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Due to their technical nature, there is often confusion about the different types of sound curtains on the market. Today, we wanted to clarify some of those differences.
- Sound Insulating, Noise-Reducing, Sound-Blocking, and Soundproofing curtains – what’s the difference?
In reality, these are all the same thing. The underlying principle is that these curtains reflect sound back toward its source of transmission. To do this, the sound curtain must be dense and heavy enough to block the propagating sound wave. To be a true curtain, it must also be light enough to remain flexible, and retract when needed.
- Sound-Absorbing or Acoustic Curtains
These curtains operate via a very different principle. By using a plush, light-weight and porous material, the curtains allow sound to be absorbed into the fabric rather than continue to reverberate or echo in the rom. These will NOT block sound from coming into your room, but they will reduce echoes, which is important in some large homes. The porous material “traps” the sound waves inside, and they eventually dissipate into heat energy.
- Sound Curtains and Sound Drapes
Whether sound-blocking or sound-absorbing, the difference between drapes and curtains remains – Drapes go all the way to the floor, while curtains end somewhere below the window sill. You can customize your soundproof curtain to any length that fits your home.
- Other Types of Sound-blocking Window Treatments
- Roman Shades – a type of window covering or window treatment that stacks evenly when rolled up. This is difficult to achieve for soundproofing curtains, since the draw string must penetrate the soundproofing material (see the Featured Image above).
- Valance and Cornice – these are window treatments block view of the hardware at the top of the curtain or drape. Valances are soft, typically made of the same material as the curtain, while cornices are rigid shapes
- Blinds – these differ from shades in that they are horizontal slats, while shades are a single piece of soft material
- Sheers – thin curtains that are behind the actual soundproofing curtain. Our AcoustiTrac soundproofing curtain has sheer options to allow users to let in some light while maintaining their privacy.
- Blackout curtains
And finally, the ever-present blackout curtain debate! There are many blackout liners used in the industry to block light, and these are by and large effective. However, the only noise blackout curtains have an STC (Sound Transmission Classification) Rating which actually blocks sound. If a curtain does not have this designation, then it only absorbs echoes or blacks out light, but will not do anything to block sound from coming into your room.
Choosing the right Blackout or Soundproofing Curtain for Your Home:
When reviewing curtains for your home, keep in mind the features you most need, since each feature often has additional costs built into it. There are many blackout curtains on the market, and most are effective at blocking light. When assessing a soundproofing blackout curtain, be sure to review for an STC rating which will tell you how much sound to expect it to block.