I would first like to thank everyone for sharing their thoughts and opinions on this site. You have really helped me make what I believe is a well educated decision about my replacement window purchase.
I live in NJ in a home built in 1986 that has its original wood windows. The windows are double pane (narrow double pane though) and also have a storm window on the outside. Due to water leakage and rotting sills (water gets into the storm window channels and leaks into the window), I have decided to invest in vinyl replacement windows. I simply can't fight this battle any longer (and opening and closing all of the windows are a real pain). I can also feel drafts from a lot of the windows as well
I decided on Okna for my replacements and will probably go with the 500 series (another I was looking at is Thermal Industries). My question is about soundproofing. I live fairly close to a highway and sometimes can hear noise from my window during rush hour (even though the highway is blocks away). Since I'm already replacing the windows, I want to eliminate the highway noise (as much as possible). My question is whether the jump from old, builders grade wood windows to Okna 500 windows will due the trick or do I need to invest in triple pane (or laminated windows as most seem to agree) for true noise reduction? I have to imagine that the seal and air tightness of the windows plays a crucial role in soundproofing and the new windows will be so much better than the old resulting in immediate noise reduction (but of course, I am no expert). I'm not sure how much the insulation in the walls is affecting the noise as well.
Thanks in advance for your input. I don't have an unlimited budget for this project, but if I'm doing it, I want to do it right.