Noise pollution is a real problem and although soundproofing walls, floors and ceilings seems the obvious solution, soundproofing doors can also help. Even if noise isn't a problem in your home, you might be a musician and need to reduce the noise escaping your home.
Here we look at the different options for soundproofing doors including acoustic drapes, sound absorbing paint, foam tiles and seal gaps between doors and their frames.
Using acoustic drapes
Acoustic drapes not only offer a way to dampen the sound travelling into a room, but they also provide a unique design feature which creates a new ambience in the room.
They are easy to install, requiring a small curtain rod to be positioned over the back of the door. Heavy fabric is hung from the rod, covering the face of the door. There are even drapes available that are made from sound dampening fabric.
Once you are settled inside the room for the evening, you can draw the drapes across to cover the door, and when the space is not in use, it can simply be pulled to one side.
Using sound absorbing paint
This special paint can absorb the soundwaves as they travel through walls. This type of paint can be found in most DIY stores. It is applied like any normal paint, although it will appear thicker once applied to the surface.
Depending on the type of noise pollution you are experiencing, sound absorbing paint can be a very effective solution. In most cases it works well when dealing with mid-range frequencies such as human voices. For TV or music, it will not work well enough in isolation, but can be used as part of a wider plan of action for the room.
Using foam tiles
Applying soundproofing foam tiles to the door is another way of absorbing sound travelling from other areas of the house, or from external sources. Music stores are usually the best place to buy these as they used in professional recording studios for acoustic insulation purposes.
Foam works because its density absorbs soundwaves and helps to dampen the strength of the noise being transmitted. They can be easily applied to doors by either using glue, staples or screws to fix them into place.
As doors are constantly in use in the house it is important to ensure the soundproofing tiles are firmly in position to avoid them falling off at a later date.
Acoustic insulation tiles also come in a range of densities depending on the level of noise reduction required in the room.
Using a mass loaded vinyl (MLV) barrier
Like soundproofing foam, MLV’s can be purchased in music stores, or specialist acoustic shops as they are typically used within professional recording spaces.
They come in thick rolls of vinyl that are cut to the size of the door you wish to soundproof. Using a strong adhesive, attach the vinyl to the door and wait a few hours for it to dry out.
MLV’s are a great way to block out sound from outside of the room and the material can be purchased in a range of thicknesses, depending on the how bad the sound interference is.
How to check for gaps
The gaps found around the edges of a door make it easy for sound to travel through without anything to lessen its volume. Before you think about sealing the gaps, it makes sense to check where they are, making the job of covering and filling them a lot easier in the long run.
The best way to do this is to turn off the lights on both sides of the door. This is a job best performed with someone else on the other side, so they can use a flashlight to shine around the edges of the door once it has been closed.
Take note of where the light passes through because this will be the same gaps the sound is able to travel into. It isn’t realistic to expect that every gap can be filled but focus on some of the larger spaces to see if that makes a difference to the level of sound.
Seal the gap between the door and doorframe
There are a couple of ways to seal the gap between the door and the doorframe. Weather proofing strips are the first, which can be easily added to the surface of the doors. These are applied using a strong adhesive and once dry, the door can be shut which will help to seal off the gap,
Alternatively you can caulk up any gaps that exist between the door and its frame. This will involve using a caulking gun that has been filled with a tube of wood caulk. Carefully squeeze out a mead of the caulk into any gaps you notice on the door.
A putty knife can be used to wipe away any excess that has been squeezed out and once dry, the caulk will help to absorb external sounds coming towards the room.
Install a door sweep
A door sweep can be installed onto the bottom edge of the door to add further protection on what is usually the largest gap found around the edge. A good door sweep will lightly brush against the floor as it opens and closes
You may already have one in place but if it is cracked, it will not be offering much sound protection, as noise will easily be able to pass through it. It can easily be replaced by unscrewing and positioning a new one into place.
Use a solid door
Solid core, or solid wooden doors add a protective layer of soundproofing to the room, making it more difficult for noise to penetrate into the space. The density of the material means soundwaves are absorbed once they come into contact with the surface, dampening the intensity of the sound.
The majority of interior doors in domestic properties are comprised of either light woods or particle board which offer very little sound protection at all as they are usually partially or completely hollow.
Solid wood or solid core doors are more expensive to buy but they also offer greater levels of heat insulation. This means you can see a return on your investment due to lower energy bills during the winter.
Reinforcing a door panel
The movement of sound means it is able to pass through objects that lack density, and if the doors for the rooms in your house are not solid, then it will not offer much protection.
A good solution is to reinforce the door panel with another piece of wood to increase the mass of the structure. MDF wood is the best material to use and once you have measured the size of the door, you can get this cut to size at a local DIY superstore, which is a process many now offer for free.
If you can find a damping compound, place this onto the back of the MDF before screwing the wood onto the door, which will sandwich the compound in between. This adds a further layer of acoustic insulation and also helps to dampen vibrations.
Handles for the door can be re-attached by drilling through the MDF into the existing holes before screwing it back into place.
Other soundproofing solutions
The main soundproofing solutions have been covered above, however, there are some additional ideas you can implement to further improve acoustic insulation in the room.
Placing rugs on the floor, especially laminate, tiles or hardwood, will help to absorb some of the soundwaves. Hard floors are not absorbent which means sound reflects and bounces off the material once it comes into the room. You can place a rug down on the entrance to the room and inside, which will help to absorb some of the noise.
If the door has a glass panes, this can be changed into double or even triple gazing, which will provide a much stronger sound barrier.