Plexiglass vs glass soundproofing, which is better? This question creates dilemma especially when you are in the planning stage. In this post, I will share with you the difference between these materials. I hope this helps.
Choosing what soundproofing material, you should be using for your project is difficult sometimes. This challenge usually arises especially when you have no idea the materials’ capacity and characteristics.
When it comes to soundproofing windows, there are a number of materials you can choose from. Two of the most chosen materials though are the plexiglass and glass soundproofing.
However, choosing one of the materials can be more challenging than choosing what materials should be used. This happened to me before, I wonder, plexiglass vs glass, which is better for soundproofing?
Well, technically, these two materials are both designed for soundproofing. But, certainly, one is better than the other depending on the purpose of the project.
The main difference is that, when it comes to sound dampening and absorption, the plexiglass does a better job. However, if the goal is to block sound, using glass is better than using the plexiglass. This is because the glass has more density and mass that could block the sound effectively.
The good thing about plexiglass, however, is its affordability. This means that you can easily apply layers if you need it.
These are just a few differences between plexiglass and glass materials. But there are more differences than price and durability. If you want to learn more, you can read further.
Table of Contents
Plexiglass vs. Glass soundproofing: What is the difference?
In terms of durability, plexiglass is stronger and more resistant to shatter and erosion than glass. The glass, on the other hand, is scratch-resistant and can be easily recycled. If you consider the environment, then using glass is a good idea.
Plexiglass and glass differ in many ways. These materials further differ in;
Plexiglass is a transparent thermoplastic, a type of clear acrylic sheet. It is, therefore, a plastic material based on petroleum products.
A glass, however, is a non-crystalline inorganic compound the undergoes a cooling process without going through a crystalline state. Obviously, glass is brittle. But if you want to see your surroundings without opening the window, then the glass is perfect for you.
Resistance to Scratch and shatters
Both plexiglass and glass have strengths and weaknesses. Glass is more resistant to scratches than plexiglass but is it easier to shatter.
The plexiglass, on the other hand, is more resistant to shatters but more prone to scratches. Another problem with plexiglass is that it tends to crack when exposed to some cleaning solvents. So you need to be careful when cleaning it.
Plexiglass is more lightweight than a glass. Weight makes the plexiglass easy to handle and install. You can easily work with it alone.
Plexiglass is easier to cut than a glass sheet. Plexiglass also is easier to shape according to your desired shape and design.
The good thing about glass, however, is that it can be easily recycled. While the plexiglass is more difficult. This is because plexiglass contains petrochemicals. This means that glass materials are more eco-friendly than plexiglass.
Soundproofing Using Glass and Plexiglass
When soundproofing, there are many factors you need to remember in order to successfully carry out the project. The following are important things to consider:
The success of any soundproofing project relies on many factors. One being is the mass of the material being used. The denser the material, the more capable it is to reduce transmission. Thus, the less likely the sound can travel on it.
In this case, both glass and plexiglass are both good at blocking sound. They come in different thicknesses and which allow you to choose the best for your soundproofing project.
Absorption is the capability of a soundproofing material to absorb sound. Soft materials are doing a better job at this than the solid ones. Therefore, both plexiglass and glass are not good sound absorber.
The plexiglass, however, because it is softer than the glass, has a better absorption capability than the glass. But it could not totally absorb sound.
When it comes to dampening sound, plexiglass is better than the glass. This is because the glass is resonant. The plexiglass, on the other hand, is softer making it more capable of dampening sound.
4) STC Rating
The Sound Transmission Class (STC), is a unit of measurement on how soundproofing material blocks sound transmission. Obviously, the higher the STC rating, the more effective the material at blocking the sound.
Every material has its own STC rating. With an STC of 25, the material does a poor job at blocking or absorbing sound transmission. If you’re using a material like this, you can clearly hear a speech or noise from the other side of the material.
An STC of 40 is better than the previous one. Although the sound can still penetrate, you’ll only hear like a murmur from a loud speech or noise from the other side of the material.
An STC of 50 is good when soundproofing music studios. A material that has this rating has an excellent capability in absorbing and blocking the sound or noise. If you want to make your room completely quiet, then choose a material with an STC rating of 50 or higher.
Therefore, the higher the STC rating the better.
Plexiglass vs Glass Soundproofing in Terms of STC Rating
In terms of the STC rating, the glass is better than the plexiglass. For instance, a ¼” of glass pane has an STC rating of 31. While the plexiglass of the same thickness has an STC rating of 29.
The two-point difference does not make any significant difference. But as the material gets thicker, the more pronounced the difference between glass and plexiglass.
A glass pane with ½” has an STC rating of 36. While the plexiglass with the same thickness has an STC rating of 33. The difference is even bigger as the material gets thicker and thicker. It made clear that the glass has a higher STC rating than the plexiglass.
Price is one of the most important factors that could affect the soundproofing material choice. If you have a limited budget for your project, you probably want to choose plexiglass over a glass.
Plexiglass is cheaper than the same size of glass material. Choosing the plexiglass allows you to have multiple layers that maximize the effect of the material.
But if budget is not a problem, then you can choose glass over plexiglass. Glass is more effective in blocking the sound than the softer plexiglass.
When it comes to soundproofing, you want a material that is both effective and durable. No one wants to re-soundproof a room over and over again.
When choosing between plexiglass vs glass, I would pick plexiglass. Well, you might wonder why given that glass has a better STC rating.
My reason is that plexiglass is cheaper and more resistant to shatter than glass. In this case, plexiglass is more durable than glass. And because it is cheaper, I can have multiple layers to achieve more effective soundproofing results.
But of course, it is just my personal preference. If you need glass for your project, you can use it. Every soundproofing project is different. So, find the best material that suits your needs.
Can a Plexiglass Block Sound?
Although plexiglass has a lower STC rating than glass, it can still block sound. Because it is cheaper, you can still achieve your desired soundproofing result by implementing layers of installation.
The good thing about plexiglass is that, aside from being affordable, it is lighter and easy to install. You have to worry about shattering because this material is durable and shatter-resistant.
It is perfect for beginners. You can experiment with this material. Unlike the glass that offers limited flexibility in terms of installation, the plexiglass gives you the opportunity to implement your own design.
Best Alternatives to Plexiglass and Glass
In terms of soundproofing materials, plexiglass and glass are not the only things you can use. In fact, there are other materials that could also perform the soundproofing task.
Some materials don’t need the expertise to install them. Below are some of the alternative soundproofing materials you can use for your project.
1) Soundproof Curtains
Soundproof curtains are some of the easiest materials you can use to soundproof a room. The best thing about using these materials is that they are super easy to install, non-permanent, and does a very good job at blocking the sound.
If you want a quick solution to the noisy traffic or neighbor, try soundproofing curtains (check my favorite one on Amazon). Soundproof curtains are inexpensive. And because they come in different colors and sizes, you can choose the best one for your project.
2) Window Blinds
Aside from soundproof curtains, soundproofing window blinds (check the product on Amazon) are also good at soundproofing windows. But like soundproof curtains, window blinds are also easy to install and does not an expert to do it. You just need to install it like a regular window blind.
Soundproofing window blinds are affordable. They do not just block sound they could also block the light or heat.
Final Thoughts of Plexiglass vs Glass Soundproofing
It is clear that both plexiglass and glass have both strengths and weaknesses. When it comes to soundproofing capability, the glass has a higher STC rating. This means that the glass is a better soundproofing material compared to plexiglass.
However, the plexiglass is cheaper and more resistant to shatter than glass material. This means that you can buy more to implement multiple layers on the project. This way you’ll still be able to achieve better results.
I hope you find this article helpful. If you want to learn more about soundproofing, feel free to visit my Soundproofing Guide. Happy soundproofing!