How to soundproof a front door: The Ultimate Guide


When closed, the front door should stand between you and the outside noise. But what if your front door is:

  • hollow
  • thin
  • cracked
  • there are gaps between the door and the door frame?

In all of those cases, far more noise will enter your home than you’d probably like. Also your privacy is compromised, as anyone walking by the door can listen in on your conversations, the music you’re playing etc.

Being a very private person, I would not like if my neighbors had such an insight into my affairs, and neither should you! You can completely fix this problem by using a few proven and affordable soundproofing methods.

1. Seal of any gaps and cracks in the door

Some usual gaps that require soundproofing are:

  • between the door and the door frame
  • between the door and the floor

Inspect your door when it’s closed. Are their any gaps present? They don’t have to be big. Just a few millimeters is enough for sound to pass through unobstructed.

You should seal off these gaps before soundproofing the door in any other way. For doing this, you can use affordable items like weatherstripping tape and a door sweep (both are available on Amazon).

How to use the weatherstripping tape

The tape has an adhesive on one side. Use the tape on the door frame where it’s supposed to meet the door until there is a seal when you close it.

Do this once and close the door. Is there a seal now, or is there still a gap present? Check all sides. If there’s still a gap, tape the frame again until you’ve created a perfect seal.

This tape is a long-term solution and in regular circumstances it can last on your door for a few years.

It can also be used for sealing gaps between the window and the window frame. I recommend sealing those gaps as well, since the windows are another major entrance point for noise.

How to attach the door sweep

A door sweep (also known as door bottom) is a useful upgrade for keeping noise, drafts, dust and BUGS out of your home.

There are different door sweeps available. Some cover the entire bottom part of the door like this one.

To install it you’ll need a drill, drill bit, screwdriver and a hacksaw (to cut it to size if it’s too long for your door).

Here’s an installation tutorial for that type of door sweep:

But I prefer the type that comes with the weatherstripping tape (linked to before) because it’s easier to attach on the door. It has a self-adhesive on one side. So you attach it on the door without having to use any tools.

I’ll remind you once more, definitely seal off any gaps using these tips before trying other solutions that I’ll mention in this article. Because if those gaps are present, all the other solutions will not be as effective.

NOTE: You can use this method to soundproof any door in your home. I’ve used it on my bedroom door and toilet door as well.

You will notice a reduction in noise immediately after doing this. However, how much of a difference it makes really depends on the loudness of your surroundings. You can additionally soundproof your front door using one of the following methods:

2. Install acoustic panels on the door

Acoustic panels are great for absorbing noise and reducing echo in the room.

There are two types of panels: fiberglass panels and soundproofing foam panels.

The difference between them is this; fiberglass panels block airborne noise and impact noise. Foam panels block only airborne noise.

So which ones would be the best choice for your front door?

It depends on what type of sound you’re trying to block. Airborne noise is emitted only through air, so it includes sounds like people talking loudly, dogs barking or an edgy Michael Douglas honking in a traffic jam.

On the other hand, impact noise is low frequency sound that gets amplified when it passes through structures like walls and doors. That’s why it’s also called structure-borne noise. Some examples of impact noise are drum bass, a vibrating washer, a bouncing basketball, kids jumping on the floor, heavy footsteps (I should definitely give that Atkins diet another try) etc.

So if you’re dealing with both types of noise or just impact noise, it’s best to use fiberglass panels. These ones look really nice, have good customer reviews and there are four colors to choose from. There’s no major difference between fiberglass panels, as long as they are REALLY made from fiberglass. So company reputation and customer experience are the things to look out for before buying.

If you’re dealing only with airborne noise, then you can use cheaper panels that are made from soundproofing foam. These are the standard ones that are used in many studios, and I personally used them to soundproof my bedroom ceiling. You can even see these being used in studios of popular Youtubers like H3H3 and Secular Talk.

How to hang acoustic panels on the door

Don’t glue the panels directly on the door. It will only ruin the door and make it difficult to remove the panels later if you feel like it.

Use Command Strips instead. Just place 1-3 strips on each panel and then press it on the door to make it stick.

This way you can easily move the panels around or even use them in other parts of your home if you need to. This is a seriously good tip, so use it to your advantage.

3. Hang soundproofing material in front of the door

An alternative to acoustic panels is to hang soundproofing material not on the door, but IN FRONT of the door. If your door is part glass, it will look nicer to have the material hanging a bit further from the door. Rather than having acoustic panels installed directly, which may look a bit strange on those parts when observed from the outside.

As far as effectiveness is concerned, you can hang soundproofing material either on the outside or the inside of your home. As long as it covers the door it will work. But it’s usually more convenient to hang it from the inside.

Just like I emphasized with acoustic panels, you should choose the material depending on the type of noise you want to reduce:

For airborne and impact noise

To reduce both of these sound types together, hanging a fiberglass blanket in front of the door is the best solution.

I often recommend this Singer fiberglass blanket for door soundproofing because it’s really easy to hang, it’s big enough to cover most doors, and it absorbs both types of noise really well.

To hang it, first add 2 hooks with anchors on the wall above the door. Next, hang the blanket on the hooks so that it covers the door completely. It should also cover some space on each side of the door (which is a plus), unless your door is really wide.

By hanging the blanket this way instead of gluing it to the door with an adhesive, you can easily remove it whenever you want to. And use it for other doors in your home any time you want to as well.

For airborne noise

For dealing only with airborne noise there are some cheaper options available. Namely products like:

  • noise blocking curtains
  • moving blankets

The idea is the same – hang the sound absorbing material in front of the door.

There are many noise blocking curtains to choose from. Literally hundreds. But all the popular ones are basically the same, other than color and minor differences in design.

The main feature to watch out for is size. You want to purchase large curtains. Because obviously, the more space you cover the less space there is left for the noise to come through.

These curtains are large enough to cover most front doors adequately and they work well for blocking airborne noise.

An alternative product you can use are moving blankets. They are sturdy, thick blankets that are often used to wrap valuable objects when moving, hence the name. Coincidentally, they also work well for blocking airborne noise.

These blankets are often used for soundproofing projects. You can hang them in the same way as you would a fiberglass blanket.

However, don’t expect the same level of soundproofing from all three of these materials. The acoustic panels and the fiberglass blanket work the best. The second best option are the noise-blocking curtains and the last option are moving blankets.

So choose your option wisely.

All of the tips that I’ve explained so far can be used for any door in the house. Now I want to focus on a few soundproofing methods specifically for front doors.

4. Cover cat flaps and mail slots

Cat flaps are a really sneaky gateway for sound to come in and out. Although there is some obstruction present, it’s so thin that it makes little difference. If your door has a cat flap, you can:

Mail slots are another gap that allows noise to seep through the door. The best way to eliminate this issue is to use a mail catcher over the mail slot.

This mail catcher looks really cool, and there are no tools needed to install it. Just like the door sweep I mentioned earlier, this item is also equipped with a self-adhesive, so all you have to do is stick it on the door.

5. Add wood to your door – handyman only

This is out of my expertise area, but I’ll mention it anyway. Gluing a wooden panel to the door is a great way to add thickness to the door and enhance its noise absorbing potential. Especially if the door is hollow. Simply knock on it and you’ll notice if its hollow or not.

However, this method requires some handyman talent. So I suggest you rather use some of the other methods mentioned in this article, or hire a professional to do this for you.

But here is a short guide for the process:

To add thickness to the door with extra wood, you will need:

  • a smooth 1/2 inch thick MDF board the exact size of your door (get one custom made in a store like Home Depot or from a local carpenter)
  • green glue (an excellent soundproofing adhesive)

Before you can glue this MDF board on the door, you’ll have to remove the handle and any other protruding parts from the door. This video shows how to cut wood to insert a door handle. You can use it for reference.

Next, you’ll have to cut parts of the MDF board so that the handle and any other protruding parts of the door that you identified can pass through once you’ve placed the board on the door. This video can be helpful to

Then add a layer of green glue all across the side of the door where you’ll be adding the MDF board (from the inside would be the best). Then carefully place the MDF board on that layer of green glue. It will take 3-5 minutes to stick well so keep an eye on the door.

This is a viable option if your door is fully made out of wood and there is no glass present. If there is glass however, it will take additional steps to make it look decent, and I’d personally rather choose one of the other options on the menu than bother with all of that.

6. Get a solid core door

This is the last option and the most expensive one. But you’re free to use it!

You can replace your current front door with a new, solid core exterior door.

But there are two potential problems with this method that have to be mentioned:

  • it’s expensive – a solid core door can cost anywhere between $500 to a few thousand dollars. Especially a custom made door.
  • you have to get the measures perfect – you have to get the measures almost perfect. If you don’t, the door will not fit into the door frame and you’ll have to re-do it or get a new one. All of this can double the bill.
  • the installation can be a hassle – to install a new door requires removing the current door and fitting in a new one. While it’s not rocket science, it usually takes more than one person to do it.

So those are some significant negative aspects of completely changing the door to reduce noise. On the flip side, a thick solid core door is a pretty effective way to prevent noise, and it looks better than a door upgraded with commercial soundproofing items.

Even if you opt for this method, you should still seal off any gaps with weatherstripping tape (and a door sweep).

Conclusion

I hope this information has helped you learn how to soundproof your front door. Here is just a small piece of advice for you, if you’re unsure about which method to choose.

If I was dealing with a medium amount of noise, I would do this:

  • seal of the gaps with method number 1
  • hang fiberglass panels on the door with command strips

If my door had some glass parts, I would:

  • seal of the gaps with method number 1
  • hang a fiberglass blanket or noise blocking curtains in front of the door

For extreme levels of noise I’d probably use the panels AND the blanket or the curtains in combination. But that would be necessary only if you lived on an airport next to the landing strip. If you don’t, one of these two options will probably be enough to fix any noise that you’re dealing with for good.

Have any soundproofing questions? Comment them below or send them to me at soundproofadvice@gmail.com and if I can, I’ll provide an answer in a new article. So have a great day and I hope to hear from you soon! – Luka Baron

 

Peter Bone

Soundproof expert and a staunch opponent of noise. This website is a free source of information on how to 'keep it down a notch'. I update the content regularly to keep up with advancements in the soundproofing industry.

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