Soundproofing a Door

Soundproofing a door is actually a very easy thing to do – and probably not as expensive as you think. Nine times out of ten, simply sealing the air gaps around the door does the job very well. If that does not do the trick, don’t worry – we can build a custom panel to fit your door specifically to stop even MORE sound.

Here are the two products discussed in this post:

Door Seal Kits & Barrier Septum Fabric Wrapped Panels

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) will be put at the bottom.

C.S. writes:

My rented office space has a door to the adjoining office. The door, although closed, allows me to clearly hear all conversations in the next office and affords me no privacy for my conversations.

The door frame has space on my side to install a panel. However, the landlord will not allow me to attach something permanent. Is there anything you recommend?

The door is always one of the first places that I start to talk about when someone is concerned with the amount of sound entering or leaving a room. Like water, sound will travel via the path of least resistance which is almost always around the perimeter of a door. The installation that you are considering is a bit tricky, but I can definitely help you if you are at all handy with a bit of wood putty and some paint.

All of the acoustical products that I have to help the problem are going to install with screws, so if you are comfortable putting a couple small screw holes into the door as well as the door frame, keep reading.

Like I mentioned above, the perimeter of the door is ALWAYS the first place that I start when trying to help someone diagnose an acoustical problem like this. It is quite an easy thing to determine. The next time you’re in your office, station someone outside of the room. Ask them to speak in a normal conversation voice level and place your ear along the sides of the door as well as along the floor. If you can hear them clearly, which I assume you will, ask them to lower their voice. Continue asking them to lower their voice until you can not hear them anymore. You will be surprised as to the amount of sound that leaks out from around the seemingly invisible cracks in the door. The first step in soundproofing a door is to eliminate as many air gaps as possible.

You may want to turn the lights off in the office, and leave a light on in the hallway – or use a flashlight. The areas that leak the largest amount of light are also going to leak the largest amount of sound. Concentrate on those areas first.

We have a line of products to eliminate these air gaps, all of which are very easy to install and are held onto the door or the jamb with small screws. Our Adjustable door seals can be ordered in a kit to seal up the gaps around the entire door, or they can be ordered separately. There are two different options to choose from and thickness relates directly to performance – the thicker the door seal, the more neoprene rubber that makes the seal. Which thickness you choose is up to you and should be decided on the importance of confidentiality as well as the severity of the problem BEFORE the kit is installed. All of the door seal products are made from clear anodized aluminum and have black neoprene gasketing. The adjustable Jamb Seal (Standard: 33C/Heavy Duty: 599C) will remain stationary and is installed up the two sides of the door as well as across the top of the door jamb. There are adjuster screws on the back of the unit which allow for adjustment of the seal itself away from or closer to the door when it is closed. The automatic door bottom is a spring loaded mechanism that, as the door is closed, mechanically pushes a neoprene gasket to the floor. The use of this product is a self-leveling unit. The seal on the hinge side of the door will hit the ground first, and as the door gets closer and closer to being completely closed, the seal becomes more and more level with the ground. We do this because the neoprene seal would wear out quickly if it were dragged across the ground every time the door was used. When the door is opened, a spring inside the unit, pulls the seal up away from the floor. If your door swings INTO a room, the door seal will need to be installed on the HALLWAY side of the door. If you door swings OUT of the room, you can install the door seal on the inside of the door. This requirement is due to the means by which the door seal actuates.

If, for some reason, the door seal is not enough, we can build a custom acoustical panel that will increase the mass and density of the door. Our Barrier Septum Fabric Wrapped Fiberglass panels are custom made on a per job basis. These panels have a center layer of 1/8″ thick, 1lb per square foot Mass Loaded Vinyl Noise Barrier which is a product specifically designed to block sound. This panel will be fabricated specifically to the measurements that you provide and faced with a fabric of your choosing. We can pre-fabricate the panel with a door knob hole if needed, or one can easily be installed when the panel gets to the job site. These panels are “normally” adhered to the door with a construction grade adhesive, or bolted to the door with screws. For an installation that can be removed, we can install a two part E.C. Clip where one side of the clip is screwed to the door and the other part of the clip is screwed onto the back of the panel during fabrication. I usually describe the clips as a very industrial picture hanger. Photos of the clips can be found on the Fabric Wrapped Fiberglass panel spec page – toward the bottom. Please keep in mind that these panels are heavy which is why they are able to stop sound.

The door seals range in price depending on the size of the door and which option (standard or heavy duty) you choose to purchase. The price range for the door kits is between $247.00 and $470.00 which does not include shipping.? The fabric wrapped fiberglass panels are priced on a per-job basis because they are all custom made. Ballpark pricing for the panels is around $14.00 per square foot and does not include shipping. A panel for a standard 3′-0″ x 7′-0″ door would be around $300.00.

  1. What side of the door do I install the door bottom onto?
  2. If your door swings INTO a room, the door seal will need to be installed on the HALLWAY side of the door. If you door swings OUT of the room, you can install the door seal on the inside of the door. This requirement is due to the means by which the door seal actuates.?

  3. Can I use the automatic door bottom over carpet?
  4. You can, but don’t expect very good results. I would not recommend this for two reasons. First, the door seal will perform the best if it has a solid surface to seal onto. Carpet does not provide this. Second, if the neoprene is constantly coming down to and running across carpet, the neoprene will wear out very quickly.

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