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Noise Control

External Noise

Problem: Outdoor noise penetration into the home.

Cause: Noise leaks around windows or doors.


  • Adjust or replace weather stripping. Test weather stripping by temporarily sealing the door or window with duct tape at all edges. If there is an audible change, fix or replace the weather stripping. Even new weather stripping may be improperly installed or unsuitable for noise control.

  • Additional information on weather stripping.

  • Install only one window that opens in a group of windows. This will reduce noise transmitted through leaks.
  • Ensure that there is airtight detailing around the glazing and the sash. Airtight packing or urethane foam between window frames and rough openings can control noise penetration as well, as can interior caulking of the window trim joints to the wall and the window.
  • Additional information on caulking.

Cause: Noise transmitted through an inadequate window

Solutions: In general, for good noise reduction, avoid large areas of windows in locations where high noise levels exist.

  • Use thick glass 1/4 inch (6 mm), or laminated glass if thicker.
  • Use as large an air space between the glass layers as possible with the available frames. For very noisy sites, an air space of 2 to 4 inches (50 to 100 mm) is desirable; this is not possible with typical factory-sealed glazing.
  • Use triple glazing for severe cases.
  • Add a storm window.

  • Add a storm window with as large an air space between the storm and the inner windows as the fame permits.
  • Install proper weather stripping on the inner window. To avoid condensation on the storm window do not seal it tightly.

Cause: Noise transmitted through an inadequate door.

Solutions: Change the floor plan to include a foyer or vestibule.

  • If extremely good noise reduction is required, use a sound-lock foyer rather than a storm door. Remember that windows in the vestibule usually increase noise transmission.
  • Install the inner door with the smallest possible clearance at all edges.
  • In most cases, a hollow-core wood door is adequate. A pocket door may be more convenient for some floor plans.

    Add a storm door.

  • Install the storm door so that the space between the doors is as large as possible.
  • Install good weather stripping on both doors. The thickness and thermal insulation performance of the storm door are not important for noise control.

  • Use a good quality door.

  • Do not replace a solid-core wood door with a metal door to improve noise control as the improvement will be negligible.
  • Window panels in a door do not significantly change noise levels.