Our homes are the one and only place we can kick back and actually relax. The problem is that noises from within the home (children screaming, pets barking, TVs blaring) can be quite disruptive to the relaxing process. Those are just noises coming from inside, so what about from the outside like passing vehicles, ice cream trucks, and nature?
Homeowners spend tons of time and money trying to get their homes as soundproof as possible. However, what most people tend to forget is that the doors, closed or not, leading from outside to in or even between rooms, are like pathways for sound waves to travel through.
Types of Soundproofing Materials
So now you might be wondering what we can do to prevent sound from making its way through our doors. Well, it’s actually a lot simpler than you might think. Here are four different materials you can use to prevent sound from traveling through doors.
If you’re renting a house or apartment, this might be the best option. This doesn’t require altering the shape or construction of the door at all. Instead, all you need is a curtain rod and a thick, sound-absorbing drape. Mount the curtain rod on the outside, just above the door frame. Slip the drape through the rod, and ta-da, you have a simple but effective sound-absorbing barrier.
However, this may not be the most effective way of soundproofing a door that leads from outside to in. For these doors, you may need to refer to our other methods of keeping noise pollution from entering your domain.
You may need to consult your landlord if you’re renting a place before using sound-absorbing paint. This type of paint is known to reduce the amount of noise from passing through doors by up to an astounding 30%. Check out your local hardware store and see whether they have cans of sound-absorbing paint that matches the color scheme of your home. One great thing about the paint is that it also prevents noises from the inside of your home/room from leaking out.
It’s best to follow the paint manufacturer’s instructions when applying a coat (or more) of the paint on doors. More isn’t necessarily better since there are diminishing returns with each coat.
Foam is a great sound insulator and is used in recording studios and other establishments where noise might be a problem. Head to your local hardware or music store and ask whether they have foam tiles for doors. Depending on the type of tile, you’ll be required to glue, screw on, or interlock the tiles on your doors to get them on properly.
Foam tiles come with varying levels of noise-reduction capabilities, so be sure to get one that matches your needs. Alternatively, you could attach rubber tiles on the back of your doors. They’re easier to find at hardware stores, but they’re not nearly as effective as acoustic/foam tiles.
Mass Loaded Vinyl
This is another material that renters may not be able to use since it involves using construction adhesive. Mass loaded vinyl (MLV) is a thick roll of vinyl that is easily found in music shops. You attach them to your door by cutting the vinyl down to size before gluing it onto the entire surface of your door. Wait for the adhesive to dry and your door should be properly soundproofed.
One downside of MLV is that it’s rather costly. Of course, you could purchase a lower quality MLV, usually around $2 to $3 per square foot, but it won’t be nearly as effective as thicker, costlier MLV. Essentially, the price of MLV per roll depends on the length and thickness of the roll. We’d recommend getting the best quality MLV you can afford if soundproofing your door is really that important to you.
Dealing with Door Gaps
Assuming that you’ve purchased and installed one of the four materials mentioned above, you may have noticed a significant reduction in noise. That’s great, but in order to achieve maximum soundproofing results, you’ll need to deal with those open gaps that will undoubtedly allow sound waves in and out. Here’s what you can do to deal with those gaps.
Using Caulk to Close Gaps
Caulk isn’t just used to prevent water, dust, and air leakage, but it also helps in soundproofing to some degree. Check out the gap between the door’s hinge stile and frame and see whether there are any cracks or holes that allow sound to pass through. If there are, use a caulk gun and fill it up, making sure to wipe away any excess using a putty knife.
Installing a Door Sweep
The space between the door and floor is essential to prevent damaging both your door and floor as it swings open and closed. One way to cover the gap without creating problems is by installing a door sweep, namely a piece of rubber that brushes lightly against the floor as the door is swung open or shut.
While the door is closed, the sweep should prevent sound from passing under the door. Installing the door sweep requires screwing the sweep onto the bottom rail of your door, making sure that the piece of rubber isn’t hanging too low or too high off your carpeted/hardwood floor.
Installing an Automatic Door Bottom
Alternatively, you could install a door bottom. This is a bit more challenging to do so most homeowners hire the help of professional workers to do it for them. An automatic door bottom is a device is installed on the push side of the door.
As the door is closed, a plunger installed on the door jam will push against brass nut on the device, causing the seal to drop in order to cover the space between your door and floor. The tight seal is something that’s not achievable by a standard door sweep. However, they are considerably more expensive than door sweeps, but they’re worth the investment if you need absolute silence in a room.
A door is one of the weakest links in preventing sound from passing into our homes or rooms. There are several gaps that need to be closed, and the construction of the door might not be able to bounce or absorb sound. Soundproofing a door is actually rather easy to do, provided that you have the right materials on hand. Just remember that the most effective materials and devices used to soundproof doors can be a bit costly.