Month: October 2017

When it comes to constructing noise reduction windows and doors, there are certain things we won’t touch with a bargepole.

(Not even a fine oak bargepole.)

We’re talking about ‘hollow’ materials such as aluminium and UPVC that ‘leak’ noise and are highly unlikely to last you a lifetime.

By contrast, what we insist on building with, is good old-fashioned timber. And not just any timber, but hardwood timber, the construction timber of choice for centuries and visible all over the country – from manor houses and cottages to churches.

So why always hardwood timber? We could give you countless reasons why; here are three.

Reason #1: Perfect for soundproofing and insulating.

Hardwoods are exceptionally strong and durable – far more so than softwoods – as they come from slow-growing, broad-leaved trees. Thanks to its thousands of tiny air chambers per cubic inch, it holds in heat making hardwood an excellent insulator.

Reason #2: Beautifully easy to maintain.

One main advantage of hardwood is that it is very easy to maintain and clean. Any scratches or dents in hardwoods can easily be fixed by sanding, varnishing and waxing to restore its beauty, rather than having to replace the damaged area.

Reason #3: Beautiful on the eye.

Aesthetics are integral to how we work. And we love the way that hardwoods can be used with any type of style or décor because of the wide range of appearances they bring, and the fact they are available in a whole host of natural colours, depending on species chosen.

Yes –  there are countless other reasons for choosing hardwoods – like their exceptional value. You will find less expensive timber options – but you get what you pay for. So think of it as an investment. Whenever you use hardwood timber, it is likely to increase the value of a property.

And let’s throw another question into the mix, for good measure: “Why is the quietest place on earth so noisy?”

In our pursuit of creating a tranquillity that transforms, we do have some memorable ‘aha’ moments. Such as? When we realised that it’s actually possible to have ‘too much’ quiet.

… and that there’s a place so silent that the background noise measured is actually in negative decibels, -9.4 dBA.

So where on earth is the quietest place on earth?

According to our good friends at the Institute of Acoustics, it’s the anechoic chamber at Orfield Laboratories in Minnesota.

 

It is so quiet that the longest anybody has been able to bear it is 45 minutes.

When it’s that quiet, your ears adapt. And the quieter the room, the more things you hear… like your heart beating or your stomach gurgling loudly. According to the lab’s founder, Steven Orfield, “In the anechoic chamber, you become the sound.”

Yes, NASA has sent astronauts here to help them adapt to the silence of space. And us? When we talk about creating ‘the quietest spaces in the noisiest places’ we know where to draw the line.

It’s not a question that many of us know the answer to. But it’s an important one, and for us, it’s an absolutely essential one – especially when we’re doing our first calculations at a property during an initial visit.

‘Zero’ decibel is the so-called hearing threshold for the human ear. (That doesn’t mean there’s no sound at that level.)

At 120 decibels the ear registers pain, but hearing damage actually begins at a much lower level, at about 85 decibels – which is typically the SPL (sound pressure level) of heavy traffic, a noisy restaurant or a power lawn mower.

Subjected to 45 decibels of noise, the average person cannot sleep. And in an age where noise pollution is increasingly an issue, this is critical. A succession of sleepless nights can be seriously detrimental to your health. Noise pollution can also lead to increased stress and cardiovascular disease.

By contrast, with noise reduction windows fitted, people often experience a new tranquility that has a positive and powerful bearing on their health. It remains one of the highlights of our work. Hearing from a hotelier how much their guests love the hotel’s quiet rooms… and from homeowners how they ‘got their lives back’, is why we do what we do.

Some words we hear so often that they become meaningless. Others are used in so many different ways, their exact meaning is unclear.

So – right now – let’s be clear exactly what we mean when we say we offer ‘bespoke’ windows.

Every single one of our windows is unique. And it isn’t just ‘made to measure’.  It’s measured to the millimetre before we use those measurements to engineer a window that fits your home perfectly.

And it’s not just the physical space we measure.

It’s also the noise levels.

Before we create your windows, there are always two kinds of understanding we need.

> On the one hand, we need to understand exactly what you need. In terms of aesthetics, in terms of noise reduction. So we can be certain that what we’re about to create for you will meet your expectations.

> On the other hand, we need to understand exactly how to translate those needs into windows that will help to transform your home or your hotel. And to that end, we’ve developed a unique design process.

And because we never outsource to anyone else, our end-to-end involvement means that there’s a continuity to that in-depth understanding – it runs right through our process. 

You could say, there are no gaps in our understanding… and also no ‘gaps’ in your windows. (We use a special silicon that helps ensure that, and that prevents any ‘rattle’ in the glass.)

So, there’s bespoke and there’s bespoke. If you want a made-to-the-millimetre window that is the perfect match for your needs, you know who to contact.

The detail we go into at the start leads to windows that are designed to delight.

But don’t take our word for it. Hear what our clients say here.