You have confusion about this topic: plexiglass vs glass for soundproofing any area. Which one blocks sound between them?
If you are interested to know about different types of glass and their soundproofing performance, you should read this post from first to last.
Now, I am telling you a small brief about it so that you can clear your confusion. Plexiglass is a lighter material than other normal glass.
On the other hand, glass has a higher density than plexiglass. According to the characteristics of plexiglass and natural glass, they are not the same in soundproofing and absorbing.
So you should read some notes if you know the characteristics of these two materials.
So don’t skip and continue reading….
What is Plexiglass
It is light weighted transparent, petroleum-based, and thermoplastic material (LEXAN Polycarbonate) often used as an alternative to crystal material.
It may be used in the replacement of glass sheets. It is suitable for public spaces and windows. It also has other names. Such as PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate), acrylic sheet panel, perspex, crylux, acrylite, astariglas, lucite, perclax, perspex, etc. (source)
Most of the time it is also called acrylic glass. It is a softer material than regular crystal material. There are tinted or different colored acrylic sheets available in the market.
The Applications of Plexiglass
- For Durable acoustical windows
- For lights
- For Solar panels
- For bathtubs
- For Furniture and home decor
- For greenhouse
- For screens
- Single pane windows
- Double pane windows
- Regular windows
- Original windows
What is Standard Glass?
Glass (crystal material) is made from soda ash, limestone, and SiO2 or silicon dioxide (found from sand). It is also a transparent solid (rigid) material that is used in many areas.
By providing specific heat in ingredients, it is made. When excessive pressure, heat is applied to it, it can be destroyed. It is a harder material than plexiglass.
Plexiglass vs Glass: Actual Difference (Clear Your Doubt)
I know, still, you are confused about the main difference between the plexiglass and regular glass according to sound (noise) reduction and other terms.
You should also know the audible difference between them for actual characteristics. So you need to continue reading if you want to know the right information about these types of materials.
According to Absorption
Sound is absorbed in the irregular surface where the surface of the glass is not irregular. Besides, air gaps are not found in it.
This is the reason why any interior or exterior noise can’t be absorbed by this material. But it has sound reflection capability.
So it is used in many places for reducing the transfer of sound waves. You can grow more soundproof by using multiple glass sheets together.
Plexiglass and normal glass both are not sound absorbers. You know that soft, porous (air space) and uneven suffices of acoustic material have the capacity to absorb airborne noise.
Plexiglass is softer than normal crystal elements. So it can absorb a few ambient noise frequencies but the crystal element doesn’t have this character.
According to Reflection and STC Rating
Glass is better than plexiglass for sound reflection. The STC (sound transmission class) of a 0.5” inch regular glass sheet is around 36. On the other hand, The STC of a 0.5” inch plexiglass sheet is around 33.
You know that maximum sound can reflect any hard and smooth surface. So, in this case, a regular crystal surface has a better reflection ability than plexiglass.
According to Mass
Plexiglass sheets are lighter and this is why these sheets can easily transport and implement in any area. For these lightweight characteristics, it is becoming popular day by day.
According to Damping
Plexiglass has better sound damping (weakens the noise vibration) than regular crystal surface. Because softer material of plexiglass reduces the vibration of noise. On the other hand, regular crystal material does not have this property.
According to Durability
Two types of these materials are durable. But plexiglass is more durable than glass which may break on sudden falls whereas plexiglass is not like the crystal element. However, both two types of materials last for a long time.
According to Budget
If you have a low budget, you may choose plexiglass. On the other hand, a higher budget is needed for collecting regular crystal material. So you should choose which one will be better for you.
N.B: If budget is not a problem for you, then I also suggest you collect regular crystal material. Because regular glass has more soundproofing capability than plexiglass.
Is Plexiglass Sheet a Good Sound Barrier?
This is a good question about this material and now I will try to answer that question. Normally it can block the transmission of a few sounds but it doesn’t act well like other acoustic (laminated) glass and acoustic materials.
You can also get benefits if you use it for removing unwanted noise. You shouldn’t use any of it as sound barriers that are below 0.5 inches in thickness.
Using the thickness of the plexiglass which is greater than 0.5 inches, is effective in soundproofing issues. When you use this type of glass, be sure to seal the edge corner properly.
Otherwise, you can’t get any result by using it. Before using, you should follow below points:
Point One: Before using a plexiglass sheet, try to avoid a single sheet. When you use double layers of the glass sheet, you should keep an air gap between the two sheets.
This gap is also called dead air space. Try to keep the gap between 2-4 inches. This measured gap will weaken the sound vibration.
Point Two: Try to use two or multiple panes of plexiglass. This may bring you an effective result.
Point Three: Try to build plexiglass window boxes, if you can. This box may help to reduce some air and noise that wants to come inside the room or house.
Point Four: Setup these sheets as the exact measurement of the window. For doing this, at first, you need to measure the window size by measuring tape. After calculation, collect these sheets as required.
You may also need the weatherstripping tape to fill the gaps of the wooden frames of the window.
Point Six: For avoiding scratches, you should collect it with the extra layer of protective film. This film will keep the glass scratch-free (scratch resistant) for a long time.
If you keep this sheet sketch-free, it will not be cloudy.
But if you want to get better results to make your room silent, then my suggestion is that you should try the materials which have acoustic properties for soundproofing your room.
If you have no budget issue, you can try acoustic grade glass in the soundproof storm windows of double glazing for keeping more silent.
However, this is also better than traditional storm windows
Using of Plexiglass sheet for Soundproofing
Most of the time, these sheets are used for window soundproofing (treatments). Because you can collect it on a less budget, it is also durable and long-lasting.
You can just attach this window-grade plexiglass to the window for growing more soundproof. You should also know about a window plug or insert which is available in the market.
Use Window Insert
You may try an acrylic window insert which is made of an acrylic plexiglass sheet. Before collecting that insert make sure the size of your larger windows.
According to the window measurement, you can ready soundproof window inserts for adjusting it to the window perfectly. After using this type of insert, you can reduce the noise level by around 60-70%.
Acoustic Glass (Laminated Glass) and Plexiglass
Now you should know the difference between a glass sheet and an acoustic glass sheet. After clearing your confusion, you can understand the overall function of crystal material.
Acoustic Glass panels
When two or more glass sheets are attached with an acoustic interlayer or film, then it is called acoustic glass. The interlayer improves the soundproof capacity of this sheet.
On the other hand, natural glass and plexiglass have no interlayer (see in the image).
This type of laminated glass also increases strength and durability. This is why it is becoming popular in our today’s life.
You need a higher budget if you implement this type of panel in your area.
N.B: It will be best if you use acoustic glass than other types of crystal material for soundproofing issues. If you don’t like to use any glass material, you can use alternatives to crystal panels for getting better soundproofing results.
Reliable Alternatives to Plexiglass and Glass for Reducing Sound
If you don’t like to use any type of crystal panel for soundproofing projects, you can use other alternative accessories that are also effective for removing noise pollution from windows.
So there are some examples as reliable alternatives that you should try.
1. Use of Acoustic or Soundproofing Curtains
Today now, sound dampening curtains are also the most popular ones to shade the window. The fabric of these heavy curtains is not like normal curtains.
It has acoustic elements which can reduce the cacophony of noises. You can set it to the window with grommets.
So you can open and close this curtain from the window easily. The installation process is very easy as the installation of a normal curtain.
Most of the people are using that reliable curtain for reducing the sound of road traffic, neighbor noise, etc
This type of acoustic curtain (for windows) also has other merits. It can reduce outside daylight and the dangerous rays of the sun.
You can collect it from any marketplace with different colors and designs.
2. Use of Window Blinds
The one other way is to use blinds for windows. It can also stop the airflow that passes from one room to another room.
You know that sound passes from one place to another place by using air. If you use window blinds in the window, it can reduce some excessive noise from passing.
If you select the correct material, then this blind may be an alternative to soundproof curtains.
Remember, using these blinds will not work as an acoustic curtain but it will help you to decrease some noise from passing through the window.
It can reduce some light and heat. You can also set up this blind without other help. You also don’t need much time to implement it.
Finally, I want to say that all types of glass materials do not have the same characteristics. Especially when you decide to implement soundproofing materials, you should know the specific function and soundproofing ability of different types of glass.
This is why I have tried to differentiate various types of glass so that you can understand the specific property of them.
I have also tried to clear your confusion among glass, plexiglass, and acoustic glass. If you read the total writing of this post you can get a clear knowledge among them.
Here, I have also shared some effective alternatives. If you want to soundproof your area, you should read the specific posts about the alternatives that I have written in other posts on this website.
Besides, without glass, there are also other acoustic accessories that you should need for soundproofing your room, office, and other places.
If you have enough time and want to know more information about the crystal panel, you can read below the answers (FAQ section).
Finally, I want to say that you should give some time for knowing the basic information first. Then you should start to collect acoustic material and implement them in your required place.
FAQ: Plexiglass vs Glass Soundproofing
Can You Easily Break the Plexiglass Panel?
Yes, you can break this type of material.
My answer is not ending. The Plexiglass shield has almost 17 times more impact strength than normal glass.
This is why you can’t easily break plexiglass. On the other hand, natural crystal panels have lower impact strength than plexiglass.
So it may shatter (break) at any small force.
It needs high force to shatter plexiglass. This is also a good advantage for plexiglass.
Is a Plexiglass Sheet Just Plastic?
Yes, it is one kind of plastic. For knowing more, you should read the answer of this question:Does plastic absorb sound?
It has also other names that are acrylic plastic and anti-static acrylic sheets. It is made from the polymer (synthetic) of methyl methacrylate.
It is a transparent (crystal clear cell) and lightweight element which is now popular.
Does the Plexiglass Sheet Get Cloudy?
Scratches may be found in the plexiglass after using it for a long time. Because it is softer than crystal panels. If lots of scratches are found in this material, then it may get cloudy and dirty.