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Soundproofing a door is a perfect way to prevent noise from coming in or going out. Whether you’re creating a barrier for an at-home music studio or you simply want to get a better night’s sleep, soundproofing is the way to go. The problem is that many people confuse dampening with actually blocking out the noise.
Throughout this post, you’ll also learn about some of the myths of soundproofing a door, how to install some of the suggestions above, legal issues concerning soundproofing techniques, why you might consider soundproofing your door, and more.
How To Soundproof Doors
Soundproofing a door is very useful in homes, businesses, and everywhere in between. Unfortunately, there are too many suggestions about sound dampening rather than an actual blockage.
To soundproof a door, make it structurally strong enough to block noise by replacing it with a solid core door or by adding mass loaded vinyl, soundproof blankets, and panels to the existing door. Then, seal the gaps with a door gasket, door sweep or spray foam to prevent air leaks.
Here are 15 ways (in no particular order) to soundproof a door, explained in detail.
1. Use a door gasket to seal the cracks
Sound is amplified as it travels through gaps. If you notice any spaces under or around the doorframe, then you should consider using a gasket. They’re easy to install and they block out all sound that enters around the door.
To install a door gasket, you’ll need to remove the door frame. You’ll be able to line up the gasket inside, close the door frame, and rest assured that sound won’t come through the open spaces anymore. There are all sorts of door gaskets on the market, and most of them are relatively cheap.
You can get one of these on Amazon.
2. Place a door sweep when it’s closed
Door sweeps are usually made out of dense metal and rubber. They allow you to open and close the door without adding to the resistance. However, when the door’s closed, you won’t hear anything from the outside.
To install a door sweep, all you have to do is find one that fits the size of your door. Most of them use a few screws to lock in place. Make sure that it’s lined up perfectly; Otherwise, you’ll end up having to fill the gaps or completely redo the installation.
Check out this door sweep on Amazon.
3. Add Mass loaded vinyl
Since heavy mass is what blocks sound better than anything else, using heavy sheets of vinyl will prevent noise from entering through the door. Most doors, especially those with a hollow core, dampen sound without blocking it.
Mass loaded vinyl can be installed inside of the door’s core or on the inside of the door in the room. It usually requires sound dampening glue, which removes a bit of noise as well. Remember that there’s no type of glue that can block sound, it only absorbs some of it!
Here is the recommended MLV which is available on Amazon.
4. Use gap foam
Gap foam is only effective if you use a dense formula. The mass of gap foam grows as the foam expands, creating a significant barrier between the outside world and your room. The denser the foam is in its final form, the better off you’ll be.
Start by spraying the foam around the inside of the door, slowly working toward the outside as you cover the gaps. It’s very useful for hollow doorknobs since most of them have holes going through the center. Gap foam is best used as a final coating after you’ve used vinyl sheets, door sweeps, and other suggestions.
Gap foam is available on Amazon.
5. Place a soundproof blanket over the door
Soundproof blankets don’t work if you put them on the ground unless you’re trying to block the sound from coming through the floor from down below. However, you can place a thick fiberglass soundproofing blanket over the top of your door when you’re trying to keep the sound out.
Fiberglass is known to insulate sound from entering, which is why it’s used in so many houses, apartments, and music studios. By throwing a heavyweight soundproofing blanket over the top of your door, you’ll be able to decide when you want to block out the noise and when you don’t.
6. Apply panels inside of the door
Perhaps the best choice of all would be to install soundproofing panels inside of your door. They’re made out of heavy, dense materials to bounce sound waves in the opposite direction while absorbing the rest of the impact. The result is an unparalleled noise blockage around the clock.
To install heavy mass panels, you’ll need to find a way to open the door itself. Not by turning the doorknob, but actually opening the door into two pieces without damaging it.
You’ll be able to insert the door, place it back together, and replace it in the frame. However, it’s always a better idea to just get a customized brand-new door since most doors can’t be split and reattached.
Check out these soundproofing panels.
Also read: Do Soundproof Panels Work?
7. Install a solid core door
Another option would be to get a solid core door to prevent noise from coming through. Hollow doors tend to be much worse for sound insulation since they’re not a heavy mass. However, you can install a new solid wood or metal door to cut out the sound significantly.
Wood is much more dampening than blocking, but it’s still a great solution. Metal doors are fantastic for bouncing sound waves in the opposite direction, but some fire codes prevent heavy metal doors from being used inside.
Best Value Soundproof Doors
We have established that solid core doors are best for soundproofing, but there are many options available among home improvement stores and online, so how do you know which is the very best for your soundproofing project?
Let’s explore what solid core doors provide the most value for your money in the market.
In my own research for finding an economical solid core door for my soundproofing project, I came across Jeld Wen as a good brand to explore. Their website has both STC and OITC data for all of their products.
Once you have downloaded the PDF, take a look at the information provided. As can be seen from the data, the Tria R door series would be best as a soundproofing option. You can purchase them for only a couple of hundred dollars. Compared to other doors, this is fairly inexpensive, as most will run several hundred or even thousands of dollars!
However, I will say that for the price, there are some functional issues with these doors that I have found. They may do the soundproofing job fairly well, but there can be problems with improper finishing. With that said, when it comes to these doors, it is best if you purchase them from a physical location rather than online to avoid any hassle.
Of course, there are also plenty of other solid core door options out there that do a good job of blocking sound, while not being very expensive at the same time.
Also read: Are Fire Doors More Soundproof?
8. Install soundproofing composite material
You can purchase composite soundproofing material for underneath, inside, or outside a door. It comes in heavy sheets that are dense and thick, making it a perfect solution for blocking out all incoming sound sources.
You can use it under the door as a doormat, but make sure that it makes contact with the door rather than leaving a gap. Another method is to purchase a custom door that already has soundproofing composite material inside of it. You can also just glue or screw it onto the outside of the door in the room that you’re soundproofing.
Get one from Soundproof Cow.
9. Place a fiberboard over your door
Fiberboards are very similar to soundproofing composite material in the sense that they can both be used inside the door’s core or on the outside. However, fiberboard isn’t nearly as malleable as composite material sheets, so you won’t be able to bend it.
The best way to use fiberboard is to use it on the inside and outside of the door, as well as surrounding the door with strips around the cracks and edges. If you’re able to, open the door to expose the core and insert a fiberboard there as well.
Check out this fiberboard on Amazon.
10. Purchase a soundproofing kit
There are tons of options on this list, so it might seem a bit overwhelming. If you want to skip the installation selections and get right to the soundproofing process, consider buying a premade kit.
These kits come with weather stripping, door sweeps, fiberboard, composite material, and a variety of other combinations of items that you’ve seen on this list so far. They’re one of the most cost-effective and convenient choices by far.
Soundproof Cow offers plenty of choice for those who need a bit more guidance.
11. Meeting stiles for double doors
If you have a set of double doors in a room, then it might seem impossible to completely soundproof it. However, meeting stiles are a perfect solution that will seal the doors every time they come in contact with one another. You can choose from rubber, composite material, and other choices.
To install a set of meeting stiles, all you need to do is choose the right size, screw in the bolts on the spots where the doors meet and check your work by closing them. They work the same as the door sweeps aside from the fact that they’re vertical rather than horizontal.
These are available on Tmhardware.
12. Acoustic door thresholds
Much like door sweeps, acoustic door thresholds are designed to block noise from coming underneath the door. Even if you seal every gap and install the best heavy mass vinyl sheets, the space under the door frame is of significant importance.
The only difference between door thresholds and door sweeps is that thresholds are installed on the floor rather than on the door. This means that you can open and close the door without dragging the door sweep on the floor. Thresholds are ideal for hard surfaces that would cause an annoying noise when opening a door with a door sweep.
Get one of these from Amazon.
13. Fill the door with sand
This option isn’t nearly as common, nor is it practical. You need quite a bit of preparation to fill a door with sand. It’s incredibly heavy when you load an entire hollow-core door with sand from top to bottom. However, the results are as good as it gets.
One thing that you need to remember if you go this route is that the door hinges need to be industrial strength. Otherwise, you’ll end up ripping the hinges right out of the doorframe from the weight of the sand. Under the proper installation techniques, sand-filled doors stop noise better than almost anything else.
14. Use dense, heavy mass foam tiles
These tiles can be used to fit together like puzzle pieces, making them one of the best options for customizations. Not all doors are the same size, so using heavy mass foam tiles is a great way to ensure that you fit the door perfectly.
Note: You can’t use traditional floor puzzle pieces or carpet squares. Heavy mass is required to block out the sound. Floor puzzle pieces will reduce and absorb sound, but they won’t come close to actually blocking out sound as dense, heavy mass foam tiles do.
Get them from Amazon.
15. Seal all gaps
Finally, the best way to cut out sound is to stop it before it can come through. Seal the gaps in and around the door to prevent noise from entering. You can use gap foam, silicone sealant, noise-reducing tape, and any other soundproofing material on the market.
One important thing to remember is that it’s incredibly difficult to completely cut out sound unless you have dense materials from edge to edge. This rule implies that you can’t use fiberglass insulation batts, foam core insulation boards, and so on. You need to use something that will effectively cut down on the sound by using density, thickness, and mass.
I recommend the Green Glue noise proofing sealant (see it on Amazon).
Legal Codes and Requirements
Soundproofing is great if you can get by without breaking any laws or regulations. However, you’d be surprised to learn all of the problems that music studios, homeowners, and apartment renters run into when they’re trying to cut out the noise.
Let’s check out some of the various legal issues:
Soundproofing a Rental
If you own a house, you don’t have to worry about this section. However, those who rent an apartment, house, storage unit, or garage should read it thoroughly.
Before you start soundproofing, even something as simple as installing a door sweep, always ask your landlord first. There can be serious fines imposed if you start to break rental agreements, and you might even get evicted.
Most landlords don’t have a problem with non-permanent solutions, such as hanging a soundproofing blanket over the door, but you should never start to drill or break open a door until you get their approval.
Fire codes and regulations should be a concern for everyone, regardless of your rental or ownership status. Many cities, counties, and states have different rules about what is an aren’t allowed.
The reason that soundproofing could violate fire codes is that some methods make a door heavier, which could impair someone from escaping a room if it were on fire. Another reason is that it could stop fire and carbon monoxide detectors from working properly.
While it’s usually fine to soundproof using the methods mentioned above, you should always call the local fire department of your city before you start doing renovations. You might save yourself time, money, and stress!
Why Should You Soundproof a Door?
If you’re considering starting the process of soundproofing, you might be wondering if the door is worth it. After all, the walls, ceiling, and floor make up for the bulk of the room. Well, you might be shocked to know how much noise comes through the door!
Here are five reasons that you should include the door when soundproofing a room:
- Sound travels quickly through gaps, and doors are full of them. Whether it’s the gap under the closed door or the hollowed interior, you’ll notice that a door can let more sound in than all of the walls and floors combined.
- For the same reason, you should soundproof your door to keep the sound inside. If you’re making an at-home music studio, everyone outside of your room will hear everything through the door. By applying a few of the suggestions above, you’ll limit and block sound from escaping.
- Soundproofing actually allows you to control the interior temperature better. Since air isn’t moving as quickly through the door’s gaps, you’ll be able to use a thermostat to increase or decrease the temperature. This process is essential if you want to preserve wooden music equipment.
- For security and privacy purposes, soundproofing a door is fantastic. Nobody will be able to hear what’s going on inside, so you won’t have to worry about them eavesdropping. It also allows them to walk by without feeling the vibrations of deep bass in musical production studios.
- It increases the value of your home. If you’re about to sell a house with a soundproofed room, most people will be more inclined to spend a bit more money. These types of renovations are perfect to sell to producers and people who play drums or guitar at home.
As you can see, there are plenty of reasons that you should consider adding soundproofing materials to your door. Never leave it out of the process! You’ll only end up having to fix it later, which might lead you to spend more money as prices inflate.
Should You Buy a New Door?
You might’ve noticed that a few of the suggestions mentioned in the ‘methods’ section referred to buying a brand-new customized door. Nobody wants to have to do a new installation, but there are countless benefits of getting a new door in your home.
For example, you could get a new solid core door to replace a hollow door inside. Most houses and apartments have hollow doors inside, which makes it very difficult to fully soundproof a room. You can replace hollow doors with soundproofed doors, or even solid core doors to cut down on the noise.
Another reason that you might consider getting a brand-new door is if you want to fill it with sand. While not many people give sand a shot, it’s a fantastic insulator and soundproofing material. It’s composed of crushed rocks, which are dense and heavy in mass by nature.
If you don’t want to do any customizations by yourself, you could hire a company to install fiberboards or vinyl inserts inside of the door for you. This would obviously require buying a new door, but it’s much more convenient than having to break apart a door without knowing how to put it back together.
However, you don’t necessarily need to buy a new door to soundproof it. You can use soundproofing blankets, vinyl boards over the top, and door sweeps. All of these options are relatively easy to install if you’re mechanically inclined. Make sure you don’t botch the job, or you could end up voiding all warranties.
There’s no denying that a DIY soundproofed door is cheaper than hiring a professional to do it. If you’re on a budget, then try to see if you’re able to manage the project. None of the suggestions on the entry list will take longer than an hour, so why not give it a try and save some extra money?
Myths About Soundproofing a Door
We’ve all tried to improvise to cut down on sound around the house. Whether you’re trying to reduce the noise coming from your neighbors upstairs or from annoying your family with loud music, there are dozens of soundproofing solutions.
Unfortunately, most of them don’t work. The simple reason is that these methods absorb sound, but they don’t block it out completely. The act of soundproofing a room or a door implies that you’re trying to remove all of the sounds completely.
Here’s a handful of myths about soundproofing a door:
- You can’t expect paint or glue to cut out sound. Since sound requires mass and density to be blocked, there’s no science behind blocking sound with these materials. That’s not to say that they don’t slightly reduce sound, but there’s no possible reason to believe that painting a door or gluing the hinges will soundproof it.
- Rugs limit noise by a small amount, but they definitely don’t soundproof a room. Many people have tried to use thick rugs to block out the noise from a loud garage or noisy neighbors. Sadly, a rug will do little more than dampen the noise by a couple of decibels.
- Regular blankets, cardboard, foam blocks, and insulation won’t soundproof a room. Again, these are all excellent choices if you want to dampen noise from coming in or going out. It’s safe to say that you’ll be far from soundproofing the room if you’re using such lightweight, thin materials.
- Curtains can’t be used to soundproof a door. This also applies to pillows and other random bedroom materials that some of us have tried out. The lack of density and mass makes them virtually useless for soundproofing, but that’s not to say that they can’t slightly reduce the incoming noise.
- Egg cartons can’t cut out incoming sounds all the way. They’re actually quite useful for reducing echos around the room, so don’t shy away from installing them for that purpose. However, egg cartons won’t block out the noises from a door. They’ll only stop bass-filled echos.
The myths surrounding soundproofing have cost homeowners thousands of dollars. Far too often are sound reduction and dampening confused with soundproofing. If you truly want to block out noises completely, then the 15 tips in the first section are the only possible solutions to try out.
Where Can You Get Soundproofing Materials?
Now that you’ve read all of the dos and don’ts of soundproofing materials, it’s time to show you where you can buy them.
There are countless businesses that produce high-quality soundproofing supplies, so let’s dive into the different places that you can visit to get your favorite kits and tools.
Local Music Equipment Stores
Even if you’re using soundproofing supplies for loud neighbors or roommates, music equipment stores have exactly what you need. They’re loaded with a wide variety of options because of the sound produced by amplifiers, guitars, drums, trumpets, and other loud instruments. You’ll be able to dampen or completely soundproof your door without a problem.
Online Mass Retailers
We’ve all used Amazon, eBay, and other online retailers for various supplies. However, did you know that you can perform home renovations, including soundproofing a door, with materials from these retailers?
For example, you can try out the MAXTID Soundproof Door Draft Stopper. You can also purchase an acoustic sound panel, such as the BXI Soundproofing Acoustic Panels. These products, among many others on these platforms, offer a low-cost way to cut out sound.
Niche Websites for Soundproofing & Audio Equipment
Finally, you can try some of the niche soundproofing websites around the internet to get your favorite supplies. These brands are known for producing high-quality products that last for years without drawing back on performance.
One such example would be the aforementioned Soundproof Cow. They have kits, including the Quiet Door Residential Soundproofing Kit, that gives you everything you need in one package. You won’t have to wonder if you have everything or worry about buying more than enough supplies.
Soundproofing a door is one of the best, quickest, and most effective ways to start cutting out incoming and outgoing sounds for a room. You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars getting it all done, either. A soundproof blanket, sand-filled door, or meeting stiles might be all you need to fix your door as you’d like.
Here’s a quick recap of the post:
- Always check with local fire codes and rental agreements prior to soundproofing a door.
- Paint and glue won’t completely eliminate sound, even if they claim to do so.
- Mass and density are the two most important components of soundproofing.
- Try not to confuse sound absorption with soundproofing.
- Local music stores, online retailers, and niche websites all sell high-quality soundproofing materials.
- You can buy customized soundproof doors if you don’t want to DIY the project.