How to Soundproof a Window in an Apartment

apartment window

If you live in an apartment, you might get frustrated with your loud neighbors or the distracting sounds of busy streets. You’re living very close to other people, so it might be time to soundproof your apartment.

Windows are often the biggest problem area for soundproofing, but there are many ways to absorb sounds coming through a window.

Here are all the ways you can soundproof your window in an apartment.

How to Make Apartment Windows Soundproof

1. Seal Internal Window Gaps

If there are any gaps around a window, more air will travel through, as will noise. Before exploring other ways to deaden sounds, make sure the window is completely sealed. This is an inexpensive project that doesn’t require much renovation.

Look at the current condition of the seal. Once you notice significant wear or gaps, it’s time to make a new seal. It’s best to remove the old sealant and replace it with acoustic caulk. In total, this project will cost less than $50.

Poor seals are the cause of many noise problems in apartments. However, you may need to combine this solution with curtains or other soundproofing methods to be fully effective.

2. Seal External Window Gaps

On the outside of the window, the trim can separate from the window. This gap can cause air leaks, letting sound travel easily into the apartment.

For small gaps, apply a steady bead of caulk into the space. Once it cures, you can paint over any imperfections. Any gaps larger than a quarter-inch will need a different process.

You might need to use backer rods to fill larger gaps. After placement, you can caulk over this.

If there is a large gap between the drywall and trim, you’ll need to use an expandable foam. Spray from the bottom to the top. If there are unfilled spaces, air can move through the window and you’ll be able to hear noise easily.

3. Add Weather Stripping

Although weatherstripping is designed to retain heat in the home, it also has soundproofing qualities. This is because soundproofing and heat insulation are accomplished with similar methods.

Weatherstripping fills in the gaps of a window. Windows do not usually have airtight seals, but weatherstripping decreases the gap made where the window opens.

The benefit of this option is its low cost. Weatherstripping is a cheap material that is available in many stores. A full roll of weather stripping costs less than $10 at Home Depot.

You’ll find that the installation process is easy as well. There are no complicated steps to follow during this soundproofing project. Weatherstripping is installed by simply removing the adhesive backing and sticking it to the window.

The one important thing to remember is where to lay the weather stripping. Pay close attention to where the old stripping was before removal.

4. DIY Window Plug

If you love DIY projects, you can easily soundproof your window by making a plug. This is designed to fit into your window to reduce the amount of noise coming through the glass. This method is effective and cheap, but may not be a long-term solution.

For this project, you essentially make a wooden frame filled with soundproofing materials. You can easily install or remove this plug whenever you want.

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You’ll need to measure your window, cutting a piece of wood to fit inside. Then cover this with soundproofing materials. You can use a soundproof mat, mass-loaded vinyl, and/or acoustic foam. The thicker the plug, the more sound it can absorb.

Use glue to secure all of the insulation and acoustic sealant for the edges. At this point, you can add handles for easy installation. Lay the plug inside the window, with the soundproofing material facing outside.

This method will require more work and it may block out sunlight from the room. However, a window plug is very inexpensive to build and can be very effective in absorbing noise.

5. Add Soundproof Window Inserts

Window inserts can reduce sound by 70 percent, making your home a much quieter place. This product is often made with quarter-inch acrylic glazing with silicone compression tubing along its edges. After installation, the window will have a much tighter seal, providing a better barrier against outside noise.

You can order window inserts of any size. This way, you can have a product that perfectly fits your window. If you have an insert that properly fits, there will be a much better seal.

These inserts are placed on the inside of the window, but you won’t even notice them. They are designed to be unobtrusive, so you can still have a clear view through the window.

The installation process is very simple for window inserts. All you have to do is press them in place. You can do this by yourself and it will only take a few minutes.

You can’t beat the price. For less than $30 per square foot, window inserts are much cheaper than vinyl replacement windows.

6. Install a Sound Absorption Sheet

Sound absorption sheets can be installed over windows to absorb any sounds. Whether you want a room for podcasting or a silent place to sleep, these can do a great job.

These sheets come in large sizes, often 90 x 50 inches. This would be ideal in covering an entire window.

Although they have many benefits, it will take a little more effort to install these absorption sheets. You’ll need to measure the sheet, noting the distance between the metal grommets.

Then make marks on the wall above the window. Use a drill to make a hole and insert the wall anchors. Place the fasteners in the anchors and hang the sheets.

When the sheets are installed, they won’t be as aesthetic as other soundproofing methods. Sound absorption sheets are made for functionality rather than home decor.

This is also an expensive method. Sheets start at around $100 and can be much more depending on the brand. However, they can be a worthy investment because of their ability to absorb sound.

7. Add Soundproof Barrier

Soundproofing barrier panels are made from acoustic foam and can sufficiently absorb outside noise. Although they are mostly used on walls, doors, and floors, they can also be applied to windows.

These panels reflect low-frequency sound waves and absorb 80 percent of high-frequency sound waves. They are designed with 100% heat-pressed polyester fibers which keep your home quiet.

You can find a pack of 5 panels for around $25. This should be enough to cover any windows that need extra soundproofing.

When you measure your window, make sure to add a few inches to the length and width. The panels should be taller and wider than the window to maximize the soundproofing effect.

The installation process is very simple. All you’ll need is 3M VHB tape or soundproof green glue. If the panels don’t arrive in the right size, you can easily use a sharp cutter to adjust the size.

Keep in mind that this is a more permanent solution to soundproofing a window. Unlike other solutions, this method cannot be removed daily.

With soundproofing curtains, you can simply push them aside, but soundproofing barrier panels are applied with tape or glue. You won’t be able to use your window every day with this solution.

8. Add Noise Reducing Curtains / Blinds

A great way to soundproof a room without sacrificing your home decor is by adding soundproof curtains. Blackout curtains have an elegant design while reducing the amount of noise, light, and heat that enters your home.

Most soundproof curtains have two layers of triple-weave polyester fabric which is ideal for blocking unwanted noise. Many brands offer a variety of colors and patterns so that you can find the perfect match for the design of your home.

For under $50, soundproof curtains can be a great inexpensive option for soundproofing a window. They are machine washable and can withstand years of use.

Unlike some of these other options, they are easy to install. These curtains come with metal grommets which you can use to slide onto a curtain rod.

Honeycomb sound absorption blinds can also work well in blocking sounds. They may not be as effective as curtains, but they will absorb more sound than traditional blinds.

9. Add Furniture

There’s only so much you can do to soundproof a window. If you are creating too much noise in your house and don’t want to disturb your neighbors, you can add furniture.

Sound waves bounce off hard surfaces. When you place lots of furniture in a room, you can effectively reduce the number of sound waves that escape a room.

Generally, the more pieces of furniture you have in a room, the more sound is absorbed. You can lay your couch against a shared wall to limit sound travel. This can dampen sound as it travels to and from your apartment.

Final Thoughts

Living in an apartment can be frustrating. It often feels as if you have no privacy, hearing all the sounds coming from your neighbor’s apartment. Thankfully, there are many solutions to this problem.

Any of the methods listed above would help absorb unwanted noise. You can even combine multiple solutions to get better results!

  • Gregory A Seely
  • Gregory A Seely

    Greg is a self taught home renovator and writer for RenoViso. His shares his experiences with Southern Living, Traditional Home and other publications.

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