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Outside Noise: Which is more effective for blocking outside noise, thickness or lamination?

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In a word (or several - for those that know me), no, the salesman is not correct that the IGU with different thickness lites will have the same noise performance as will laminated glass.

But, before you start spending loads of money, a few thoughts and suggestions...

First, installation, installation, installation is important when considering energy efficiency, it is even more crucial for sound MUST be done right in order to minimize outside noise.

Second, although laminated glass is the top-of-the-line option, installation of a dual pane with different thickness lites should make a significant difference versus your current single pane windows.

Third, I am not specifically a fan of STC ratings (there are better systems in use, but STC is the "established" rating)...but, in your case STC comparisons between different options will be a good guide. STC is specifically designed for "human voice" frequency range, and that is a good part of your problem....

Fourth, see the first thought and then consider your walls and the amount of insulation that you have in them. You could install the worlds best rated sound-proof window and still hear noise thru the walls...not very cost effective.

Fifth, you mention considering laminated glass to the windows facing the sound, but if you don't tighten up other windows around the house it is entirely possible for sound to enter thru those as well...that doesn't mean that improving the windows facing the sound source won't help a lot...just keep in mind that sound is persistant and like a burglar it will keep looking for that easy way in.

Curiously, aluminum frames are actually the best material for sound attenuation...but the very worst for energy issues. Depending on your environment you will have to consider if the trade-off is worth it.

Finally, a fixed window will outperform an operator in sound performance. A "direct-set" fixed window will generally outperform a "sash-in-frame" fixed window. In general, a casement will outperform sliders or double hungs in sound perfomance.

And finally, again, please remember the first comment / suggestion...installation...

Good luck!

Source Post: Window Options and Noise Control

Posted: Thu Feb 02, 2006 8:11 am