How to Make a Garage Door Quiet

How to Make a Garage Door Quiet (1)

Garage doors can make a surprising amount of noise when in use. If you’ve ever had problems disturbing people when opening or closing your garage door, you might be wondering how to make a garage door quiet. Well, you have a few options:

  1. Tighten Connectors and Components
  2. Make Sure Everything is Lubricated
  3. Replace the Opening Mechanism
  4. Decouple the Door Opener
  5. Replace the Existing Door Rollers
  6. Soundproof the Door Itself
  7. Replace the Bottom and Side Seals

Read my guide on soundproofing a garage if you want to want to make yours noise proof.

I’ll cover these in much more detail below, but first I’ll go through the reasons why your garage door makes more noise than it should. Knowing this information first will help you to identify the most effective solution for your problems.

As an affiliate, I may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

Why Does Your Garage Door Make Noise?

It’s hardly a surprise that noise reduction isn’t top of the list when installing a garage door. While you might have insulation for both heat and sound, this doesn’t help when it actually comes to using the garage door.

Whether your garage door is manual or automatic, the main sources of noise include:

  • The door itself
  • The rollers
  • The opening mechanism
  • Extension springs

Both manual and automatic garage doors will have things like rollers and an opening mechanism, but obviously, these will be more complex on an electric garage door than a manual one.

The Door Material

Garage doors are often made from metal, although some are made from wood. Anyone who’s looked into a soundproofing project before will know something about the acoustic properties of metal.

You can check out my guide on soundproofing metal doors.

In short, they’re not great. Metal has a tendency to vibrate, which causes its own noise, but it can also transfer any sound waves from the opening mechanism and amplify them.

Luckily, adding insulation to the garage door will help to combat this, as I’ll explain below.

The Door Rollers

Garage door rollers are usually a set of wheels that run along a metal track to help the door open and close. This in itself can cause a lot of noise, particularly as the tracks are often made from metal.

What’s more, the rollers are fixed to the garage wall, which can create impact noise vibrations that travel through the building and cause a disturbance. The door rollers will most likely be one of your main sources of noise when using the garage door.

The Opening Mechanism

The Opening Mechanism

Electric garage doors usually have an opening mechanism consisting of a chain that runs through a motor. This causes the door to open and close at the push of a button.

Manual garage doors usually just have door rollers or extension springs, but these are still classed as an opening mechanism. Depending on the age and quality of the door, opening mechanisms can vary massively.

Generally, opening mechanisms are made from metal for durability. But this also means they can make a lot of noise when in use.

Also, a garage door’s opening mechanism will be fitted directly to ceiling beams or the wall, which creates lots of vibrations that can pass into the building. But if you’re looking for ways to make your garage door quiet, you’re probably already aware of this.

Extension Springs

Extension springs probably don’t need much of an explanation. They’re a common sight in manual garage doors and simply make opening the door easier through the help of high-tension springs.

They can make a lot of noise when in use, including wobbling and vibrating noises. What’s more, older springs can make more noise because of damage or wear.

Extension springs take a lot of stress when opening and closing a garage door, and so should be replaced every so often regardless of whether you’re trying to soundproof your garage door.

Checking Your Garage Door

Before getting started soundproofing your garage door, it’s worth opening and closing it a few times as a test. Pay attention to the main sources of noise, particularly in light of the information above.

It’ll also help for you to have someone stand in the rooms above or next to the garage to see what kind of noise they can hear. This will help you to identify the main sources and tailor your solutions to fit.

As a general rule, older garage doors will make more noise than newer ones. This can simply be because the mechanism has had less wear, but is also because newer mechanisms are designed better and more efficiently.

Providing you can identify the main sources of noise for your garage door, it’s worth ranking them in order of noise levels. You might find that tackling the loudest areas first will make enough of a difference.

How to Make Your Garage Door Quiet

Garage Door Quiet

1. Tighten Connectors and Components

A simple but effective place to start is to check any nuts and bolts on the garage door. These can come loose over time because of the vibrations caused by using the door.

While loose nuts and screws won’t be a major source of noise, tightening them up will hold everything in place better, resulting in fewer vibrations passing through the door and mechanism.

As part of your initial inspection, check for any loose nuts, bolts, and screws. Go around tightening these up with the relevant tools, and try checking ones that don’t look too loose.

It’s worth doing this regularly regardless, as it’ll reduce the chances of damage later down the line.

2. Make Sure Everything is Lubricated

Lubricating your garage door’s mechanisms is a good idea regardless of whether you’re trying to make it quieter. It’ll help keep everything running smoothly and will reduce the chances of damage.

You should lubricate the door and mechanisms as least once a year, or every 6 months if you have a lot of rain.

It’s worth using a specific garage door lubricant (Amazon) for this job as it’s slightly more viscous than normal lubricant and so won’t drip everywhere. What’s more, it’s designed for high-use areas and won’t build up on the mechanism.

Be sure to apply it to the following areas:

  • Door rollers
  • Door lock
  • Hinges
  • Roller rails
  • Chain on the opening mechanism
  • Extension springs
  • Bearing plates (usually found above the door)

You should find that this, combined with tightening the screws, will make quite a difference to how much noise your garage door makes. Be sure to keep up this regular maintenance to ensure your door continues to function properly.

3. Replace the Opening Mechanism

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Electric garage doors are often driven by a chain mechanism. This can create a lot of noise as the chain rattles through the motor, and is likely one of your main sources.

This is even more true of older opening mechanisms, which will be worn anyway but also weren’t designed with noise reduction in mind. So your best bet is to replace the opening mechanism with a new one.

To get the most out of this option, try a belt-driven opening mechanism (Amazon link). They’re much quieter because they run on a reinforced nylon belt rather than a metal chain. However, they can be more expensive.

If your budget doesn’t stretch to this kind of model, consider a chain-driven door opener with a DC motor (Amazon link). These make much less noise than the older AC driven motors and so will make a noticeable difference to overall noise levels.

4. Decouple the Door Opener

As mentioned above, one of the biggest concerns for noisy garage doors is the vibrations caused by the motor. As it’s often fixed to ceiling joists, these vibrations carry throughout the building and can be very distracting.

Luckily this is a fairly easy fix using a garage door silencer. These basically decouple the motor from the ceiling joists, which prevents any vibrations from passing into the structure.

This method works on the same principle as decoupling a wall. You’re simply isolating the motor from the structure it’s fixed to in an attempt to cut off the vibrations.

Installation is pretty easy. You’ll only need to drill a few holes and bolt it in place. The most complicated part is taking down the door opener, but you can easily find a video how-to guide.

5. Replace the Existing Door Rollers

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Garage door rollers are often made from plastic or metal and run along a metal track. This can be a major source of noise when opening and closing the door, as the hard rollers in the metal track create a lot of rattling.

The easiest way to overcome this problem is to replace the rollers with nylon rollers (Amazon). Nylon is a much softer material and so makes less noise along the metal tracks.

Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about the tracks themselves, but changing over to nylon rollers will reduce a lot of the rattling noise. Just don’t rely on this to solve all your problems, as it won’t make the biggest difference.

6. Soundproof the Door Itself

Your garage door might already have some level of insulation, but this’ll depend on what the garage is used for.

Insulating a garage door will not only reduce the amount of noise that passes through, but it’ll also stop the door from making lots of noise when opening and closing.

The standard materials for a garage door – metal, wood, and vinyl – are generally lightweight and easily carry sound vibrations. So your best option is to simply add more mass to the door.

The best material for this job is mass loaded vinyl (Amazon). It’s fairly heavy, yet flexible, and so will move with the door as it opens and closes. MLV is known as limp mass, meaning it doesn’t vibrate when impacted by sound waves.

You could also try something like Rockwool acoustic insulation, which is basically fiberglass insulation. This is great at dampening sound waves and isn’t as heavy as MLV. However, you’ll want to cover it with something as the fibers can be dangerous.

Whatever option you choose, be careful not to add too much mass to the door. The opening motor will likely have a maximum weight limit, and exceeding this will cause it to break.

I’d also recommend cutting your material into pieces that fit the door panels. Many garage doors are broken down into separate panels so they can roll up more easily, and obviously covering these joints will create issues.

Attach your material to the door using glue, and then fill in any gaps with acoustic sealant. Adding more mass in this way will prevent the door from vibrating too much, and will also offer some soundproofing inside the garage.

7. Replace the Bottom and Side Seals

I’d recommend doing this as the last step because it won’t have as much impact on overall noise levels as the options above. Your garage door has seals around the sides and bottom that help insulate it and keep everything watertight.

Over time, these will wear down. This is particularly true for the bottom seal, as this is put under stress whenever the door is shut. It’ll eventually become compressed and so will need replacing.

Replacing it with a thick seal will add some extra padding at the bottom of the door. More than anything, this will result in less noise as the door hits the floor. So while this won’t make the biggest difference, it’ll at least prevent slamming.

Buy some appropriate weather stripping or brush seal and follow these steps:

  1. Clean the area down, both the door and the floor.
  2. Measure the door’s height and width.
  3. Remove the old door seal from the sides and bottom.
  4. For the brush seal, drill any holes in the door if necessary.
  5. Glue the weather stripping to the side seals and leave for 24 hours.
  6. Screw the brush seal to the bottom of the door and open and close as a test.
  7. Seal any gaps with acoustic caulk (such as Green Glue).

This won’t make the biggest difference to overall noise levels, but will certainly help keep the door in good condition.

Some Final Thoughts

Hopefully, these solutions will help make your garage door quiet. If you spend some time identifying the problem areas first then you can tailor your solutions to match.

A noisy garage door can be a real nuisance for everyone else in the house, so trying some of these solutions will help to keep everyone happy.