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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)

Pendeen Tue 05-Feb-13 12:04:10

I would 'second' PJ's advice. smile

Differing thicknesses of glass and well-sealed frames provide the best sound insulation however think about ventilation as well i.e. if everything is sealed how do you provide fresh air?

One solution I have specified for improving some houses affected by a highway improvement was secondary glazing and: Passivent acoustic

MinimalistMommi Tue 05-Feb-13 13:10:58

Pendent, I was intending on getting the sliding secondary glazed windows so we can open them to ventilate.
Can acoustic glass be used in secondary glazing?

MinimalistMommi Tue 05-Feb-13 13:12:48

Thanks Buzi, from what I have read here and on the net, secondary glazing is still better for noise reduction then double/triple glazing. Thank you for taking the time to reply!

MinimalistMommi Tue 05-Feb-13 13:15:23

PigletJohn, I don't know if the price is so high because of the wooden frame? I feel like I have to go with wooden frame because if I do sell it on in the future I need it to look good so I don't put potential buyers off.

I'm horrified it looks like it could cost us about £4,000 for all four sash windows as you can hear road noise at the back of the house too...maybe I'm fighting a losing battle...

Pendeen Tue 05-Feb-13 14:09:51

MinimalistMommi, it's not special glass just of a different thickness from the primary window and, yes opening for ventilation is useful but of course then completely negates the point of fitting in the first place.

MinimalistMommi Tue 05-Feb-13 14:36:59

Pendeen, thank you for explaining.
About the ventilation, I like to open windows for abut half an hour a day to air the bedrooms fully out.

Just had another quote through, this time for four secondary glazed widows (which are made from double glazing) for about £3,400. I would be nervous to spend that sort of money, still not be happy, and want to move anyway. I don't see how that sort of cost is financially possible for us.

noddyholder Tue 05-Feb-13 14:40:13


MinimalistMommi Tue 05-Feb-13 14:44:50

Thank you noddy I'm going to look at that, it looks like it could be a solution while we figure out what to do...need to try and find out how much it would cost, a lot less then the figures I've been getting through I think! Thanks thanks

noddyholder Tue 05-Feb-13 14:46:44

Its about 80 per window.

MinimalistMommi Tue 05-Feb-13 15:42:16

Oh goodness, that is affordable grin

PigletJohn Tue 05-Feb-13 15:56:40

be aware that acrylic sheet is much lighter than glass, so will not be as effective at deadening noise.

I would go for a single pane of glass (not double or triple) as secondary glazing, well-sealed.

I'm puzzled that the aluminium or plastic extrusions for this don't seem to be readily available. A custom-made timber vertical sash would need counterweights or spring balances.

MinimalistMommi Tue 05-Feb-13 17:43:39

I've got someone from Storm windows coming around tomorrow to do a quote but I'm imagining they will be very expensive.

PigletJohn I'm clueless about this, why just sinks pane of glass and not double or triple as secondary glazing?

PigletJohn Tue 05-Feb-13 18:39:13

it's the thickness of the glass that cuts the noise down, plus the greater width of the air gap. It helps as it is a different thickness to the original glazing, because it will have a different resonant frequency, so it will let through a dfferent note, so between them, they will blot lots of different frequencies. Additionally, its extra mass will help it to absorb more noise.

I am sure this will give a better return on your pound than adding an(other) sealed unit, which will probably be more expensive and have to be custom-made to size, and will also (eventually) fail and suffer internal misting and need to be replaced.

The single pane of thick glass in the secondary glazing will make such a striking difference to sound transmission, and will also improve heat insulation and draughtproofing, that I don't believe it will be worthwhile to use sealed DG units.

MinimalistMommi Tue 05-Feb-13 19:11:14

Ok, thank you, that's great to know, I will see what this Storm man has to say to tomorrow.

Magneglaze claims on their website that their product will halve the sound perceived by the human ear but as you say I'm imagining it won't be as good as glass secondary glazing, we just need to see what we can afford. I did a quick google to see if there was much information about people that had used Magneglaze but couldn't find anything. I was surprised, as google usually pulls up most things grin
Fingers crossed I can work this out.

JoannaAC Fri 08-Feb-13 11:05:57

I've got secondary glazing on two large windows in my Victorian House, on the edge of a very busy road. As soon as it was installed, I noticed the difference in noise immediately...there wasn't any. I'd recommend it, cos it makes the house a lot warmer too. Try this

MinimalistMommi Fri 08-Feb-13 12:46:50

JoannaAC your post has made me so happy!!!! Has it really had that much of a difference????? shock If it has, you have just made me smile so much! At the beginning of the week I was so upset I thought We were going to have to move, but now I've settled down a bit I would like to try and make it work as the location is so good here plus the house is pretty.
Is that the company you used and did they come and measure install etc?
Thank you so much! thanks

MinimalistMommi Fri 08-Feb-13 12:48:24

Just wanted to add, I've now come to terms with the fact that each window might cost as much a grand to do but if it reduces/gets rids of noise I'm ok with that. We're planning on replacing front door too as at the minute it's a wooden one which might be a bit gappy, letting noise in.

FergusSingsTheBlues Fri 08-Feb-13 13:46:13

I have done the secondary glazing, it s amazing! The difference in heat but esp sound is incredible....we live in glasgow with sash and case windies, got glazing which mimics the sliding style of the original windows, so i just slide them up for ventilation.

We used, highly recommend.

FergusSingsTheBlues Fri 08-Feb-13 13:50:09

Ps we paid 700 quid per window, but they are ten feet high....and they tightened the original sashes at the same time.

MinimalistMommi Fri 08-Feb-13 13:57:15

Fergus thanks for taking the time to post! You've just made me smile even more! I've been really quite depressed about this so thank you. I will check out the link. Just need to choose the company that works in our area now. thanks

FergusSingsTheBlues Fri 08-Feb-13 14:03:38

No worries.....secondary glazing has improved my sleep no end. I used to get woken more than once a night with taxis, chitchat etc.....i managed to sleep through a firework display a couple of months ago. It actually stopped my husbands insistence on moving in its tracks...

MinimalistMommi Fri 08-Feb-13 14:08:29

Fergus I've been so distressed this week (we moved six days ago) that I was checking our RightMove yesterday and started a thread on here asking how much does it cost to sell and then buy again. So, reading this today has made me feel a million more times better. thanks thanks thanks

FergusSingsTheBlues Fri 08-Feb-13 15:21:18

Yes, we were in the same boat as you. No, go and do it.....You need a gap of 15cm preferably. I was scared, really scared that it would be super fugly but its great, most people dont see it until i point it out. Also makes house harder to break into! Good luck.

WocketInMyPocket Fri 08-Feb-13 15:36:47

Minimalist I know how you feel, we are in the same boat, moved and didn't realise just how much the noise would get to me (been looking at right move too!) although I have got used to it recently to a degree.

Sorry to hijack but just anyone know if there is a secondary-glazing type solution for a bow/bay PVC window or is triple glazing the best bet?

FergusSingsTheBlues Fri 08-Feb-13 15:49:03

Wocket, i have a bay. 10ft x 10ft roughly.
Cant hear a thing! I only kniw if its stormy out by hearing the chimney roar....amazing stuff.

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