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Okay, this is a bit of a hassle. Soundproofing stronger doors is so much easier than soundproofing pocket doors.
Pocket doors are usually found between walls and contain no protruding into the pocket when the door is closed, which is one of the major reasons for the noise problem seen in pocket doors.
The other is that it does not come with a stop bead on the non-pocket side of the jamb.
These factors make it difficult to combat the sound problem associated with pocket doors.
Although it is petty challenging to soundproof a pocket door, there are different methods you can employ to help with the sound deadening.
It is not impossible; it is just a bit difficult compared to soundproofing other doors.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Sound Deadening Material
You should be mindful of your choice when deciding on a soundproofing material to purchase. Installing the wrong material is the same as not deadening the sound in the first place.
The size of the opening or gap in the doors, whether a pocket door or not, should be of utmost importance. The size of the gap or hallow determines the number of materials to be employed in the sound abatement process. These gaps readily allow sound waves to penetrate through them as such they should be sealed off as tightly as possible.
The frame rate should also be considered especially for pocket doors. The stronger the door the better your chances of deadening the noise. It is advisable to use a frame rating of 150lbs or above.
You have got a lot of options when it comes to choosing a soundproofing material for your pocket door or any other door. But it is advisable to consider “what you want and what you need it for”. Doors differ and so does the sound deadening materials suitable for each door.
Be sure to conduct a thorough research of the product before purchasing it. Word of mouth from neighbors and experts in the field would go a long way helping you choose the best material.
Some materials you can try out include;
- Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV): This is a perfect choice especially for pocket doors because it has a high mass which is just what you need to strengthen the flimsy pocket door.
- Green Glue: This sound deadening material is usually applied between two sheets of building materials to seal the gaps or hollows between them.
- Resilient Channels: Although not as effective as others, Resilient Channel, with about 1 / 2 thickness can also be used in the sound abatement processes.
- Homasote: This is a material made from cellulose fiber that is employed in soundproofing doors, walls, floors, etc.
How to Soundproof a Pocket Door
- Reinforce your Door Panel
Having a gap or hollow whether beneath or at the hinges of your door is no way to deaden the sound as sound waves can easily pass through these gaps or hollows. Therefore, the first line of action would be to reinforce the door panel.
As flimsy as pocket doors are, they come in different grades with different frame rating. Be sure to purchase a stronger door with a better frame rating. The stronger it is the easier it will be to combat the noise-issue. You may also consider the Johnson Hardware Commercial Grade Pocket Door Frame (see it on Amazon).
You could also purchase a solid core wood with a flat surface, just about the same size as the existing door. Most people prefer the 1 / 2 inch, MDF wood, I guess it is because it paints nicely. Who wouldn’t want that! But you could also use drywall. Yeah, that works too!
Read my article on soundproofing regular doors.
The essence of reinforcing the frames is to add mass to your door. A flimsy door like the pocket door will prove almost impossible to insulate the sound without adding mass to make it stronger.
With the right mass, you can easily apply a soundproofing material such as a Green Glue between both doors to abate the noise issue. Read my article on Green Glue to know more.
For an effective sound abatement, it is advisable to use a dummy handle with ball and catch type of latch.
- Apply a Soundproofing Rubber
Your effort would be a waste if you do not seal the gap between the door frame and the wall. The neoprene soundproofing rubber is a good sound abatement material for filling the gap between the door frame and wall.
Acoustical Caulk can also be used to fill in the remaining corner gaps before installing your molding.
- Apply a Door Gasket
Although the use of self-adhesive weatherstripping produces an amount of result, it is advisable to use a door gasket instead.
However, if your budget allows only for weatherstripping, then go for silicone weatherstripping as it contains special compression properties that makes it last longer than the conventional weatherstripping.
A long-lasting option is the use of door gaskets, which is usually applied to the header (top) and the two jambs (sides). Why? It is because the attachment fits perfectly into the door frame leaving no gap for sound to penetrate.
You can try out the Basic Door Gasket. Yes, it is a bit pricey but it is made of quality neoprene and 204 anodized aluminum retainer that ensures that the seal remains flexible and effective for a very long period of time.
- Apply an Automatic Door Bottom for Pocket Doors
So, we have effectively sealed the sound at the top and the sides. What about the bottom? A 1 % gap would reduce the effectiveness of the sound abatement by 50%.
Therefore, no gap, no matter how little the opening may be, should be left unsealed. This is why we recommend the use of an automatic door bottom like this one to seal the gap at the bottom of the pocket door.
Unlike the conventional rubber sweep, Automatic Door Bottom fits perfectly and does not pose any problems with opening and closing the door.
They are mounted flush with the bottom of the door and come with a seal which allows for easy opening and closing movement. The automated seal drops when the door closes and raises a bit high to allow for easy opening of the door.
The above method is perfect for most doors, pocket door inclusive, but it might not be applicable to some pocket doors especially if it isn’t strong enough.
Here is another means you can try out in sound deadening a pocket door.
- Create two heavy wheeled doors with a space between them and find a way to link both doors.
- Make a track with two curves where the wheels of each door would sit on.
- With that in place, the door would slide apart as it closes so that a seal can be formed from the front to the back of the sturdy doorframe.
- And as the door opens, it would slide back together to seal the narrow space between the double studs.
Soundproofing a pocket door is complicated. Sometimes you will have to try out more than one sound abatement methods to achieve an effective result. Here is another method to try out if none of the above methods work for you.
- Create a single wheeled door between double studs and make a little clearance between the seals of the right side of the door frame and the door.
- Be sure to make the right end of the door thicker than other sides of the door so that it can hit the seals while closing.
- Install another seal at the left end of the door to hit the door frame.
- The top and bottom of the door should contain seals that would touch the sides of the upper and lower track.
- To lower the friction, the seal should be set a little high above the track and both sections of the track should be cut and replaced with rubber.
- On getting to the end of the travel, the wheels will slightly sink into the rubber tracks making the door drop slightly.
- A mild close mechanism can also be adopted (such as hydraulic shock absorber) if the door slides freely with low friction. The installed close mechanism will help stop the door gently and ensure that it closes all the way.
- When installing the door handle, be sure it is placed near the left end of the door. And make sure the door frame on the right is curved in an oval shape instead of the standard straight cut so that the handle will not slide into the wall.
Now, you will agree that soundproofing a pocket door is very much possible but requires just a little more than others. But do not let the noise-issue deter you from using a pocket door. Follow the aforementioned tips and thank us later. Best of luck!