The Truth About Soundproof Curtains

The Truth on Soundproof Curtains

The Truth on Soundproof Curtains

Soundproof curtains may sound like a great way to keep outside noise from disrupting the quiet inside your home or business, but do they work? You may think they’re the answer to your soundproofing prayer, but unless they are airtight and dense, they won’t actually block sound.

Here’s everything you need to know about soundproof curtains, how they work, and what’s available out there for more effective soundproofing.

Soundproof curtains may sound like a great way to keep outside noise from disrupting the quiet inside your home or business, but do they work? You may think they’re the answer to your soundproofing prayer, but unless they are airtight and dense, they won’t actually block sound.

Here’s everything you need to know about soundproof curtains, how they work, and what’s available out there for more effective soundproofing.

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Popular Soundproof Curtain Products

Quiet Quilt™ Indoor Soundproof Blanket
Quiet Quilt™ 2-Sided Barrier Blanket

What To Know About “Soundproof” Curtains

Generally speaking, people who search for “sound proof curtains” fall into one of two categories. In the first category are homeowners and apartment dwellers who hope special acoustic curtains will dampen the noise from outside. In the second category are businesses in commercial and industrial spaces who need to protect their quiet areas from the louder ones.

Unfortunately, for your average person living in a house or apartment, so-called sound-blocking curtains are the wrong choice to solve the problem at hand. While it may seem logical to use heavy, noise-reducing curtains to lessen sound transfer from one space to another, most of what you’ll find on the market classified as a “soundproof curtain” isn’t soundproof at all. For the businesses though, there are actually products that exist and do a good job at reducing noise transfer between spaces. We offer several of them, as well as more permanent solutions.

do soundproof curtains work

Soundproof Curtains for Your Home

Sound is energy that travels through your home's air by energizing particles around it as it moves across a space. Curtains are great at absorbing and blocking radiant light, but when sound encounters a lightweight curtain, there’s not enough density to really block that sound energy or it simply flows around, as water flows around any obstacle in its way. That’s why those standard drapes you found on Amazon are not really “soundproof drapes.” At best, the curtains will slightly muffle the noise if they are really thick and heavy, but they can’t block it.

Let’s say you went out and bought the heaviest sound dampening curtains you could find. Ones that create a nearly-airtight seal. Even these curtains will better reduce noise transfer between rooms and through windows, but most of the sound will still get through. You can expect noise reduction between one and five decibels.

Products tested for sound blocking will have an STC (Sound Transmission Class) rating. If you don’t see one of these ratings on the product you’re considering, the effectiveness of those “noise-canceling curtains” is just a marketing slogan. All of the industrial curtains we use in businesses (our Quiet Quilt Indoor Soundproof Blanket line) have an STC rating.

However, some sound-absorbing curtains may absorb some of the reverberations of sound inside your home, improving sound quality and speech intelligibility. While a single pair of curtains might not make a huge difference in an empty room, every sound-absorbing item adds up. So a pair of heavy curtains, a thick rug, a plush sofa, and a tapestry can help.

While you can combine sound-absorbing objects to reduce echo and reverb in a room, if you have a lot of reverb or specific reverberation time requirements, you can buy acoustic curtains which are explicitly designed for absorbing sound. To know whether those “sound reducing curtains” you’ve eyeing have been tested for their sound absorbency, look for an advertised NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) rating. This is the industry metric that lets us acoustics professionals know how much sound we will be absorbing in the room as we add materials.

soundproof curtains for wall

Soundproof Curtains for a Commercial Space

Commercial and industrial spaces, by necessity, have areas that are noisy and areas that are quiet, and it’s essential to keep the noise from bleeding into the quiet spaces. Unfortunately, while some loud spaces (such as a warehouse or boiler room) are permanent, others (like construction areas and event rooms) change often, demanding a movable sound solution.

In this case, what some people might refer to as “soundproofing curtains” are actually soundproof blankets. Unlike soundproofing drapes, which are thick pieces of fabric, soundproof blankets like our Quiet Quilt Soundproof Blanket use a non-permeable mass-loaded vinyl layer with a sewn on sound-absorbing face material.

The MLV is heavy, and prevents sound from traveling through the soundproof blanket, while the absorbent facing reduces reverberation and echo. You can hook multiple Quiet Quilts together with the Velcro we see on each edge. Use the soundproof blankets to create a temporary partition or room to contain noise, preventing it from disrupting other areas of the commercial or industrial space.

Unlike standard soundproof curtains, our Quiet Quilt Soundproof Blankets have been tested for noise reduction and sound transmission and are both NRC and STC rated. They’re durable enough for indoor and outdoor use, whether you need a short-term solution or a semi-permanent one, and they’re easy to take down for maintenance or reconfiguration. For more information on soundproofing a warehouse, read our article on the topic.

Alternatives to Soundproof Curtains in a Residential Home

Soundproof blankets are great if you’re looking for soundproof curtains for walls or open spaces, but there are more effective ways to reduce sound transmission in residential homes. Here are some other options to consider.

Residential Windows

Even the best noise-reducing curtains aren’t great at reducing noise transmission, but there are ways to keep outside noise out and inside noise in.

Our Fantastic Frame Soundproof Window Insert is the perfect solution for soundproof windows and blocking outside noise from entering your home. It seals off any air gaps in the window that sound can bleed through and creates an airspace barrier between the existing window and the window insert. Due to the tech in the frames of these window inserts, that airspace + barrier further insulates your window from heat and will stop up to 80 percent of outside noise.

The magnetic Fantastic Frame insert installs easily by screwing in a metal trim piece and then setting the window insert’s magnetic frame against the metal trim. You won’t even notice the insert once installed, letting in as much daylight as the window itself. You can remove the window insert as needed for cleaning or opening the windows on good weather days and use whatever curtains you like with it to match your existing decor.

Residential Doors

Your interior doorways are the most vulnerable points for noise transfer between rooms inside your home or apartment. Instead of soundproof curtains, soundproof a door with our Sound Lock Door Seal Kit, which creates an air-tight seal between your door and the door frame to keep sound from bleeding into or out of a room under the door or around the door’s perimeter.

You'll still get some noise transfer if you have a hollow-core door, so we only recommend a professional level Sound Lock door seal kit if you also upgrade to a solid core door. The hollow door just isn’t dense enough to block much noise. A solid core door combined with this Sound Lock door seal kit will increase the STC rating of your door by up to 20 points, and is much better option than a soundproof curtain – as the door still functions normally.

That's All On Noise Reducing Curtains

So, do soundproof curtains work? Even in the best-case scenario, probably not as well as you’d like. The best noise reduction curtains may reduce reverberation in a room, but they’re not going to do much to stop noise transmission into or out of a room.

If you have any more questions about noise-absorbing curtains or their alternative, reach out to the professionals at Second Skin Audio. We are always here to help you through your soundproofing project. Whether in your home, workspace, or car, we have you covered!

Have questions about your project?

Call us at 1.800.679.8511