If you have a hard time focusing on anything because of the noise coming from outside of your home, it might be the right time to start a new DIY project. Having dealt with noise myself, I decided to go ahead and soundproof my own windows. Not only did I achieve my goal of noise reduction, but I did it in a cheap way, too! So, I wanted to share my tips and tricks, which you can use to successfully soundproof the windows all by yourself!
Up until recently, I was living in a nice and quiet neighborhood, and I never knew how difficult it is to deal with the outside noise. Well, sadly, now I do. Recently, I moved to a busier part of the city, which happens to have nightclubs and restaurants right down below my window. So, I caught myself struggling to get almost any work done. I had troubles sleeping, and I couldn’t get any rest at all!
What’s more, I work from home, so I absolutely needed a way to block the noise coming from the street. And, thankfully, I found it! That being said, I’ll present 12 ways to soundproof your windows and stop the incoming noise. I’m sure you’ll find the one among them that will work for you. So, read on and start taking notes!
Why You Should Soundproof Your Windows
Windows are the eyes of the house. In my case, they were the ears of the house, too. If you think about it, windows really are the weakest spots in the wall, as they are far thinner than the surrounding parts. Hence, it’s no surprise how easily they’ll let all the outside noise inside the house. My head hurts even thinking about all those sounds I had to put up with.
As I mentioned earlier, my street turned from peaceful to busy in no time. All of a sudden there were people yelling, grumpy dogs barking and even grumpier drivers honking their car horns. Sounds pretty awful, right? Well, all these sounds make a sure recipe for a headache.
In order to get rid of something, you first have to figure out what is the source of it. When it comes to the noise we are talking about, the source is the noisy street – the outside noise. That’s why the windows seem to be the weakest link in your house.
As such, they are a perfect place to start soundproofing your room if you want to eliminate the annoying outside noise. There are plenty of ways to do it, and some will work better than others – it depends on the type of noise you’re dealing with and the type of your windows, too. Stick with me, and you’ll see what works best for you.
12 Cheap Ways to Soundproof a Window
1. Start by Rearranging the Furniture
We all know this – noise travels around. It usually moves through the air until it reaches a surface. Here, it either passes through the surface or bounces off. The thing is that every time it does one of those things, it loses some of its energy and as a consequence, it dies out more quickly.
One way to add more obstacles to the sound’s path is to rearrange your existing furniture or add some new pieces. You can place soft, uneven surfaces that will absorb the sound waves and stop them from bouncing around your room – reducing echo and reverberation along the way. On the other hand, the flat and sturdy ones will block the sound from leaving or entering the room and reflect it back to where it came.
Depending on your lighting preferences, you have two strategies on how to deal with this rearrangement. You can either block the window completely, by placing closets, bookshelves, couches and other similar stuff IN FRONT of it. Pay attention, though, as this option will lead to the complete blockage of the outside light.
Or, if you don’t want to lose the precious light, you can start by placing the furniture AROUND the window or NEXT TO it. This way it will still absorb some of the sounds that are forcing their way through your windows, but to be fair, I wouldn’t expect any miracles.
Let’s go over the pros and cons of rearranging the furniture in order to block outside noise:
- it’s free
- it dampens the noise to a degree
- you might lose the light if you opt for the complete blockage
This first method is not going to cost you anything, so there’s absolutely no excuse why you shouldn’t try it out!
2. Make Sure There Are No Gaps Around the Windows
As I took a closer look at my windows, and those places where they connect to the walls, I quickly spotted tiny gaps and cavities! Not only was it looking old and aesthetically unpleasant to the eye, but it created more paths for the noise to come in and bother me.
That’s when I decided to take some time and do a little research online. It turned out that there are many simple and cheap ways to get rid of these gaps.
Has it ever crossed your mind that the outside noise can force its way into your home through those tiny gaps between the wall and the borders of the window? It’s crazy how we never pay that much attention to these tiny details. So, what we need to do is block these small pathways and prevent the sounds from pushing through.
That’s when acoustic caulk comes in handy! It will give you great effects, and you won’t have to redo it for at least three, or even four, years. It’s a quick fix with a high level of durability, and that’s why it’s so awesome. Here are just some of the benefits you’ll get by using an acoustic caulk:
- it’s an efficient way to seal gaps
- it’s designed to stay flexible, so it won’t shrink or crack
- it’s more durable than the regular caulk
If you want to learn more about acoustic caulk, why it is better than regular caulk, and how to use it around the windows, then click the button below:
Weatherstripping for Windows
There’s one more way you can reduce noise leakage and energy waste. In order to do that, you’ll need a weatherstripping tape! This tape can be bought in various forms, and it can be made out of many materials. Some of the materials used for these tapes are foam, rubber and silicone, but the list doesn’t end there.
You can determine which materials best suits your needs by taking into consideration the amount of friction your window will receive, the exposure to weather and the overall look of your window with it. My personal favorite is the Closed-Cell Foam Tape. However, you should see for yourself which material is going to work for your windows.
All in all, the weather-stripping sealers will serve as powerful gap blockers. It will take you just 30 minutes or less, to cover your whole window (and half of this time you’ll be cleaning it). So, here’s what you need to do:
- clean the surface
- cut the strip to the desired length
- apply the strip to all four sides of the window jam
Here’s a short video about weatherstripping:
And some additional benefits:
- it’s very cheap
- it can help get rid of dust, noise, cold wind, and water leakage
- it can be used as a protection from various outside intruders (insects)
3. Hang Thick Soundproof Curtains
Another cheap solution is to get thick soundproof curtains. I have to warn you, though. This method won’t block the noise entirely. However, it can be useful as a complement to other methods.
What these curtains will do is help reduce the echo. Also, from the aesthetic point of view, the large, thick curtains that cover the entire window will be a great addition to your home decor. What’s more, you’ll actually kill two birds with one stone by making this purchase. You’ll have something to help you reduce the noise, but also make your interior look good and keep the unwanted light out of your home. What more can you ask for?
I bought these curtains, and I absolutely adore them! You shouldn’t expect them to block all the incoming noise, though. I mean, we’re talking about the cloth hung on the wall. However, they have proven to be extremely helpful as an addition to other methods I used. And, I just love the cozy feel they give to my house. So, in my opinion, it’s a win-win situation.
- they will reduce the echo and help make the room quieter
- but, they won’t block the outside noise completely
- aesthetically pleasing
- they will keep the light away
Learn more about soundproof curtains here:
4. Get Soundproof Blankets to Cover Up the Windows
One more thing I tried using were the soundproof moving blankets. The same goes here as for the curtains. These blankets are great at reducing the level of noise coming through the windows. However, they can’t cancel the noise leakage completely.
If you’re now asking yourself “How can a blanket improve the sound?”, let me explain. In general, professional movers use moving blankets to wrap up furniture in order to save it from damage during transportation. The reason for that is that they are made of heavy layers of dense materials, like woven cotton, polyester, fiberglass, and mineral wool. These features are the reason moving blankets became popular among people in the DIY soundproofing and got the name “soundproof” blankets.
I’d recommend that you look for blankets with grommets. The reason for that is the grommets will make it so much easier to hang the blankets over the window. You’ll just need to place them on a curtain rod, or you can even add the hooks.
You need to know that the cheaper blankets most likely won’t have grommets on them. So either you’ll look for the ones that have them and spend some more money, or you can install them manually. In addition, you can also nail/screw the blanket to the wall. Choose the way of installation that’s going to be the easiest one for you, and you’ll immediately notice the difference these blankets make!
Learn more about soundproof blankets here:
5. Make a Simple DIY Window Plug
In case you’re on the lookout for a fun and simple DIY project that’s going to keep you busy, I suggest you try and build a soundproof window plug. These plugs are a great solution as they’ll save you from messing with the window. What’s more, they are extremely affordable, and you’ll be amazed at how well they will block the sound leakage!
You only need to plug them in a window opening when you need some peace and quiet. Afterward, simply remove them. A highly effective method that lets you completely control the level of noise in your home environment.
The best thing about this method is that it’s going to cost you very little to buy the materials, and it will be a fun little project for you to indulge in. Here are some benefits:
- great temporary noise blockage solution
- it’s not going to cost a lot
- a fun project to keep you busy
You can learn how to create soundproof window plugs here:
6. Install Thick Material Blinds or Shades
One more way to reduce noise levels in your home is to install thick material blinds or shades. If you go for this kind of option, you’ll be very pleased with the purchase. The installation is pretty quick and straightforward, so it won’t be a hassle to install them on your windows.
Of course, this method won’t completely cancel the noise. However, it will help reduce it. And, you’ll see a significant change if you decide to combine this method to another one from the article.
Additionally, apart from the noise reduction, these blinds and shades will serve as a great way to control the amount of light you let in your room. Basically, thanks to them, you can have a sense of privacy and peace and keep the unwanted light out of the room, whenever you feel like it.
My recommendation would be to get Cordless Single Cell Shades. Firstly, they are thicker when compared to the regular shades. And, secondly, they have a unique “honeycomb composition”, which enhances their ability to absorb and dampen the sound waves.
- they’ll serve their purpose of keeping the unwanted light out of your room
- they’ll give a sense of privacy and peace
- most importantly, they will help reduce the echo and the overall noise levels coming through the window
7. Get the Soundproofing Window Kit and Add an Extra Layer of Glass
Alright, we arrived at another DIY project. I have to warn you, this one is not so simple.
In order to reduce the noise levels coming from the outside, we can attach a piece of acrylic or glass over the inside of the window. This method is pretty effective when it comes to DIY ways of soundproofing windows. But be careful, though. Without laminated glass or an acoustic grade glass, there won’t be a huge acoustic difference.
You have to make sure that the new layer will hug the window as tightly as possible. To achieve this, you will need to install a metal frame on your window. Then you’ll need to use special magnets that will hold the glass sheet to the frame.
A simpler way is to buy the soundproofing window kit explicitly designed for this purpose. It comes with all the parts necessary (note that acrylic and glass are not included) to build your own version of a soundproof window, and a screwdriver is the only tool you’ll need.
Pros and cons of using this soundproofing window kit:
- it lets you keep the daylight
- it can take more time and effort to install
- it can be removed for cleaning
- it is pricier than previous methods
- should be kept as an alternative option
8. Soundproof Window Inserts
If the aforementioned DIY project doesn’t work out, go for the professional solution. Companies like CitiQuiet make soundproof window inserts that ought to leave your windows fully functional.
Essentially, these inserts are basically sliding panes that go over the interior side of the windows. As you can see in the company’s insert installation video, their product can make even the noisiest environment go quiet. At the very end of the video, you can hear the amount of noise the inserts are keeping at bay when they slide them open.
The main difference between this solution and the previous one we talked about is that the CitiQuiet insert and others like it require professional installation. In my opinion, soundproofing kits can be just as effective if you’re an expert in home DIYs. However, if you’re not, you’ll run the risk of leaving tiny gaps around the window. So if you’re not sure if you’ll be able to effectively create that additional barrier yourself, and if you have some cash to spare, hire the pros.
9. Window Soundproofing Film
Now, with any kind of window insert, you’ll add a separate layer of glass. While inserts are still the most effective way to soundproof windows, there is an obvious drawback to those methods. You’d have another layer of glass to keep clean. Fortunately, there is another product I want to share.
Whether you want to retain the window’s transparency or not, vinyl window film might be the perfect solution. These kinds of products are basically window stickers. You peel off a corner and press the film directly onto clean glass until it covers the whole window pane. If you find that the product you ordered is too large, cut off the excess with a utility knife.
Obviously, acoustic window film won’t completely eliminate all noise. However, it will get rid of vibrations and small cracks in the glass. Still, if you opt for this method, you’ll likely have to use acoustic caulk around the window frame. That should take care of any cracks in the wall.
In the article I’ve linked to, I recommended several window film options with various transparent, frosted, colored, and opaque designs. Even if your windows are perfectly soundproof, you might still want to check out the products I’ve found, if for no other reason but to add a new and interesting element to your home decor.
10. Cover the Window with Professional Acoustic Panels
Another hack to try are the acoustic panels, which might look similar to the previously mentioned blankets. However, you should know that acoustic panels are way thicker and bulkier! And, the greater the mass, the lesser the noise will be. So, here’s a perfect example of that kind of a high-mass product – Singer Safety Fiberglass Panel.
What you need to learn is that these panels are made out of quilted fiberglass, which acts as a sound barrier. Hence, this material actually works as a sound stopper and doesn’t let the sound waves pass through! In addition, thanks to their uneven surface, they will significantly reduce the echoes and absorb the sounds on both sides of the panel.
It’s not going to be too much of a hassle to install these panels, as they have brass grommets on all four sides. Therefore, you can easily hang them on hooks or nails to whichever surface you want. Just pay attention to the fact that the closer you place them to the windows, the better the effect will be.
There are some disadvantages – the price and the looks of the panels. When we compare this method to all the previous ones, this is clearly a more expensive option. However, brand new soundproof windows are much more costly, so this option will end up looking very cheap.
And, as far as the looks go, I just wanted to warn you that these panels are not entirely visually appealing. However, they are very effective, and they will block the noise effectively. And, if you really can’t seem to make peace with the visual effect, just throw on some beautifully made curtains, and enjoy both the style and the functionality!
11. Buy Double-Pane or Even Triple-Pane Windows
Making a decision to buy double-pane or triple-pane windows is a big one. This is a decision you might take if you are willing to spend a fair amount of money on this soundproofing project.
This solution will surely help block out the unwanted noise, it’s well known how efficient these multi-pane windows can be. In fact, sometimes, they can reduce the noise level by 50% and more. Not only will they help you fight the noise, but they’ll also keep your room cool during the summer and warm during the winter days. So, another benefit they’ll bring to you is saving a lot on the energy bill.
With these double-pane and triple-pane windows, you want to make sure that the installation is done professionally. There should be no gaps or cracks around the edges of the windows. I suppose you don’t want to spend all that money on these window panes and then install them poorly, do you?
12. Get Rid of the Window Entirely
Alright guys, my final solution for you is to block the window completely and entirely. If you live in a very loud neighborhood and none of the previously mentioned options seem satisfactory enough, I would suggest that you block your window entirely.
That way, you will undoubtedly get rid of the noise. On the other hand, you need to think twice before making this decision. You do understand that after blocking it, there will be no window at all?
That might not seem like a big issue, but you need to know that windows are put where they are for a reason. Aside from the annoying sounds, the windows let the sun rays into your home. Also, they give you fresh air and maybe even a nice view.
So, before opting for this complete blockage method, take everything into consideration. If you still think that this would be a good solution then go ahead and do it. You have three steps to complete this process:
- start by removing the existing window
- continue by filling in the cavity
- finish with the installation of drywall over the cavity
On the other hand, if you think that removing the window is not a viable option, then pick one of the 9 other tips.
You can read this article to get a better idea: The Best Way To Soundproof A Wall.
Final Thoughts on Soundproofing Windows
As someone who likes to enjoy the peaceful and quiet moments, snuggled in my comfy bed, I am so happy that I can do that again. There’s nothing better than having a good night’s sleep, without having the street noise interfere with it.
If you appear to be having the same problems that I had, it’s high time you took things into your own hands and started working! Once you’re finished, these DIY projects will be something you’ll be very proud of.
Let me remind you that some of the methods I mentioned earlier are not going to be 100% efficient, so you might want to combine two or more options. It all depends on how much noise you’re dealing with and how big your budget is.
I provided a palette of solutions, starting from really cheap ones and building up to those that will cost a fair amount of money. Remember, though, there’s no such thing as “too expensive” when it comes to having the peace of mind.
After reading this article, sit down, think about it for a while and start working on your project. I am sure that it will be worth it, and, no matter which project you pick, you’ll be happy with the results!