I recently moved into an older home on a busy Pueblo street. The only thing I don't love about it is the constant noise! I know I need soundproof windows - but I don't know where to begin my search. What should I look for when I go shopping for windows?
Nicholas P. ~ Pueblo, Colorado
Hi Nicholas, Pueblo, Colorado is a beautiful area, I had a good friend who lived near there, and I was able to visit once in awhile. Replacement windows should have a Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating. It may not be marked on the window, but the window salesperson should be able to tell you what it is, and it will be on the window manufacturer's website. Double pane windows are usually in the 27-32 STC rating range. The higher the rating, the more soundproof the windows are. Specialty replacement windows are available that are almost soundproof, hotels near airports use them, but they can be pretty expensive. Common street noise shouldn't require specialty replacement windows, and if you have an old house, you may only have single pane windows. Double pane windows could make a big difference in what you hear from the outside.
One thing to keep in mind when you are looking for your replacement windows is that a normal house's exterior wall STC rating is around 38. This can vary depending on the wall thickness and insulation type, and if there is a brick veneer it could get up to around a 56 STC rating. You shouldn't look for replacement windows with a higher STC rating than that of your home's exterior wall system, as you can reach a point where the windows are more soundproof than the walls.