If you live in an area that has lots of noise the thought of acoustic glass may have crossed your mind more than once. Ambient noise, such as that coming from a nearby road or busy shopping area, can be disruptive to your daily life and if it is also taking place at night it can lead to disturbed sleep. We explore acoustic glass this month to help you make the right decision – what is it and is it worth the financial investment?

What is acoustic glass?

Acoustic glass is that which reduces noise levels considerably. It does this due to the way it is constructed, with laminated glass, two (or possibly more) panes of glass and a bonded internal layer to absorb sound and vibration. Depending on the acoustic reduction required, the glass panes can vary in thickness or the number of panes may be increased.

How is it different to normal double glazing?

The main difference is the internal bonded layer and the thicker glass. It works on the principle that mass absorbs sound so the greater the mass, the better its acoustic properties. This is also the reason why walls are better than windows at absorbing sound and reducing it internally.

All glass will reduce noise levels. Even single glazing with a pane width of 4mm will reduce noise levels by approximately 20-25 decibels – for comparison, the human ear can detect changes in noise levels at as little as 5 decibels.

When it comes to double glazing with a standard thickness of two 4mm panes and air in the cavity that decrease in noise can be around 28 decibels. As the glass thickness increases, so the decrease in internal noise levels will improve. The use of inert gases such as argon or krypton to replace air in the glazing cavity can further reduce noise levels inside your home.

Is it worth the extra cost?

The ideal internal noise levels for a bedroom are around 35 decibels during the day and 30 decibels at night. Other rooms in the home are less sensitive and anything below 50 decibels is acceptable. With this in mind, and with a fair idea of how noisy it is outside, you can do a rough calculation of how thick your double glazing will need to be in order to reduce noise to those levels.

Bear in mind that with extra thickness comes additional weight. If you have sash windows this could be something to consider as well as older sash boxes may not support that extra weight. The tipping point between heavy duty double glazing and acoustic glazing is through the use of that bonded internal layer that is used in acoustic glass. And this is where the additional, and often significant, cost can come into play.

Unless you live right next to a busy road, airport or rail line, then you should be able to get a suitable noise reduction through standard or slightly thicker double glazing without the additional expenditure.

If you want to know more about acoustic glass and whether it is right for your home just get in touch with our 1st Scenic team. Call or email us on 01689 829 600 and at info@1stscenic.co.uk and we’ll be happy to advise and help.