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Caulking the cracks around a window

How To Soundproof a Window (Expert Reviewed)

Typical Cost Range: $50 – $500

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Author Image Written by Jessica Wimmer + 1 other Reviewer Icon Reviewed by William Powars Updated 06/05/2024

Most noise enters your home through your windows. You can replace your windows with sound-resistant ones, but many homeowners aren’t prepared to spend what it costs to replace their existing windows. There are other ways to block the sound though. We’ve researched soundproofing options and consulted experts to find effective solutions to reduce the noise. In this article, we’ll explain how to soundproof a window, the costs associated with this type of project, and when to call a professional.


Why Soundproof Windows

There are many reasons to soundproof your windows. If you work from home, have a new baby or an ill family member, or are sensitive to noise, it’s reasonable to want peace and quiet. Being close to a busy highway, living in a loud city, or having a construction site nearby can make you feel like you can never escape the outside. Fortunately, there are many ways to soundproof your windows to decrease or even eliminate outside noise.

Check out the video below to learn some cost-effective ways to seal and insulate your existing windows from home technology expert Ross Trethewey and master carpenter Nathan Gilbert.


How To Soundproof Your Windows

You can choose from several options to soundproof your windows, with some being more straightforward and affordable than others. We’ve detailed a few methods below to help you determine which is right for you.

Option 1: Acoustic Sealants or Caulk

If you live in an old house or one with poorly installed windows, soundproofing may be a matter of sealing cracks and crevices around your windows. These are common culprits for allowing sound in. Other soundproofing methods won’t block sound if you have cracks in your window framing. This do-it-yourself (DIY) method is easy and relatively inexpensive. Look for an acoustic sealant or caulk to close cracks. Conventional caulking will harden and eventually crack, whereas an acoustical caulk will remain flexible for years. 

Pros and Cons of Acoustic Sealants or Caulk

Easy to do yourself
Cost-effective
Reduces energy bills
May not entirely block out sound
Can be messy if you aren’t careful
Longer drying time

Option 2: Window Inserts

Soundproofing window inserts are an effective way to block out noise. These glass panels are installed in a window frame about 5 inches in front of the interior face of the window. Inserts made of laminated glass, which consists of two layers of glass with a layer of plastic in between, are more effective at sound reduction. This likely isn’t a project you can do alone, so you’ll need to hire an installer. One window insert can run you anywhere between $250–500, depending on the size and style of the window and your location.*

*Cost figures in this article were sourced from various home improvement reports, including Home Advisor and Angi.

Pros and Cons of Window Inserts

Highly effective at reducing noise
Cost less on average than double-pane windows
Come with warranty protection from installer
Expensive
Not appropriate for shallow window sills

Option 3: Noise-Reducing Curtains or Blinds

If you want a less expensive option, noise-reducing curtains, blinds, or shutters can make a noticeable difference in the amount of outside sound you can hear. Wood absorbs noise because of its porousness, so wooden shutters can go a long way toward reducing sound. Insulating blinds or honeycomb cell shades may be even more helpful. You can install curtains yourself for $20–400 per window.

Pros and Cons of Soundproof Curtains or Blinds

Inexpensive
Doable DIY project
Reduce draftiness
May not suit your home’s aesthetic
Limited options for unique window shapes and sizes

Option 4: Carbon Absorption Panels

Installing carbon absorption panels is a simple DIY option. Much like a foam plug, which is a foam board you can fit into your window frame to block noise, carbon panels can be placed in front of your windows as a sound barrier. The difference is that carbon is a higher-quality material that can absorb more sound than foam. You can quickly remove carbon panels whenever you don’t want your windows covered.

Pros and Cons of Carbon Absorption Panels

Less expensive than window inserts and double panes
Easily movable
DIY-friendly
Block out light
Reduce curb appeal

Option 5: External Storm Windows

You can soundproof your windows by a installing a storm window—a win-win if you live in an area with turbulent weather. Having that extra layer of glass will decrease outside noise while increasing your home’s energy efficiency. The thicker the glass and the tighter the seal, the more noise reduction you’ll get. This isn’t a job you want to try on your own; hire an installation company for the best results. Storm windows typically range from $90–$400 per window.

Pros and Cons of Storm Windows

Increase energy efficiency
Do not hurt curb appeal
More effective than many DIY options
Require professional installation
Not the least expensive option

Option 6: Double-Pane Windows

Replacing single-pane windows with double panes is effective, but it’s a more expensive and cumbersome process. Pre-2000s homes are more likely to have single-pane windows that offer less of a noise barrier. Newer homes are typically built with double-pane windows, which consist of two layers of glass with air in between. This could be a worthwhile investment: Many window professionals recommend double panes as the best window soundproofing, while others say that window inserts are more effective. Expect to pay anywhere from $300–$2,100 per window depending on the window style and size.

Pros and Cons of Double-Pane Windows

May help home resale
Won’t hurt curb appeal
Energy efficient
More expensive than other options
Require professional installation

DIY vs. Professional Window Soundproofing

While there are methods you can do yourself, such as putting up noise-reducing curtains or caulking around your window, others are best left to the professionals. Installing glass or permanent soundproofing materials should be done by pros to ensure you get the right products installed correctly. Plus, you’ll likely get a warranty to protect your investment.


Our Conclusion

If your budget is tight and you just want a quick fix, curtains, blinds, high-quality acoustic foam, carbon panels, or window caulking are all fast, affordable methods to reduce noise. 

If you want a more dependable and effective solution, we recommend professionally installed window inserts or storm windows, or replacing your windows altogether. These methods are more likely to block out the noise of traffic and other distractions. Check out our top recommendations for the highest-rated window replacement companies if you want to invest in new windows, or review our guide to cheap window replacement companies to keep costs low.

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FAQ About Soundproofing Windows

How can I make my windows soundproof?

You can soundproof your windows through many methods. There are DIY options, such as sound-dampening window treatments. There are more expensive and effective methods such as installing window inserts or replacing single-pane windows with double panes. 

Can you soundproof an existing window?

You can soundproof an existing window with permanent or non-permanent materials. Window treatments such as curtains and blinds, sound-absorbing foam, and carbon panels are easy DIY solutions. Having an installer double or triple the layers of glass in your window is a more effective way to soundproof an existing window. 

How can I soundproof my windows cheaply?

Caulking cracks or crevices around your windows can be done for $15–$100. Putting up foam panels can typically be done for $25$75 per window, while window treatments can cost as little as $50 per window

What is the best material to soundproof a window?

The best material to soundproof a window is multi-layer laminated glass. Window inserts, storm windows, and double- or triple-pane windows are the most common soundproofing methods for homeowners willing to make the investment. 

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