Soundproofing garage doors can seem like Mission Impossible. Even Tom Cruise at his best would struggle! Unless you know the secrets of the trade of course. And I will share them with you in this article.
Soundproofing garage doors based on their opening mechanism
First of all, we must recognize that there are different types of garage doors, depending on how they open and close.
For the purposes of soundproofing the most important distinction to make is between those that open upwards and those that open to the sides. There are also roll-up garage doors that have their own little quirks.
The one that’s most difficult to soundproof is a roll-up garage door. Simply because you can’t place any material directly on a roll up garage door. Doing so would impede its opening mechanism.
All the other garage door types are much easier to work with because you can put materials such as MLV, soundproofing panels and moving blankets directly on the their surface.
You can also hang materials like moving blankets or noise-blocking curtains on a curtain rod near the door for extra noise reduction. But this isn’t always possible. If the door opens upwards, then the curtain rod and any material hanging from it could get in the door’s way as you open it.
With this in mind, let’s check out the best soundproofing products and methods for garage doors!
1. Use weather stripping to cover the air gaps around the garage door
Regardless of the type of garage door you have, you should cover the gaps around the door with weather stripping seal. This will prevent the noise from freely passing through. It will also prevent pests like scorpions and cockroaches from coming inside the garage.
To do this properly, it’s best to use a weather stripping seal that is designed specifically for garage doors. Make sure to cover the sides and the top of the door. But also check if the seal might interfere with the opening and closing mechanism of your garage door.
2. Cover the garage door with soundproofing material
There are tons of different soundproofing materials you can place on the door to improve its noise blocking capabilities.
MASS LOADED VINYL
The best product to improve garage door sound insulation is Mass Loaded Vinyl. You can use screws, nails or a spray adhesive to install Mass Loaded Vinyl directly on the garage door. Of course, first cut it to the size of the door. You can also put additional layers to improve sound absorption.
MLV is incredibly effective at absorbing all sound frequencies, making it an ideal material if you’re playing music with your band or you’re using loud tools in the garage. MLV can also be painted or covered with a fabric of your choice if you don’t like the bland look of it.
The other top option are fiberglass panels. They can be hung directly on the door with a spray adhesive or hanging strips. Hanging strips are a better option because they make it easier to remove the panels later if you have to.
Fiberglass can effectively block low and high frequency sound waves, just like MLV. So if you’re playing music in the garage, it has the capability to deal with drum bass as well.
DIY MINERAL WOOL PANELS
Mineral wool is typically placed inside the walls during construction to improve thermal and sound insulation. Although it’s not typically mentioned for garage door soundproofing, there is a way to do it. The secret is to create soundproofing panels from mineral wool, which can be placed directly on the garage door or wall surface.
You just have to cover it with a dense fabric because it emits particles that can be irritating for the lungs, eyes and skin. So you should also wear safety equipment while handling it.
If you’re willing to do some DIY you can save money and get great results by creating your very own soundproofing panels. Because you can choose the fabric design you like it can be a good way to improve the look of your garage as well.
Moving blankets can also be used to soundproof a garage door. This is one of the cheapest options. Blankets won’t block lower frequencies (bass) to any significant degree. But they can block higher and mid level frequency sound waves from making it through.
My recommendation is to place the moving blankets directly on the door, rather than hanging them on a curtain rod, although you can do this as well. And to increase sound absorption, use more than one layer. These are the best moving blankets for soundproofing due to their weight and thickness. The thicker they are, the better!
These thick curtains are typically used to reduce noise coming through windows and glass doors. But you can use them for a garage door as well.
To hang these curtains, install a curtain rod above the garage door and then hang them on it. You can get a double curtain rod in order to hang two instead of one. This will create even better sound isolation.
Make sure to get long curtains that will cover the entire door length-wise or use two curtains side by side if necessary. Noise blocking curtains provide almost the same noise reduction as moving blankets.
For airborne noise they’re a good option. On top of that, noise-blocking curtains also provide thermal insulation, making the temperature in the room more comfortable. These curtains fit the bill in terms of thickness and length and they have over 4400 positive customer reviews so it’s hard to go wrong with them.
ACOUSTIC FOAM PANELS
Acoustic foam panels can be installed directly on the garage door, the same way as fiberglass or mineral wool panels, by using a spray adhesive or Command Strips.
These types of panels are best used to improve the acoustics in the room, but they aren’t as effective for blocking excessive amounts of noise. For band practice and similar levels of noise, I don’t recommend this option.
However, there are some very effective soundproofing panels that are denser and heavier and therefore work better. Here are my top 6 recommendations.
3. Get a new sound insulated garage door
You can purchase a new insulated garage door that provides both thermal and sound insulation. These doors are not entirely soundproof, but they are thicker and may contain in-built soundproofing materials. Depending on the size and the quality of the door, it can cost anywhere between $300 to $4000.
Overall, this is a costly project. It requires removing the current door and installing the new one, and you’ll probably want to hire a professional to do that for you. But it’s definitely a valid option. There are many insulated garage doors available at Home Depot.
4. Soundproof a roll-up garage door
Roll up garage doors can’t be soundproofed by installing thick material directly on the door. Instead of doing that, you can hang fiberglass blankets, moving blankets or noise-blocking curtains near the door. This is a perfectly valid method that many people are using already.
The noise reduction you will get from this method depends on the what material you use. As I mentioned already, fiberglass is the best option for blocking a wide spectrum of sound waves, while moving blankets and thick curtains are primarily used to block airborne high to mid level frequency sound waves.
5. Soundproof garage walls
Doors and windows are the weakest points when it comes to noise. But the walls can also be fairly thin and require some extra soundproofing. For soundproofing thin walls, adding MASS and DENSITY is really important. Concrete blocks or an additional layer of drywall can make a big difference. MLV and mineral wool or rockwool batts also work well.
Mass Loaded Vinyl is excellent at reducing noise from vibrations. It can be installed directly on the surface of the wall, or on the studs. Installing it on the studs provides better results. Mineral wool batts are inserted between the studs and they are used all the time in construction to improve wall insulation.
Both MLV and mineral wool batts can be used to insulate the ceiling as well. And both provide great results for reducing noise transmission through any wall in the house.
Another solid option are soundproofing panels. Remember, not the acoustic foam panels but soundproof panels that are made of materials like fiberglass which have a greater density and weight.
6. Soundproof garage windows
Soundproofing windows is the easiest task. There are many methods to choose from such as:
- noise-blocking curtains
- window plugs
- installing an additional acrylic window pane
- sealing gaps between the window pane and the frame with weatherstrips
You should first cover any air gaps in the window frame with weather stripping tape. Then cover the entire window area with a thick and dense material.
Noise-blocking curtains are a no brainer for windows. I have them in my living room and bedroom and they make a clear difference at reducing traffic noise.
You can read more about window soundproofing methods in this article.
7. Reduce the echo in the garage
Reducing echo will improve the acoustics in the garage. It will also reduce the intensity of the sound. Compare playing an instrument in an empty room, and playing it in a music studio.
A music studio has foam panels on the walls, and soft material all around. You can get the same level of sound quality by covering the walls and the floor of your garage with soft and thick materials.
It’s not necessary to use acoustic panels, although they’re the go-to option for professionals. Covering the place with more affordable materials like moving blankets, thick carpets or rubber mats will also make a noticeable difference.
Even adding a bookshelf or other pieces of furniture will reduce the echo and add an extra sound barrier to those barren garage walls.
8. Don’t forget the air vents!
Air vents are like big holes that allow fresh air to pass through. But air flow is usually followed by noise. Imagine soundproofing your entire garage and leaving the air vents intact! That would undermine the whole project.
There are two solutions you can implement. First one is to remove the air vent and drywall the hole that’s left. Unfortunately, this will prevent air flow and can make the garage really hot and humid during summer, unless you have an air conditioner.
The other option is to create a sound maze inside the air vent by using a few wooden sticks. To learn more about this method, check out this article.
Playing your greatest hits collection or deadlifting 1000 pounds while grunting like Ronnie Coleman – a well soundproofed garage is a place to do all of that! But not if your garage door is paper thin and leaking sound like crazy.
By adding the right soundproofing material and sealing the air gaps you can get this problem under control in no time. If you implement a few of these tips, you’ll be able to have fun in your garage without disturbing your neighbors and other people around you. Hope this helps!