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When it comes to soundproofing your home, gaps and cracks are your biggest concerns and one place you’ll find these gaps is on the door. Additionally, most of the modern doors are so hollow such that they allow outside noises inside our homes even when closed.
Additionally, what I’ve noticed with most homeowners is that they concentrate their efforts in soundproofing other areas in their house, for example, the deal with the windows, floors, walls and ceilings and forget the damn door. It’s unfortunate regardless of the job well done in other areas; a small mistake can make you feel like you did nothing. So in this article, I’m going to elaborate on the simple steps you can undertake to soundproof a door without burning the wallet.
How To Soundproof A Doorway
Noise proofing the doorway doesn’t have to hassle. Actually, you can deal with noise problem coming through the doorway all by yourself without requiring any technical expertise. Below are ten different steps you can apply today and deal with doorway noise even if you’re a soundproofing amateur.
1. Deal with all gaps and cracks
As mentioned above, holes and cracks are the biggest noises leaking culprits in any soundproofing project. Before anything else and before starting your DIY project, you will first need to inspect and deal with these most neglected culprits without a second thought.
Switch off the lights, grab a torch and illuminate it through the door and tell your friend to mark all the cracks. Alternatively, you can leave the lights on inside the room you need to sound dampen, got outside the room and close the door. Now switch off the lights outside your room. You’ll be able to spot any presence of these gaps and cracks.
a) Use weatherstripping tape
Now that you’ve marked all the cracks and gaps, it time to seal them for good. You can try using weatherstripping tape. It is made from sound absorption materials like fiberglass.
You can use this weatherstripping tape not only for sound absorption but also to keep away outside dust and dirt from your house. When installing the tape make sure to compress it enough to ensure that its airtight and that the adhesive side sticks for many years.
b) Try Door sweeps
Every door has a gap between it and the floor, and regardless of the size, these gaps are always a nuisance in letting in not only outside noise but also dust and dirt. To deal with this problem, you will need a door sweep. (Check this one out and how to install).
With a door sweep, you will be able to deal with all the inconsistent temperatures in your home for good hence making your home even more energy efficient than ever before.
c) Use door gaskets
Well if door weatherstripping isn’t your thing and are willing to spend more, then door gaskets should work fine for you.
While they work similarly as weather trips, they are more efficient not only in blocking out unwanted sounds but also dirt, moisture and light. Check this one out and see if it worth a try.
d) Caulk the gaps
Grab a caulking gun, if you don’t have any check this one out and fill it with a tube of wood caulk. Now caulk all the cracks spotted around the doorframe and wipe any excess glue with a putty knife. For any glass door, use a clear silicone for better aesthetics.
e) Try a rug under the door
If the door opens onto a wood or tile floor, it’s likely that the sound is bouncing off the surface and travelling into your room. You can place a rug down over the doorway to help absorb and dampen sound coming from the gap under the door.
2. Altering the door surface
Now that you’ve dealt with those door gaps and cracks on the door, it’s time to make it even more efficient in sound absorption. Altering the door surface will add more mass, and we all know that more mass results to better soundproofing.
a) Use sound-absorbing door paint
Grab this sound absorbing paint and repaint your door to get some sound dampening benefits. It’s proven that a single coating of noise absorbing paint can dramatically reduce external noise by up to 30%. The best part is that the paint will also prevent inside noises from leaking outside. You’ll need to unscrew the door hinges and paint it and hinge it back when dry.
b) Acoustical curtains
You could argue that curtains are only made for the windows only. But if your end goal would be to reduce noise coming through the door, every viable measure should be undertaken. Here is my review of the 15 best soundproofing curtains to deal with the problem. They are made of heavy materials responsible for sound absorption.
Sound absorbing drapes are best for renters who have signed a rental agreement with the landlord that limit them from making major changes to the rented unit. After installing the drapes, test the opening and door closing a couple of time and see how it affects it.
c) Hang some Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV)
Grab a thick roll of mass loaded vinyl (check how it works here) and cut it down to the size of your door. You can attach it on the door using this heavy-duty construction adhesive.
Wait until the glue is dry and there goes your soundproofed door. MLV does a fantastic job in sound absorption, but it’s not cheap either. You will at least 2 dollars per square for the thinner ones and the price increase with thickness.
d) Replace existing glass with triple-panes
Glass is a poor noise absorber and it notorious for sound transmission. It’s likely that the glass inserts on your door aren’t rated for sound reduction. In this case, I would recommend you to contact an expert to have them replaced with triple pane thick glass. What you should know is that triple panes won’t provide much visibility outside.
e) Replace hollow doors with solid-core doors
Most of these modern doors are made of particleboard or light woods. They are either hollow or partially hollow, and this means that they transmit sound easily compared to solid core doors. If you’re serious about soundproofing, I would recommend you to invest in solid wood doors or solid core doors.
f) Hang soundproofing blankets
Acoustical blankets work the same way as soundproofing curtains. (Check how it works) They are made of heavy materials such as fiberglass which is known as a good sound reducing material. Hanging some heavy moving blankets over the door will absorb sound to manageable levels.
The blankets are easy to install; you only need to hook them at the back of the door. They are a good option if you live in a rented unit where no major renovation changes are allowed.
The only problem with using soundproof blankets is that they lack aesthetic appeal. They’re ugly, visually not appealing. So I would recommend you to use them when soundproofing bathroom door. Anyway, who cares about the bathroom door?
What Are The Benefits Of Soundproofing A Door?
Below are some ways you can benefit from a sound insulated door.
a) Noise reduction
The reason why people choose to soundproof their home is so that the can reduce noise from pedestrians, traffic, loudspeakers, and any other outside sources. Your home is designed to be a peaceful place and soundproofing it from external noise will help you achieve this. Soundproofed door will help prevent sound leakage and noise transmission, and so you’ll be able to turn your stereo a little louder without disturbing your neighbours.
b) Better Heating and Cooling
With a sound-treated door, you can regulate air quality and temperature because they prevent air leakage. So it will be easier to manage warm temperatures in the winter and cool in the summer with your central AC system and probably won’t need to run it regularly to achieve desired temperatures.
c) Air leakage prevention
Allergens and outside pollutants will have a very hard time getting inside your house thanks to the caulking, weatherstripping and the multiple panes on your soundproofed door.
For homes where air quality is a must, soundproofing is important as air leakages occur in thinner doors.
Last Thoughts on Door Soundproofing
So far so good, you now understand how a doorway can be a big problem in transmitting sound. However if you follow the above mentioned steps, you’ll be on your way to creating a soundproof doorway.
Soundproofing a door is like sound dampening any other part of your house; it can be either cheap or expensive depending on the method you use.
If you’re looking to deaden outside noise to manageable levels, I would recommend using the cheaper methods mentioned above such as weatherstripping. But if you want to deaden the sound completely, be ready to spend time and invest money into the project.
Overall, the above highlighted steps will significantly reduce noise coming through the door. The main trick here is to identify to what levels you’d want to block out external noises and figure out the method that will work out for you. For the best results, I’d recommend you to combine two to three methods mentioned above.