They look good and they make you feel good, but they let in a lot of noise. They are called glass doors and in this article, I would like to share some of the tips I learned for soundproofing sliding glass doors and French doors.
Glass is a pain to soundproof. That is because glass is so thin and rattles so easily. For soundproofing, it is important that the surface has a lot of mass.
Glass is not very mass heavy and even if you want to make it heavy, how do you do it?
Through general experience, I am sure that you have realized that doors and windows are weak links as far as soundproofing is concerned.
Doors made of wood can be made heavier for soundproofing. Windows are usually smaller in size, are made of glass and difficult to soundproof. But what about a whole door made of glass, imagine how difficult it would be to soundproof.
With those fancy sliding glass doors and French doors, there will be a lot of sound leakages that you will be dealing with. Depending on the location, these will range from traffic noise, noisy neighbors and other irritants like dogs barking.
I can say with certainty that you will only be able to manage the sound levels and will not be able to soundproof your home or office completely no matter what measures you employ.
If the room which has the sliding glass door or French doors is a home theater, recording room or media room, there is very little you can do and I would suggest that you consider another room for the purpose or replace the doors with traditional wooden ones.
Before You Go About Soundproofing Glass Doors
Before you go ahead with the task of soundproofing your glass doors, it is important to ascertain how much sound leakage is there in the room and what are the sources which are causing it.
It is very natural to assume that the doors and windows are causing all of it because the glass is so thin, but that is not always the case.
Carry out a detailed inspection and look for gaps and cracks. These are most commonly found along windows, door frames and wall sockets. These will have to be plugged using acoustic sealant and putty pads.
Another cause of sound leaks could be from air vents in the house. These can be typical above the door air vents or the vents of the HVAC system.
I have compiled an easy to follow guide on dealing with the air vents which you can read by clicking here.
How To Soundproof Sliding Glass Doors and French Doors
Now that you have addressed the issues of airborne sound leakages and you’re sure about the integrity of the walls, floor and ceiling, it is time to start soundproofing the doors.
The methods for soundproofing a sliding glass door would be similar to the ones for French doors with a few differences.
There is the inexpensive way and an expensive way, both of which will have varied results and individual advantages and disadvantages. The method that you will opt for will depend on your preferences and budget.
The Inexpensive Way to Soundproof a Glass Door
The easiest and most cost-effective way of soundproofing a glass door is by covering them with soundproof curtains.
These curtains are basically heavy drapes which will help deaden the sound that is entering or leaving the room. This is the cheapest and easiest way to add a heavy sound barrier between the door and the interior side of the house.
The level of soundproofing, of course, will not be great but there will be a noticeable difference. The mid and high frequency sounds such as neighbors yelling, car horns and dogs barking will reduce to a decent extent. Low pitch hums coming from engines and household appliances will be heard and this is the drawback of these curtains.
For offices and rooms which are not located too close to a busy road or noisy places like a generator room, usage of soundproof curtains would be highly beneficial.
The ideal choice for a curtain of this type would be suede or velvet which will be on the heavier side. Heavier the material, the more effective it will be in blocking the sound.
The downside of heavy curtains is the difficulty of hanging them up. However, with a little help available, this will not be too big a problem.
The Expensive Way to Soundproof a Glass Door
If you don’t want curtains to be blocking your glass doors all the time, then you have no choice but to do for the more expensive solutions. After all, if you are blocking the doors with curtains all the time, what is the use of having glass doors in the first place, right?
Like windows, there is an option of replacing them with double glazed doors. Double glazed glass, consists of two layers of thick glass with an insulating layer of air between them.
Air is a good insulator and by using the space in between the two glasses, a high degree of soundproofing can be achieved. Moreover, you will not be forced to cover the doors with curtains to block sound.
Going for this option would mean replacing the existing glass doors. This would be a really expensive solution.
Double glazed Windows themselves are so expensive, so you can imagine how much the doors will cost. To give you a rough estimate, a double glazed sliding glass door would cost you in excess of 3000 dollars whereas soundproof curtains would cost you just 200 to 300 dollars.
How to Reduce Costs
There is an option of reducing costs by going for double French doors or sliding doors. Here, you don’t replace the door entirely, but instead, add another door with an air gap in between.
The air gap which will be sealed airtight will act as an effective insulating layer. The procedure for installing double French doors is shown in the video below.
Curtains vs Double Glazing/Doors
In short, heavy curtains are a simple solution and inexpensive. The downside is that they will be effective to a limited extent. Moreover, the aesthetics of having glass doors will be compromised.
Double glazed doors are very expensive but effective too. Complete soundproofing will still not be achieved. But, your home or office will be quieter and look good too. You will be able to enjoy the sunshine and view in a quiet environment.
From the video on how to install double French doors, you can make out that double doors is not a cheap solution either as it will involve some structural modifications. I don’t have a ballpark figure of the cost involved, but I assume with confidence that even with professional assistance, this would be much cheaper.
Wherever there is a door or window involved, there will always be a challenge to soundproof it. A glass door is like a huge window and soundproofing it is a nightmare.
I personally would recommend going for the sound deadening curtains and use them when the environment is too noisy or when you need to have peace and quiet.
For offices, curtains may not be a great solution but for a peaceful night’s sleep at home, they would provide great relief.
If you have the budget, the ideal option would be double glazing/layers.
Thanks for reading! Before you go, take a minute out and check out my top recommendations for soundproofing products.