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Sound-proofing is an increasingly popular feature within a home or workspace. People enjoy having quiet spaces where they can focus on getting work done without having to tune out distracting external noises. The Sound Transmission Class (STC) rating helps customers determine what product they need to best filter out external noise from their environments. These products may range from doors to walls to windows and more.

STC ratings originated in the 1960s, when people sought a way to compare doors, windows, walls and ceilings. In the ensuing decades, the STC system has become a popular way to judge how well a given product will act as a sound barrier. Anyone looking for an effective sound barrier will consider a product’s STC rating before settling on it.

A product receives its STC rating after undergoing a sound transmission test. The test judges how well sound moves from one room, through the product in question and to another room. Walls and doors that effectively block out sound transmission receive better STC scores, which come in the form of a whole number.

The numerical score helps designers as they plan new buildings or remodel existing spaces. A door in a secluded place, for example, does not need to filter out sound as well as a door in a busy, chaotic environment. Designers can choose products with the STC score best tailored to the particular environment to create an optimal space for their clients.

STC ratings are nothing new. They originated in the 1960s and were fine-tuned into the current model in the 1990s. While STC ratings remain very important for choosing the best sound barriers for a space, they should not be the sole marker considered during the design process. Using STC ratings as one prong of a multi-pronged approach ensures that they are being considered without focusing solely on them to the exclusion of other important factors.

Steve Orlowski

Sr. Director, Standards & Technical Activities, WDMA

For more information about high-performance windows, doors and skylights, please visit WDMA’s informational web site: www.openuptoperformance.com.

Photos from Trustile and Masonite

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