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Soundproofing Windows: What Are They Worth and What Does It Cost?


New York can be loud. For some New Yorkers, the noisy backdrop of the city can become relaxing white noise, but others long for some peace and quiet. By soundproofing your windows, you can seal out some of the city’s worst noise. But how much does soundproofing your windows cost? And is it worth it?

On this page, we will walk you through the basics you need to know if you want soundproof windows for your NYC apartment. We will also talk about other noise reduction tips so that you can make any apartment into an urban oasis.

Soundproofing Window Insert Basics

The most effective way to soundproof your windows is to install a soundproofing window insert. Even though soundproofing inserts are the best way to reduce noise, they also come with some drawbacks of their own. Let’s get into the basic information you need to know: what soundproofing window inserts are and how they work.

What Are Soundproofing Window Inserts?

These inserts are acoustic grade glass panels that are installed on top of your existing window on the interior side. This means that no matter what floor your apartment is on, you can have a soundproofing window insert professionally installed from inside of your home. If you are handy, you can even try to install them yourself.

Soundproofing window inserts can reduce the amount of noise you hear outside by anywhere from 50% to 70%, depending on the strength of the noise and the type of windows you have. The best inserts can reduce the decibels of noise pollution significantly; the sound of a loud motorcycle (98 dBA) can be brought down to the sound of an indoor conversation (around 44 dBA). You simply will not find these kinds of results with any other window soundproofing technique.

Sounds great for New York City, right? But how exactly do these inserts work to reduce the noise you hear in your apartment?

How Do Soundproofing Window Inserts Work?

One of the key ways in which soundproofing window inserts work is by creating an extra layer with air space in between the insert and your original window. The soundproofing window insert is not installed directly on top of your existing windowpane. Instead, there is usually a space of several inches left between the original glass and the insert. The air in the space between the insert and window helps to further absorb sound waves. This additional space can be pretty substantial, and is definitely more than you get with a double paned window.

Another way soundproofing window inserts work is in the way the glass is made. The best soundproof window inserts are made with laminated glass–a thick double layer of glass with plastic in the middle to further dampen sound by absorbing vibrations.

These factors–the additional airspace and the layer of plastic in the laminated glass–make soundproofing window inserts more effective at noise reduction than simply double paned windows.

Buying Soundproofing Windows for Your NYC Apartment

If a soundproofing window insert sounds right for you, then the next thing you need to consider is how much it will cost, and whether it fits with your finances. In this section, we will discuss the cost of buying soundproofing window inserts, and how to factor that cost into your overall home-improvement budget.

What is the Cost of Soundproofing Windows in NYC?

While the cost of a soundproofing window insert will depend on the specific manufacturer, it will also vary based on the size of your windows, how many windows you want to soundproof, and the quality of the glass used in your panels. For most people, a soundproofing window insert will run anywhere from $300 to $800 per panel after installation.

Most soundproofing window insert companies will be able to offer you a quote, but you can also calculate the estimated price yourself. To get a better sense of your options, ask the company about their rates per sq ft, then measure your windows and do the math. If you plan on having the company professionally install the inserts, which will ensure the best fit, be sure to factor that into your cost estimations.

Are Soundproofing Windows Worth It?

Ultimately, whether or not it is worth it to you to get soundproofing windows will depend on the specifics of your situation, your budget, and your priorities. There is no better, more effective way to reduce the noise from outside in your apartment, but window inserts also come with their own drawbacks.

To determine if the cost of buying soundproofing windows for your NYC apartment is worth it to you, consider the following pros and cons.

Pros and Cons of Soundproofing Windows

Use this list of pros and cons as a jumping off point for determining if soundproofing window inserts are for you. Then, consider how the various pros and cons rank in your priorities before deciding to buy soundproofing window inserts.


  • A 50-70% reduction in noise from outside
  • Won’t drastically change the appearance of your windows
  • Easier and more effective than replacing your existing windows with double paned ones


  • Soundproofing window inserts can be expensive
  • Should be professionally installed for best results
  • Have to be custom made for your windows to get a proper fit

DIY Hacks for SoundProofing Your Windows

If you have decided not to buy soundproofing window inserts, but you still want to reduce the noise pollution of your apartment, then you are in luck. There are plenty of effective, low-cost ways to soundproof your windows by yourself. Here are some of these useful DIY hacks.

Seal Gaps Along Windows

With $20 and a bit of elbow grease, you can seal the gaps along your windows and meaningfully reduce the amount of NYC noise you hear.

This is important to do for many reasons, not just noise reduction. Be sure to seal any gaps where your windows are installed. Space between the window casement and the wall allows outside air and noise to get into your home. This can cost you money on your electric and heating bills, cause damage due to humidity, and let in unwanted noise pollution.

Seal these gaps with weather striping and/or caulk. For further sound proofing, look into acoustic caulk, which is specially made to absorb more sound vibrations than the normal stuff. This caulk can be used to soundproof anywhere there are cracks, including along doors, outlets, and along floors and ceilings. You can hire a professional to seal these gaps, or you can grab some tools and do it yourself.

Hang Sound Dampening Curtains

Sound dampening window treatments–including curtains, drapes, and shades–are a great option for New Yorkers who want an aesthetically pleasing way to soundproof their homes. These window treatments come in a variety of styles and price-points, making them a flexible option that allows for customization.

In addition to their sound dampening effects, some of these curtains and drapes can also completely block out light. If you struggle to sleep at night, installing sound dampening black out curtains in your bedroom may be one of the best investments you can make.

Other Ways to Soundproof Your Home

Your windows are not the only way noise gets into your apartment. Your doors, appliances, and floors can all cause unwanted, disruptive, and distracting noise. Here are some tips on how to soundproof other parts of your home–not just your windows.

Soundproof Your Door

Your apartment’s front door may be letting in noise from your building’s hallways, starwells, or elevators. If your door is hollow core, then you can reduce this noise by replacing it with a solid core door. Hollow core doors are great options for interior doors within your apartment because they are relatively inexpensive and lightweight. However, they are not appropriate as an external door because of their low durability and poor soundproofing.

If your apartment unit’s front door is hollow core, look into getting it replaced with a solid core alternative. You can also replace your unit’s interior doors with solid core if you would like to further sound proof from room to room.

Add Sound Dampening Materials

Consider adding soft, fabric materials to your apartment’s decorations. Throw pillows, tapestries, and rugs can absorb sound and give your home a sense of comfort and peace. The heavier your drapes, the more sound they will absorb.

You can also add other (less aesthetic) sound dampening materials like noise reducing pads and mats. These pads can be placed under noisy appliances and then discretely covered with a rug. Other things that can absorb noise include plants, furniture, and acoustic panels.

Replace Noisy Appliances

Finally, if you have noisy appliances, consider replacing them with quieter alternatives. Most appliances will come with a decibel (dBA) rating. For loud appliances like kitchen hoods, try to keep the dBA below 70. For a dishwasher, look for dBA around 40 or 45. If you have in-unit laundry, try to keep your machines below 50 dBA.

Keep Checking NewDevRev for Soundproofing Tips

Lastly, keep checking NewDevRev for more handy tips and tricks for reducing noise in your NYC apartment.