One inexpensive way to soundproof a room is by using noise reducing curtains, more commonly referred to as soundproof curtains. They seem like an easy and inexpensive solution to an annoying issue, and are often marketed to promise hours of relaxation in silence.
But how do these curtains work, and how effective are they?
Table of Content +
First of all, let’s get past the naming. Contrary to public belief, ‘soundproof’ curtains are not truly soundproof, so if you expect all external noises to disappear after hanging them, you will be disappointed.
Soundproof curtains instead absorb large amounts of the incoming sound, which reduces the amount that filters into your home or office. Quiet sounds will effectively be filtered out, while louder sounds, such as traffic or construction, will be significantly quieter but not completely silenced.
Noise reducing curtains tend to use their physical qualities to dampen the noise. They are often thick and dense, in order to absorb more energy from sound waves. The surface of the curtains are rough and porous. As sound is a wave, when it hits something it bounces straight off. By having a rough surface, the curtains are able to better scatter the sound waves in multiple different directions, so the sound that eventually hits your ear is much weaker.
Additionally, noise reduction curtains are quite large, often larger than your window, in order to cover the maximum area around the window and let the least sound through.
In addition to reducing external noise in your home, noise reducing curtains have other benefits.
Most notably, they often double up as blackout curtains, due to how thick they are. Additionally, the curtains can save you money on your heating bills, as they serve as an extra layer of insulation, by minimising heat losses from poorly-insulated windows.
Firstly, and most obviously – the size of the curtains. Typically, you would buy curtains that cover only your window. However, when purchasing noise reducing curtains, in order to maximise sound absorption you would ideally have curtains that extend further on both sides of the window. They will also need to measure from ceiling to floor, so make sure to take accurate measurements.
Additionally, it must be noted that noise reducing curtains are often incredibly heavy. They often weigh in excess of a kilogram each. It is important to ensure that they are mounted on a heavy-duty set of rails, capable of bearing the weight of the curtains.
Finally, the material of the curtain is important as well. Curtains made of heavy, tightly woven materials are often superior at absorbing sound waves, as well as those marked ‘extra fibers’. Keep an eye out for curtains marketed with these qualities.
While noise reduction curtains may not be as effective as a soundproof window or other, more permanent methods, they are a cheap way to reduce unwanted noise in your home or office for a relatively cheap cost.