Window & door soundproofing techniques for commercial spaces
Last modified: 2019/02/08 | Approximate reading time 5 mins
Running a commercial space takes a lot of work. For those managing a restaurant, bar, storefront, office, community organization or another venue with plenty of moving parts, it can be challenging to keep everything in smooth operation. Take the issue of noise as an example, between the constant hum and buzz of street traffic, the sounds of nature or humans in competition with the many noises coming from inside your venue, you might be overwhelmed. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to soundproof doors and windows of a commercial space to control the sound moving inwards.
So, if you’re looking for the best soundproofing solution for your specific commercial space, you’ve come to the right place. This article will look at the various options for door and window soundproofing, as well as some models on the market you may take interest in purchasing.
Windows and doors for commercial spaces: soundproofing 101
Benefits of soundproofing
You might not realize the many benefits of soundproofing upfront, but there is plenty of research on the relationship between soundproofing and productivity. Thus, if you’re running a business and you want your staff members or coworkers to be in tip-top shape, we’d suggest you consider the many benefits of soundproofing:
- Productivity: Reducing unwanted noise and distractions can have everyone working more efficiently.
- Reduce stress levels: For patrons of your establishment as well as those working, functional noise levels and a lack of competing sounds will make things much more comfortable.
- Property value: Having proper soundproofing in place will increase property value, as real estate in noisy locations often has a hard time selling
- Comfortability: Let’s be honest, a restaurant, bar, office space or venue with controlled noise levels will be far more comfortable and enjoyable for everyone inside.
Now, let's look at the soundproofing measures you can take when it comes to the doors and windows in your commercial space!
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As we mentioned in our introduction, noise can come from internal as well as external sources. Trying to combat both of these is important for making sure your commercial space doesn’t have to deal with a pesky noise complaint or deal with unhappy coworkers, clients or customers. If your office, restaurant or other venture is located close to a busy street, the noise created by traffic, sirens, car alarms can be distracting.
Noise intrusion for those in city centers or close to transportation corridors can be significantly worse. Studies have shown that the majority of exterior noises travel in through as well as out of the windows. Not only this, but a large portion of this noise is travelling through incorrectly applied or ageing window seals.
There are many different steps that you can take when it comes to making sure the windows in your commercial venue are far more soundproof. The option you choose will likely come down to the size of your windows, the area in which they are placed as well as your overall budget. There are many options when it comes to soundproofing in a commercial space and these are as follows:
- Replacing your current window glass with specially-made noise reduction glass;
- Replacing both the frame and the glass with soundproof windows, which includes frames and sealing materials;
- Adding a second pane of glass or secondary glazing, which will involve adding an extra layer of glass and is the lowest cost option.
Commercial venue owners may choose to install a second window over the existing one, as this is one of the most effective ways to combat excessive noise pollution while also being the most cost-effective solution. The second window acts as a barrier to noise in three ways: the type of material used to make the pane, the air between the original pane and the newly installed one and the sealant.
The window material is that of laminated glass specifically created to dampen the vibrations of sound. Secondly, the mentioned airspace between windows is usually a gap between 2-4 inches, and it works by isolating the window frame from external vibrations trying to make their way inside. Finally, this process involves high powered seals which prevent sound leaks and help reduce the glass vibrations.
If you opt for one of the other options, such as replacing windows completely or just the glass pane itself, you’ll be looking at a bigger dent in your soundproofing budget. For specific details regarding soundproofing windows, check out our lengthy article on the subject. Although it isn’t commercial space specific, it offers plenty of relevant information on the process of window soundproofing.
We should mention that if your soundproofing issue isn’t too serious and you’re looking for some simpler preventative measures, you may try working with a soundproofing sealant to start. An acoustic sealant or insulation tape will not have a huge impact on noise reduction but will definitely may a difference.
Now, in contrast, if your soundproofing needs are quite serious, aside from the windows themselves, it’s important for the surrounding area aka the walls to be soundproof. There are a number of different measures to take, but everything should begin with proper insulation. Make sure the walls in your commercial venue have been properly insulated, as this will play a huge role in the way that sound travels as well as the comfortability of the space. Adding additional soundproofing including acoustic panels or soundproofing tape should come only after your walls have been insulated.
Doorway soundproofing will require a few steps that are pretty straightforward. In a similar way to window soundproofing methods, the first place to consider when soundproofing your doors is the cracks and gaps in areas that surround them. These need to be correctly sealed and as with windows, you could use acoustic sealant or tape. Seal all gaps or remove and replace the current sealant. This step won’t have a huge impact on the way that noise and sound travels, but will make a slight difference.
Another measure that might be better left for offices or storefronts is door gaskets. Unfortunately, for restaurants and bars these might not be a feature attractive enough to include alongside your decor but if you can find some that work with your venue, go for it. Gaskets work in a similar way to weatherstripping tape as the main purpose is to seal gaps at the jambs and head of your doors.
If you’re dealing with a patio door, which is common when it comes to venues such as bars and restaurants, you’ll need to take soundproofing measures seriously. Sliding glass doors are generally made with noticeably thinner glass and frame materials. Additionally, since the doors are sliding, it’s difficult to place materials directly on them. As with a single-pane door, make sure to begin by sealing any noticeable gaps or cracks in the doorway or around the frame.
Thick curtains can work to dampen sound, but again may not be the most aesthetically-pleasing option for all commercial ventures. Laminated glass doors are an option, and will reduce exterior noise from travelling indoors quite well. Of course, the cost of this upfront might be what deters business owners initially. However, it’s important to consider the long-term impact of working with regular patio doors versus ones who have been equipped with soundproofing abilities.
For more information on the best materials to use for soundproofing, make sure to read our article 10 Best Soundproofing Materials
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