Door Soundproofing Options

In a soundproofing project, doors are a critical component. Here are some approaches to door soundproofing, and the details essential for success.

When adding soundproofing to a room to block noise from entering through the walls, the windows and doors are the first places to pay attention to. Ordinary windows let a lot of sound through, and many doors aren't much better at blocking sound, especially interior doors. Remember that mass is one of the four key elements of soundproofing, so if the door is hollow, there is very little mass to keep the noise out.

Replacing or Fortifying the Door

For a good noise-blocking door, what you want is a heavy solid-core door made of wood, or a rigid steel door — anything with a lot of mass. A fire door is a good example. From a soundproofing standpoint, the more it weighs, the better. Clearly you don't want any openings such as windows, a mail slot, or a pet door. Doors without recessed panels are better because the thickness of the door is reduced in recessed areas.

If you already have a solid wood door that you'd like to fortify, and if the surface of the door is flat, you can add a layer of mass to the surface.

  • Good materials to use are 3/4-inch MDF (medium-density fiberboard), or regular drywall. Both of these materials are denser than plywood.
  • You can get even better results if you apply a damping compound such as Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound between the door and the new layer. Now you have damping as well as increased mass, for two independent soundproofing elements, which will help block more types of sound.
  • Use screws to secure the new layer.

Other Door Soundproofing Considerations

If there is a gap between the door and the surrounding drywall, fill it with mass-loaded vinyl (MLV), and seal it with acoustical caulk.

You want to ensure there's an airtight seal when the door is closed. Door gaskets or foam weatherstripping will accomplish this for the top and sides. For the bottom, an automatic door bottom is ideal.

If the door needs to have a lock, avoid the kind of lock that requires a hole through the door. Keyholes are an invitation for sound to enter.

High-end Solutions for Soundproofing Doors

If the above measures aren't enough, there are other solutions that can give even better soundproofing:
  • You can install a sound door, which is acoustically engineered to minimize sound transmission. Sound doors usually cost several thousand dollars.
  • You can install a double door system, with two heavy fire doors. This is even more effective if there is an airlock between the doors, the deeper the better.

These solutions are usually reserved for sound studios and other technical or business applications.

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