Did You Hear the One About Soundproof Curtains?
Do soundproof curtains really stop invasive sounds? Is it market hype, or is it true? Can you stop traffic noise, the neighbours ‘music’, the racket of the 2 am stagger-home crowd or the Airbus A380 flying overhead? The answer is both yes and no. Invasive noise is very challenging, especially if you’re a shift worker who needs sleep while the rest of the world raises a racket. Whatever your circumstances, let’s explore your options and empower your right to silence.
We’ll look at the claim inferred by acoustic or soundproof curtains. We’ll weigh the investment, it’s merits, the methodology and technology, and we’ll arm you with simple ways to determine if the product you’re purchasing is all that it claims to be.
Do Soundproof Curtains Really Stop Noise?
To answer this question, we need to address a wordplay issue. When a customer calls a member of our team a ‘guru’, we know they’re saying they’re good at their job. We also know they’re not expecting Buddhist or Hindu spiritual advice. In the same way, when people in the industry talk about ‘soundproof curtains’, they’re actually talking about sound muffling or sound reducing acoustic curtains.
The only way to genuinely sound proof a window is to remove it, cover it with soundproofing materials, or to place curtain upon curtain, upon curtain, upon curtain, upon curtain, (and continuing) until we achieve a 100% noise removal goal. But who would want that?
What else can you do? Ultimately, there are a variety of acoustic properties that determine how sound enters and behaves within a space. If your noise issues are very bad, you may need to review the quality of your walls, the nature of your interior furnishings, and even consider installing double-glazed windows. These will all impact your soundproofing success.
Unfortunately, these measures are also prohibitively expensive, often ridiculously impractical, and all too frequently, absolutely impossible.
The next most effective strategy is the installation of soundproof curtains.
But do they work? As long as you understand that the phrases ‘acoustic curtains’, ‘soundproof curtains’ and ‘sound blocking curtains’ are used interchangeably by the industry, and that they refer to sound muffling technology, then the answer to the question is “Yes! Soundproofing curtains really do work.”
Let’s explore what is achievable.
Why Invest in Acoustic Curtains?
When we talk about acoustic curtains (or sound blocking curtains), we are talking about curtains that influence the behaviour of sound.
These curtains don’t initiate their magic until a sound enters the room. This is important to remember, because this shapes not only the solution chosen, but also tempers our expectations into a more realistic space.
With this in mind, we need to keep expectations realistic. The way audio waves behave in your room has many influencing factors. Bearing this in mind, we subjectively estimate that a 60% reduction in volume is realistic in most circumstances. But, what if it was only 40%? If so, this would mean:
- People talking as they walk by your tenement window (60dBA) would, to you, sound
- equivalent to the hum of an operating computer (40dBA).
- A diesel truck passing 10 metres from your window (85dBA) could sound like light traffic
- (50dBA), and
- That police car on urgent duty (“Why do they always come down my street?) won’t be
- like heart-stopping sirens (115dBA) but more like the sound of the shower running
Is that enough of a reduction to justify the investment?
Something is missing from the equation, of course: the dollar value of the investment.
Unfortunately, however, that’s not something we can answer without knowing your circumstances. That’s also why we’re always available to answer your questions. One phone call can see you empowered in a precise and practical way.
If you’d like to do that, call (02) 9971 8802, or complete the Contact Request Form . Either way, someone will help guide you through the journey.
What Do Soundproof Curtains Do?
Soundproofing and sound blocking curtains don’t ‘block’ sound; they absorb it. A helpful equivalent to think about is motor cars. There was a time when a ‘solid’ car was considered the safest car. Nowadays, however, the safest cars are those that crumple in a way that absorbs impact without harming the vehicle’s occupants. Soundproof or sound blocking curtains do the same thing. Sound is a mechanical wave; energy transferred from one particle to another. When sound energy reaches a wall, floor, piece of furniture, window or soundproof curtain, the energy either transfers into that object or ‘bounces’ off it. If, as a result, we hear the sound twice, we hear an echo. How long we continue to hear it is called reverberation. Soundproof curtains absorb this sound energy.
In their essence, soundproofing curtains acoustically adjust the sounds within a room. Acoustic curtains will:
- Act as a ‘sound-blocker’, by absorbing sound energy coming through your window.
- Minimise noise-bleed by avoiding openings in the curtain’s sides, top or bottom.
- Reduce reverberation (the noise was there, but only briefly).
Making Sound Blocking Curtains Work For You
When designing an acoustic curtains solution, we create sound blocking capability by focusing on five features.
- Size (covering more than the window)
- Layers (Multiple)
- Hardware (hooks and rods)
- Aesthetics (they should not reduce your front curtain options too drastically)
The material we are speaking about here is not the front curtain. We’ll talk about that when we consider aesthetics. Here, we’re focused on the layers of acoustic material that hang behind the front piece. We use what is called ‘three-thickness’ material which, as you might guess, is a reference to material thickness. It is a heavy-duty material, with high fibre content in a very tight weave.
This is a best-practice, high-quality acoustic curtain material. Other highly specialised materials are available for specific amplitude (vibrations or oscillations) needs, but this is very rarely required.
Size also matters. An effective sound-absorbing acoustic curtain covers more than the standard window area. A soundproof curtain should ideally drop from ceiling to floor and also extend at least 15 centimetres past the edge of each window frame.
Layers matter because extra layers create additional soundproofing surfaces, and also create echo/reverberation capture zones between the layers. We usually use two layers of industry-best three-thickness material. This usually accomplishes the goal, though we can add additional layers if you would prefer.
Your hardware (rods and brackets) also need to cope with the extra weight.
We also remember aesthetics, because we want to look good! Your surface curtain potentials remain enormous.
Beware Soundproof Curtain Fakes
Fakes do exist – in so far as what is on offer is not all it could be. Unscrupulous dealers sometimes advertise any curtain that is thicker than average as a ‘soundproof curtain’. A simple test is to assess the product with the information we’ve provided in this article, and also ask the supplier, “What makes it soundproof? “If the product lacks the features we’ve discussed, if the supplier claims that they can sound block 100% of noise, or if they are unable to explain the sound blocking properties of the curtain, you’re likely dealing with an imitation (or their newest employee).
So, as we close, you now know that:
- Acoustic curtains don’t stop invasive sounds; they muffle them.
- Soundproof curtains is an industry term, rather than a claim to absolute noise reduction.
- There are many building and room qualities that influence noise reduction.
- Sound blocking curtains are effective in absorbing sound energy.
- Your circumstances will influence the specific results you enjoy.
- Design features of material, size, layers, hardware and aesthetics are all critical.
- Soundproof curtain fakes do exist – beware.
If you’d like to learn more or enjoy the peace of mind of buying from someone you can trust, call (02) 9971 8802. If you’d prefer, you can complete the Contact Request Form . We have thousands of satisfied customers for a good reason. Time and again we’ve seen that soundproof curtains are a sound investment (pun intended), so if you’re seeking some peace, give us a call.