In every bar and restaurant, you’ll notice fire doors as part of the building’s architecture. When major events happen, you might hear music reverberating through the building. Sometimes, you might even wonder if the weight of fire doors help keep the sound inside.
Many doors that have an excellent interior core will be more soundproof than a standard door. This means that the vast majority of fire doors will be more soundproof than the doors you’d find at home.
Understanding the physics of soundproofing using doors can help you figure out whether installing a fire door will help you quiet things down. This guide will give you more insight into the physics of fire doors and sound.
Are Fire Doors More Soundproof?
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Though there are always exceptions to the rule, fire doors are usually more soundproof than a typical door would be. This is due to the way that fire doors are engineered and how their materials conduct sound waves.
People who are looking for an affordable alternative to a specialized soundproof door often choose to install fire doors because of their sound-muffling traits.
What Traits Make A Door More Soundproof?
In order to understand why fire doors are more soundproof than the average closet door, it’s important to get what makes a door soundproof in the first place. The best traits to have when looking for a soundproof door include:
- Solid Material. Any sort of material that gives a door a solid core will help muffle sounds. This includes thick wood, as well as solid metal—such as the materials that are typically used in making a fire door.
- Sealed Edges. Sound can escape through the gaps in any door. Having edges that are sealed off will reduce the amount of sound that leaks through. Fire doors often come with smoke seals, which have the incidental side effect of soundproofing.
- Thickness. A thick door will keep sound waves at bay. Most fire doors are thicker than a typical standard door, which make them better for soundproofing. Acoustic padding can be used to enhance a standard door, but it’s better to opt for a door that is built thick from the get-go.
Why Would You Need A Soundproof Door?
There are many reasons why a soundproof door could be a good investment to make. Along with being must-haves for a music recording studio or a video recording studio, having a door that’s soundproof can help with the following situations:
- Being Able To Play Loud Music. There’s a reason why nightclubs love to have soundproof doors. It equates to less noise complaints to the police department.
- Ensuring That Private Conversations Stay Private. This is a must for companies that have nosy employees or for companies that handle loud clients.
- Minimizing Workshop Noise. If your company currently has a workshop or garage setup, the noises from the tools can pose an annoyance for customers who are waiting for their goods to be repaired—not to mention neighboring businesses. A soundproof door can help.
Read my guide on soundproofing doors.
How Much Sound Can Fire Doors Stop?
This all depends on a wide variety of factors, including the make of the door and the surrounding areas. Many fire doors can soundproof surroundings by 10, 20, or even 30 decibels.
If you choose an acoustic door and add all the extras to the mix, you can soundproof a door up to 54 decibels. Though it’s possible to get that high a soundproof rating, it’s worth noting that getting a door to be that soundproof may take time, money, and sound engineering knowledge. At times, it’s not really even feasible.
Can You Use A Fire Door As A Soundproofing Door?
It all depends on what you’re trying to do. If you just need a door to keep noise in, then a fire door will make an excellent soundproofer. Those who need state-of-the-art soundproofing for a music recording studio, though, will do better with an acoustic door…if they have the budget.
When Should You Get An Acoustic Door?
An acoustic door takes the soundproofing qualities of a fire door and brings it to a new level. These are doors that are specifically engineered to be used in music recording studios and give minimal interference inside the studio as well.
The problem that people have with these doors is their price point. Acoustic doors can easily cost over $1,000. Fire doors, while pricey, are more affordable. If you cannot afford an acoustic door, a fire door can be a good replacement.
How Can You Make A Fire Door More Soundproof?
Aside from choosing a thicker door made of solid material, there are just a handful of ways you can improve your door’s acoustics. These include:
- Adding a smoke seal to your fire door. Smoke seals can be built into the door you choose, or added on as a feature after the door has been made.
- Adding padding to the fire door’s interior and exterior. The extra padding will help absorb more sound waves and add bulk to your door.
- Use a door sweep. Door sweeps lock in sound and also keep critters from crawling underneath the gap of your door.
- Get rid of gaps between your door and surroundings. If smoke seals and door sweeps aren’t enough to remove gaps, get some weatherstripping tape to finish the job.
- Place a soundproof rug near the door. This way, you’ll also get less noise when your friends walk inside. If you want to double up the soundproofing power, add a rug on both sides of your door.
- Get a quieter lock. This isn’t always doable with all fire door models, but if you can uninstall a noisy lock and get a quieter lock, it’s worth a shot.
What Are Acoustic Fire-Rated Doors?
If you are looking to create your own professional studio or have noise-proofing as your primary concern, a fire door might not be the best possible option. Acoustic doors, on their own, might also be unable to meet building safety standards in many areas. So, what’s an entrepreneur to do?
The best option for people who want fire safety and high-grade acoustics is to get acoustic fire-rated doors. These are doors that are primarily designed with acoustics in mind but also come with all the benefits of a decent fire door.
Setting Up A Soundproof Entryway: Bonus Round
Along with using a fire door equipped with your extra soundproofing padding, there is one other way to ensure that less noise gets through than ever before. If you want to get even more soundproofing to your entryway, consider getting a double door layout.
For this, you’ll need two sets of doors: a pair of standard doors, and a pair of fire doors. Your room will also need a hallway or foyer. Use the fire doors to access the room closest to your studio, then use a soundproofing mat on the floor of your foyer.
The Bottom Line
If you are a homeowner who wants to make a high-quality studio, or a music studio entrepreneur, using a fire door is a good way to save money on an acoustic door. Fire doors are remarkably soundproof when compared to a typical door you’d find in a home.
Most people don’t realize it, but many businesses rely on fire doors for both security and soundproofing. Between their sturdy build and thick material, using them can be a great way to reduce sound echoes in any room you want to insulate.