You’ve probably noticed that small gap under your door and it’s really bugging you. Not only does hot/cold air move easily in and out of the room, but noise also comes through very easily. Not to mention the bugs! Installing a functional door sweep can solve all of these problems.
Types of Door Sweeps
There are many different door sweeps available but these are the categories that we can use to distinguish them:
1. BASIC DOOR SWEEP
This door sweep is installed on the door and it’s fixed on the bottom permanently.
2. AUTOMATIC DOOR SWEEP
Automatics open and close along with the door. So when you’re opening the door, the door sweep lifts, and when you close the door it covers the gap.
They also often use thicker rubber that is more efficient at blocking noise. But often they’re used when the floor is uneven. If you place a regular door sweep.
The downside is that it takes more work to install one. They also cost more. But if you’re looking for better soundproofing some of these are the best option, and I’ve reviewed them in this article.
How to install a door sweep
There are some other differences like the type of installation involved. Some door sweeps require the use of tools in order to be nailed or screwed to the bottom of the door. Sometimes the door needs to be removed from the frame in order to install the door sweep.
I stay away from these door sweeps because the installation requires too much work for my taste. Instead, I prefer those that require very little or no tools, like self-adhesive door sweeps, and those that don’t require removing the door panel from the frame in order to install.
The easiest to install door sweep is the one that is self-adhesive and is not installed on the bottom part of the door, but is rather attached to a lower part of the door panel.
That’s why I often recommend a cheap and effective silicone door sweep which does exactly that. One side is self-adhesive so you just stick it to the door, tool-free and you’re done.
It doesn’t get any simpler than that. But as is the case with every door sweep, you may have to cut it to size if it’s too large for your door in terms of the width. This can easily be done with a sharp kitchen knife, or any decent knife for that matter.
This door sweep is not perfect for blocking noise, so if you want ZERO noise to pass through, it’s not the best option. But for regular noise it’s a standard solution that works pretty well.
Mini Buyer’s Guide for Door Sweeps
There are a couple of features that can make a door sweep good or bad:
- EASE OF INSTALLATION – As mentioned before, some door sweeps require removing the door from the hinges in order to install. Unless the door sweeps provides additional benefits (like an automatic door bottom), it’s not worth the extra hassle. In case of basic door sweeps always go for the one that is self-adhesive or can just be attached with a few screws.
- THICKNESS – Thicker door sweeps will block more of the noise. While the under-door gap is usually only a few millimeters big, it’s still better to have thick rubber or vinyl blocking the entrance. Thickness will also ensure that the door sweep is more durable and won’t crack as easily as it glides on the floor.
- DESIGN – We shouldn’t forget about the aesthetics. While door sweeps are not too noticeable, you’ll want to get one that matches the color of the door or at least one that doesn’t provide a huge contrast and stand out.
- PRICE – Basic door sweeps are pretty affordable. After all, they’re small products made of silicone, foam and/or metal parts that don’t cost a lot to produce. Generally the price is around $10-$20, but there are some that go around $30. The difference in price is usually due to thicker rubber/vinyl that provides a better sound barrier. Automatic door bottoms are generally more expensive, ranging from $30 to $60. It’s good to compare the prices and features in order to get the best deal. A more expensive item is not necessarily better. I did the comparisons before writing these reviews and cut down your research time in this regard.
Best Basic Door Sweeps
So other than the door sweep I linked to above, here are some other options that have their own distinct features. These are all very affordable and easy to install.
1. Silicone Door Sweep with VHB Adhesive 3M Strip
This door sweep is pretty unique so I had to include it in this list. It features a silicone door sweep but also weatherstripping tape, which provides additional soundproofing and draft blocking qualities.
It can be used on interior and exterior doors. Also, it can be attached to any material. Metal, wooden, glass, plastic doors – it really doesn’t matter, because the 3M strip is really strong. But it takes a bit of pressure for it to stick permanently, which gives you the freedom to move it around while adjusting on the door.
So the installation is really straightforward. Simply place the sticky side of the door sweep on the bottom of the door and apply some pressure with your hand to make it stick.
This is a really affordable door sweep, costing less than 15 bucks, or at least that’s what I’m seeing at the moment.
2. Evelots 36″ Jumbo Double Door Draft Stopper
This door sweep is more effective at sound and thermal insulation then the other ones I mentioned. The reason is pretty simple: there’s a larger foam barrier on both sides of the door preventing air from passing through.
Even though it looks pretty big, it actually glides on the floor thanks to the leather texture. It glides even on carpets and other non-skid surfaces so there’s no worries that it will impede on the door’s functionality.
Aside from it’s wide use as a door sweep, it’s also a popular noise and draft blocking solution for windows.
What really surprised me when I first saw this product was the price. It’s only costs a few dollars more than the silicone door sweeps I recommended earlier.
If you find the product to be too big, you can cut the fabric and foam tube with scissors or a knife to the needed size.
The only fault I can find with this product is the design, which some people might find a bit excessive. But the added mass acts as an additional barrier against noise. Those two facts are unfortunately always linked as any soundproofing expert will tell you.
This draft stopper has been sold for over 3 years on Amazon, and has almost 600 customer reviews.
3. Soundproofing Custom Cut Door Sweep for Doors with 20″ to 40″ Widths
If you have a 3/4 inch gap under your door, this is the best option.
This door sweep has over 20 different lengths available, from 20 inches to 40 inches.
It has a metal part that is attached to the door with screws (received along with the door sweep) and a regular screwdriver. The part that covers the gap is made out of really dense rubber, so it does a much greater job at blocking noise than regular door sweeps.
Obviously, this soundproofing door sweep stops drafts and pests from entering through the gap as well.
Many users have commented that it’s really effective for blocking noise. Some however have mentioned that it’s not a good option if the floor is not completely level.
Due to the metal part, it’s not as flexible as other door sweeps so you have to make sure that the floor is level otherwise the movement of the door can be reduced.
So this is a great option if you REALLY want to soundproof your door for additional privacy instead of just blocking noise to some extent. The price matches the quality, and it costs more than the simple silicone and foam door sweeps mentioned before.
Best Automatic Door Sweeps
Automatic door sweeps (video explanation) are a beautiful piece of mechanics for soundproofing the gap beneath the door when it’s closed, and allowing for full functionality while opening the door.
Some cheaper basic door sweeps can drag on the floor and get ruined quickly or they don’t allow the door to open if the gap is uneven. And if you cut them enough to use the door, then the deeper gaps is not taken care of. Also, the thinner door sweeps sometimes crack after a short while, so you have to patch them up or buy new ones after a few months of use.
So while automatic door sweeps are generally more expensive, they also look better and provide a long-term solution to draft, noise and pest problems.
The downside that remains is installation, which is typically more complicated and typically requires using tools and taking the door off the hinge to access the bottom part fully. So you’ll need some woodworking skills to fit it on the door.
1. Pemko Aluminum Automatic Door Bottom
This is one of the more affordable and popular automatic door bottoms. It’s made out of an aluminum enclosing that is connected to the door and vinyl in between.
Here’s a video with more information:
Now, as some customers mentioned, it takes a bit of woodworking skill to install on a door. First you’ll have to remove the door from the hinges and then use the screws that come in the package to secure it on the bottom.
And you also need to dado a groove in the door in order to get it to fit. But if you have some basic woodworking experience or someone to do it for you, it takes less than an hour to do it.
Who do I recommend this door bottom to? To people who’s floors are uneven and they don’t want their door sweep to drag when they’re opening and closing the door. Also to people who have some handyman experience and aren’t afraid of trying something different to get better results.
2. CRL Dark Bronze Medium-Duty Automatic Door Bottom Seal
This door seal is similar to the previous one, and it getting excellent user reviews. This is another great solution for uneven floors, and the same mechanism of retraction of the vinyl bar is used.
While the Amazon listing states that this bottom is only for 36″ wide doors, one person asked about different sizes and received this answer:
Place your order for the 36″ model and be sure to email us through Amazon to give us a heads-up and we can send you the 32″ instead. The 32″ model is the same price as the 36″.
So there are different sizes available depending on the width of your door.
The installation process is very similar to the previous door sweep. First remove the door from the frame, then fix the seal to the bottom part of the door. Some woodworking will be necessary to attach it.
This door seal works really well for blocking sound, as was mentioned by multiple users who used it to soundproof their doors.
Sealing that bottom gap of the door is crucial for soundproofing any door. The question is whether you need a basic sweep or an automatic one? For most people a basic silicone door sweep works just fine.
But to get really powerful noise-blocking you may want to use the soundproofing custom door sweep (number 3 on the list) which uses thicker rubber and provides better overall insulation. This is a good middle ground between the automatic door bottom that are harder to install and basic door sweeps that provide lesser noise reduction.
I would get an automatic door seal only on those doors where opening and closing could be difficult with a basic door sweep due to an uneven floor. In other cases I wouldn’t bother with the extra work that is involved in installing one.