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Soundproof Door

How to Soundproof a Door

How to Soundproof a Door

Whether you’re looking for a way to drown out the noises keeping you up at night, want a private quiet room, or are dying to mute the beautiful sounds coming from your neighbor’s house, soundproofing a door may be your savior.

The doors in your home don’t just let you in and out of different rooms, they’re the easiest access points for air – which means they’re a weak point for sound. Unfortunately, we can only dream about a remote to control the volume of loud roommates or family members, and noises from construction and city life don’t just turn off when you want them to. That’s where sound deadening technology comes in. By addressing the weakest spots in your home, soundproofing will help keep unwanted noise out and turning the disturbance level down for good. It won’t always be a quick fix, but the added peace and quiet is often worth the extra effort.  

Whether you’re looking for a way to drown out the noises keeping you up at night, want a private quiet room, or are dying to mute the beautiful sounds coming from your neighbor’s house, soundproofing a door may be your savior.

The doors in your home don’t just let you in and out of different rooms, they’re the easiest access points for air – which means they’re a weak point for sound. Unfortunately, we can only dream about a remote to control the volume of loud roommates or family members, and noises from construction and city life don’t just turn off when you want them to. That’s where sound deadening technology comes in. By addressing the weakest spots in your home, soundproofing will help keep unwanted noise out and turning the disturbance level down for good. It won’t always be a quick fix, but the added peace and quiet is often worth the extra effort.  

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Free USA shipping

Popular Door Soundproofing Materials


Luxury Liner™ Roll of Mass Loaded Vinyl (1 lb / 2 lb)
Luxury Liner™ Sheets of Mass Loaded Vinyl (1 lb / 2 lb)

Overview of the Parts of a Door

Depending on the structure, sometimes even a closed door won’t do much to block noise from getting into or traveling around your home. If you’re newly looking into soundproofing your home, stay awhile and listen! If you’re rolling your eyes that we’re about to describe the parts of a door, go ahead and skip to the next section. We won’t hold it against you. :)

parts of a door with labels

A Quick Reference Guide for the Parts of a Door

Door Frame: The door frame is the foundation surrounding and supporting the other parts of the door. The door frame is made up of three more specific parts: the sill, head, and jamb.

Sill: The door sill is the lowest part of the door frame, running horizontally and resting on the floor.

Head: Opposite the door sill is the head, running horizontally across the top of the door frame.

Jamb: The two door jambs are the tall sides, running vertically along the door frame.

Panel: The panel is what most people think of when they hear the word “door”. This is typically the large, solid rectangle that swings open and closed. Even small gaps between the panel and any part of the door frame are easy access for unwanted sound.

Vision Panel: A vision panel is a term used for windows within or around a door. Utilized to let light in, these can be small designs/openings or can take up nearly the entire panel itself.

Threshold: The threshold is the connection from the door sill to the floor of the room. These are usually decorative and fit the aesthetic of your home rather than provide practical benefit.

Door Sweep: Typically found on doors headed outside, a door sweep can cover the threshold, forming a seal between the door sill and the frame. The sweep is a piece of weatherstripping found along the bottom of your door, and when properly sealed, can help your house’s weather resistance, energy efficiency, and noise prevention.

Door Gaskets: These aren’t found on every door and may be an unfamiliar term, but gasketing is a key part of soundproofing. Door gaskets are metal extrusions mounted to the frame of the door with the actual “gasket” being rubber or brush used to seal gaps along the perimeter of the door jambs and head of the door frame. A gasket is useful for both sound and heat insulation.

Hinge: A door’s hinges are the joints that are utilized to open and close the door panel.

Astragal: If you have a double door to enter your home, the astragal refers to the vertical piece running from sill to head between the two panels.

Louver: An optional piece that's not very common. We honestly wouldn't mention it if it weren't such a HUGE problem for soundproofing. A louver is a shutter with horizontal slats often built into the door panel. These are typically adjustable ventilation systems used to allow light or air in. We only mention them because they’re terrible for soundproofing.

 

With your newfound status as a door dictionary, your friends and family are sure to be blown away! Maybe you should skip movie night and teach everyone how to label a door instead. Your family will love it.

Overview of Door Soundproofing

Let’s stop a second and imagine that sound is a river and your door is a dam trying to slow it down. A poorly soundproofed door is like a leaking crack in the dam. It may not be completely broken, but water will continue to rush through until something is done to fix it. In scientific and sound-related terms, this is due to the door’s low STC rating. You may be thinking “what in the world is an STC rating anyway?” Here’s the basics:

Sound Transmission Class (or STC) is used to measure how much sound a partition (wall, door, ceiling, car door, etc.) is able to stop in a lab. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good indicator for how well a material or construction blocks noise. Higher STC rating = more noise blocked. Fair warning, STC rating is going to come up again.

The STC rating of a structure is heavily impacted by its weakest point, no matter how strong the soundproofing is around it. Think about how much louder it is on the road when you crack your window. A lightweight or inadequately sealed door does the very same even if surrounded by thick, insulated walls.

How Much do Weak Points Matter?

The image below shows just how impactful a weak point can be. A solid brick wall is dense and effective at blocking sound. If a noise is 100 dB on one side of the wall, it’ll be 50 dB on the other side. On the other hand, glass is not a good noise barrier. 100 dB on one side of a glass wall will be reduced to 80 dB on the other. Now, let’s turn 1/8 of the brick wall into glass. The result is that 100 dB is only reduced to 71 dB on the other side. The overall effectiveness of the wall is pulled WAY down. That's why

dB transmission loss through a wall

This is often what happens with a door. Even though the door is a small percentage of the wall, if it’s poorly constructed or installed – you have a MASSIVE problem for soundproofing. A room with a shoddily installed door is like a high school with no adults — loud and in need of help.

As the weakest link for letting sound in, there are two major things to consider to effectively soundproof a door: the mass of the door and whether there are any gaps between the door panel and frame. That’s it. That’s all you need to solve.

Mass is Key for Soundproof Doors

If you want to block sound, you’re looking for mass and density. The typical wall in your house has an STC rating of about 32. Some types of doors are much lower. Why does that matter? Well... remember the last section on weak points being very important?

To give you a quick idea of how bad of a weak point some types of doors can be, check out the table below.

Type of Door STC Rating
Louvered Door (25% open)
12
Hollow core door with 1/4" air gap
19
Solid core door with 1/8" glass vision panel, gaskets, and drop seal
29
Solid core door with gaskets and drop seal
34
  • Louvered Door: Your typical louvered door is about 25% open. You’re done before you even start. Might as well leave the door open… Come on in!
  • Door with a Vision Panel: Standard glass is a weak point, reducing the door’s STC rating. But you can have glass if you want it! Just make sure to use thicker glass (1/4”+) or double paned glass for the window.
  • Hollow Core Door: Typically used as bedroom doors or any other in-home entryways, these are made of fiberboard or laminated wood and (true to their name) are mostly empty inside. These doors are lightweight, easy to install, and aren’t super expensive. On the downside, hollow core doors are fragile and do little to stop sound from passing through.
  • Solid Core Door: These doors are significantly heavier, made up of a combination of wood and wood byproducts, and are usually used to partition your home or apartment from the outdoors. They’re more expensive but thanks to their density, solid core doors are able to do a better job of blocking out noise. For an STC rating of 24, a solid core door will be about 1 ¾” thick and 4.5 lb / sq ft.
types of doors best for soundproofing

Solving Air Gaps to Soundproof a Door

Air gaps are the enemy and must be eliminated. Sorry, but I feel the need to say that again. NO AIR GAPS. If you have any gaps, you have what us soundproofing folks call a “sound leak”. A sound leak means that it doesn’t matter how awesome your wall or door construction is. You are capped out at how well you can block sound, because you have an air gap that's still allowing noise right on through.

Sound Leak (% of Total Surface Area) Max Transmission Loss by the Barrier
1% sound leak
20 dB
0.1% sound leak
30 dB
0.01% sound leak
40 dB

There’s a quick and easy way to check and see how big your gaps are around the door. Turn off the lights and see where light enters. If you see light, you have gaps and your door could be sealed better. Use a different door or gasketing and door sweeps to ensure everything is airtight.

reducing air gaps improves door soundproofing

Acoustic Caulk Combines Well with a Soundproof Door

Just like you can have sound leaks in a door, you can also have them in a wall. When deciding how to soundproof a wall, a small investment in some acoustic caulk can pay big dividends. With a thorough inspection of a room, you may find open creases around your windows frames, door frames, molding, baseboards, electrical outlets, light switches, air ducts, cable jacks, etc. that are letting sound in.

Sealing these leaks is relatively cheap, and absolutely instrumental to a quiet room. Most people are suprised at the difference that a little acoustical sealant can make. So when you're soundproofing a door, it's best to also evaluate your living area, make a list of what needs to be sealed, and use acoustic caulk to close up any unnecessary gaps.

Pro Tip

Be sure not to confuse sound absorption with sound blocking. Sound absorption will reduce echoes and reverberations inside a room, but will do nothing to block out noise from outside. Purchasing acoustic paneling or sound absorbing foam to soundproof your door is a huge no-no and a giant waste your money.

How to Soundproof a Door

We're here. You've done your detective work and narrowed down the source of unwanted noise to the door. And you're ready to fix the problem. Let's take a look at some of the ways you can go about soundproofing a door.

Replace the Door

This is the A+ solution. Pull the bad door out and start over. An acoustic door is specifically designed to have an extremely high STC rating and block noise. It’s definitely the most expensive option, but installing a new, soundproof door is a surefire way to knock out the noise. You can do it yourself, but you will need at least 1 friend to get the door in place because these babies are heavy. Or hire a contractor and enjoy a cold beer while he or she installs it. You do you. A true soundproof door can have an STC rating of well over 50 and is the most effective way to mute a room from outside commotion.

You can also take the more moderate step of replacing a hollow-core door with a solid-core door. This is often done with interior doors in a house that are just a little too flimsy. Your new solid-core door will perform best if you combine it with a door seal kit.

Close Off Gaps with a Door Seal Kit

Door seal kits do exactly as their name implies and can be a great way to keep sound out by sealing up air gaps. Door seal kits are both cost-effective and wallet-friendly. With just a few tools to install the kit, but the end results are worth it.

Before ordering a door seal kit, measure the size of your door to make sure the kit you get fits appropriately. If you have a double door you want to secure, look into kits with astragal seals to fill the gap between the two doors.

Additional Door Soundproofing Methods

If you’ve plugged the air gaps and are closed shut to the idea of a doorway overhaul (IT’S A DOOR JOKE!), there are several other ways to help turn the volume down. Each of these solutions has its drawbacks, but may be a good fit depending on your situation.

Weatherstripping: a cheap and modestly effective technique known for keeping out the cold and lowering energy costs. Adding rubber weatherstripping can also help block out sound, usually cutting noise on the other side of the door by 2-4 decibels. The results on’t blow you away, but 20% less noise is 20% less noise. Weatherstripping also may not be a long term fix, because issues with durability and adhesion come into play over time. 

Soundproof blankets: a more expensive option, soundproof door blankets are designed to attach to the frame around any door to help block sound. Make sure to get a soundproof blanket wit a high STC rating (25+) and use reclosable fasteners to seal the edges of the blanket to the wall or door frame. If you have air gaps around the blanket, you’re going to get minimal results, even from an expensive blanket that’s very dense.

Mass loaded vinyl: this dense sound-blocking material can be used a couple of ways to soundproof your door. While you shouldn’t use MLV plug air gaps below a door, the heavy vinyl material can increase the density of a hollow, lightweight door. Attaching the vinyl to the back of the door will add some much-needed mass, increasing its ability to block noise. Just make sure the door's gaps are properly sealed as well because those will still be a weak point.  

Another way to use mass loaded vinyl to soundproof a door is to add metal framing around the door and use industrial strength magnets to completely seal an entryway with MLV. This is an extremely effective way of completely soundproof a door, because you close up air gaps and add mass for noise blocking. The problem is you’ve removed the door’s “doorness”. Very hard to walk in and out. This solution can be great for an Airbnb rental space, a room for hobbies, or any door you don’t plan to use often.  

In the video below, we use MLV to create some privacy in an Airbnb rental. The Mega Zorbe hydrophobic melamine foam is combined with the MLV to absorb echos and reduce reverberations built up between the door and the MLV - increasing the barrier's overall effectiveness.

Luxury Liner MLV Rolls to Cover that Entryway

Our Luxury Liner Rolls are made of the highest quality MLV and come in conveniently door sized rolls (10 ft long) or much larger if needed. A versatile and durable material, mass loaded vinyl can be used for your home, car, RV, shed, or anywhere that you want a little less noise.

  • Offered in two standard thicknesses, 1 lb and 2 lb.
  • Extremely durable, Luxury Liner is building grade, automotive safe, flexible, tear resistant, and fire resistant.
  • The 1 lb MLV is 1/8” thick and the 2 lb MLV is 1/4” thick, giving it superior noise blocking ability for its thickness.
  • Free shipping and made in the USA

Control Your Doors to Stop Unwanted Sound

Blocking out all the sounds that get into your home is one tall task, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make a huge difference by filling air gaps and taking steps to soundproof entryways. Whether the noise you want to get rid of comes from inside or outside the house, soundproofing the right door(s) will help. Even if you decide you don’t want to go all-out, a little bit of targeted sealing and soundproofing will allow you to actually sit back, relax, and enjoy the quiet.

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