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Using Curtains to Reduce Noise

Last Updated Mar 30, 2011 · Written by Jaclyn Fitzgerald

If you find that you are constantly being irritated by noise travelling into your home from outside, you don’t have to resort to expensive soundproofing measures just to get some peace. Simply choosing the right curtains can make the world of difference.  Here’s what you need to know.

Acoustical Curtains for Reducing Noise

Acoustical curtains are curtains that are specifically designed to reduce noise. They do this by absorbing the sound that comes through walls, doorways, windows, and so on.  Acoustical curtains work best when they are not stretched tight, so when you are installing them, you will need to allow for them to “fold”, so that they should be at least the width of the window or opening plus one third on top of this.  Also try and install acoustical curtains so that they overlap the window or opening, and don’t just meet the edges.  For example, if you are using acoustical curtains on a window, make sure that the curtains extend a least a foot past the window frame on all sides.

Blackout Curtains Help to Reduce Noise

Blackout curtains are thick, dense curtains usually with a backing material that are traditionally used to stop light from entering the home through the windows.  However, their density also means that they are an excellent choice for reducing noise levels, or even as a form of soundproofing.  Don’t expect blackout curtains to block noise completely but they are able to reduce noise levels by up to 40 percent which is quite a significant amount.  A 40 percent noise reduction can make the difference between noise that is irritating and noise that you barely notice.  Also, even though they’re called a blackout curtain, that doesn’t mean that they are black in colour.  Blackout curtains are available in a wide range of colours and patterns.

Use a Double Layer of Curtains

Another effective way of using curtains to reduce noise is to actually use a double layer of curtains.  This is where you hang the first set of curtains on a regular curtain rod or track and the second set is hung from special extended rods. This creates an air gap between the two layers of curtains and it is this gap that can absorb more sound, reducing noise levels in your home even further.  This works best when you are using two layers of heavy curtains, so be sure that your rods (and the wall!) can support the excess weight.
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