Bringing Peace and Calm Back to the House
By Ann Marie Moriarty
…But local homeowners can get a product with a long history of working in existing homes. It’s called the Soundproof Window, and although it’s made in California, more than 90 percent of sales take place via the Internet (www.soundproofwindows.com).
Bob Gray, executive vice president of Soundproof Windows in Antioch, Calif., describes his window as a very thick laminated glass — glass with a plastic layer between glass layers — in an aluminum frame. There’s a sound-deadening system built into the frame, with spring-loaded channels to keep the glass still, so it can’t vibrate. There’s also a foam gasket between the frame and the wall, and caulk seals the unit inside and out.
It’s not a replacement window — it is installed on the interior side of an existing window. “Adding a soundproof window to a single-pane window,” says Gray, “raises the STC to a 41-to-45 range. Adding it to a double-pane window gives you 44 to 48.”
And if that still isn’t quiet enough, you can add two soundproof windows to a single-pane window and, says Gray, get “an STC range of 50 to 58.”
Nor is it as expensive as a replacement sound- controlling window. “Since each of our windows is custom made,” Gray says, “we have a wide range of prices, but most average-size Soundproof Windows cost around $400 to $450.”
To do all the windows on an average-size house, he says, would cost $6,000 or $7,000. Gray also notes that laminated glass is a security plus: “You can hit it with a hammer, and the broken glass stays in place. It’s hard to get through.” And because it stops air movement, it insulates against heat and cold as well as sound.
One of Gray’s recent clients is the Swissotel Watergate Hotel, right next to the Potomac River and in the flight path of planes to and from Reagan National Airport. According to Mehmet Bahtiyar, the hotel’s director of housekeeping, the product has been put on all the hotel’s windows. “There are no noise complaints from guests. We don’t hear any plane noise at all.”
The Soundproof Windows worked for Greg Link, as well. Link, who runs the home fixtures and fittings store Home Rule on 14th Street NW, lived above his shop. But the street noise kept him out of his living room. “First, I tried installing storm windows outside. Then I added another set inside. It didn’t make much difference. Then I went onto the Web and found this company. Their windows were easy to install, and I’d say they cut out between 60 percent to 70 percent of the noise. Now you can read or watch TV in that room. You can still hear the buses, but that’s mostly vibration. The high sounds and the car noises are gone.”
Note: since this article was written, we have relocated to Reno, Nevada