Do you have a thin door that doesn’t protect you from noise in any way? Not only is your privacy in danger, but you also have to hear everything that happens outside of your room or home.
Unfortunately many doors are made from thin wood, and sometimes they’re even hollow on the inside. They’re both emotionally unavailable and they let everyone talk past them at your detriment.
So here are 15 very useful tips for soundproofing any door.
#1 Seal the cracks and gaps in the door
Any gap and crack in the door or the frame will allow noise to easily bypass the door. We have to stop this from happening. Here are the 3 best ways to do it:
1. Cover the door frame gap
Oh boy, you’ve definitely noticed this one already. That gap between the door and the door frame. It’s a few millimeter but sometimes even a centimeter or two indentation in the frame. And sometimes there’s even a gap between the frame and the door.
These gap can typically be found on both sides of the door, and on the top as well. They serve no purpose but to let air and noise walk in more easily. You really need to seal them if you want to soundproof a door properly.
Doing this is very simple and won’t cost you more than 10-20 bucks. Simply cover the gap with weatherstripping foam tape. This tape is self-adhesive and it comes in different sizes.
This is the one I use and generally recommend for door gaps. It’s really thick and provides excellent thermal and sound insulation because of it’s density. It can also be cut easily with a knife to the required size.
I recommend applying the tape on all the door frames in your home where these gaps are present. It takes less than 5 minutes to seal the entire frame and the results are permanent.
2. Attach a door sweep to the door
Door sweep is also called a door bottom. And for good reason! It’s a silicone or metal extension that is used to cover the gap between the door and the floor.
Go, check out the doors in your home and see if the gap is present on any of them. If it is, you’ll never soundproof the door without covering it first. Why? Because air, sound and nasty bugs use it to walk into the room unchallenged.
To take care of this problem, there are two options:
First options is to use a basic door sweep that is simply attached to the door. My favorite is this self-adhesive silicone door sweep. Because no tools are required for installation. And with the price being around 10 bucks it’s really affordable.
The second option is an automatic door sweep. This is a more complicated and expensive device because it closes when the door is closed and opens when the door is opened.
So why would anyone buy the automatic? Well, it looks pretty cool. And it’s a practical choice for areas where the floor is uneven. Because a basic door sweep will drag over the floor if the floor is uneven. In that case an automatically closing and opening door bottom can come in handy.
But for most situations a basic door sweep is the best option due to the simple installation and lower price.
3. Seal the cracks with an acoustic sealant
Cracks in the door or in the door frame will reduce their effectiveness at blocking noise. These cracks can be a few millimeters wide or even larger. Regardless of that, it’s best to deal with them immediately.
In order to do this, pour acoustic caulking into the crack in order to seal it. The best acoustic caulk product is the Green glue noiseproofing sealant.
Here’s a video tutorial on how to use it properly:
#2 Add mass to the door
Mass blocks sound. That’s why thicker walls, doors or windows are all better at blocking sound. They have more mass! So adding mass to the door is the next (and final) part of your epic door soundproofing project.
There are many ways to do this. I’ve limited myself to sharing the 12 best options:
1. Install a wooden panel
Doubling the mass of the door with an extra wooden panel sounds logical right? That’s because it actually is. Here’s how you do it:
- Measure the door
- Order a custom-sized, thick wooden panel that matches the door’s dimensions. This may be possible through Home Depot or a similar larger store. Or order it from a local woodworker. The best options are MDF and plywood panels due to their density.
- Make a hole inside the wooden panel for the door knob/handle
- Cover the door with green glue noiseproofing compound (NOT acoustic sealant, this is a different product). This is an optional step. But it’s great for eliminating low frequency sounds.
- Secure the panel to the door by using nails, screws or a spray adhesive
With an extra wooden panel you can double the door’s mass. However, make sure that the hinges holding the door are strong enough to sustain the additional weight.
2. Install mass loaded vinyl
Mass loaded vinyl (I’ll call it MLV from now on) is a powerful soundproofing product.
- Order a roll of MLV. My recommendation is from this supplier on Amazon because of proven quality and fast delivery. But it’s available in Home Depot and perhaps other large hardware stores as well.
- When it arrives, cut it to the size of the door
- Make a hole in the material with a knife to fit the door handle
- Use a spray adhesive, screws or nails to install it on the door
Mass loaded vinyl is heavy, but lighter than a wooden panel. So the hinges shouldn’t be a problem unless they’re already barely holding the door in place.
The good thing about MLV is that it’s not all that thick. So there shouldn’t be any problem with the door handle. An additional benefit of MLV is the reduction in echo. It’s a durable, but also soft and flexible material that dampens the noise and improves the acoustics in the room.
If you don’t prefer the black vinyl color, you can paint it over with latex paint, or cover it with a fabric of your choice.
Option number two involves placing the MLV inside the door. This is possible only with hollow interior doors.
- Remove the door from the hinges.
- Remove the door panel to reveal the hollow parts.
- Nail/screw or adhere with spray adhesive the MLV to the inside of the door.
- You can also use green glue noiseproofing compound for improved protection against lower frequencies (impact, vibration noise).
- Return the door panel back into original position to cover the interior of the door.
- Place the door back on the hinges.
This second method involves more work and is possible only for hollow doors. The main advantage however is that the material is not visible from the outside.
Overall, this is one of my favorite soundproofing materials of all time because it can be used to soundproof walls, doors and even vehicle cabins and engine compartments. If you have any leftovers, check out 11 more ways to utilize mass loaded vinyl for soundproofing.
3. Hang a thick blanket
Tacking a heavy blanket on the door is another good way to add mass and also reduce echo. Not all blankets work equally well. The best ones are heavy moving blankets. They’re often used as an additional noise barrier.
The heaviest one of the bunch is the Supreme mover blanket, so it’s the best one for this project as well. One Supreme mover is enough. But if you decide to use lighter blankets, make sure to hang at least two (two layers) in order to get decent results.
In order to hang the blanket, tacks or nails are the most convenient option. You’ll also need to make a hole in the material in order to keep the door handle functional. This can be done easily with scissors.
Hanging the blanket in front of the door by using a curtain rod or a similar object can also be done to provide similar noise-blocking results.
4. Hang a thick and heavy curtain
Large noise-blocking curtains are often hung from curtain rods in front of door and windows. Usually glass surfaces are covered for the additional thermal insulation and UV rays protection.
But for noise-blocking, these heavy curtains will work their magic in front of any surface. Regular wooden doors as well as glass doors.
To hang a noise-blocking curtain, install a curtain rod from the wall above the door. Then simply hang the curtain from the rod.
If you want to double the noise reduction, install a double curtain rod. It allows you to install two curtains, doubling the thickness of the noise barrier.
Before buying a curtain, make sure that it’s large enough to cover the entire door. I’ve covered the best ones as well as the best double curtain rod to use in this article.
5. Use soundproofing panels
Acoustic panels sometimes get a bad rep in the soundproofing community. Why is that?
Because people often buy lightweight foam panels and get disappointed by their results. They expect echo reduction AND soundproofing from them. But cheap foam panels in reality only absorb echo, they don’t block sound to any large degree.
However, not all acoustic panels fall into this light-foam category. There are heavier ones available that are stuffed with denser foam or fiberglass. These are the panels that work well for soundproofing. The best ones to use are the Superdense Panels from Burton Acoustix.
These panels and any others can be installed on the door using spray adhesive, nails, screws or even better, hanging strips. The advantage of using hanging strips is that the surface doesn’t get damaged in any way. Also, removing the panels and using them somewhere else if needed will be easier as well.
However, use at least a few hanging strips behind each of these heavy panels, since you’ll probably be opening and closing the door often and you want to prevent them from falling off.
6. Replace the current door with a soundproof door
If the door you have is hollow (knock on it and you’ll know for sure) or really thin, replacing it with a thicker solid-core door can make a big difference.
You can order a custom sized door through Home Depot or perhaps even a local woodworking shop.
Then remove the old door from the hinges and place the new, heavier one its place. It might be too heavy for the old hinges so they might need replacing as well.
If you’re interested in this idea, make sure to get the dimensions for the door extra right. Even a 2 millimeter mistake could make the door too big or too small for the door frame.
If it’s too big it simply won’t fit. If it’s a bit smaller, placing foam tape can make up the difference, but it would still be a significant downgrade.
So overall, replacing a door can be pretty risky and expensive, especially if you make a mistake during the process. But if you do it properly, hopefully it will provide a great improvement.
Even so, you should still cover the gaps in the frame and/or under the door for extra noise protection. Because no matter how massive a door is, these gaps allow free flow of air and sound to pass through.
7. Place a rug or a foam mat on the entryway
This won’t exactly soundproof the door. But it will prevent the noise from bouncing off the hard floor as you open and close it. It will also reduce the duration of sounds occurring in the doorway. So besides stomping on it to clean your shoes, a rug or a foam mat are okay soundproofing allies as well.
8. Hang clothes on the door
While not the ideal method, it’s a very cheap way to add mass to the door. If you have any clothes of course, and I suspect you do!
So get some door hangers and hang thick coats and hoodies on the door. While you probably won’t be able to cover the entire door with them, you can cover at least 50% of the door. And that’s certainly better than nothing.
9. Paint the door with sound deadening paint
Let me clear immediately that this thick paint won’t completely soundproof the door. But it will add some density to it, and it will reduce echo in the room.
The type of noise that it can protect against fall into the medium-pitch levels.
Talking and singing in normal tone for example fall into this category. Singing opera however would be considered high-pitched, while the rumbling noise of a washing machine is low pitched noise. So it can be helpful in normal circumstances, but in case of any louder sounds you’ll need something a bit more to solve the soundproofing equation.
The best paint for the job is Acousti-Coat sound deadening paint. To get the most out of the paint, apply two layers or more instead of just one.
The good thing about this paint is that it can be used on wooden, metal and regular wall surfaces. Any leftovers can be applied to other areas of the home that could use an extra noise barrier.
10. Hang a door storage unit
Door storage units are another “natural” way to add mass to any door. They’re like little baskets in which you can place folded clothes, towels, or even books and other stuff lying around your home. But preferably something soft.
This 6-basket door storage unit is by far the most popular. Most people hang it on their bathroom and bedroom door. But obviously, you can hang it on any door you wish to soundproof.
11. Double or triple the glass
Soundproofing french doors, sliding glass doors or a regular door with small glass windows can also be accomplished. The glass is probably not as thick as wooden or metal parts, and needs to be further reinforced.
To soundproof a door that is predominantly made out of glass, it’s best to add additional layers of glass to increase it’s thickness. Typically acrylic is the material used because it blocks noise better than regular glass. Contact a professional service for this task because it’s not exactly a DIY project.
Another thing you can do in addition to installing extra glass is to hang noise-blocking curtains. They often look great in front of a glass door, especially one-panel curtains.
In case of doors that are only partially glass, the same tips apply. In that case, replacing it with thick double or triple-panes is even easier because the surface is smaller.
In either case, adding additional panes will reduce the visibility, so if you’re concerned about that, adopt a curtains-only policy. Double rod and two curtains hung on it can provide great noise reduction without having to do any professional work on the glass itself.
Summary: How to soundproof a door?
This is the most common soundproofing project. Simply because most doors are thin and surrounded with gaps.
For most people I would suggest installing mass loaded vinyl or moving blankets on the door because they’re so easy to install and are very effective. Especially mass loaded vinyl. Hanging thick curtains near the door can also be immensely helpful.
But regardless of which mass-adding methods you choose to employ, also make sure to seal any gaps.
By using these two tactics, your door will become a reliable protector of your privacy and provide a much quieter environment to your home.