The first thing we usually consider when it comes time to soundproof a home, apartment, or condo is the windows – usually followed by the walls. Sadly, not many people consider the doors in their homes when it comes time to start a soundproofing project but they are a considerable source of noise and should be taken very seriously.
The first thing you need to do, whether you attempting to block outside noise or keep your own noise inside, is check the type of door you have on your home. In most cases you will find that exterior doors are solid while interior doors are hollow. In older homes, or in apartments and some hastily constructed newer homes, you may find that your exterior door is also hollow.
Fixing the problem is simple if you own your own home. All you have to do is remove the door and replace it with a solid alternative.
If you rent your home or apartment you’ll have to ask your landlord’s permission to replace the door first. This is a worthwhile effort because he likely won’t deny you an upgrade to your apartment and, if you’re lucky, he may offer to pay for it. You may or may not have to agree to put the original door back when you leave but your landlord probably won’t ask you to do so if yours is an improvement over the old.
Simply hanging the door isn’t enough. In order to ensure the best results you’ll want to check the seal around the edges of your door – especially along the bottom. Soundproofing open seals is easy, involving nothing more than a simple door sweep. A door sweep will not only block noise but will help to insulate your home from weather as well. Want to make your door even more effective at blocking sound? Add a second layer of plywood to the inside with a layer of Green Glue in between. It’ll increase the sound absorbency of the door and you can paint the plywood to match the door with very minimal effort.
Finally, you’ll need to check the molding around the frame of the door. You should find some sort of insulation on the inside but, if not, you can always use acoustical caulk to fill the space.
If these steps don’t soundproof the room the way you’d like you might want to consider hanging a second door from the same doorjamb – with one opening in each direction so they don’t interfere with each other. The natural air pocket between the doors when they are closed will make a huge difference when it comes to soundproofing.
A door is one of the least expensive soundproofing materials you’ll ever have to purchase. Check your doors before you do anything else and you may save yourself a lot of time and money!