Best Types Of Heavy Curtains For Soundproofing Home

Sound Absorbing Curtains: Eclipse Suede Energy Efficient Blackout Sound Dampening Curtains Review

Eclipse Suede Energy Efficient Blackout Curtains – Detail

So you got this idea that heavyweight curtains will help sound proof your home.

You are quite right! On this page you will find two types of sound absorbing curtains: Really heavy weight, and medium weight. Here: Heavy Velvet Blackout Curtains like Absolute Zero (heavy weight) and Thermal Insulating Blackout Curtains like Eclipse Suede (medium weight). Both will help sound proof your home. Plus, you will find below very useful tips on how many curtain panels to buy and how to hang the curtains to maximize blocking of unwanted noise.

Living In The City Can Make You Go Crazy!

Perhaps you and your family is inundated with the traffic noise coming into your living room? That loud noise a car engine roaring past your home makes suddenly breaks your concentration when enjoying a book, or playing with the kids?

Or, worse, you are trying to lay down on bed and fall asleep but the lights and noises from the outside are causing you to stay awake, unable to take the moment of rest. You finally fall asleep just because you are so tired. When the alarm clock wakes you up the next day, you are not refreshed, and not quite ready to start your new day. You are groggy and unhappy driving to work through traffic, and your performance at work suffers too.

Searching Online For Heavy Curtains For Soundproofing

You are hoping to find some advice about heavyweight curtains that you can use right away. But what do you find? You find advice that points to industrial soundproofing curtains that require a crane just to put them in place and a super heavy-duty rod just to hang them across the window. Then you learn about “mass loaded vinyl” which scares the heck out of you. You find advice about home theater curtains that span the whole wall… But you have no intent whatsoever to turn your bedroom into a home theater or an industrial plant any time soon. You say to yourself:

“I Just Want A Little Peace And Quiet – I Don’t Need Anything Special, Just Some Sound Absorbing Curtains That I Can Buy Today And Will Reduce The Noise Just A Little Bit, So I Can Sleep”

Design Your Perfect Soundproofing Curtains

Do not despair, there is hope and “sound” advice just for you in this very article. We will show you places online where you can look at heavy weight curtains for home, like heavy blackout curtains, or heavy winter curtains, which are readily available, and can be shipped to you today, without delays and unneeded customizations! We will also explain how to pick the right width and length for the curtains to maximize the noise reduction. But first we must make a little trip to get some data about the noise reduction coefficient (NRC). If you want to skip this “theory”, you can, just go to the bottom of the article and get our recommendations.

Charts Of Noise Reduction Coefficient by SAE Institute

SAE Institute For Creative Media Education comes to the rescue! SAE is an international, worldwide music school. These musicians know everything about the noise and the practical ways to eliminate it! SAE  presents a chart of the Noise Reduction Coefficient, NRC, for drapes. For now, it doesn’t really matter what NRC is exactly. The important thing is that it tells you how much a certain material like drapes or curtains will reduce noise. And that is what you are after, reducing the noise with heavy weight curtains.

If you study the NRC coefficient for drapes closely, you realize that you can achieve a significant noise reduction with the drapes by doing two things right:

Two Ways To Reduce Noise With Curtains – Weight And Width

1.) Get drapes or curtains that are heavy weight. You already knew that. But now you know that you will achieve up to three times the noise reduction with drapes twice as heavy.
2.) Get drapes or curtains that are pleated. Pleated curtains can double and triple the noise reduction compared to flat curtains of the same weight.

So you can conclude, by getting curtains that are twice as heavy and much wider than needed (so they are “pleated” or “full”, not flat, even when they are covering the window, not only when they are pulled back), you can achieve up to nine times the noise reduction. That is Nine Times less noise from the street! Such noise reduction could save your sleep and sanity!

How Does The “Pleat” or “Fullness” Help Reduce The Noise?

This is no place to go into the acoustics of the “pleat”. However, it is easy to see there are two ways in which the pleat will help reduce the noise. First, the pleat effectively increases the thickness of the curtain. The sound must pass through several layers (typically 2) of the curtain to come out on the other side. Second, the pleat will create “wedges” in the curtain which will cause sound to reflect off of the wedges and impinge erratically on various curtain surfaces, and get absorbed. This effect will cause further noise reduction.

Next we investigate what types of curtains you can readily buy to use for your home noise reduction.

Two Types Of Heavy Sound Absorbing Curtains For Noise Reduction

We have scoured the web and found two types of heavy curtains for home that are available in longer widths (remember, the longer the curtain, the more you can “pleat” it, the “fuller” it will be when closed and the better the noise reduction). These 2 types are blackout/thermal insulating/energy efficient curtains, and heavy velvet/suede curtains.

Blackout, Thermal Insulating,  Energy Efficient Curtains

Eclipse Suede Energy Efficient Curtains Review - Medium Weight Curtains For Soundproofing

Eclipse Suede

Any of these types of curtains will be heavier weight because more mass is needed for the curtains to not allow the heat to get into the room and to prevent the heat from escaping out. Also, as we see elsewhere, certain thickness is required for a curtain to block out light from the outside.

Thermal Insulating or Energy Efficient curtains are sometimes referred to as heavy curtains for winter because they will keep the house warm when it is cold outside. However, they are useful in the summer as well because they prevent the room from heating up too much too quickly.

Blackout curtains will block up to 99% of direct sunlight and will keep the room dark. The best blackout curtains will be made of thick material which will make them heavier.

Right Curtain Width

If you want to maximize the sound absorption of any of these curtains, the combined curtain width must be twice the width of the window even for normal curtains. This way you will achieve the “normal pleat” effect. For the “super pleat” effect that will maximize the sound reduction, you simply need to buy even longer total width of the curtains, between 2.5x – 3x the width of the window.

Three times the width of the window as total curtain width recommendation is over and beyond the standard recommendation. Standard recommendation calls for total combined curtain width of two times the window width. Resources recommend curtains of two times the window width even when there is no concern about noise absorption. See Additional Resources, below.

Pleating enhances the blackout effect. This is particularly important when you are buying lighter-colored blackout curtains. These, by their nature, will black out less light than dark colored curtains made of the same materials.

When installing, extend the curtains well beyond the window edge on the left and right. If possible, go as far out as 10-15 inches on each side.

When purchasing your chosen curtain panels for a normal size window, you would have to go with four panels instead of the usual two for maximum noise absorption effect.

Right Curtain Length

Keep in mind that it will benefit noise reduction and light blocking when you extend the curtains well below and above the window. So look for longer lengths when purchasing.

We reviewed a great example of an inexpensive, thermal insulating energy efficient blackout curtain here: Eclipse Suede Energy Efficient Blackout Curtain Review.

Curtains Made Of Heavy Velvet And Suede Type Materials

Go directly to our favorite heavy weight curtain: Absolute Zero Velvet Curtains Review
Absolute Zero Sound Dampening Curtains Review - Heavy Curtains For Soundproofing

Absolute Zero Curtains

The materials used in curtains that best absorb the sound include suede and velvet. The natural heaviness of these materials provides for sound absorption in and of itself. Additionally, the micro fibers sticking out of the base give more opportunities for sound waves to reflect within the curtain. The micro fibers found in velvet and suede curtains further increase the noise absorption of these curtains.

Right Curtain Width

Sound absorption of velvet and suede type curtains will also be improved by the “pleat” effect. As we have shown above, when curtains or drapes are pleated, the sound absorption will increase. Sound absorption will be as much as a factor of 2 or more!

You can easily accomplish this pleat effect. Simply purchase the total width of the curtains of double to triple the width of the windows you wish to cover. To be exact, we recommend the combined width of the curtain panels to be 2.5x – 3x the width of the window. By doing so, when the curtains are closed, they will not be flat. Instead, they will be “super wavy”, “full” or “super pleated”. This will give additional sound/noise reduction and further increase your comfort. The super pleated look will add to the rich and full feeling that these curtains emanate naturally.

In practical terms, buying the right curtain width usually means purchasing four instead of two curtain panels for a normal size window or door.

Right Curtain Height

If possible, install curtains that extend from ceiling to floor for maximum noise blocking. At least make sure that curtains reach 10-15 inches beyond the edges of the window above and below.

To see if Heavy Velvet Absolute Zero Curtains are right for you, checkout our Absolute Zero Velvet Curtains Review.

 

Additional resources:
http://www.dunelm-mill.com/info/how-to-measure-for-curtains – How to measure for curtains. This source recommends total width of curtains twice the width of the window, with no concern for the noise reduction. We recommend up to 3x the width of the window for maximum blackout and noise reduction.

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2 thoughts on “Best Types Of Heavy Curtains For Soundproofing Home

  1. Bob Mueller

    Restaurant looking to occasionally separate to dining rooms for a meeting area that needs some noise reduction between the 2 rooms and kitchen.

    Any suggestions!

    Reply
    1. Max Leighton Post author

      Hi Bob, It would help if you would spell out exactly what other requirements does a restaurant have for the soundproof curtains separating dining rooms and the kitchen. Think durability, transparency, etc. Thanks for your interest!

      Reply

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