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How to Soundproof a Door

Find out 5 great ways you can soundproof your door at home. In today’s article, we give you the answers to all your noise problems. And the best bit is you can do it all yourself.

how-to-soundproof-a-door

For many people, especially those that live in an apartment, the door is a weak link when it comes to soundproofing your home. Typical doors have hollow cores with a cardboard honeycomb, which doesn’t put up much of a fight against intruding noise.

A doorway is also a source of air gaps which give noise an easy path into your home. In today’s post we’ll address how to treat your door, and make unwanted noise less of a problem.


Soundproofing a Door: 5 Tips for a Quieter Home

We’ve got 5 different treatments that range in price and difficulty. You don’t have to be a DIY master to improve the sound insulation of your home.

Here’s how to soundproof a door according to HomeRecordingPro.com.

Treatment Number 1: Seal air gaps

A doorway is a prime source of drafts and air gaps in a home. Air offers sound a path of little resistance, which means it will retain more of its energy. More energy means more noise, so this is a key treatment. Luckily, it’s not an expensive or complicated one to implement either.

By blocking air gaps and giving sound waves solid obstacles to try and pass, we can dramatically reduce the amount of energy they retain.

soundproofing-a-door

Air gaps exist in two places in a doorway:

  1. Between the door and the door frame.
  2. Between the door and the floor.

We can treat both of these relatively easily, and in some cases this can make a big difference. There’s another positive side-effect to treating air gaps, and that is that you increase heat insulation in the home too.

To treat the door frame air gap we can use a high density foam tape. This is easily applied around the perimeter with the tape’s adhesive backing.

acoustic foam-tapeHigh Density Foam

This tape is relatively cheap and will seal air gaps in the door way. There are two big benefits to this:

1) No more cold drafts. This means you can save on energy bills.

2) A reduction in airborne noise entering your home.

It’s important to use a high density material for this as it will stop more noise than a regular tape.

To treat the air gap under the door we can use something called a door bottom sweep or under door seal. These can be fitted onto the bottom of your door with a few small screws or in some cases they can even just clip on.

They provide a rubber seal at the bottom of the door that stops any air borne sound or cold drafts coming through. Acoustic companies sell special soundproof door bottoms at inflated prices, but all you need is a regular draft stopper.

door-bottom-sealDoor Bottom

This door bottom sweep is well reviewed and affordable. It is easily attached with a few small screws that limit the visible impact on the door. Be sure to get the right size as it comes in a variety.

This door soundproofing treatment is essential before installing any of the others. If you allow sound to travel easily and unopposed through air gaps then you’ll just be undermining the effectiveness of the other treatments.

These are two great ways to help soundproof your door cheaply. You shouldn’t just stop there though. Read on to see what other soundproofing treatments you can use.

By combining multiple treatments you can increase the soundproofing effect.


Treatment Number 2: Add another layer to your door

Ever wondered how to make a soundproof door? Well that’s what this treatment basically is. By adding some special layers to the door we can really boost its sound rejection. The key here is adding mass.

how-to-soundproof-a-door-2

An Ideal Soundproof Door Set-Up

By adding mass to a surface we can make it harder for sound to pass through it. The more dense that a surface is, the better it is at rejecting sound. We can add mass and therefore make a door more dense in a variety of ways.

We can do this by attaching a piece of medium density fiberboard (MDF) or even better sound deadening fiberboard (available at Home Depot) to our door.

Fiberboard is available in a variety of thicknesses, with thicker being better at stopping noise. This would have to be attached using screws and cut to the size of your door.

To make our door extra soundproof we can apply a layer of Green Glue noiseproofing compound between the door and fiberboard layer. This will act as acoustic damping and reduce the vibrations between the door panel and fiberboard layer.

This step can make a big difference to how effective our new door layer is. It acts like suspension on a car and reduces the vibrations traveling from one surface to the next. By adding a layer of acoustic damping we make it much harder for sound energy (in the form of vibrations) to be transferred from one layer to the next.

Green Glue is commonly used in the construction trade to add soundproofing to surfaces. It’s a bit of a trade secret. It’s really effective at reducing the vibrations which cause noise.

For the most effective treatment then the acoustic mat, fiberboard, and Green Glue layers should be used. This would increase the mass quite substantially and also reduce vibrations. This would really reduce the amount of noise coming into your room (providing there were no air gaps).

soundproof matAcoustic Mat

Acoustic mat gives an extra layer of sound absorption. It is designed to be extremely dense and effective at stopping sound transmission. It will also act as a layer of heat insulation. It comes with an easy to apply adhesive layer.

Another idea would be to hang an acoustic soundproof panel on the door. These come in door shaped sizes and offer a really effective barrier against sound and noise.

singer-safety-double-faced-quilted-fiberglass-panelAcoustic Panel

Acoustic panels are designed to reduce sound transmission through surfaces like doors. They are really thick and dense in construction. They will help to reduce the noise coming through your door, but they do tend to be quite expensive.

Note: Remember to seal all of the air gaps too (see treatment 1). There’s no point adding an extra layer to your door and then allowing sound to easily bypass it.


Treatment Number 3: Improve the door construction

As we mentioned in the introduction, most doors have a flimsy construction. In our fight against unwanted noise, mass is key. The heavier and more dense the construction of a door, the better it will keep out sound. The more mass something has, the less easily it will transmit noise as vibrations.

A solid wood door is better at insulating from noise than a hollow door. If you have a hollow construction door, you would do well to upgrade it to a solid core door made of hardwood or medium density fiberboard (MDF). Special fire doors are also very effective (exterior doors should always have a solid core and good seals). These doors are more dense in their construction and more effective at keeping out sound. However, they can be expensive, so if this isn’t an option for you then check out our other cheaper solutions.

Acoustic companies all sell special soundproofing doors too. These are effective at reducing unwanted sound, but they’re priced accordingly.

If your door contains a window then a quick fix would be to cover this with extra sound absorbing layers. Windows are really poor at keeping out noise. Adhesive velcro can be used to attach dense panels of material over the problematic area.

Cat-flaps or doors for pets are also a real problem. Consider having them closed at night, and again a layer of dense material to cover the area would be ideal.


Treatment Number 4: Hang acoustic curtains/drapes

We went into this solution in some detail in our ‘How to Soundproof Windows‘ guide. We are doing exactly the same here, and that is to add a thick, dense layer of material over our problem area.

Blackout curtains are ideal for this as they are designed to be thick enough to keep light out. Alternatively, thermal curtains are also very thick in their construction.

Ideally, we want to pleat or drape the curtain to make it “thicker”. This makes it more effective at keeping the unwanted sound out. To get this effect we need to get curtains that are 2-3 times wider than the door way. We need it to cover the door too, right from the top to the floor.

blackout curtainsBlackout Curtains

These are ideal for keeping out unwanted sound, and they can be quite attractive too. They are thick and heavy, and will also improve the heat insulation of your home.

They’re also available in a variety of colors and styles that’ll be suited to most homes.

A less attractive but very effective solution is to use moving blankets. These are super dense and heavy which makes them great for sound insulation. They are used by recording studios as a cheaper alternative to expensive acoustic panels.

They too can be hung like curtains, but you’ll need to do a bit of sewing work to set them up.


Treatment Number 5: Install another door

This option will only work for those with a particular set-up. If the door that is causing you problems has a hallway at either side, then you could install an extra door. By adding this extra barrier with an air gap in between, it will reduce the amount of sound allowed to travel through. An air gap of at least three feet would be ideal.

This would be more of a last resort, but it could be incredibly effective if done in the right way.


Extra Soundproofing Tips

Soundproofing can be done in ways that don’t have to compromise the look or style of a room. Check out these simple steps you can take to reduce unwanted noise in the home.

  • If the source of the noise is another room in the home, then try placing rugs on hard shiny surfaces like wood and tiles. The rugs will reduce high frequency reflections and absorb some sound.
  • Covering walls with bookcases is great way to add an extra layer to them without compromising on the look of your room.
  • Thick wallpaper is better than glossy paint at absorbing sound.
  • Use vibration pads under speakers and under loud appliances like washing machines. These will reduce the amount of sound transmitted through surface vibrations.
  • If all else fails then get in contact with a local acoustics company. They’ll help solve your problems, but it might be expensive.

Conclusion

If changing the door really isn’t an option then the best way to soundproof a door is to use a combination of treatments 1, 2, and 4 would be ideal. These can all be implemented with very little DIY skills. Furthermore, if you’re sure the door is the problem then they’ll make a difference.

Treatment one is crucial and the others will be a waste of your time and money if you skip this step. Air gaps are the easiest route for unwanted noise to enter your home. If you don’t fix this you’ll really be limiting the effectiveness of the other treatments, should you install them.

Treatments 2 and 4 both operate in the same way. You’re adding barriers of heavy, dense materials that absorb noise. The drawback with these is that you will be changing the appearance of your home. This is especially an issue if you’re not the home owner. Speak to your landlord, sometimes they’re a lot more understanding than the common stereotypes would have us believe.


That concludes our article on door soundproofing. Our suggestions won’t suit every home, but hopefully there’s something here that can help with your problem. If you have any questions about sound proof doors then please get in contact, we’d be happy to help in any way we can. We promise to reply promptly too.

This was the fourth instalment in our complete guide to soundproofing. If you’d like to find out how else you can make your home a quieter place then please check out the other parts. We’ve got an awesome guide to soundproofing floors and ceilings too.

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