Doors are often the weak link in any room when it comes to soundproofing and yet they are often overlooked in large scale soundproofing projects.
Before your take on your walls, floors or ceilings the door is the first thing you should soundproof.
This is because doors can be a big sound leak as noise can very easily travel through them. Cheap doors are made of thin materials which are usually completely hollow, supported with basic cardboard lattices which offer minimal sound resistance.
Poorly fitted doors will have large gaps around the frame which will allow air-borne noise to freely leak into your room.
Adding density and sealing up gaps are the best ways of preventing sound from travelling through a door.
If you want to know how to soundproof your door then follow the steps below.
Each of these steps can be done on their own, however we recommend combining as many of them as possible to get the most effective result.
1) Use Weather Stripping
Sealing gaps between your door and the frame is one of the most effective door soundproofing methods.
The most efficient way of doing this is to apply door weather stripping around the edge of your door where the door sits in the frame when closed.
The primary reason why many doors leak sound is that they don’t fit their frames well.
Weather stripping is used for preventing draughts. If air can get through then airborne sound can get in too, so it is weather stripping is very useful for soundproofing.
If I only had the time or money to do one thing to soundproof a door then I weather stripping is the method I would use.
The primary reason why many doors leak sound is that they don’t fit their frames well, this allows airborne sound to flow freely into your room.
Using weather stripping is a simple and highly effective method of completely sealing up the gap between your door and the frame.
Make sure you buy high quality stripping as cheap options will quickly degrade and fall to bits, rendering them useless.
Installing weather stripping is very easy, particularly if you buy stripping that is self-adhesive. All you need to do is peel off the back and press it tightly into place.
When you have finished close your door and leave it closed for a few minutes to seal the stripping down.
If your weatherstripping is not self-adhesive be sure to glue it in with a high-quality adhesive bond that resists vibrations.
Weatherstripping has it’s limitations though – it can’t seal the gap at the bottom of your door, and this area can be a big problem for many doors.
Weatherstripping combined with a door sweep is a very effective door soundproofing solution.
It’s not uncommon for a door to have 10mm of space beneath it, which obviously will let a lot of sound in….to fix this you need to get a door sweep…
2) Use A Magnetic Door Gasket
If you want to take your door sealing to the next level then you could use magnetic door gaskets.
These do the same thing as weatherstripping, they seal the door frame, but they do it far more efficiently and effectively.
Door gaskets are commonly used on fridge freezer doors to ensure an airtight seal.
They work by sealing your door magnetically. Magnetic door gaskets only work on doors which are built into metal frames so they aren’t a suitable method of soundproofing for most doors.
If you are willing to change your doorframe to a metal frame then this is a very effective door sealing method which will make a huge difference to the sound resistance of your door.
3) Add Mass
One of the most basic facts of soundproofing is that mass blocks sound.
The problem with many interior doors is that they are completely lacking in any substantial mass. They are usually hollow with their structure supported by an internal cardboard lattice.
They are no thick, they are not heavy and because of the hollow space inside them and the thin panels they are made from they can even sometimes amplify vibrations a bit like a drum!
Adding mass to your door will have a significant impact on how much sound it lets through. Particularly if the problem sound is impact/sound vibrations rather than airborne sounds.
There are a number of ways to increase the density of your door.
You could use wooden MDF, cut it to size and fix it on the side of the door where the sound is coming from or you could use a dense vinyl which sticks to your door and minimizes vibrations.
Vinyl is the sort of things that is commonly used in recording studios. If aesthetics are important to you then vinyl is a good option. However dense vinyl is typically more expensive than MDF.
MDF is a far cheaper option which, with a bit of sanding and painting, can be made to look aesthetically pleasing too…it just takes more effort!
Once you have added mass to your door it is then important to completely seal it up.
4) Seal The Frame
The gaps between your wall and door frame can often allow sound to leak through.
Sealing up a door frame requires a steady hand and some good quality acoustic sealant such as green glue. If you have both of these then follow the steps below.
5) Install A Door Sweep
Adding a dense rubber sweep to the bottom of your door will do wonders when it comes to blocking airborne sound from entering your room.
Even if you only have an imperceptible gap between your door and the floor this can be a huge sound leak.
A rubber door sweep does exactly what you would expect; it sweeps the floor as the door is closed creating a seal between the door and the floor making it much harder for sound to get through.
Installing a door sweep is very simple and can usually be done by even the most inexperienced of D.I.Y practitioners.
Installation methods will vary slightly depending on the door sweep you choose to install but the steps will usually be more or less as follows:
Be aware that some people may not like floor sweeps on their door because they can damage the carpet and they make a swishing noise every time you open or close the door.
If this is the case for you then try using an acoustic threshold instead – ideally, you should combine the two for the best results.
6) Use Acoustic Thresholds
An acoustic door threshold works in a similar way to a door sweep. It creates a (more or less) airtight seal between the door and the floor preventing airborne sound from getting through.
A standard door threshold is the piece of metal which sits underneath your door and covers the join between your flooring.
Acoustic door thresholds differ to standard thresholds because they have a raised lip which runs down their middle, this is usually made of rubber.
They work by creating a seal with the door when the door is closed.
Combining one with a door sweep will mean that the bottom of your door is double sealed and therefore pretty much impenetrable to all sound!
Be aware that acoustic thresholds do have a raised lip so they are not suitable for elderly people, partially sighted people or anyone who may be likely to trip on it.
7) Automatic Door Bottoms
Automatic door bottoms are a step up from acoustic thresholds.
If you are concerned about someone tripping over the raised lip of an acoustic threshold then an automatic door bottom is a suitable alternative.
These can be embedded inside the bottom of the frame of your door so that they are invisible. They can also be screwed into the inside of your door.
When the door is closed a small plunger embedded in the door bottom is depressed, this releases the rubber seal so that it drops to the floor and closes the gap.
When the door is opened the plunger pops back out and the rubber seal immediately lifts back up allowing the door to close freely without any drag.
When installing an automatic door bottom it is important that you ensure that the rubber seal fits flush with the bottom of your door and that the plunger is positioned correctly so that the mechanism fires when the door is opened or closed.
8) Hang Thick Multilayered Curtains
Hanging curtains over a door may sound like a strange idea but many of us have a curtain hanging over our front doors which we draw closed at night to keep the heat in.
Using curtains for soundproofing a door works in very much the same way as it does for insulating a door.
The key is to make sure that the curtain you use is thick and multilayered, the more layers the better as this helps muffle sound waves, you could even get a consider getting a specially made acoustic curtain.
9) Get A New Solid Door (Make Sure It Is Well Fitted)
This is an obvious solution but one which, if you can afford it, is well worth considering.
Most internal doors are hollow, light and flimsy, providing no real sound resistance.
A good dense hardwood door will block a lot of sound. This is because it is thick and does not have a cavity inside it for sound to reverberate around in. This will help to dampen any sound passing through your door.
Most internal doors are hollow, light and flimsy, providing no real sound resistance.
When buying a new door you should look for something which is made of solid timber – avoid hollow core doors at all costs!
It is a good idea to get a joiner to install it so that it fits your doorframe perfectly.
Ill-fitting doors will allow sound to get in through gaps around the frame so it is vital that your door fits well.
10) Use Blankets
If you are staying over in a hotel or a rented room and you are being disturbed by noise coming through your door then you need a quick and immediate solution to your noise problem, there is no time for a big D.I.Y project!
If you have ever done a fire safety training course you will be familiar with the idea of rolling up blankets and pushing them into the bottom of the door to prevent smoke from filling the room.
Blankets work for blocking air which means they can also be used to help block sound.
Simply roll the blankets up and push them firmly into the gaps. Double up the blankets to dampen as much sound as possible.
In this sort of situation, it could also be a good idea to download and use a white noise app to help drown out the background noise. This combined with your blankets will hopefully allow you to get a good nights sleep.
We hope this article helped you work out the best way how to soundproof your door and that your new found tranquillity helps you sleep much better!