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When it comes to soundproofing a room, the doors are one of the hardest parts. What’s more, louvered doors (doors with slats) are even harder to soundproof due to the amount of gaps.
However, there are some things you can do to soundproof louvered doors, or at least greatly reduce the amount of noise that’s able to pass through them. Read on to find out how to soundproof louvered doors.
What to Know Before Soundproofing Louvered Doors
Louvered doors are a great feature for almost any internal room because they provide the element of privacy needed from a door, but still let it plenty of light and allow air to circulate. Similarly, they’re nice and light, which is often all you need for an internal partition door.
The problem is that these features are the complete opposite of what you want from a soundproof door. One of the key principles of any soundproofing project is that gaps are bad, and mass is good.
So what can you do to soundproof louvered doors? The first step is to identify the source of the noise you want to block out, along with your budget for the project. The amount of money you’re willing to spend will definitely have an impact on what you’re able to do.
How to Soundproof Louvered Doors
Here are 5 ways you can soundproof louvered doors:
- Replace the louvered doors
- Cover the gaps in the door
- Try some acoustic treatment
- Seal the gaps in the door frame
- Hang soundproof curtains
Now let us look at each method in detail.
1. Replace the doors
Your best option for soundproofing louvered doors is just to remove them entirely. The very design of them is the antithesis of soundproofing, so if you’re truly serious about soundproofing your space, then you’ll be much more successful if you install a normal, solid core door.
In fact, in my article on best ways to soundproof a door, the solid core type is top on my list.
However, if you want to keep the air and light benefits of louvered doors, then the best thing to do would be to buy specific acoustic louvered doors. These are usually designed for specific reasons, such as putting on an external generator room, and so might not be the most suitable for an internal partition door.
In order to be soundproof (or at least reduce ambient noise), these louvered doors are usually very heavy and made of metal. Similarly, they can be pretty expensive because they’re designed to do something louvered doors generally don’t do.
For example, a soundproof louvered door, rather than being maybe an inch thick like a traditional louvered door, can be up to 3 inches thick, if not more. When you think this will be made from metal, it’ll be quite heavy. However, this is what to expect from any soundproof door.
Replacing the louvered door entirely is going to be your most successful option for soundproofing, although this can be both an expensive and time-consuming option. Similarly, it takes a bit of DIY knowledge and might be too invasive for your planned project. Only consider this option if you’re truly serious about soundproofing your space.
2. Cover the gaps in the door
Sound, much like air, can travel through even the tiniest gap, which makes louvered doors a pretty bad choice if you want to reduce noise pollution. The whole concept of the door is to let in air and light, so to do anything about reducing noise transference you’ll need to block up these gaps.
There are a number of different products you could use, but the most successful will be mass loaded vinyl (amazon link). This is a very dense material that comes in sheets and is used in a number of soundproofing projects. It’s what’s called limp mass, which means it absorbs sound waves without any change to its structure. Sound simply stops.
The most important thing to bear in mind about this option is that it’s going to completely remove the characteristics of a louvered door, as you’re going to be blocking up all the slats. However, if you want to soundproof your room, this is what you’ll have to do.
Follow these steps for the easiest way to fix mass loaded vinyl to a louvered door:
- Start with a piece of MDF or plywood. Measure it to the size of the door and cut out. This will be the basis for your soundproof board.
- Once you’ve got your wood, cut a piece of mass loaded vinyl to the same size. Glue this to the wood and seal down any edges with an acoustic sealant, such as Green Glue (MY REVIEW).
- If you’re happy for this to be a permanent addition to the door, simply screw it to the door on the outside (the side facing towards the noise you want to block out).
- However, if you want this to only be temporary, fix some sturdy hooks to the frame above the louvered doors and simply hang the board. This won’t be as effective as screwing it down, but it’ll definitely make a difference.
Adding mass to the door in this way will definitely have a big impact on the noise pollution entering the room, but won’t soundproof it completely. There’s likely to still be gaps around the door, particularly if you’re only hanging the board, although the difference will be noticeable.
The biggest advantage of this option is that it’s pretty easy to make and the materials are inexpensive. While it might not soundproof the louvered doors completely, it’ll make a big difference.
3. Try some acoustic treatment
Another option that’ll make a difference to levels of noise pollution is to add some acoustic treatment. This is different from soundproofing because it focuses on deflecting or reducing noise, rather than blocking it out completely. This option would be best when combined with others.
The easiest thing to do here is to use some acoustic foam, such as the stuff used in recording studios, and to simply glue it to the door, and possibly around the frame if there’s enough room. This will basically help to deflect noise so there’s less chance of it coming through the door, although it’s likely this will still happen.
An alternative to foam panels are fiberglass ones, which are more effective at blocking noise, rather than just reducing or reflecting it. Fiberglass panels will be more expensive than foam ones, but will do a more effective job.
The best thing to do would be to make a board, similar to the one detailed above, and attach the panels to it. You can then attach this to the outside of the door, either permanently or temporarily, which will help reduce noise levels. However, this option won’t be as effective as adding more mass.
4. Pay attention to the door frame
Along with treating the door itself, it’s also worth paying attention to the gaps around it, and the frame too. There’s little point in soundproofing your louvered doors if there are still plenty of gaps that sound can travel through.
The best thing to use for this project is weatherstripping tape, which is meant to improve heat insulation, but does a pretty good job of soundproofing too. Essentially it fills in the gap between the door and frame, thereby preventing noise from entering. It’s very cheap and easily available, but there are numerous types, so make sure you have a good idea of what thickness you need.
When it comes to the bottom of the door, which is usually the biggest gap, install something like a door sweep. Again, these are meant for heat retention, but help reduce noise pollution at the same time. You can find these online for next to nothing, and many even have self-adhesive strips, making installation a breeze.
The final thing to address in this step is the actual door frame. Over time, houses can settle, which causes things like door frames to no longer sit where they’re meant to. This then leads to cracks and gaps, through which sound can travel.
The best thing to use is acoustic sealant, as this not only blocks sound from travelling through it, but, unlike normal sealant, it retains some elasticity and so won’t crack in the future. For example, Green Glue turns sound waves into heat energy, and is nice and elastic too.
5. Hang soundproof curtains
The last option is definitely the least effective, but probably also the least expensive and invasive. All you need to do for this one is install either soundproof curtains or heavy drapes, such as velvet.
The advantage of this option is that you can still use the louvered doors when you don’t want the room to be soundproof, and curtains will still allow a level of air to pass through.
Make sure the curtains are big enough to cover the entire door, and extend pass the frame so there are fewer gaps. Soundproof curtains have plenty of mass, but if you’re just using normal drapes then consider sewing a few together so they’re heavier.
If you choose this option, first check out my buying guide.
While the idea of soundproofing louvered doors might seem difficult, there are plenty of things you can try to drastically reduce the amount of noise that comes through them. However, due to their design, you should bear in mind that it’s essentially impossible to completely make a louvered door soundproof. This is true of any door, so just do everything you can.
Also read my guide on soundproofing jalousie windows.