How to Soundproof a Door: The Essential Guide

Last Updated on October 26, 2020 by Facundo

Having loud roommates or family members who wake you up at night or don’t let you concentrate when you need to study is definitely something that we all had to deal with at some point in our lives.

Luckily, you can soundproof your door and reduce the level of noise by quite a lot, if done correctly.

In this post I will give you some of the best methods to go about soundproofing a door properly.

Soundproofing vs Acoustic treatment

Important note: There’s a huge difference between soundproofing and sound treatment, and both are often confused; Soundproofing consists in blocking sound, not allowing it in- or out of a room.

Acoustic treatment consists in using materials that are capable of absorbing sound to lower the echo in a room.

Sound absorbing materials can still be used to aid the soundproofing process, but know that they aren’t as effective.

In this post I will tell you how to soundproof a door and how to also use sound-absorbing materials to further reduce it.

How to Soundproof a Door?

In order to soundproof a door you will need to apply weatherstripping tape to the frame to create an air-right seal once the door is closed, use acoustic caulk to seal any cracks that may have formed between the frame and the wall, and install a door sweep.

These are the absolute basics, but if done correctly, and if the door isn’t made of cardboard, this should have a big impact on the overall noise reduction.

However, if these steps aren’t enough, then there are plenty of additional ways of soundproofing the door even further which I will talk about later in this post.

But now, let’s start with the most important step of all… Weatherstripping.

Weatherstrip the Door

Applying a weatherstrip to the door’s frame is by far the most important step in this whole process since it will create a perfect seal between the door and the frame once it’s closed, plus it’s really affordable and easy to install.

Important Note: When choosing a weatherstrip, make sure that it’s not too thick, since you might go through all the work of attaching it to the door’s frame only to find that it can’t be closed… and yes, this happened to me the first time I tried it.

How to weatherstrip a Door

Here is a step-by-step guide where you’ll learn how to do it.

If you don’t want to watch the video, I’ll give you a quick summary of how to do it.

  1. Use Rubbing alcohol to clean the frames.
  2. Start adhering the tape from the bottom all the way to the top making sure to not let any gaps.
  3. On the part of the frame where the hinges are, make sure to adhere the tape along the hinge edge so it doesn’t get ripped out once the door is closed.

And that is really it!

This is the weatherstrip that I recommend, since it’s affordable and of extremely good quality, it should last you for a very long time.

Tip: If air can come in, then so does sound. This means that you should close the door and feel if there’s any air entering through any gaps that you still haven’t sealed.

This could be done by having someone blow from the other side of the door, on the part where you’re checking if it’s correctly sealed or not.

Another way to check for gaps and cracks is by using a flashlight. If everything is sealed up perfectly, no light should be seen between the door and the frame.

Install a Door Sweep

You’ve just gone through all the trouble of sealing the door using a weatherstrip, but what about the huge gap at the bottom of the door?

Well, here’s where a door sweep comes in handy, and you should a one like this one, cut it to the size of your door and then install it.

Any door sweep will do the trick, but for ease of installation I’d recommend getting one with an adhesive backing.

If you don’t want to install one, then getting a draft stopper is the next best thing.

Use Acoustic Caulk

This is extremely easy to do, plus it’s fast and very effective.

You need to get an Acoustic Sealant like this one and using a caulk gun you can begin the installation.

Where to use Acoustic Caulk?

It’s designed to fill small 1/8” gaps to ½” gaps and should be applied between the frames and the wall.

It’s designed for interior use only; it shouldn’t be used on the exterior, so take note of that!

Note: After you have applied it, give it about 48hs to dry completely.

Here’s an in-depth video guide:

Use Mass Loaded Vinyl

One of the best soundproofing materials available is Mass Loaded Vinyl. It’s more commonly used for soundproofing a car, but it works for anything that needs some insulation.

MLV is great at soundproofing because it directly blocks sound, contrary to what some other materials do which is absorb some of it.

Important Note: Even though MLV might be excellent for soundproofing purposes, it’s black and very heavy, which is why I wouldn’t go this route unless there’s no other choice.

How to Install the Mass Loaded Vinyl on a Door

Cut the vinyl to the exact measurements of the door, and then use one of these methods to attach it:

  • Use really strong Velcro to hold it against the door, making sure that you use enough of it so that it can take the weight of the vinyl, and believe me, it’s heavy.
  • Staple the vinyl to the door, which is a good way of doing it if you don’t care too much about ruining the door and if you plan on leaving the vinyl on forever.
  • Use a very strong adhesive.

Add Mass to the door

There are a couple way to go about it, but the basic premise here is making the door thicker by adding another layer of insulation to it, like rigid foam insulation, drywall, or another piece of wood.

The installation process should be easy enough.

Just know that you will ruin the door by doing this because the insulation would have to get nailed to the door.

Lastly, make sure to check if you are not violating your building code.

Consider a Magnetic Door Gasket if the frames are Metal

Magnetic door gaskets are more commonly used on fridge- and freezer- doors to ensure a perfect air-tight seal.

They work similarly to weatherstripping but just better. They are also a bit more expensive.

The one con to these door gaskets is that they are MAGNETIC, which means that the frame of the door needs to be made of metal.

Some frames are made of metal, for instance the ones I had in in my previous home, but most of them aren’t, so in order to be able to use these gaskets properly you would need to change the whole frame which isn’t ideal.

I’d say, if you have metal frames then absolutely go for this option, if not then just use a weatherstrip.

Install Acoustic Blankets on the door

One pretty effective and super affordable way to help soundproof a door is using a sound absorbing blanket.

While soundproofing blankets on their own won’t do that much to help insulate the door, if combined with sealing all the gaps and applying a weatherstrip, then they will definitely aid in reducing unwanted noise.

These soundproof blankets are quite easy to install since all you have to do is hang them from the door, but I’d also make sure to attach it fully to the sides and bottom of the door, forming an as close to an air-tight seal as possible.

One con is that most of them don’t look too pretty, so if you don’t mind compromising the aesthetics of your door, get one!

Install Soundproofing Curtains

Acoustic or soundproofing curtains are mostly used to soundproof a window. However, since they provide some sound absorption, they can also help with soundproofing a doorway.

Read this article if you want to know more about how soundproofing curtains work, but basically you will need to hang them right over the door, and they should be long enough to reach the floor.

The longer and thicker the curtains, the more sound they will absorb.

Just like I mentioned with the blankets, acoustic curtains don’t provide sufficient insulation on their own, but when combined with weatherstripping, caulking, etc., they do make a difference.

Place a Rug in the entryway

Rugs, especially the really thick ones, may give you the additional absorption you need.

Using a rug as the sole soundproofing element in the room won’t do much, they will never work as well as weatherstripping and sealing off any gaps.

But it’s one of those things that adds up to the overall sound absorption in the room.

Still, getting a rug for the sole purpose of absorbing sound doesn’t make that much sense, so only get it if you need that little extra and if you like how it looks.

Dealing with Doors that have Glass

If the door you’re trying to soundproof has glass in it, then it’s no wonder you’re having noise issues since glass isn’t particularly known for its sound blocking capabilities.

It may be that the glazing putty is old and needs some replacing, so a good option is to purchase some since it isn’t expensive at all and replace it.

The second option would be to replace the glass for either acrylic glass, which has a plastic cover that helps with sound absorption, or for a double-pane or even triple-pane glass.

Note: A professional should do this since the installation has to be perfect. If you don’t seal it perfectly then there’s no point in changing the glass in the first place.

Use Foam Panels

If you ever went to a band rehearsal then you have probably noticed that, hopefully, the door was covered with foam panels.

Foam panels help reduce the amplitude of the soundwaves by increasing the air resistance, in other words, it lowers the noise on the other side of those panels.

The best thing about these panels is that they are very affordable and easy to install, all you must do is attach them to the door.

The best way to attach them to the door without ruining it is by using these command strips.

While foam panels may work, using proper acoustic panels also works, just a bit better.

The one issue is that they are a bit more expensive than regular foam panels, and when looking at all the other options in this article, I would opt for another one before I purchase the acoustic panels.

Important note: Sound absorption isn’t that great when it comes to soundproofing, since you want to directly block the sound from entering.

Acoustic foam or rockwool acoustic panels will help, but not as much as one would imagine.

What should you prioritize?

By far, the most important step in this whole guide is weatherstripping since it works the best, it is affordable and doesn’t require you to hang stuff on the door or do anything to it.

After applying the weatherstrip, you should check to see if there are cracks between the frame and the wall. If so, seal them using acoustic putty.

Lastly, install a door sweep.

While all the other steps I mentioned are definitely valid, not only are they more expensive, but they also don’t yield better results.

So, at least try those three ones first and if you see that you need to soundproof even further, consider adding mass to the door or hanging an acoustic blanket on it.

Conclusion

You should start with plugging every gap you can find with acoustic caulk and weatherstrip since this will be the most effective and affordable way to go about soundproofing a door.

Next invest in some soundproofing paint if you can afford to paint the door without completely ruining the way it looks.

Once you are done with these steps it’s up to you to choose the next one; maybe a rug could help, or some soundproofing curtains might be the way to go.

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