You’ve probably noticed your sliding barn door is leaking sound left and right. I had the same situation in my old house, as my bedroom door was this exact type. Since I worked night shifts, I couldn’t get any sleep during the day because of the noise. However, it’s not all gloom and doom.
To soundproof a sliding barn door make sure there are no gaps or cracks that noise can travel through. A door sweep and weatherstripping tape can be used to cover gaps. Make sure the doors are made from solid wood, meaning a solid and not a hollow core. Cover the doors and the surrounding area with noise blocking curtains, sound panels and moving blankets for additional noise reduction.
I managed to reduce the noise to a large extent by installing a curtain rod above the door and hanging a thick noise blocking curtain.
But there are a few other options that I didn’t know about at the time. Long story short, here are the best tips for soundproofing a sliding barn door:
1. Two noise blocking curtains
I personally used only one curtain and got decent results, but if I could go back in time I would have installed a double curtain rod (this one is really nice). Then I would’ve hung two curtains to cover the door. Two curtains will act as a double anti-noise barrier.
There are many noise blocking curtains that can get the job done. Typically one-panel curtains like these Nicetown curtains are used for doors because they look better, while two panel curtains are used on windows. But that’s entirely up to you.
Either way, make sure that the curtains are large enough to cover the entire door, both in terms of length and width. You want them to cover the entire door, including the frame and any gaps in-between. The same is true if you use them to reduce noise coming through windows.
2. Attach soundproof panels to the door
Any product that adds thickness and density to the door will improve its noise blocking capability. Soundproof panels are designed for the task and they’re very convenient to use.
Just make sure that you get the right type. Because there are thin foam panels which only reduce the echo in the room. They can block some airborne noise also, but I wouldn’t consider them as the optimal solution.
A much better option are soundproof panels which contain fiberglass and similar material of improved density and weight. These panels by Burton Acoustix are arguably the best for home soundproofing projects.
First of all they work great. And second, they don’t contain any allergens and irritants and they’re not toxic in any way so you can install them in a baby’s room as well without having to worry about any side effects.
They’re a bit more expensive than foam panels, but not too much. If you’re only covering a door you won’t need many panels so it’s not an expensive project by any means.
Soundproof panels are somewhat heavier than foam panels, but they’re installed using the same methods. You can use cheap hanging strips like Command Strips to hang them without having to glue or nail them permanently to the door. This is the “cleanest” way to do it.
If the panels drop when you open and close the door, use more strips on their backside. In case that doesn’t help, use a regular spray adhesive or nails/screws for guaranteed success.
3. Use a moving blanket (or two)
I like moving blankets for soundproofing projects because they’re very versatile. You can hang it from a curtain rod or tack it directly on a door.
If you want better noise reduction, tack two blankets instead of one. No one’s stopping you! More thickness makes a difference. So you can use multiple blankets or use one or two extra thick blankets instead.
The most popular one for soundproofing projects is this Supreme Mover blanket from Amazon. It’s heavier and thicker than the others and usually just one of these is enough to make a significant difference.
4. Add a layer of wood
Attaching a plywood or MDF panel to the door can also do wonders. They’re commonly used for soundproofing projects that involve wooden surfaces, whether it’s doors or floors. In the latter case they’re used as floor underlay. In both cases however the logic is the same: improve thickness with dense materials and you’ll block more sound!
But this method is more difficult than the other ones. You need to be very precise with your measurements. The panel needs to be the exact size of the door otherwise it won’t be functional or it will look ugly. Even if it ends up being functional it can still look ugly.
So it’s a higher risk than the other methods. You’d have to either screw or nail the panel to the door or use a lot of adhesive.
It’s definitely a valid method if you’re up for the challenge. But for those with less handyman talent and experience, I recommend using one or two of the other methods mentioned in this article instead.
Because you’re more likely to apply them correctly, and if you don’t get the result you expected, you can easily remove the materials or replace them with something else without causing any real damage to the door’s surface.
5. Cover the bottom gap
You should definitely do something about that gap. Roll a towel or place some other fabric to cover the gap when you’re concerned about the noise.
If you want a permanent solution, get a simple door sweep and attach it to the door. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy.
I like this silicone door sweep because it doesn’t require any tools to install. It’s self-adhesive so you cut it to size with a knife, stick it to the bottom part of the door and you’re done. Alternatively, you can apply simple weatherstrip foam tape to the bottom to minimize the gap.
6. Cover the gap between the wall and the door
You can also use weatherstrip foam tape to minimize the gap between the door and the wall. It’s better to get thinner foam tape and use multiple layers to achieve the thickness that you require to cover the gap.
To use this method, apply the tape to the sides of the door where there are gaps, from top to bottom. If you’re worried about appearance, choose the weatherstrip that matches the color of the door.
I don’t recommend closing the gap completely. There should be a tiny bit of space left so that the door can glide without obstructions.
..if you don’t have a sliding barn door already:
7. Install a larger door
If you don’t have a barn door already and are simply exploring the options, my best advice is to get a larger door that will fill up the door frame and then some.
When the door is larger and goes beyond the door frame, there is less direct space for noise to fall through, since it has to recashade against the wall and the door before it can wiggle it’s way inside.
If you install only a regular door on the rail, it will probably be just big enough for the frame. By pushing it upward or inward due to the rail, it exposes a larg, straightforward gap.
So definitely make sure that your door is bigger than that for noise reduction and so that the light from the other room can’t fall through.
8. Get a solid-core barn door
The thickness and the density of the door itself is very important. If you’re in the process of buying a new barn door, get one that has a solid core instead of a hollow one.
This will make a significant difference in noise reduction. Regular one-panel glass and hollow wood are the worst materials in terms of noise reduction.
9. Hire a carpenter to minimize the gaps
Installing a barn door is not too difficult. You can follow this simple tutorial to do it successfully on your first try. But if you’re worried about the gaps, a carpenter will probably do a better job. Why?
Because a first timer in door installation can get the measurements wrong which can result in larger gaps. A first timer might also install the rail poorly so that it’s not even, which could lead to a larger gap on one side than the other.
It’s safe to assume that a reputable carpenter has performed this job properly hundreds of times and won’t make any rookie mistakes like that.
My interior sliding barn door was hollow, which is why it let in a lot of noise. So much that I couldn’t get any rest during the day.
I managed to reduce the noise adequately by installing a curtain rod and hanging a thick noise blocking curtain. I still heard some of the noises but they were muffled to a point where they no longer bothered me.
By using the tips from this article you can get the same or even better results by soundproofing your barn door. Hope this helps!