With traffic in the Bay Area getting worse on a seemingly daily basis (thank you housing shortage!), I often get calls from concerned homeowners that are in the process of remodeling their home that are looking to keep all that hustle and bustle out o their home. While some window and door manufactures do offer triple pane options that boast sounding proofing, these products often do not fit the thin walls of most Bay Area homes, sitting proud to the interior or exterior of the home. Not a good look and a definite curb appeal downgrade. But beware, home improvement store won't warn you about that because the windows tent to be twice as expensive.
So no need to get those extra thick triple pane windows for soundproofing your home. One simple and wonderfully cost effect way to reduce the noise that is transmitted through your windows and doors is by changing a property of the glass called the sound transmittance frequency. This is done by varying the thickness of the 2 panes of glass found in the insulated glass unit inside the window. Doing so changes the the way that sound is transmitted through the 2 panes of glass, reducing the noise that you heard in your home.
If you are located near airports, high traffic intersections or freeways, noise can be a nuisance and a big concerned for homeowners. With Bay Area traffic only getting worse, San Francisco airport noise and countless construction projects, it's no wonder so many homeowners are looking for better STC rated windows. We often have homeowners contact us with questions on triple pane windows to reduce the noise they experience.
Please, No Triple Pane
Although there are triple pane products available (such as Milgard's Quite Line), these windows tend to be very bulky products and often sit proud (rather than flush) to the exterior of a home in order to accommodate for the third pane of glass, creating a less than desirable curb aesthetic. This is due to our Bay Area climate, where most of us are located in a mild climate zone of 3 or 4; The majority of homes here are built with modest insulation and have thinner wall depths than mid-west or east coast homes that have to cope with harsher climates. That being said, most triple pane products are 4 to 5 inches thick and when installed in Bay Area homes often sit proud to the wall, both interior and exterior.
So rather than installing triple pane windows which can cost you more in installation and material costs, a simple and cost effective solution we frequently recommend to our homeowners with concerns about noise transmission is to vary the thicknesses of one of the panes of glass in a double-pane insulated unit window. In doing so, this changes the resonant quality of the window and how well sound transmits through the panes of glass. This can improve the STC rating of a window or door dramatically. What is especially beneficial about this solution is that it can also be done with any manufacture or product line as it is apart of the glass package. Pair than with annealed or tempered glass for even better decibel rating. Ask your sales associates for details on this feature.
A Note on HOA's
Homeowner Associations often have very stringent requirements for what products can be installed. You can assume if you have a an HOA that is particular on aesthetics, triple pane is out of the question.