Have you noticed that your door seems to be the focal point of noise intrusion into your room?
It should be no surprise, because most interior doors have air gaps around the frame, and at the bottom near the floor, creating clear paths for noise to travel into your room.
Who would want to soundproof a door?
Maybe you work from home or have a fancy home theater you want to isolate from the rest of your house.
Maybe you own a downstairs rental suite with a shared door and want to maintain privacy for both parties.
Or you have a pack of kids at home and you want to regain some peace and privacy in your master suite.
Whatever your situation, it’s time you learn ways how to soundproof a door and regain control of your space.
What Ways Does Sound Travel Through Doors?
- Under the Door – Look at the bottom of your door, and the large gap between the floor. Sound has a direct path in and out of the room.
- Around the Door – Even with the door closed, there are air gaps all around for noise to leak through.
- Through the Door Jambs – Door frames are made to cover up big gaps in the wall and door opening. You won’t see it until you pull off the frame, but you might discover poorly insulated walls that can allow sound to pass through.
- Through the Door – Yes, sound can pass directly through the door itself. Hollow core doors are super common on home interiors, but they lack the mass needed to effectively block sound.
To adequately soundproof a door, you must both seal any air gaps that sound will leak through, and add sufficient mass to the door to dampen the noise.
DIY Ways to Soundproof an Interior Door
These tips apply to soundproofing interior Bedroom Doors, Bathroom Doors, Apartment Doors, Dorm Room Doors. As long as it’s the typical interior hinged door, these hacks will level up your room.
These are easy DIY methods to seal off the “Under & Around” paths or add mass to the door to reduce the “Through” noise. We’ll start off with the easiest and cheapest tips to implement and progress into some meatier techniques.
1. Door Sweep/Draft Blocker
The first and simplest technique is to attach a door sweep to the bottom of your door. A sweep fills the gap between the door and the floor, helping block sound (as well as drafts, dust, bugs, and more).
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Compared to other forms of DIY door soundproofing, installing a door sweep is a piece of cake. Simply attach the sweep to the door bottom in one of the following ways (depending on what type of sweep you buy).
- Slip Under
- Hook & Loop Strip
- Adhesive Strips
There are many types of noise-blocking door sweeps, from simple fabric and insulation slip-on versions, to permanently attached soft rubber sweeps. One of our favorites for carpeted floors is the Viseman Twin Slip Under sweep.
2. Automatic Door Bottom
Think of an automatic door bottom as a more active type of door sweep. Upon closing the door, the self-contained unit uses a spring mechanism to push down a neoprene seal insert, creating a seal between the door and the floor or threshold.
Automatic door bottoms come in semi-mortised, mortised, and surface-mounted versions. The former two options work well for doors with the appropriate cutouts, but the door may need to be removed to ensure proper installation.
This option works best for tile, laminate, and wood floors. They’re also used in conjunction with acoustic thresholds and are often found as part of a soundproof door kit. Acoustical Solutions makes a nice one, as does Second Skin Audio
3. Door Jamb Gasket
Door jamb gaskets affix directly to the doorstop or door jamb. The gasket allows for a tight seal between it and the door surface when closed, preventing air and noise from leaking through the door’s perimeter.
You can make your own door jamb gaskets simply by taping rubber or foam gasket material around the door perimeter. It’s a budget-friendly option, but it also lacks the performance that a professional kit offers.
Premade jamb seals offer a cleaner, more professional look while delivering better soundproofing performance. Door jamb seals are commonly used along with door thresholds and automatic door bottoms.
TIP: For the best performance, try to use one continuous strip of gasket from the bottom, around the top, and down the other side.
4. Acoustic Door Threshold
Also known as a saddle, this type of door threshold works great to seal door bottoms at flooring transitions.
The installation process is about the same as most other thresholds. You’ll need to carefully measure and cut the threshold to size, plus add sealant to prevent air leaks. They should be used in tandem with jamb gaskets for best results.
Many acoustic door thresholds have a vertical shoulder to create the seal. Obviously, this doesn’t work well for being wheelchair accessible. Choosing a threshold with a flat surface and low height is recommended for ADA compliance.
5. Get a Soundproof Door Kit
A soundproof door kit combines all of the above door sweeps and gaskets into one easy-to-purchase package. These kits sometimes include sound barriers to hang over the door.
These kits are a great idea if you don’t want to spend time and effort piecing it all together with gaskets and foam. The installation process is straightforward, plus you’ll have everything needed in one kit. That means less time spent gathering the essentials and less time spent on the installation itself.
Cost is the only minor hitch when it comes to soundproof door kits. Some kits cost as little as $120 while others can cost $400 or more. If you’re soundproofing a door on a budget, then consider putting together your own materials from scratch.
Here are two recommended kits to soundproof an existing door:
6. Cam Lift Hinges
These mortise-style hinges were made with acoustical door assemblies in mind. The hinge itself effectively lifts and lowers the door as it closes and opens. This ensures the door bottom is seated properly for the best possible compression seal.
The cam lifting action also prevents the door from dragging, thereby reducing overall wear and tear. They won’t bind either as long as they are hung to spec.
Cam lift hinges have limited application outside of soundproofed doors. These hinges are also used on Electromagnetic Interference and Radio Frequency Interference (EMI/RFI) doors.
How much weight can they carry? A set of three 920 hinges can support a 200 lb door, while the 950s can hang a massive 500 lb door. More than enough for solid wood soundproof doors!
7. Hang MLV Sheets
Mass Loaded Vinyl sheets are a great option for blocking out unwanted sounds. They’re also water-resistant and surprisingly durable, unlike some of the other fiber-based materials previously mentioned.
This video shows how to make a magnetic frame to attach vinyl plus melamine foam over the entire door.
You can hang these sound barriers over doors to minimize noise, but they’re also versatile enough for use on walls and ceilings. The Audimute Absorption Sheets sheets are really good for this purpose.
You can find MLV sheets in 50-square-foot and 100-square-foot rolls at a relatively affordable cost. Combine with Hydrophobic Melamine Foam (HMF) to create a sturdy covering that offers greater noise reduction.
You can make your own with Dynamat or buy really nice-looking ones from Audimute or Second Skin. If you plan on making your own, a magnetic frame does wonder for keeping your sound barrier in place.
8. Insulate around the Frame
Sound can also travel through gaps and voids hidden behind the door frame. A good way to detect these gaps is by feeling air currents moving around the door while it’s closed.
Filling these voids with some form of acoustic insulation not only blocks unwanted noise but also enhances your home’s energy efficiency by eliminating unwanted air leaks.
Using the right sealant is crucial for any DIY soundproofing job involving door frames. Ordinary expanding foam can get into every nook and cranny, but it sets rigid and lacks flexibility for unexpected movement.
Acoustic caulk sealant can handle small cracks and gaps around your door, plus it remains flexible enough to withstand wall movement.
9. Hang a Sound Barrier
Sound absorption sheets, soundproof blankets, sound curtains, etc. Whatever you call them, these barriers offer a quick and simple way of absorbing unwanted noises. Sound barriers come in a wide variety of forms, although most of those have a distinctly industrial look to them.
Needless to say, your choices might be limited if you decide to choose sound barriers over soundproof blankets, which come in a greater variety of materials and colors. Acoustic curtains also serve the same purpose and not only are they simple to install, but they’re also aesthetically pleasing.
Most barriers, like Audimute Isole Barriers, come with eyelets you can use to secure them in place with hooks or nails. You can also use Velcro or strong magnets to hold sound barriers in place. Some barriers even offer door handle cutouts. Any excess material can be trimmed to fit.
10. Attach Sound Absorbing Panels
Acoustic foam panels are another soundproofing option to consider. Normally found as buffers for walls and ceilings, these foam panels work just as well on doors. These panels come in a wide variety of styles, so you’re not limited to a particular look.
If you don’t want to splurge on sound-absorbing panels, cork sheets or Masonite sheets can work just as well at a more affordable cost. Both are easy to trim and can be sandwiched against other materials to reduce echoes and other unwanted noises.
11. Add an MDF Panel to the Door
You can shore up a hollow wood door by adding one or more extra panels of medium-density fiberboard (MDF) on top. While the MDF itself is no stunner when it comes to noise abatement, the dense and hard material does reflect sound.
Use a reliable compound like green glue to bond the MDF panel and door together. For more sound-deadening performance, you can squeeze a sheet of MLV between the MDF panel and door. TM Soundproofing has a nice diagram for this process.
Compared to others, this DIY hack takes plenty of preparation and cleanup. For starters, you’ll likely have to remove the door entirely from its hinges and work with the door on its side, with the hinges, doorknobs, and other hardware removed.
Make sure your hinges and screws holding them to the wall are strong enough for the added weight. The extra mass can bend the hinge pins and cause annoying squeaky doors, or rip the hardware out completely if the screws are too short.
12. Fill Hollow Core Door with Expanding Foam
True to their name, hollow doors are typically hollow inside, supported only by a few pieces of cardboard. They’re lightweight and easy to install, but predictably, they don’t insulate sound well.
Fortunately, you can change that by filling the voids inside your hollow door with expanding foam. Spray foam has limited soundproofing capabilities, but it’s really the best material for this application.
This video demonstrates how you can inject expanding foam into a hollow-core door, achieving a 3 decibels reduction of sound and a more muffled sound.
Note: It’s hard to get this right, hollow doors have sections, need to fill all the sections.
Drill a couple of small ½-inch holes at the top of the door and inject your preferred expanding foam. The foam will not only help reduce unwanted sounds but also provide a small amount of insulation against excess heat and cold.
As you’re injecting foam, make sure it falls all the way to the bottom of the door. Some hollow doors have honeycomb structures, making it harder for the regular expanding foam to spread throughout the door. You may want to use a less aggressive-acting foam to ensure complete coverage.
13. Upgrade to a Solid Door
Treating a door takes time and effort. If both are in short supply, then consider upgrading to a soundproof solid door, instead.
Solid doors come in two forms. Solid core doors feature an MDF or composite wood core wrapped in a natural wood veneer. A true solid door features all-wood frame-and-panel construction. Both types can block sound well, although a solid wood door will have the edge in terms of sound resistance.
Solid wood or solid core are big improvements on hollow core doors. The only downsides to upgrading to a solid door are cost and weight.
Solid doors can be pretty expensive depending on the type and quality of the door you choose. It’s not unusual for solid doors to command a $50 to $100 premium over hollow doors.
Solid doors also tend to be heavier than hollow core doors. While this bodes well from a soundproofing standpoint, the increased weight can make these doors difficult for DIYers to install. Don’t be ashamed to call in a professional when upgrading to a solid door.
14. Upgrade to a Soundproof Door
If the above DIY hacks aren’t enough for keeping your home quiet, then consider upgrading to a soundproof door. If you’ve been inside of a recording studio or music room, then chances are you’ve seen them in action, in the form of acoustic steel doors.
There are other types of soundproof doors available, including solid composite interior doors and soundproof sliding glass doors. Overall, these doors provide the best sound class transmission ratings, with your average acoustical steel door achieving STC 50 or higher.
A typical soundproof door can cost thousands of dollars, depending on the type of door and available options. These doors may also require professional installation for the best results.
Reasons to Soundproof a Door
Whether for personal or professional reasons, privacy is a big concern.
At home, you might desire increased privacy in your primary bedroom and bathroom for enhanced intimacy or to improve your sleep. We all know how important good sleep is for health.
Professionally, if your business is in any medical, financial, or legal related areas, maintaining privacy for you and your clients is crucial. What is said in your office should stay there, and soundproofing your door can improve that aspect.
Isolate a Room
Certain rooms in your home generate more sound that could benefit from isolation from the rest of the house.
The doors leading to your home theater, home studio, music, drum room, laundry room, and even the mechanical room are excellent candidates for soundproofing.
Soundproofing the doors of these noisy rooms keeps them isolated from the rest of your house.
Reduce External Noise
Alternatively, external sounds coming into your room can be reduced by soundproofing the doors.
Keeping external sound from entering your theater or studio enhances the experience. And likewise, watching Star Wars full-throttle won’t annoy the heck out of everyone else!
Treating the door to your bedroom might be what you need to get the better sleep you are craving or gain the peaceful environment you need to crush your work in the home office.
If you live in an apartment, dorm, or anywhere there are lots of people living close together, you should consider soundproofing your door.
Enhance Your Home Value
A soundproofed room will appeal to people like musicians, home recording, and home theater enthusiasts. Treating your door is one of the easiest and most affordable things you can do and can be done over a weekend.
Don’t expect a huge bump in value, but a few soundproofed doors won’t go unnoticed by buyers.
What Types of Doors are Most Soundproof?
- Accordion Doors – While these doors add a small measure of soundproofing, the effect is minimal compared to other doors.
- Pocket Doors – These doors look cool, but they lack a stop bead on the jamb’s non-pocket side, making it much harder to soundproof.
- Bifold Doors – Most bifold doors are hollow, allowing sound to trivially pass through.
- Barn Doors – Barn doors offer less soundproofing than traditional doors due to the inherent gaps on the sides and top between the door and the wall.
- French Doors – The gap between the French doors can allow air and sound to rush through.
- Hollow Core – Hollow core doors lack the mass to absorb and dampen sounds.
- Solid Core – These doors feature a composite or MDF core that helps absorb sound.
- Solid Wood – Made entirely of solid wood panels. Offers the best soundproofing performance next to purpose-built soundproof doors.
- Soundproof Door – This option provides the best performance overall.
Does a Solid Door Reduce Noise?
Solid doors have a simple, but neat trick up their proverbial sleeve – mass. The more mass a door has, the more mass is available for absorbing unwanted sounds. Solid doors feature a dense, heavy core that effectively blocks the movement of sound.
Compare that to a hollow door. The thin veneer surface combined with hollow-core makes it easy for sound to pass through unimpeded, which makes for a noisier living experience.
Can You Soundproof a Hollow Core Door?
Yes! All of the methods discussed in this article can be used on hollow core doors. Many people searching how to soundproof a door likely have sound issues with a hollow core.
That’s not to say that soundproofing a hollow core door is an easy task. As mentioned before, there’s plenty of prep work involved in soundproofing a hollow-core door, especially if you want to use expanding foam to fill one in.
Can you Soundproof French Doors?
French doors can be soundproofed to an extent.
There are more gaps for noise to transmit through in this type of door, so it’s critical you buy two good door sweep kits and some good closed-cell sound-absorbent tape to put along the outer edges of the door.
On a french door, you will want to have a good seal in the middle, where the two doors meet when closed.
Can you Soundproof a Glass Door, or Sliding Glass Doors?
Yes, sliding glass doors can be soundproofed, and it’s actually very similar to how windows are treated for noise mitigation.
You can purchase an add-on door frame that bolts on over your existing glass door to add a layer of insulating air between the door and the noise.
The frames can be attached on the inside or outside, depending on your type of door or preference.
Don’t Forget Safety Requirements
Altering doors can run afoul of fire codes and lease agreements if you rent. Before you soundproof a door, ask yourself the following:
- Will my soundproofing project meet local building and fire codes?
- Does my lease or rental agreement prohibit modifications like door soundproofing?
- Can I get permission to soundproof a door?
Of course, the above doesn’t apply if you own your home. Nevertheless, make sure your project uses safe, fire-resistant materials to minimize the likelihood of fire dangers in your home.
*Last updated 2023-02-22 at 20:07 / Product Links & Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
I’m looking to soundproof a french door-sized hole between two rooms. E.g., I’m assuming it’ll be sealed and am happy to take down the existing French doors.
Not sure where to look for creating a “permanent” (I rent) soundproof wall between two rooms.