Something in the world of floating have you stumped?
Graham and Ashkahn discuss soundproofing windows of a float center, but first they talk about which situations may even warrant soundproofing in the first place. It may be that soundproofing is better prioritized elsewhere.
If you do decide to soundproof your window, the guys give you some tips on how best to do it and what to look for when picking out which type of glaze you may want along with a few other options.
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Transcription of this episode… (in case you prefer reading)
Ashkahn: Hi there, hello out there?
Graham: It’s good to see you again.
Ashkahn: I’m glad you’re here.
Graham: Or whatever we’re doing, be listened to by you again. Yeah.
Ashkahn: It’s good to be back in your ears.
Graham: Home, feels like home. I’m Graham.
Ashkahn: I’m Ashkahn. This is the daily-
Graham: And today’s question is “tips on soundproofing for windows.”
Ashkahn: Not a question.
Graham: Well I didn’t raise up the-
Ashkahn: Truncated statement.
Graham: There’s no question mark at the end so just Kind of let it sit as stated or asked I guess.
Graham: Yeah. So windows are kind of an interesting one to talk about it. Let’s just talk about situations where you want to soundproof windows before we go into too many tips about actually soundproofing them. So most float centers don’t have big windows on their float rooms.
Ashkahn: Yeah. If you do-
Graham: Maybe the best way to soundproof them is just take them out replace those with a chunk of wall.
Ashkahn: Yeah. I’ve seen a float room with a big window on it, but yeah, it’s an extra challenge and-
Graham: Wait really just like they have blinds or something?
Graham: Okay. Cool.
Ashkahn: But I mean it’s absolutely going to be the weakest point in that room of blocking sound from outside.
Graham: Yeah, have I seen that? Did I go to that center?
Ashkahn: I’ve seen at least three places I can think of right off the top of my head.
Graham: Okay. Well just know that that’s challenging and expensive too-
Ashkahn: I saw one place they did it on purpose.
Graham: Like for being able to show off to customers or something-
Ashkahn: Specifically to the outside, they would book that room, last, they put all their other reasons before that one and when no one was booked in it, they’d open the big blind and the float tank would be kind of in front of this huge window that would face the outside. So it was like a usable display tank.
Graham: So that is a perfect example of where you’d want to soundproof your windows. Other cases kind of get, I mean, I guess that’s an extreme case here I was going to say other cases get extreme, but we’re there. We’re solidly an extreme territory as is, I mean, yeah, there’s the idea of a window in your float room facing the hallway inside your center.
Ashkahn: Yeah. That’s weird though.
Graham: That’s what I thought you meant at first.
Ashkahn: The window is the floor, the floor is the window. Skywalks sort of things.
Graham: And then there’s actually having windows as part of your float center, not in your float rooms, which I think is way more common. We have windows-
Ashkahn: Because you’re a building.
Graham: Yeah. So that’s a lot of times where people need to soundproof. And I guess there’s a little word too. I know a lot of centers that are in some older houses, let’s say you opened in an old Victorian house or just more of a converted residence.
Ashkahn: That’s the other place I’ve seen it.
Graham: But I’ll see those people actually block off their windows for soundproofing in float rooms, they’ll often fill them with installation and actually put a whole wall in front of the windows so they don’t need to deal with specifically soundproofing that thing and dealing with light proofing. And there’s other issues besides soundproofing that definitely come up in that case. So windows in your float center, I’d say, if you’re right, like if you’re downtown in a big city and there’s a tram that goes by you or something and windows are a big part of your your shop, then those are windows that probably need to be soundproofed. And the good news is that if you’re downtown in the central location like that, there’s a good chance that especially if it’s newer construction, you actually do have reasonably soundproof windows going into your space.
Ashkahn: Yeah. And then the next thing is the bulk of your soundproofing is probably not happening there, because there’s just a lot of noise that happens in your lobby too, right? Like people having conversations and you’re walking around doing things and stuff like that. And so at a certain point, the amount of sound that’s coming in through your windows is equal to the amount of sound or less than likely the amount of sound that’s just being generated in your lobby in the first place. And that’s not where you’re going to put your huge expensive soundproofing is on that exterior wall. You’re going to do something inside the building to keep the float rooms nice and quiet.
Graham: Yeah. And lots of city noise too. You know, if you are near a big tram or you just have a big truck traffic noise or motorcycles, soundproofing your windows isn’t going to stop that from getting in, right? Like the biggest culprit for that is the sound going straight through your foundation and up into your float tanks from the floors. So in that case you’re just using your undertake kind of sound isolation tricks, fielding a vibration isolation pad, platform and things like that. But okay. So the cases where you actually even want to soundproof your windows, I would say are pretty limited. You know, often if you’re thinking about it your mind is in the right place because you want to make sure the float experience is soundproof. But again, just keeping your tanks off the floors and making sure the rooms themselves are really soundproof is the key. Not soundproofing the windows to your entire center.
Ashkahn: And you’re going to get decent windows that just have some amount of soundproofing built into them and the most modern windows, especially on commercial real estate, are built with the idea in mind that they’re on a busy commercial street and they’re going to want to put in windows that are going to absorb some noise.
Graham: Okay? So here’s a disclaimer that said, if you are already on one of these extreme situations where you need to soundproof windows, there’s a couple things to look at. And I guess first is to just know that soundproofing is only one part of what windows do, so they can get really expensive, especially depending on the panes of glass that you’re looking at. Like really good high end soundproof windows are not the cheapest thing if you’re now having a big four by eight pane of glass that you’re putting in.
And it depends on what you’re worried about. So I guess just to list them off in order there’s soundproofing, there’s thermal transfer. So how much is heat transferring from the outside into your space? How much are you losing heat through the windows and there’s different manufacturing tricks to enhance that and then there’s actually just the visibility aspect as well. So how dark or dim do you want? Do you want it to be tinted? Do you want these different layers of visibility and obviously the less you want your window to be see through, the easier it is to block heat from getting in just because you can block more light from entering. So that’s some of just the other things to consider when you’re sizing these up.
Ashkahn: And some of these are going to go hand in hand like you are most likely going to already have or want to have double pane windows and they are double glaze. They call them sometimes and-
Graham: Yeah. And the glaze is just referring to the pane. So if you hear like a single glaze, it just means single pane, double glaze, double pane.
Ashkahn: And most modern windows are double paned. I mean that’s kind of standard window that you see put into even home construction and stuff like that nowadays. And that’s not only gonna help with the soundproofing, but you also just generate a lot of humidity in your float center.
Graham: So much.
Ashkahn: So much humidity and if you have a single pane window, you’re gonna get a ton of condensation forming on the inside of your window-
Graham: You are the inside of the coke can, you’re the equivalent of the outside I guess in this case.
Ashkahn: Yeah. So in the winter months when it’s hot in your place and really cold outside and there’s a bunch of humidity in the air, your windows are going to get moist, they will be full of condensation-
Graham: This is one of those personal experience lessons
Ashkahn: They will be dripping down your windows, if you have wooden window seas, they’ll start to rot your window seals they’ll just be pooling water all over the place.
Graham: Yeah. That’s Float On for you. But it’s a good example. That’s the biggest reason that we would upgrade. So we’re in an older building. We do have single pane windows and we’d want to upgrade to double pane, which we haven’t done yet, so we’re many years in at this point and we’ve never felt the need from a soundproofing standpoint to upgrade even to a double pane window. And our windows are just in the front lobby area. There is none that border our float rooms or anything like that.
Ashkahn: But from where the windows are to our first float room is maybe-
Graham: Six feet?
Ashkahn: Oh yeah. I guess that one section. Yeah.
Ashkahn: I was gonna say like 20 feet, but no, you’re right there’s that other chunk of our lobby. Yeah, I mean there’s a gap that small and still we haven’t heard or felt the need that-
Graham: Where’s your sentence going?
Ashkahn: You know what I’m talking about, right? We’re cool-
Graham: We don’t need to upgrade them our windows are fine-
Ashkahn: Everybody’s chilling.
Graham: It made me cry a little bit. Yeah. So again, that’s just kind of reiterating that the situations where you do need them are very extreme. So double pane first step, right? Like that’s your basic first layer of soundproofing you’re going to put in. Next is actually creating kind of a vacuum inside the panes. Now you have two panes. You have this air gap in between and just alone, that’s going to do a lot, but sucking out the air that’s actually between those glazes or those panes as you might more commonly know them, it goes even further, right? A vacuum is even harder for sound to manage, to transfer through.
And then you can also do things like fill them with inert gases which helps them with the heat getting in, and another little tricks and tips like that. So if you are looking deep into this, look into that part is well what’s going on in between the panes because that’ll factor into it. Next is adding a whole another pane on. So you can actually do triple pane as well, a triple glaze, as if you’re an expert out there, you might more commonly know them. And different thicknesses of glass will go into it as well. So you’ll both space those air gaps that you have different amounts of space and you’ll have different thicknesses going into the panes and those thicknesses of glass will be affected by the sound waves a little bit different. So if you have the exact same thickness of glass, it means the frequency going through there. Certain thicknesses favor different frequencies over others.
So glass of the same frequency, or sorry, the same width will tend to allow the same frequency through. So having these different widths of pane or different thicknesses will mean that it breaks up the sound waves a little bit more going through there on. So with three, again, you can kind of differ those spaces and differ the thicknesses even more. And so that’s the most extreme. You’ll see window panes that are different thicknesses. You’ll have a triple glaze and you’ll have a kind of different vacuum seal or inert gas and that’s kind of the highest standard that you can go. I guess that’s not true. You can also angle the panes when you’re getting triple. And so the inside one will actually be slanted, not quite straight at a 90 degree up and down, but tilted a little bit and that’ll affect the air gap and have a sound transfers through there as well. Which again, now we’re talking about like sound studio level windows where a producer can be having a conversation with someone on the other side and the band is playing on the inside and there’s no noise pollution. Right? Like that would be if our float center, if our float rooms were built just out of glass, that’s kind of what we’d be talking about. Going to lengths to do.
Ashkahn: Yeah. I mean that’s probably good. There is in those sound studios that giant window in between the two rooms.
Graham: Yeah. Exactly.
Graham: Yeah. And then other than that, we could go into. So then it’s just other stuff about windows that we won’t spend too much time on. But just as you’re looking at these, pay attention to different coatings that you can put on, like I mentioned for heat protection. Most common you’ll see a low E coating which will really affect how much heat from the sun is able to transfer in through your windows and get into the space if you’re trying to cool it down. And there’s other, even fancier coatings that you can start talking about putting on there as well. That again, it’s less for soundproofing more for the, I mean it’s not really for soundproofing at all. It’s all for heat transfer, but it will factor into the cost of the windows and it’s just something else you’ll be looking at along this entire process.
Ashkahn: And you can too if you have single pane windows instead of replacing the entire thing, there are companies that make a secondary pane insert where they’ll come in and they’ll just like with your existing single pane window there fit into the window frame and other pane that they just kind of like fit in place and get to be nice and secure and snug and could turn it into a double pane window.
Graham: Yeah. And it might not even be too expensive, especially if you’re windows fit, kind of the standard size of windows or more on the generic side of what gets sold for window dimensions. Then it’s likely one of these companies has a solution for you and you can start by just talking to different window contractors around, give different window companies a call and see if they can do a quote on that or recommend someone else that does that kind of installation specifically is how you’d track that down.
Ashkahn: I will say one of the nice things about this whole window thing is that when you’re looking for locations in the first place, this is one of the things that’s really advantageous for float centers. It was like a lot of other commercial businesses really want a lot of windows and want to have that visibility and you’ll go into a place and you might be able to get a good deal because there’s barely any windows on the entire thing and you’re like, “Oh, perfect.” That’s exactly what I’m looking for.
Graham: Yeah. That is a really good point. Yeah. So I think that’s about it. But just like any topic, it goes almost infinitely deep as you start going into it, but that’s a really good starting spot and honestly there’s a really good chance that unless you have windows that you’re keeping in your actual float rooms, you just won’t need to worry about this side of things.
Ashkahn: It will all be cool. Like I was saying. It’s all chill.
Graham: It’s all good. It’s all good.
Ashkahn: Alright. If you guys out there are looking forward to any other windows of insight,
Graham: We’re transparent for you, you know?
Ashkahn: Yeah, it won’t even be a pane to just go right over to floattanksolutions.com/podcast. Type any question.
Ashkahn: Get it.
Graham: Yep. That was a nice little finishing glaze you put on that.
Ashkahn: Alright we’ll talk to you guys.
Ashkahn: We really, we really vacuumed all the humor out of this one.
Graham: Yeah I made that joke totally inert thing.
Ashkahn: Okay. Alright. Bye.
Graham: Yeah, it’s been a gas.
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