If you think multi-story high-rise apartment buildings are invulnerable to external traffic noise, think again! Apartments are as much prey to noise pollution as individual homes and offices – and sometimes even more. Besides the honking vehicles and wailing sirens on the streets, loud neighbors also threaten a peaceful indoor space.
Even if the walls and floors are insulated with sound-dampening material, the outdoor noise still leaks through the doors. Most apartment doors are void of insulation, making them ineffective in shielding the noise. Unless you soundproof an apartment door, unwanted noise from the corridors will seep in and disrupt your peace. We have assimilated ten smart ways to soundproof an apartment door cost-effectively.
Most apartment doors have hollow interiors and gaps between the door frame that let external noise seep through with the same intensity. Use acoustic sealant, weatherstripping tape, and door gaskets to block holes and gaps in a door frame. Install a customized soundproof door and buffer it with acoustic panels, sound-deadening curtains, and MLV sheets to absorb external noise.
Why Is Soundproofing an Apartment Door Necessary?
Usually, multi-story apartment buildings are insulated with sound-dampening material per the soundproofing regulations in buildings. So, if you hear the outside ruckus loud and clear, it’s highly likely the noise has leaked into the living space through your apartment door.
Although replacing the door may appear a plausible solution, there are better ways to mute your indoors. Let’s explore why adopting DIY soundproofing methods are more beneficial for you:
- Besides the gaps and spaces between the door frame and floor, most apartment doors are hollow from the inside. The thin fiber sheets on both sides are ineffective in blocking the sound even when the door is closed. That’s why apartment doors let more noise in than the walls and ceiling combined.
- If you are a freelance professional or work-from-home employee, you’d need a space with as minimum noise distractions as possible. Bulking up your apartment door with soundproofing material is the first step towards achieving that.
- Besides lowering the decibels inside your apartment, soundproofing the door will also help you maintain a favorable indoor temperature. Sealing off the gaps will automatically block the airways and preserve indoor temperature. The rest is up to your thermostat.
- A soundproof apartment door will cut off unwanted external noise and prevent indoor noise from leaking. Thus, maximizing your privacy in case, your neighbors are somewhat inquisitive.
10 Ways to Soundproof an Apartment Door
Whether you want to focus on your project during the day or need quality shut-eye at night, a soundproof and peaceful environment is a must. Let’s discuss the ten most effective DIY methods to soundproof an apartment door.
1. Seal Off the Gaps and Cracks
If the cracks in your apartment door aren’t notable enough, it doesn’t mean they aren’t there. No matter how insignificant the gaps are, the excruciating sound waves will leak in as long as the air can pass through.
Instead of covering the holes with tape or foam, apply caulking sealant. Unlike regular glue, these specialized glues have noise-dampening properties that inhibit sound transmission without being noticeable. Here are two must-have caulking sealants you can depend on:
- Acoustic Caulk – Embedded with strong adhesion and elastic properties, this specialized sealant can defend against all external conditions. The acoustical caulk is water-repellent and least likely to develop cracks, protecting your home from the outside ruckus.
- Green Glue – While it instantly fills out all types of gaps and fissures, green glue captures sound waves as soon as it dries out. It limits the propagation of sound waves by converting vibrations into heat energy.
2. Apply Weatherstripping Tape
If the gaps are too big to be stuffed with acoustic sealants, attach a layer of weather-stripping tape to the entire length of the door frame. Whether it is your window or the main apartment door, the tape effectively seals off the openings around the doorway, creating a barrier to outside noise while the door is shut.
Sticking the tape on the frame might be one of the easiest soundproofing methods. Let’s consider two weather-stripping tapes you should consider buying:
- Weather-stripping Door Seal – The high-density foam tape is made from non-toxic neoprene material with a high threshold against temperature and vibration. Once attached to the frame, it can absorb vibration-borne noise for quiet indoors.
- Silicone Weather Stripping – The silicone strip can seal your apartment door from bugs, dust, water, and noise, making the interior space practically airtight. It is equipped with super glue formula that can easily be installed on wood, metal, and glass surface.
3. Attach a Rubber Door Sweep
Besides the minor cracks and fissures, the most obvious gap in a door is the space between the door and the floor. Though most craftsmen do a better job at minimizing that gap with custom-fit doors, some apartment doors still have sufficient space for outside noise to sweep in.
Installing a door sweep is inexpensive and convenient to address the issue. The rubber blocks out the space under the door, absorbing and refracting the sound waves in opposite directions, and cleans out your doorway as a byproduct. The best part is that you can attach and detach it on purpose. Here’s an option you might consider:
Door Sweep Noise Blocker – The Holikme door sweep adds a spongy barrier on both sides of the door, making it impossible for sound waves to penetrate through. It comes with a hook-and-loop fixation that enables a seamless installation.
4. Install Soundproofing Panels
Even if you manage to block the airways through your apartment door, there’s no guarantee you won’t hear external clatter inside your apartment. Consider installing acoustic panels beside the entrance to refract or absorb any noise that wanders inside, especially if you are soundproofing an apartment for music.
They are high-density thick structures embedded with tiny pores that absorb and dampen airborne and structural noises. Some versions also include fiberglass that resists air passage, indirectly blocking sound waves from passing through.
They also smoothen indoor noise – sound waves that bounce off different surfaces in your apartment. Opting for the following panels will serve as a quick fix:
- Dekiru Soundproof Panels – The Dekiru acoustic panels are manufactured from polyester fiber with beveled edges, offering studio-grade soundproofing inside a room. They do not have an adhesive background, so you might need double-sided tape or adhesive spray.
- Audimute Sound Absorption Sheet – Though it remains relatively ineffective in blocking the noise, the Audimute sheet is tightly packed with cellulose fibers to absorb sound waves that reverberate into the room.
5. Place MLV Noise Barriers
Mass-loaded vinyl ranks in the list of best soundproofing materials, hence its wide adoption. The high-density sheets prevent sound waves with different wavelengths and intensities from passing through. Besides being a popular choice for insulating walls, ceilings, and floors, MLV can buffer your apartment door.
Since MLV normally comes as a thin neoprene sheet, you can stuff it inside the door’s core or clad it from the outside like acoustic panels. Instead of using conventional adhesives, you should apply sound-dampening green glue, instating 2x soundproofing.
Noise Grabber MLV Sheet – These high-quality noise barriers are built from non-toxic materials, making them safe to install anywhere inside your home. With a proven STC rating of 26, the MLV sheets offer a perfect way of soundproofing an apartment door.
6. Attach a Door Gasket
Unlike weather stripping tape that may grow loose or get worn out with time, attaching a door gasket may seem more effective and durable. Door gaskets or sweeps are quite similar to weather-stripping tape in the rubber component. The difference is that instead of the adhesive layer, they use a relatively complex but sturdy mounting structure.
The rubber gaskets are fitted onto a metal component that is meant to be screwed onto your door frame for a sturdier fitting. If it appears contrary to your legal tenant contract, you can also find versions that offer an adhesive backing.
Suptikes Gasket – This self-adhesive door gasket barricades you indoors from unwanted odors, dust, and noise from the outside. Since it comes in a generalized size, you’d need to cut the rubber sweep according to the gap in your door frame.
7. Use Rugs and Door Mats
Placing a door mat outside your apartment will help buffer external noises before they reach the door. While it may seem rather impractical compared to other soundproofing methods, a padded door mat can absorb strong impact sounds like footsteps from the corridor.
Secondly, clad your floor with rugs and carpets to overcome the vibrational noise that leaks inside. It would help make your interiors less noisy and more ambient.
- Heaven Coco Outdoor Door Mat – Made from pure coconut coir material, this dense door mat captures dirt, water, and grime. Moreover, the tiny pores and spaces inside the coir also help in noise buffering.
- Olanly Indoor Door Mat – Though rugs are more suited for indoors, this specific door mat harbors just the same qualities. From scraping dust and absorbing moisture to screening noise, the Olanly doormat can do anything.
8. Consider Stiles for Double Doors
Soundproofing single apartment doors are one thing, but when it comes to double doors, the task seems almost impossible. Even if you manage to block off the gaps, add padding, and place insulating door mats, the gap between the two doors can be challenging to bridge if not for meeting stiles.
Meeting stiles are designed to install onto the double door to seal off the space where two doors meet. They come in various materials, including rubber, composite, and metal. Stiles is screwed on the edges of your doors where they meet each other. Make sure they are the right size to align with the door frame seamlessly.
9. Furbish the Door with Fiberboard
Since most apartment doors are hollow from the inside, the low density makes them inept for soundproofing. Make sure to check the thickness of the apartment doors by knocking before moving in. But if you end up with one, consider solidifying the door’s core before instating other noise-dampening solutions.
If you have the tools and expertise, you can transform hollow doors into solid core doors by installing a sheet of fiberboard inside. Severe the outer panel of the door, screw in the fiberboard panels and reattach the outer panel. This will enhance the door’s density and resist air movement, preventing the waves from passing.
MDF Boards – The MDF boards by Juval are made of wood fibers that are tightly infused together with enhanced density. The fiberboards measure 6 x 8 ft., so you may need to cut them to size.
10. Invest in a Solid Core Soundproof Door
Modifying your apartment door with soundproof door panels at home can be a hassle and time-intensive. Besides, tampering with the property is often against most rental contracts. Therefore, it’s better if you file a request for door replacement with the landlord.
A door needs to have a solid core with high density, so it doesn’t allow any sound waves to penetrate through. Once installed, you can proceed with maximizing the insulation and soundproofing with the methods mentioned in the list.
Quick Bits on Soundproofing an Apartment Door Cheaply
Whether you live in a busy apartment downtown or own a residential estate in the suburbs, everyone deserves a relaxed and peaceful lifestyle. Unlike the standard notion, soundproofing an apartment door can be cost-intensive.
But if you are reluctant to spend too much on insulating your door, here are some cheaper ways to silence your indoors. While they may not make your living space completely noiseless, they help reduce the intensity to a quiet humming sound that isn’t as irritative. Let’s discuss some cost-effective methods to soundproof your apartment doors:
- Soundproof Curtains – They are made from high-density fabric, mostly velvet and fleece, with tiny fibers and threads that absorb and dampen sound waves. Soundproof curtains are effective in controlling indoor noise. They also help eliminate echo. If you renovate the room into a home office, you can find formal-looking blinds and shades that offer a similar effect.
- Noise-Blocking Blankets – The thick insulated blankets offer a perfect way to inhibit the transmission of noise inside a room, ensuring profound indoor acoustics. You can hang them alongside windows and doors or lay them on furniture. The moving blankets are helpful in soundproofing a bedroom door.
- Soundproof Paint – Although it doesn’t eliminate noise completely, soundproof paint can absorb sound waves under a certain threshold. They are also helpful in reducing echo in a room compared to standard paint. No matter how concentrated the formula is, soundproof paint alone can’t silence the indoors of your room. Use it alongside other noise-blocking methods for better effects.
Buying a Soundproof Door – Will it Work?
Regardless of how many soundproofing solutions you adopt to cure noisy indoor spaces, unless your apartment door is hollow from the inside, it’s all futile. Investing in a solid-core or customized soundproof door is the first step towards achieving a quiet indoor space.
Requesting renovation permissions and expensive costs make it more challenging, but a solid core door blocks external noise like no other. Besides, you can DIY soundproof apartment doors if you have the skills, equipment, and passion for such projects.
The customized noise-blocking doors are insulated from the inside like padded drywalls, except they use spray foam. Some estimates suggest that soundproof doors offer up to 50% better noise protection than typical doors. Combine that with other noise-dampening methods in the list; you can take that percentage up to 90% if done properly.
People Also Asked
A few common FAQs are addressed to quickly provide solutions to your queries.
How do I find the right soundproof apartment door?
A soundproof apartment door is thicker and denser than typical doors. They usually consist of an MDF fiberboard and insulation foam that ensures effective noise blocking from outside.
Are soundproof doors expensive?
Yes, soundproof doors are usually more expensive than normal doors since they use hardwood and additional insulation. They are priced between $1000 and $4000 depending on the quality and effectiveness.
Can you soundproof a door using noise-deadening curtains?
Noise-deadening curtains refract and absorb sound waves, which helps in reducing echo in a room. However, they are less effective in blocking outside noise that penetrates through an apartment door.
What includes a soundproof door kit?
A soundproof door kit includes door sweeps, draft stoppers, and door gaskets mounted on the door frame’s lower end. In the case of double doors, weather stripping tape and door stiles also prove beneficial.
While the outside ruckus is beyond your control, the least you can do is soundproof your interior for a calmer and quieter lifestyle. Despite the numerous strategies and methods to soundproof your apartment door, find a door that’s thicker, denser, and insulated to begin with. But if you are short on budget, refurbish your apartment door with a soundproof door kit to barricade the outside noise.