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Is secondary glazing better than double or triple glazinf for noise insulation?

(120 Posts)
MinimalistMommi Mon 04-Feb-13 10:41:36

Victorian period property cottage. Single glazed sash windows. The noise from busy-ish street is really upsetting/stressing me out. Didn't realise it would be this noisy until we moved in and then, of course, it's too late sad

DP's want me to rip out original windows and replace with UPVC style sash windows. I worry about ripping out original features and losing value on house.
I've read that secondary glazing, although a bit ugly, is better at noise reduction than double/triple glazed windows. Is this true?

Also has anyone here fitted secondary glazing and has it actually reduced noise? I would live to know! thanks

I really need mumsnetters help otherwise I'm gong to have to think about selling and buying again. sad

(More background information, front door opens directly into living room, I don't know if this 'lets in more noise' than a wall IYKWIM in comparison to separate hall and porch etc)

MinimalistMommi Mon 04-Feb-13 10:43:13

'Live to know' should be love to know of course blush sorry for all the typo's...

PigletJohn Mon 04-Feb-13 14:14:32


MinimalistMommi Mon 04-Feb-13 17:14:58

Thanks piglet.

pirouette Mon 04-Feb-13 17:20:16

We have one window with secondary glazing on and yes, it is quieter and warmer than the other windows (all single glazing sash).

The secondary glazing looks like a kit but it is very well fitted and in two parts so each part slides down for cleaning. The bottom has a furry draught excluder thing on.

notcitrus Mon 04-Feb-13 17:34:02

Secondary glazing can be very unobtrusive - we got it to go with our Victorian sashes and bay windows. Refurbing the sashes so they don't rattle or let drafts in should also help. I don't really notice noise but there's a huge improvement in temperature.

Both together should be cheaper than PVC replacements and add value should you still find the noise too much for you.

NuzzleMyScratch Mon 04-Feb-13 17:34:56

Don't forget that it only helps with noise reduction when it's closed/sealed! You may want to consider how you'll feel about noise in the warmer months.

nocake Mon 04-Feb-13 17:38:02

There is an alternative, if you want to keep the wooden sashes. You can have them refurbished and fitted with double glazed sealed units. They're thin units so will fit in the existing windows but it's quite expensive.

MinimalistMommi Mon 04-Feb-13 17:44:12

nocake I want to have fitted what is best for noise reduction, I'm thinking that secondary glazing (having them fitted with wooden sides etc so it matches the white painted wood of the original sashes) would be better than a double glazed sealed unit because of the bigger gap?

I've been thinking about acoustic glass too...again I don't know if this would be better or worse then secondary glazing.

Nuzzle as long as I know I can shut the windows I think I would be Ok in summer months IYKWIM.

noddyholder Mon 04-Feb-13 17:44:45

Or shutters!

MinimalistMommi Mon 04-Feb-13 17:45:54

pirouette I'm glad it worked, how much of a difference was there once it was fitted? Was it noticeable ?

nociturus can you recommend a firm, was it very expensive?

MinimalistMommi Mon 04-Feb-13 17:46:25

noddy I like lots of light in the day! grin

noddyholder Mon 04-Feb-13 17:47:53

They fold back in the day though and some have adjustable vents. Secondary glazing is far superior to upvc and its only downside is how it looks but the large gap is great

MinimalistMommi Mon 04-Feb-13 17:50:51

noddy thank you for quick reply thanks
I'm a stay home mum so I'm in a lot so I need a solution for day time noise not just for getting to sleep at night. You sound positive about secondary glazing which has made me feel better. I would much prefer to find a good solution rather then have the stress of thinking we have to move again.

PigletJohn Mon 04-Feb-13 18:03:47

the bigger the gap, the better the sound insulation, so secondary is always better for noise than double.

Also, the glass will usually be thicker in secondary, so it will not resonate at the same frequency as the original panes, which also reduces sound transmission. Heavier materials (including thicker glass) absorb more noise than thin.

If you have net curtains, they can make the secondary glazing practically undetectable.

For a Victorian cottage, a heavy lined curtain over the door on a portiere rod (lifting it out of the way on a pivot when you open the door) will look in keeping and cut transmission round the door. Sealing draught gaps and fitting a letterbox flap will also help. Noise will find its way through gaps.

You can inject expanding foam behind wooden window frames to fill the gap between the frame and the bricks, but this should be done as part of a comprehensive overhaul ensuring there is no rain or condensation getting in, replacing any damaged or rotted timber, and applying wood preserver and repainting. The foam will also prevent rattles. It can be painted or sealked to prevent sunlight degrading the foam.

Sausagedog27 Mon 04-Feb-13 18:04:01

In tests secondary glazing has been found to be the best when it comes to noise. I wouldn't recommend that you double glaze in the existing frames as this can be hugely costly. Same for uPVC (as well as impacting on value). Good luck op and hope you get some peace soon!

noddyholder Mon 04-Feb-13 18:09:18

I went with some glazers who were working on a house I was doing to see the secondary glazing they were doing in a listed building in sussex and it was great. I wouldn't hesitate to have it. They said they love doing it as it is easy and people are always so happy with it once done Its convincing them in teh first place thats the problem. We had it in our first flat on a main road and it was great and I am very noise sensitive

pirouette Mon 04-Feb-13 19:23:47

I measured and there is a 3 inch gap between glass and the secondary glazing. It was done before I moved in but the last tenant said it was so cold that they tried to make one room warm but it is noticeably warmer than the other rooms.
I am in the other room just now and can hear the wind outside but I cannot hear it in the secondary glazed room.
I think this secondary glazing unit is around 12 years old so there will be much better ones now.

PigletJohn - thank you for mentioning the portiere rod! I never knew what they were called and was meaning to ask on mn.

MinimalistMommi Tue 05-Feb-13 10:50:56

Just had one quote through for £850 per sash window for secondary double glazing and plus the sash windows need some refurbishment (no rotting wood but they rattle, let in drafts etc. On the upstairs bedroom window two of the panes need replacing)
I'm quite shocked at the quote but that is with a wooden frame so it matches the wooden sash. shock

MinimalistMommi Tue 05-Feb-13 10:51:59

To be clear, the £850 quote is with no refurbishment of original sash windows, just for the fitting of the new secondary glazing.

PigletJohn Tue 05-Feb-13 10:57:44

sounds rather high.

maybe they thought you looked too rich.

ghoulelocks Tue 05-Feb-13 10:59:01

I hate my secondary glazing, but then it's 1970s huge heay panels the size of doors that need to be lifted out to open a window

PigletJohn Tue 05-Feb-13 11:03:00

you used to be able to get a DIY kit of vertical sliding sashes, but I haven't seen it for a long time.

Buzi Tue 05-Feb-13 11:07:31

We live in a grade 2 listed house so single glazing was our only option. I investigated and found vent rolls perimeter sealing. Sound has to travel through air really to be a nuisance and the vent rolls people came took the windows out whipped them through a machine that put a groove all the way around and some thick brush typ tape. When the windows shut they shut whoomph and hey presto sound hugely reduced. The double/triple glazing is inside the frame. The frame must also be sealed.
It isn't cheap but we negotiated and maybe there are some other companies.

Buzi Tue 05-Feb-13 11:08:55


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