At this point, everyone knows that soundproofing a room from outside noise begins (and often ends) with soundproofing the windows. Next to doors, windows are usually the main sources of noise leaking into our homes. The problem generally lies in the gaps in the plaster around the window frame or poor weatherstripping. However, sometimes the glass itself is the culprit — which is a problem soundproof blinds can solve!
As you can imagine, a hard, non-porous material like glass isn’t all that effective at keeping noise out under the best of circumstances. However, it’s even worse if the window in question has only one layer of it or there are cracks in the glass.
Single pane windows are particularly vulnerable to both high and low-frequency sounds, which can actually cause the glass to vibrate. But can soundproof blinds really prevent that? Before we find out, let’s talk about the kinds of noise you might want to prevent from entering your home.
Why You Need to Soundproof Your Windows
When it comes down to it, there are plenty of reasons why you might need to soundproof your windows. For one, you could just be dealing with noisy neighbors. That can be especially troubling if they have a playground or a dog in their yard. Alternately, if you live in an apartment building, you might have a basketball court or a dog park across the street.
The sounds of dribbling balls, screaming kids, and barking dogs would be enough to drive a saint crazy. But, of course, the charms of modern living don’t end there. You’ll also need to fortify your home against the sounds of traffic, which can be even more difficult if you live near train tracks or an airport. As you may already know, living with persistent, loud noises can have lasting consequences.
In essence, the benefits of soundproofing your home come down to protecting your hearing and your mental health. Since your windows are quite literally gaping holes in your walls, they play a big part in that process.
Usually, all it takes to make your windows impenetrable is a bit of caulk around the frame and weatherstripping tape between the window sash and the frame. However, if your window glass is particularly thin, you might need to use additional methods to fortify them. So can you use blinds to soundproof your windows?
Can Soundproof Blinds Block Noise from Entering Your Home?
In my experience, window covers can be surprisingly effective at both blocking outside noise and improving interior sound quality. However, most products you’ll find aren’t primarily acoustic tools. Instead, window blinds focus primarily on saving energy by providing heat insulation and light blocking. So any acoustic properties they might have are merely the side effects of:
- Soft materials like paper, wood, or fabric, which prevent inside noises from bouncing off the glass and echoing.
- Blackout materials, which add a thick, rubber-like layer to the fabric blinds, which helps prevent noise from penetrating the room. As I have mentioned before, if light can’t pass through, neither can sound.
- Air pockets in the collapsible design of some blinds. These essentially create a decoupling effect similar to what you might experience if you installed resilient channels.
In addition to having some beneficial acoustic qualities, blinds can be great soundproofing tools for two other reasons. On the one hand, they’re fairly easy to install, using magnets or tools that generally come with the purchase of window covers. Furthermore, blinds are also much easier to clean than some other soundproofing materials. You’ll probably be able to toss them in the washer — if not, just use a microfiber duster (Amazon).
Features to Look for When Shopping for Soundproof Blinds
Whether you need to block outside noise or prevent internal sounds from bouncing off the glass, you need to be able to find the perfect soundproof blinds without assistance. So before I show you the best options, let’s talk about the selection criteria I used to find them.
Types of Soundproof Blinds
Different kinds of blinds can serve different purposes. Knowing the properties of the various types of soundproof blinds will allow you to choose the best ones for you.
When you start looking for soundproof blinds, you’ll probably find cellular shades first. Cellular shades essentially look like a chain of honeycomb cells. The most common kinds of products in this category are single-cell blinds with only one row of honeycomb cells. However, the rarer dual-cell shades are likely more effective.
The main purpose of the cells is to allow the shades to collapse as you open them, so they work like regular pleated blinds. However, the pockets of air inside the cells make these blinds effective at both noise regulation and heat insulation. Furthermore, since these blinds are usually made from sturdy, enforced fabric materials, they’re also great at blocking out light.
There are two other kinds of window covers you might see while looking for the soundproof blinds of your dreams. Fusion or roman shades are more basic roll-up blinds made of thicker fabric, which is great for both light blocking and noise insulation.
Insulating covers that go over the glass or even the whole window frame might be your best option. Ultimately, those kinds of products are suitable for soundproofing because of the addition of a thermal coating layer. After all, the noise blocking ability of the blinds has to either come from using a thick material or from creating pockets of air that can trap the noise.
If you’re focused on finding soundproofing blinds, you might think that thermal insulation isn’t something you’ll need to think about. However, as I’ve just explained, insulating features usually enhance the noise blocking properties of window covers as well.
When looking for the best soundproofing window blinds online, you should pay attention to the material the product is made of. Generally, you’ll be dealing with various fabrics, from polyester to cotton, as well as wood and even paper.
In any case, look for the thickest-looking material of the bunch. That particular feature is usually announced in the form of room-darkening or blackout features. After all, the main purpose of having window shades is to ensure privacy or to enable you to completely shut out the light. That’s why they’re a particularly fantastic addition in bedrooms, home theater rooms, or living rooms.
Size and Color
If you’re someone who works by night and sleeps by day, you’ll certainly need blackout blinds. However, the thickest shades on the market won’t help you if they’re so small you can see beams of light coming from the sides of the window. Still, sizing isn’t something you’ll be able to guess at.
Sure, you’ll need to measure your windows — but you’ll also need to read the product description. Blinds that are 40 inches long in the product description might actually be a bit shorter because the manufacturer included the thickness of the installation hardware into the overall length. When in doubt, it’s best to get shades that are slightly wider and longer than necessary. Most of these kinds of products are at least somewhat customizable, so trimming them down shouldn’t be a problem.
What’s more, many of the blinds in my recommendations are available in all sorts of colors and patterns. While the honeycomb shades tend to only come in solid colors, there are roman shades in all sorts of patterns. If you’re decorating a child’s bedroom or a nursery, using soundproof blinds with fun prints on them could be a great idea.
Nowadays, most of the blinds you could find online come with installation hardware. You’ll likely just have to apply snap-in brackets on the inside of the window frame. Conversely, some shades can also be mounted on the outside of the frame as well. In addition to these kinds of mounts, some devices also have magnetic setup or even Velcro tape.
Ultimately, it’s important to know how you’ll attach the blinds to your windows if only to avoid unpleasant surprises on the day of the delivery. However, this isn’t something that should guide your decision, as it doesn’t usually impact the soundproofing properties of the product.
Best Soundproof Blinds for Echo Cancelation and Noise Blocking
Now that we’ve talked about the basic criteria I had in mind when scouring the Internet for the best soundproof window shades, let’s see the final contenders. The products on my list are separated into three basic types of blinds: cellular blinds, roman shades, and window covers.
Cellular Shades aka Honeycomb Blinds
When it comes to honeycomb blinds, the most popular ones I’ve found are the cordless single-cell shades from Windows and Garden. These blinds come in all widths between 24 and 48 inches, and lengths ranging from 36 to 72 inches. Furthermore, although you can place your order on Amazon, you can also call the company with any special demands, or just to review your product measurements.
The top and bottom rails of the blinds are made of semi-glossy PVC that matches the color of the polyester. There are 9 solid colors available, from whites and grays to more natural earth tones. When you choose the size and color you need, you’ll be able to install them on the inside or outside of the window frame. However, if you don’t want to figure out the installation process, get blinds that are easier to set up.
The Redi Shade Trim-at-Home shades, so called because you can cut off the excess width with a kitchen knife, features a simple peel-and-stick application. However, this installation method requires the window frame to be at least 1.25 inches deep.
Between the four product sizes, these products can cover windows that are from 19 to 60 inches wide. However, there are some limitations — namely that the only length available is 64 inches. Additionally, there are only two color options: white and natural.
Finally, if you’d like your shades to be even more effective at blocking noise, get ones with blackout lining. The Evening Mist blackout blinds from CHICOLOGY are perfect for the job. Furthermore, several shades from Allesin would work nicely due to having aluminum thermal insulation inside the cells. Just pay attention to the product descriptions to ensure that the blinds you’re looking at have that additional layer of protection.
Unlike honeycomb blinds, roman shades aren’t collapsible. On the one hand, their installation mechanism looks fairly similar to the kinds of wall mounts you may get with cellular blinds. However, rather than retracting the blinds upwards, you’d have to magnetically snap the material up. Alternately, some roman shades can be rolled up and secured with ties.
When it comes to these products’ acoustic properties, I’ve found that the cheaper models are better for echo cancelation than noise blocking. As long as the material is soft, you should hear an improvement in that area. CHICOLOGY has regular polyester fabric shades and ones that imitate natural woven fabrics.
Alternately, if you want to shake it up a bit, KARUILU home has cotton and linen blended blinds that come in a multitude of fun patterns. However, woven fabrics aren’t going to be enough if you want audible results. In that case, you’ll want to get blinds that are made of thicker materials. You can either go for ones that have a thermal insulation layer or ones that aren’t made of fabric at all.
Both RADIANCE and Arlo Blinds have bamboo shades that could potentially block noise from entering your home. However, if you were hoping to get complete silence, you’re in for a disappointment. Blinds like those usually have little cracks between the strips of wood which let in both light and noise. So if you want to use them, you might want to combine them with a sturdier material.
Insulated Window Covers
Lastly, these last kinds of blinds simply don’t fall into either one of the previous product categories we discussed. Blackout covers are blinds that completely cover the entire surface of the window pane and attach to the window frame or the wall around it.
The Blackout EZ Total Sunlight-Blocking Customizable Window Cover is the perfect example of these kinds of blinds. The product comes in black and white colors, and two sizes — 36 by 48 inches and 45 by 66 inches. Both of the sizes are adjustable. The material even has cutting guides on it, allowing you to cut off the excess with scissors.
Furthermore, these blinds are also exceedingly easy to install, as they come with a hook and loop Velcro tape. Apply one side of the tape along the edges of the cover and the other around the window frame. This creates a perfect seal around the window frame, which you can remove and reapply whenever you want to. In addition to the covers I’ve already mentioned, you can also check out Sleep EZ Shade blackout shades.
As I have implied earlier, soundproof blinds should be able to prevent some noises from entering your home. They’re certainly more effective than, say, acoustical window film. On the other hand, you shouldn’t expect them to work as well as a window plug would. Still, there are ways to enhance the noise blocking properties of soundproof window blinds.
Without a doubt, any of the soundproof blinds I’ve mentioned would work better if you installed another acoustic barrier over the window. Soundproof curtains or room dividers are ideal if you need that additional layer of protection between yourself and external noises. However, if that’s not enough, check out my article about window soundproofing methods for more inspiration.