If you wish to have a very peaceful and ambient atmosphere in your room where you can rest without being disturbed, you will have to block the outside noise to have a good night’s sleep. When you are in the market, you will be overwhelmed with soundproofing options for various utilities.
More often than not, you can see blackout curtains, whose primary aim of manufacturing has been to block out the outside light from entering your room, being advertised as “soundproof,” and you think you have hit the jackpot by blocking outside light and noise at the expense of one product.
In this article, we will be exploring whether blackout curtains block sound and serve as an alternative to soundproof curtains.
Do blackout curtains reduce noise?
The short answer is yes. Blackout curtains reduce noise in a room, but to a minimal extent. However, it cannot be considered as a soundproofing solution. Because, when you are buying soundproofing materials, it is to block out maximum noise, not to damp them a little.
Blackout curtains offer some level of soundproofing, and it helps to reduce the echo inside a room. This is because of the increased mass of the curtain. The materials used in the curtain have a higher mass than normal fabric, and therefore it absorbs and attenuates the sounds and noise.
Two types of noise may disturb your sleep at night. One is airbornenoise, and the other is impact noise. Airborne sounds are normal sound waves that travel through the air and other mediums. These sounds can be attenuated using soundproofing materials, and such sound or noise can be attenuated to an extent by the blackout curtains. Since blackout curtains may not be closely placed to the window borders, they can have free spaces through which sound can escape.
The second type is impact noise. When construction is nearby, or a heavy vehicle passes through the road, there can be sound accompanied by physical vibrations. The blackout curtains have little to no effects on such noise and need dedicated soundproofing solutions such as drywalls, MLVs, etc.
How much noise do blackout curtains block?
Blackout curtains are made of thicker material, including vinyl, velvet, felt, etc., that helps them block over 90% of sunlight coming from the windows. Some manufacturers even claim a 100% blocking of sunlight with their product. The thick fabric used in these curtains tends to absorb some of the noise in the room.
It is not considered soundproof, but blackout curtains can reduce the noise in a room by around 7 decibels. This won’t be enough to keep most sounds from passing through but can be seen as an added advantage. If your primary aim is to soundproof your room, buying a blackout curtain will be a bad move. In such scenarios, you can go ahead and buy a soundproof curtain, which may cost a little extra but has better soundproofing properties.
If your room contains other floor tiles, wall tiles, little to no furniture, no rugs or carpets, it is pointless to have blackout curtains for soundproofing. As the number of items or furniture increases in the room, the damping of sound increases. Having blackout curtains as the standalone solution for the noise pollution in your surroundings will have inferior results.
We can’t blame blackout curtains for their poor soundproofing because they are not meant for it. Ideally, blackout curtains are responsible for blocking out noise and trapping heat.
Are blackout curtains soundproof?
Blackout curtains are designed to block the light from entering and leaving the room. It is not as effective in soundproofing or damping the incoming and outgoing sounds as soundproof curtains. However, due to their thickness and size, they do provide some soundproofing properties. They tend to act more like sound mufflers.
Often, blackout curtains are marketed as soundproof to increase marketability. The truth is that since these curtains have to block out the lighting, they will naturally be thicker than ordinary curtains available in the market. Also, soundproofing properties are directly proportional to the mass introduced in the room. Since blackout curtains are heavier than normal, the manufacturers boast about soundproofing properties, whereas they provide only a slight sound reduction to your room.
Soundproofing also depends on the type of sound you are trying to block out. Blackout curtains tend to fail miserably when it comes to blocking out lower frequency noises, even when they don’t have high amplitude. This is because the curtains are not thick enough or bulky enough to block out lower frequencies.
You should be able to sleep without much disturbance in your room, be it sound or light. Blackout curtains are amazing products that can block about 90% of sunlight coming your way and can provide you with a calming ambiance in your home. It can also trap the sunlight and increase the temperature of the room. This will come in handy in winter to keep your room warm and can drive down power consumption.
You can use blackout curtains to reduce the echo in your room because of its increased mass compared to regular curtains, and along with furniture and carpets in your room, it can reduce noise and dampen sound to about 7 dB.
However, blackout curtains’ utility as a soundproofing solution is questionable at best. It does help reduce the noise in the room by a small amount, but it is way lower than the available soundproofing solutions in the market.
If you want to soundproof your room, it is better to go with dedicated soundproofing solutions such as soundproof curtains with higher efficiency and an STC rating of about 26.