Window Treatment Wednesday: Window Coverings to Block Noise

Add some peace and quiet to your home by using the right window coverings.

You know what they say about buying a home—location, location, location. When you choose where you want to live, there are numerous factors: proximity to work, good neighborhood schools, the character of the neighborhood, quality of parks and recreational trails—the list goes on and on. And sometimes you’ll choose to live somewhere that’s relatively noisy because the other “pros” are so abundant. I once lived near a small airport. Although it was usually quiet, once a week, large tandem military Chinook helicopters would fly in the area. They were so loud, it sounded like they were going to land on my roof!

I understand and sympathize with people who have a house they love but an exterior noise problem they loathe. How can window treatments block noise, keep your house quieter and increase your feeling of calm and serenity?

Andrea Mandel is a Minneapolis window coverings expert at Hirshfield’s. She says that when it comes to blocking noise, anything in front of a window will help, with the amount of reduction determined by the materials and product features you choose and whether the window covering is open, closed, raised or lowered. Some manufacturers, such as Hunter Douglas, rate their products’ ability to absorb sound to guide homeowners.

“Soft shade window coverings, including Duette honeycomb shades, can absorb up to 70 percent of sound energy,” says Mandel. “The thicker the fabric or the more layers the product has, the greater the level of absorption. For example, the Duette Architella Shade, which is a honeycomb shade with four layers of fabric, has the highest sound absorption rating.” This includes shades that both filter light and those that darken rooms.

Mandel says that for extra sound reduction, she’ll recommend that homeowners combine Architella Honeycomb Shades with decorative, pinch-pleated draperies.

Window treatments that are constructed of harder materials, such as wood blinds, reflect sound back outside when the vanes or louvers are closed. As you open the vanes, more sound enters.

When it comes to window treatments, homeowners don’t necessarily have to have the same kind throughout the home. From the front of the home, or whatever side is most visible to passersby, it’s ideal to have a consistent look. However, Mandel says that people can mix up window treatments. “I feel it’s more important to first select a window treatment based on your needs, including light, privacy control, energy efficiency and sound absorption. Then consider how they are going to work together to create a nice visual effect on the exterior. A window treatment that looks nice from the outside but doesn’t do what you need it to do on the inside is just a waste of money.”

If you need further advice on window coverings, you can visit your local Hirshfield’s and speak to their experts. I wish I’d done that back at my old house—it would have increased my home’s serenity and peace.

Since Frank and Elizabeth Hirshfield opened their first store in 1894, it has been our mission to do the best job possible meeting customer needs and solving customer problems. Hirshfield’s. People and products you can trust.

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