highest, tempered glass is the preferred option to avoid dangerous window breaks. Things like rocks and sticks kicked up by lawnmowers, weather, or baseballs from neighborhood children can make tempered glass a great option. Tempered glass also has more flexibility, which helps in areas prone to high winds, or areas prone to hail.
What is the Difference Between Tempered Glass and Laminated Glass?
If durability isn’t a concern for your project, but strictly the soundproofing qualities of the glass, the debate between tempered glass and laminated glass becomes important. The main reason that laminate glass has a different quality of soundproofing lies in how it is created.
Laminated glass is created by taking two panes of standard glass and fusing them with a layer of plastic between them. The addition of the layer of plastic helps add density to the glass and dampens the amount of noise let through. There are triple-paned windows, though most comparisons of the sound transmission class scales show that noise reduction isn’t changed as much by dual or triple-paned windows.
Laminated glass can be specifically insulated with acoustic cancellation in mind. The insulation is more efficient than air spaced glass that will allow for noise reverberation between the panes of glass. For comparison, some types of insulated laminated glass have equal sound transmission class as a four-inch brick that is mortared together.
Laminated glass, because of this process, does tend to cost more than tempered glass. The cost can often be more than twice as much for laminated glass. Another benefit that laminated glass offers over tempered glass is that when broken, laminated glass sticks to the plastic barrier and doesn’t shatter into smaller pieces.
Other Benefits of Tempered Glass
Aside from the durability and safety mentioned above, there are many other reasons to consider tempered glass as an option for your windows. There are optional coatings that can be added to tempered glass to improve its efficiency for your home.
Making sure that low-emissivity coating is added to your tempered glass can help significantly reduce the amount of harmful ultraviolet and infrared light that passes through your windows. The coating creates a reflective barrier for the harmful light while allowing natural light to come through.
There are further specifications that can be considered for your tempered glass with acoustic glazes. These glazes can help significantly reduce the amount of outdoor to indoor noise transmission that passes through the panes. The space between the panes can also be adjusted to help provide the best option for your home or business.
This barrier can also help keep the interior of your home cooler by blocking out the light waves that cause the temperature to rise. When the question of cost and energy efficiency comes into play, tempered glass will typically have similar options for special sealings and coatings.
Why is Soundproofing Difficult?
Soundproofing is reliant on how well the barriers of your space block sound waves. The frequency of sounds directly relates to the types of sound waves and the pitch of the sound. Even with the best soundproofing measures in place, some noises are difficult to block out because of their frequency.
Lower sounds, like thunder and deep bass, will be difficult to cancel out in your home. The frequency of the sounds is working against the natural acoustics of the world around you. Any large spaces of air allow those sound waves to reverberate into your room.
If choosing to utilize tempered glass as an alternative to soundproofing, there are still many ways to help offset the decreased soundproofing capabilities—the more barriers between the noise source and your space, the more effective noise-reduction for your space.
How to Help Improve Soundproofing of Tempered Glass
There will be projects where, after weighing the durability of tempered glass and the soundproofing qualities, using tempered glass still makes the most sense. There are some options to help offset the loss of soundproofing that you run into in using tempered glass. The main idea is to create as much barrier between your space and the sound entering.
Insulating windows properly can be a great step to help decrease noise transference. There are acoustic sealants, tapes, and foams that can be used to ensure that your window has no gaps where it is letting air in. Making sure that all of your windows and doors are properly insulated is an important first step.
Another option is noise-canceling curtains that can be added to interior rooms. They are made of thick materials, meant to help dampen any sound waves that would be passing through them. These will not fully soundproof a room, but to aid with lessening the noise pollution that makes its way through.
Soundproofing comes down to a matter of putting materials with the highest density between you and the source of the noise. Custom-sized, noise-canceling window panels are available through various commercial resellers, as well as can be made on your own.
These panels are made to be an actual noise barrier, not just a dampener. The materials can vary from fiberglass to other sound reduction materials. The extra layers allow for more precise noise cancellation since overlap can be taken into consideration. Though effective, custom made noise proofing panels can be an expensive alternative for noise cancellation.
Making your own panels of fiberglass or soundproof foam can be a cost-friendly option as well. Measuring your window to include overhang for the panels to attach to and make sure to properly secure your panels will be important to maximize the noise-canceling properties. One benefit of making your own panels is that you can customize the coverings to suit your interior design flexibly.