The Ultimate Step By Step Guide to Sound Deadening Car Doors
A noisy car interior will make for a stressful ride, with the unpalatable sounds even serving as distractions, which pose a danger to the driver and passengers. Soundproofing our car is vital to improve this ride quality, to keep us all comfy and safe inside our vehicles until we get to our intended destination. It also has the power to mask the loose odds and ends banging against the metal frames of our vehicles.
Apart from cutting down the oncoming road noise, sound dampening materials, which you can readily buy online at Amazon, will also improve car acoustics for a better music listening experience. When we have to face long drives alone, our typical companion is usually just our music. The less ambient noise and the better acoustics make way for premium sound quality.
Doors are one of the worst parts of our vehicles that emit these annoying noises. They’re also notoriously popular in the industry for being the most difficult parts in a vehicle to apply sound deadening to because soundproofing materials are hard to fit into the grooves and crevices of doors. Thankfully, with this guide, you will have the confidence in yourself to do it as we show you that anyone can learn the art of sound proofing their own car doors.
There are actually many articles all around the web, which have been written regarding the various types of soundproofing materials available in the market today. Sadly, these don’t come with the proper tutorials, so we may know what these materials are, but we have no clue how to make them work for us.
We aim to change that with this article, as we give you tips on what to do if you want to work on sound dampening your door panels. Of course, before you begin yanking out those door panels, you have to be ready with the right tools and materials to get that massive job done. Read on below to find out what you will be need for this project.
Prepping the Right Tools and Materials
Before you begin collecting the actual tools and materials, it is critical to virtually inspect the car doors. Try and dig up your car manual to see what the door specifications are. If you cannot find your manual, then try researching online regarding similar car models like yours to shed insight on what you have.
This is a critical step for this whole process since each car may come with certain specs and details that are uniquely their own. If it is not available online, call your nearest delearship and ask to talk to an agent who is knowledgeable in this area. They sales agent may even know the information you are looking for.
The possible materials you will need are:
☛ Prepare sound deadening materials to make everything more quiet in your vehicle. The popular one is a sound deadening self-adhesive mat. The workhorse brand Dynamat Self-Adhesive Deadener is one of the best, but sadly, it is the most expensive, too. If budget it as issue consider Noico Mat, Killmat, and Fatmat for your project because these mats also do a good job without breaking the bank.
☛ Other alternative products to dampen noise are: mass loaded vinyl for soundproofing like this Second Skin Luxury brand, specifically designed for cars or this egg crate design acoustic barrier made by SOOM J.
☛ Use Green Glue Noise Proofing Joist Tape for taping stuff and adding additional insulation to serve as a noise barrier.
Once you’ve gathered the materials you will need for this car door soundproofing project, gather these universal tools that you will use. Since these are fairly common tools, you may already have them in your garage or tool box.
☛ You will need a screwdriver or a drill, along with drill bits, to easily loosen screws. If you don’t have drill bits, consider getting this complete Dewalt Drill Bit Set, which has been dubbed as the brand offering the best value because of its many drill heads and affordable price.
☛ Be sure you have a small pick on your arsenal, like this Tekton Precision pick. This super affordable four piece set is great for prying off smaller parts of your car door.
☛ Rubbing alcohol for cleaning, along with a clean cloth for wiping.
☛ Stay away from rubber gloves as they will slide across your material because of their smooth texture. Instead, use knit work gloves like this one by Galeton because they provide protection for your hands and better traction.
☛ You must have a utility knife and a sharp pair of scissors on standby.
☛ Prepare a roller like a Rolinger Applicator or any rounded object for smoothing out your project.
After gathering all these materials, don comfy clothes that you don’t mind getting wrecked. Spills and stains are inevitable in doing projects. Now, with your schedule clear, you can begin soundproofing your car doors.
Step-By-Step Tutorial on How to Soundproof your Car Doors
After you have gathered everything you need, place them on a working table where you can easily reach them while you’re working. Keep your gloves nearby for when you need them for those tricky jobs. Make sure you are wearing your old clothes because you will get dirty and stains are inevitable.
It might also be helpful to keep refreshments nearby, especially water to prevent dehydration and to cool you down. What you will be undertaking to soundproof your doors is moderately difficult. It will also take several hours to finish, since you will be working to soundproof four car doors; two if it’s a hatchback two door coupe.
1. Take the Door Apart
Now the time has come for you to take the door apart. This part includes several sub steps in itself to ensure a seamless process.
Since you’ve read the manual, you more or less know what to expect and what you’re looking for. Depending on the type of car, you may need to gently pry off some parts with your Tekton Precision pick, so you can expose the screws. The keyword here in this process is gentle.
You don’t have to use brute force in taking the door apart. If you’ve read your manual, you will probably know what buttons to press to get the top car door parts to pop off. If you are too rough, you may end up breaking these important components.
Once you’ve taken off some of the exterior parts of the door covering, you will see some exposed screw heads. Aside from the screws along the door panel, there will also be several located along the sides. You typically don’t pay attention to these on an everyday basis when you hop on or jump off your car, but they are there.
This is where your trusty screwdriver or power drill will shine like a rockstar. Before you start unscrewing, it would be prudent to snap a quick picture of the door, so you can easily see where each screw is coming from. If you like things super organized, you can number the screws and the printed picture for easy referencing in case you need it to put the panel back together.
Since the screws are finally out, you can easily pry off the door panel. This won’t fall out on its own so little gentle persuasion on your part is necessary to get this off. You can begin at the bottom and work your way back up to the top to dislodge the panel.
After removing the panel, if it comes with a speaker, you will have to unscrew this from the door, too. You will also need to take out and disconnect the wires. It is worth reiterating that taking a picture before you commence with the dismantling is super helpful for the last part when you have to put back everything in its place.
Majority of cars these days have an added layer of protection, which is found underneath the door panel. In older car models, this is usually just some sort of plastic; whereas, in newer car models this is made from foam types or fiber like materials. These materials actually have some sound deadening properties, but of course, we all don’t expect those to work as great as the materials we are now going to put in place.
You have to carefully lift away this protective layer because you will put it back on top once you’ve packed the door with your sound insulating materials. This is usually just attached by light adhesive in the corners so you can put this back easily.
Putting back this protective layer might require your to heat it up to reactivate the glue. A better method is to use a noise deadening tape like the Green Glue Noise Proofing Joist Tape which will stick the materials together, while buffering the noise from the outdoors and working hard to improve the indoor acoustics.
2. Prepare for Application of the Sound Deadening Mat
You may feel quite excited to apply the noise dampening materials you have waiting on the sidelines; BUT, hold your horses. You need to clean the door first before you do anything else. Since it doesn’t see much action, chances are, it is thick with grime and dirt.
Get yourself some clean rags and douse them with rubbing alcohol. When you feel like they are damp enough, use these rags to wipe your doors. Pay close attention to the parts wherein you will be sticking your sound deadening adhesives.
This is a crucial step because if you skip it, chances are this project will fail. Dust will prevent your sound deadening materials from sticking well to the surface. Rub down gently everything in sight to make sure things are squeaky clean.
Be certain that you don’t miss out on any spot, especially those areas you will be sticking those dampening materials. During this part, you may want to wear your Galeton knit gloves to keep your hands protected from the dirt and the harsh rubbing alcohol.
Later on, this knit gloves will help deter the glue from sticking into your hands. All sound deadening materials, whether it is Noico Mat, Killmat, and Fatmat, all come with a sticky self-adhesive backing that likes to stick just about anywhere. Be careful not to stick this on your clothes, as they are quite hard to take off (this is one of the reasons why you are also encouraged to wear old clothes).
Keep in mind that many sound deadening materials are quite thick, which is why they make great insulators. However, this makes it difficult for you to cut the material. Sharp tools are necessary to cut, so take out your trusty utility knife to get the job done. The knit gloves will give you added protection in case your hands slide, so you won’t end up cutting yourself.
3. Apply the Soundproofing Material
You must start with the innermost part of the door. This will be accessible through the various holes in your door frame. Don’t worry about completely covering the entire metal. You must cover at least three-quarters of the surface, though, for your project to be deemed a success.
You can cut out irregular shapes or rectangular shapes of your sound deadening material so you can fit it in the door frame akin to a jigsaw puzzle or a mosaic. After you figure out where you want to place the individual components, it is time to start sticking them on the interior part of the door frame where there are holes to put your hand through.
Peel the protective layer carefully and stick it on those parts of the naked frame. You have to make sure this is laid out flat and there are no air bubbles. You can press this down with your glove covered hand to ensure a good fit, or you can use your trusty Rolinger Applicator to make everything fuse well through its pressure.
If you don’t have this kind of specialized applicator, then it is totally okay. You can use any hard tubular thing that you can easily pivot through the small crevices. You can even knock it with the back of your screwdriver.
Every now and then, you are actually encouraged to knock your project to determine the decibel level. As you add more layers of this sound deadening materials, you will actually hear the big difference for yourself.
When you feel as if you’ve applied enough material through the holes in the frame, you can also begin covering the frame itself. If you want to cover the whole door, you can do it by sections so it is not overwhelming. Cut small pieces of the self-adhesive material and stick as you go.
As mentioned earlier, you don’t have to cover everything for it to be effective. However, what is critical is to pay attention to the areas that are within the path of moving parts like your wires or where the window mechanisms are. After applying in these sections, you have to ensure there are no air bubbles that may compromise the stickiness of the material.
4. Put Every Single Thing Back Together
Now, you have finally reached this very last stage of putting back everything to the way it once was. The way to get this done is to read the instructions backwards and follow accordingly. If there are no instructions, try and remember how you did things and reverse those steps.
This is the time to look at the pictures you took to refresh your memory. Put the protective layer and the speakers, along with its wires, before you put back the door panel. Once you position this, you can begin drilling back the screws. When the last screw is put in, you can pop the other bits back on like the handle that you took off.