Soundproofing a Skylight? All the Info You Need to Make It Right
Skylights, otherwise known as roof windows, are pretty awesome. They illuminate your room (or attic), and when night falls, it provides a wonderful opportunity to admire the stars.
Velux windows (name used in European countries) were a common thing in many houses.
They were great for letting in light, but when it comes to their soundproofing qualities, especially when it starts raining heavily, they need some improvement.
Granted, some people enjoy the sound of rain splattering across the glass windows, but to others, it disturbs their sleep, and thus it is great to know how to soundproof a skylight.
In this article, I will share some methods that can reduce noise from skylights, and also answer some common questions that people are curious about.
If you have a roof window in your home or considering installing one, this article might help you ensure that you will not be disturbed by external noises.
Don’t miss out on the section where I’ll show you a bunch of tools you can use that are inexpensive and effective.
Let’s jump in and find out more.
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What is a Skylight or Velux Window?
A skylight or Velux window is a window that is built into a roof and designed to let in light from the outside and provide natural ventilation.
It’s often used in rooms that are high up, like lofts or attics where they can be installed directly into the roof structure or it can be placed over an existing window frame.
Velux windows are a European brand name that is often used to describe any type of roof window.
Pros and Cons of a Skylight
Generally, we have the picture of skylights painted in our minds as an airy, bright room in which you enjoy watching the sky. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?
But no, everything’s not so rosy.
On the other hand, there are also some people who think of it as something that makes your room excessively hot and too bright that it gives you a headache.
Well, that’s not the complete truth either.
Let us look into the scenario a little deeper. Here are all the pros and cons of having skylights that you should know.
- Natural light offered by the skylights will save you some money on your electricity bills and give your eyes rest from artificial lights
- If you live in a cold region, you can opt for a skylight with higher SHGC (Solar Heat Gain Coefficient) and get a warmer environment
- They will let in fresh air and give you a better ventilated room
- You can go for professional help to get a skylight specifically designed for your surroundings and needs
- It lets you get lost in the clouds during the day and stare at the moon and stars at night. This aesthetic pleasure alone is a reason big enough for some people to install it!
- If not set up properly, skylights can make a room too bright
- If chosen without considering SHGC, it can also make your room too hot
- If your skylight doesn’t have good specs, you can face the problem of heat loss in winters
- Incorrect installation of skylights can lead you to deal with leakages and moisture problems
- You may be used to opening and closing your windows whenever you wish to but it’s not that simple in the case of skylights
- Sound can get into the room easily, causing disturbances for some
- Cleaning a skylight can be a hectic task for some people
Why Does My Skylight Make Noise?
As you may well know, skylights are mostly made of glass and acrylic.
So, as the temperature changes outside throughout the day, the materials will slightly and continuously expand and contract.
This expansion and contraction make a crackling sound.
Sometimes, the skylight well in the ceiling can even amplify this slight noise.
How Can I Make My Skylight Glass More Soundproof?
Glass is the main material used in the production of skylights, so, knowing how to soundproof it can help you significantly in living a quieter life.
Here are some tips to make your glass more sound-absorbent and improve skylight noise reduction:
- First of all, make sure that your windows have no cracks at all. They can become a source of sound leakage
- Use foam, acoustic sealant, or weather stripping tape to seal the air gaps around the window. You can also add some thick insulation tape
- A window plug is another option you can consider. They can be easily removed when not in need. Plus, they can also block out light for you during very bright sunny days.
- You can install storm windows. They will cover your existing windows from the outside. The gap thus created between both will trap sound and give you peace.
- Additionally, you can use a heavy-duty Mass Loaded Vinyl sound barrier. The trick here is to make a contraption (using cardboard or something similar) and sticking MLV over it. You can attach it when the room gets too noisy and remove it when you don’t need it.
These methods work very well, but if you have a problem that persists even after trying them out, I would recommend hiring a soundproofing expert to fix it.
How Soundproof Is Glass?
The Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating of standard single-paned glass is 27, and this can be increased by installing double-glazed skylight windows. In fact, all Velux windows are double glazed, so if that’s available to you, you might want to consider using it.
Also, the type of glass is a noise determining factor as well such as acoustic and laminated glass, which are the best options for sound reduction.
With a few frequencies as an exception, it can block about 90-95% of sound.
Hence, you can consider it a good soundproofing option.
Does Glass Absorb Sound?
It really depends more on the type of sound rather than the glass.
If the sound occurs near the resonant frequency (the natural vibration frequency of a material) of glass, then surely the sound will be absorbed. But it cannot be true for all sounds.
For other sounds, the glass will convert the sound energy into vibration.
That means that you won’t face the issue of echo but your window will vibrate for sure.
In general, glass is a pretty good soundproofing material as they are both dense and non-porous.
How Do I Stop the Rain Noise in My Velux Window?
The sound of rain dripping on your roof for hours can be quite distracting for some people.
Since I understand your misery, here are some tips to get you some relief :
- Use rubber or Rockwool to cover the air gaps around the roof window
- Using a layer of plasterboard will significantly reduce the sound
- Go for an external awning blind that provides not only sound reduction, but also a heat shield
- On the internal side, you can fix a blackout blind, or you can use a roller shutter as well. It won’t block the sound completely but will reduce it for sure
- Install noise blocking window film. They can work miracles
- Lastly, especially if working on a new property, install double-glazed windows
Noise Blocking Window Film for Your Skylight
Noise blocking window film consists of a core layer sandwiched between two other layers.
This core layer reduces the sound transmission and acts as a sound insulator.
It is proven to be able to reduce the noise by up to 5 decibels.
Some of them are also thermally efficient, which helps with insulation during colder months.
And, since it is thin and transparent, your room won’t lose its charm as well.
Speak to your contractor about this option.
Soundproof Window Treatment Kit for Skylight
A soundproof window treatment kit is something you fix on the inside of your window to get rid of noises and is one of the best ways to soundproof a skylight window.
It can be installed very easily within minutes, or removed whenever you wish for cleaning.
How to Install a Soundproof Window Treatment Kit for Skylight?
- Take measurements of the interior of your skylight and buy a soundproof window treatment kit that can fit these dimensions.
- Make sure the kit’s transparent pane is free of dust.
- Take two adjacent frame pieces and press them against the pane to make an L shape.
- Do the same with the other two pieces. You won’t need to blot them with screws as they will click together automatically through internal tabs.
- Now you should’ve got something looking like a usual window pane. Fit this pane just inside the curb area of the skylight using screws.
How Much Does It Cost to Soundproof a Skylight Window?
This equation very much depends on how elaborate you want.
From making a simple window plug to installing a double-glazed window, the cost can range from $10 to over $3,000!
Here are a few items and their respective cost so you can have a rough idea what to expect to spend:
- Mass loaded vinyl: $50 for 10 sq ft
- Rockwool: $20-$30
- Manual skylight shades: $50
- Electronic skylight blinds: $150
Recommended Tools to Soundproof Your Skylight or Roof Window
How to Soundproof a Roof Window: Your Turn Now
Now that you know the various ways to enhance your roof window’s soundproof capabilities, what will you do?
Are these steps practical and suitable for you?
Feel free to leave a comment and let me know what works for you or if you need more information!
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