The Best Way To Soundproof a Door
Doors are the number one issue homeowners face when soundproofing a room. Doors are the often-overlooked “weak link” in many soundproofing projects. A complete door soundproofing requires complex alterations to the existing door frame and extensive construction. The weight of the door and its assembly easily range from 300 to 500 pounds. Purchasing a solid-core door or an acoustically-rated door are both extremely expensive and cost-prohibitive. The costs may range to several hundred dollars or may even skyrocket into the thousands.
Doors are only able to do so much when it comes to shutting out noise from the outside. They only are capable of doing an adequate of this for a number of reasons:
There are certain considerations a homeowner should reflect upon before undertaking any door-soundproofing project.
How Much Soundproofing Do You Need?
The size of your space will determine your needs. Do you need the room partially or completely silent? Some people soundproof a room just enough so they can rest or sleep, while some require recording studio-type silence? These are questions to ask before getting started.
Benefits of Soundproofing a Door
Temperature insulation is one unexpected benefit of soundproofing a door. The project of soundproofing a door requires the use of many of the same tools that provide insulation from extreme temperatures. Along these lines, the newly-soundproofed room in your home will also cost much less to heat and cool.
Improved air quality, humidity and comfort in your soundproofed room are other unexpected benefits. Keeping out pollutants and moisture makes the room more comfortable to work or relax in as well.
Where A Soundproof Door is Essential
There are certain circumstances where it is absolutely necessary to soundproof a door. Here are a few common situations where soundproofing a door should be considered:
Challenges to Soundproofing A Door
The main challenges when soundproofing a door are:s
Once you have determined that you want to proceed with sound proofing, here is the list of products you will need:
MATERIALS AND TOOLS
Step 1: Door Panel Reinforcement – Seal the Door Using Spring-metal Strips
Remove existing weather stripping. Make sure the door frame is sturdy and measure its width. Repeat the process with the door jamb. The door jamb is the vertical part of the frame – it is what the door hangs on. Clean the bottom of the base of the door jamb surface a few times with a damp cloth so that you remove dust and existing residue. This is an essential step since dust and/or residue will prevent any new adhesive from properly sticking. Once you have cleaned the dust and/or residue, dry the area with an unsoiled cloth.
In order to create a better door seal and thus prevent noise from seeping through the cracks of the door, it is essential to install new bronze spring weatherstripping. New bronze spring weatherstripping does the same thing as vinyl or other brands of weatherstripping, but lasts longer (up to 30 years). New bronze spring weatherstripping is especially ideal for doors that face the exterior of the home, since sealing out water and bugs is necessary.
Unroll the new bronze spring metal weatherstripping, and mark the areas where you intend to make your cuts and then cut the new bronze spring metal weatherstripping to the proper length. You can also use rubber weatherstripping if you choose. Rubber seals and blocks out unwanted noise and cold drafts. There is a large variety of rubber weatherstripping to choose from on the market. If you are looking for the most user-friendly one, select the kind with adhesive on the back.
If your new bronze spring metal weatherstripping is not sold with holes pre-punched in it, mark along the lip of the metal every 1.25 inches with a dot so that you mark where your nails will be placed. Pre-punch the top piece manually using awl. Place the tip at the top of each mark and, using the end of your hammer, tap at the end.
Make sure your door is not hollow wood in that sound waves easily penetrate these types of door panels. A solid wood door is your best. Make sure the surface you choose is flat. Measure your door before purchasing a piece of wood. It will need to be the same size as your door (approximately .5 inches thick). You may opt for smooth MDF wood or drywall if you are not concerned about aesthetics. This addition of mass enables green glue to be applied in between.
Green Glue Damping Compound inhibits vibrations and sound waves. It prevents them from entering through the panel. Apply it to the reverse side of the MDF wood (or on the door) and screw the MDF wood to the door as tightly as possible. The idea here is for the Green glue to be sandwiched between the two panels.
- Applies in just minutes
- Independent lab tests prove that using Green Glue Noiseproofing Compound dissipates up to 90 percent of noise
For maximum sound control, install dummy handles to eliminate sound penetration. You can, of course, install handles, but it is not recommended. However, if you must, drill the same size hole through the MDF wood.
You can now focus on filling the gaps around the boundary of the door.
Step 2: Apply Soundproofing Rubber
Along the door jamb, hang the first cut of weatherstripping so that the material is tightly adjacent to the threshold. Trim away metal using tin snips that may slow down or completely inhibit the hinges from functioning properly.
The door and wall frames contain a gap that is a major source for sound penetration. To properly address this, employ “Soundproofing Rubber” to fill this gap. Next, after the installation of the soundproofing rubber, use “Acoustical Caulk” to fill in any gaps that remain. Finally, install your molding.
Step 3: Door Gasket
Door gaskets are secured to the door frame. This provides the best and truest seal you will find.
A basic door gasket provides a good, basic seal. However, doors are different sizes and are not typically square or flush and will warp and shift over time, it is recommended that an adjustable gasket be applied. This allows adjustment of the seal with a screwdriver. This is a more expensive option but, over the years, it is worth the investment.
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Step 4: Automatic Door Bottom
The bottom of your door has a gap that must be sealed before the project can be considered complete. Installing an automatic door bottom is the final step in the process.
You will not get a proper seal if you install a traditional rubber sweep. There is an element of precision in this step, since if the seal closely abuts the floor, the door will not open and close smoothly. Tightness is the key to this step: sound will filter in if the seal is not appropriately tightened. Because almost every door and floor are not precisely square, you must observe the front of the door, specifically the edge. As the door opens and closes, it will come closer and closer to the floor which makes the installation of a door sweep nearly impossible.
- When the plunger contacts the jamb, the drop bar seal actuates from the hinge side first allowing multiple compression points.
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The solution to this issue is the use of an Automatic Door Bottom. Automatic Door Bottoms make use of what is known as a “concealed flat spring” mechanism. The door has a plunger installed on its side and when the door is closed, that plunger is pressed against the door frame, activating the mechanism. Once activated, the mechanism lowers a neoprene seal that compresses against a doorway threshold or floor surface, tightly sealing the gap. The seal descends on the hinge’s side first which ensures a constantly seamless motion and prevents drag. It also retracts automatically once the door is opened. An automatic door bottom is installed evenly with the door bottom. A seal descends when the door is closed and rises on its own when the door is opened. There are both Mortised and Semi-mortised automatic door bottoms. Either choice is suitable to accomplish your goal. However, this is not always possible. A strong second option is an Automatic Door Bottom that is mounted on the surface. It will require some tinkering to get a proper fit, but, in the end, your soundproofing goal will be accomplished.
A side benefit of a door bottom is that it prevents drafts and light from infiltration into the room.
Once the door panel and openings at the jamb, header, and bottom of your door frame have been properly fortified and sealed, you will rest assured that you now have a soundproof door that is up to the task at hand.
Repeat Steps 2 – 4.
Ensure the nails are in place and that the weatherstripping is properly positioned. Drive the nails or screws into the strips; the fastener head should remain even with the strip. It is important not to use too much force, as pounding or driving it into the metal will likely damage the metal and compromise sound integrity into the room.
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Apply the top strip, using steps 2 – 4 as a guide.
As an overall post-soundproofing tip, daily foot traffic will most likely subject your existing threshold to inevitable wear and tear. The threshold is the raised part of the doorway. It is in place to which serves to conceal the flooring line and to seal out sounds. Consider the installation of a better threshold since one can be purchased at a local home improvement store at a reasonable price. This will keep unwanted sound from seeping in from under the doorway.
Soundproofing a door is an extremely gratifying project that not only will increase the value of your home, but it will fortify a room and provide a refuge from unwanted (and often unnecessary) noise and sound. The value of such a room should not be understated. If you use the materials recommended in this article, you are sure to realize the results you are seeking and you will be on your way to a newly-soundproofed door and room in no time at all!