Princess Anna of Arendelle, more popularly known as Queen Elsa's younger sister (Frozen, 2013), claims that Love is an open door. It's true! When it comes to love, you must feel welcome and happy. Love is something you must never deny.
Enough about love? I'm sorry. Our topic isn't about love. We can talk about it some other time. Although love metaphors as an open door, house doors should be not. NEVER. A big no for several reasons like security, hygiene, and privacy. But in this post, we'll talk about soundproofing doors.
Mind you, these are soundproofing tips that will not cost a dime. A little different from the tips we have so far. Here we will talk about how we can soundproof doors using household items.
Yes, our common items at home can double their purpose to soundproofing tool. It's time we appreciate them further than your household items ONLY.
Doors are the entrance and exit for us people. In houses, doors are the biggest opening there is. As a result, doors also play the most significant role in soundproofing. It can be the largest opening for noises to enter.
Therefore, soundproofing it if outside noise is your biggest challenge should be prioritized. But what if soundproofing door is your goal but has a tight budget?
Household Items You Can Utilize for Soundproof
Relax. Here are a few household items you can use to soundproof door. You can use them without touching your wallet or bank account either.
- 1. Carpets, Rugs and Interlocking mats
- 2. Furniture rearrangement
- 3. Drapes or Curtains
- 4. Paint
- 5. Old Weather strips and door sweeps
- 6. Leftover green glue
- 7. Tape
- 8. Old blankets
- 9. DIY Insulation
- 10. Pillowcase, towel & mattress
How to Soundproof a Door with Household Items
One big advantage of using household items is the immediate availability of the tools we intend to use. Moreover, it is an option that can skip the headache of budgeting.
It is not every day that we need prompt soundproofing. There are just unlucky days for us that a loud neighbor's party and an important document to finish happen at once.
For long term soundproofing, it is however recommended to seek professional help or at least use suitable materials meant for sound protection.
These steps might be helpful for your quick solution. They can be temporary or for your long term satisfaction.
1. Insert some carpet, rug, and puzzle mats Under Your Door
Level of difficulty: ✓
Depending on your chosen style of interiors, you may choose to apply different accessories in your house. A beautiful wall painting or an antique vase is some examples of what we often add.
However, when it comes to soundproofing thick and dense materials are a must. If you've been following my posts, you'll have an idea as early as now that soundproofing is all about mass loaded materials.
Carpets and rugs are good options. These items have high acoustic absorbency but do little when it comes to blocking sound. Sounds absorbed are those sound waves that already penetrated the door.
As mentioned, they should be quite thick to be an effective sound absorbent. Instead of plain tiles that just reflect sounds letting it bounce back and forth, doors are better laid with fluffy carpets or welcome rags.
Interlocking puzzle mats can also be placed under your door. Double its efficacy by using it under your carpet thus increasing its thickness.
It will be your improvised underlayment. Sound waves that happen to enter will be absorbed and fade than continue to bounce on your bare floor.
For a more effective noise reduction, rugs may also be used just before your door outside. The absorbency is twice as much and your house looks more 'homey'.
2. Rearrange some furniture big enough
Level of difficulty: ✓✓
This option is a little harder than placing a rug under your door because it will require your physical strength in rearranging your helpful furniture. Actually, some are more than just decorations inside your house.
For instance, your bookshelf may add in soundproofing if you load it with books and place it in front of your door.
Before you argue about blocking your doorway, please know that I am talking about your spare door, not the main one.
That door you decided to close forever. Instead of ignoring it, make it useful for soundproofing. Add some big furniture and design it as if the closed door is part of your wall.
Other than a bookshelf, your closet and cabinet can be used too. Just like your shelf, load it with clothes and other accessories, preferably thick, respectively.
3. Hang drapes or curtains over your door
Level of difficulty: ✓✓
Doors are welcome to use drapes too not just your windows. Not only does it look unique, but it is also a great technique for soundproofing as well.
First, install the rods above the door frame. The curtain is better if it is long and touches the floor down to ensure the blocking of noise from the door gap between the floor.
It is the soundproof curtain that will be the best choice but since this is about household items we will use regular curtains.
Ordinary ones may be used as well but always and always choose the thickest one. You know the drill, we are after dense materials. You can layer it to add mass.
Regular curtains are your star because the majority believe that the household doesn't keep a soundproof curtain in their attic?
4. Paint your door with Soundproofing Paint
Level of difficulty:✓✓
You can paint your door. Color is your choice. Soundproof paints or deadening paints are better but this isn't the most common thing lying around. Regular paints are all right then.
For the sake of soundproofing, you have to layer it many times. Soundproofing paints require at least 3 layers of the latex so regular paint will demand more.
It will be making sure that your door will receive the proper thickness of paint.
Using this method is like hitting two birds at once. You make the door visually appealing and sound protected at the same time.
Oh! Don't forget that painting your doors also protect them from outside environment varying conditions.
5. Change your old weathering strips and door sweeps
Level of difficulty: ✓✓✓✓✓✓
Having an old one means you have tried this before. Whether it's because of soundproofing too or another, the important thing here is you know how it looks and how it should serve.
Go and change your old weathering strips because even new one doesn't last a lifetime.
If you are in immediate need to do this with no time to shop, soundproofing a door using household items can help you. Improvise your own. You may try to use foam.
First, remove the old weathering strip and door sweep. Make sure to clean their old spot for any residue.
Soap and water are just fine. Then measure your door's dimensions and cut your improvised weather strips and/or door sweeps. Install it using adhesives like glue or even nails. Afterward, test it if it lives up to your expectations.
You can also use other materials such as battens- wood or metal. In improvisation, your imagination is the limit. Be creative but witty.
6. Use leftover green glue if you have some
Level of difficulty: ✓✓✓✓
When you first decided to build a house, for sure you consulted some architects and engineers. You may have hired them either for the construction contract.
During construction, some builders are thoughtful enough to use green glue when applying drywall.
If they happen to leave some green glue after construction, great! You can personally spot some cracks or holes on your door.
Inspect it closely. You know that even a tiny hole can be a path for noise to enter your house. If you find it hard during the day, try it at night.
When it's dark, turn the lights off. Try flicking candles or flashing light on & off. The other side should not see it or else there is an opening. Too sorry, it may be more than one. Mark them.
After finding the guilty guys, use the leftover green glue. Bomb some and wipe the excess. Once it dries, you'll be impressed by how much noise reduction it gives.
Just in case you have no leftover green glue, say you are a renter or owner who bought an already erected house, the same procedure applies but instead you can use bathroom sealant. For sure this is a more common household item than green glue.
Still has none? Look for any substance alike to green glue in the form of the ones you have.
7. Stick some tape
Level of difficulty: ✓✓✓
No green glue, no bathroom sealant, no problem.
The tape is not your best bet when it comes to soundproofing your door using household items but a quick fix for that noise problem bothering you.
The same test applies to check your door for possible openings. After marking, use tape over the determined holes. Just imagine putting bandaid on your cut or bruise.
Layer it many times to achieve the desired thickness. It has to be thick, remember?
Like in choosing curtains, use the thickest tape available on hand. Better to use duct tape rather than packaging tape or scotch tape.
After all, the soundproof tape is not a usual household product.
If the result is noise reduction but the door looks funny and bothers you, cover it with some wallpaper. This is given that your door is plain and smooth. Not the designed with lots of carving one.
8. Your old blankets to the rescue
Level of difficulty: ✓
Are you in a rush to reduce the noise and finish that important document of yours? Never mind all the options you've read so far. Just grab your blanket, hang it on your door and that's it.
Moving blankets are better to use, but it is doubtful you have one at home if you are new to sound proofing.
Treat your door like a kid shivering in cold and cover it with your winter blanket. The thick and fluffy one that keeps you warm at night.
Blankets do not provide the best noise reduction you can have compared with other techniques but pretty sure it is better than having none.
9. Apply DIY Insulation
Level of difficulty: ✓✓✓✓✓
Got extra time but got no extra budget? Save your long sigh, take a deep breath and make your own insulation.Yes, you can do it yourself. Pretend MVL nor acoustic foam does not exist. Look around your house.
Your door as you know it is the biggest entrance for noise. They are not the source but the widest path. Insulating it can be a challenge if you will have to refrain from spending.
Thankfully, there is a way. Insulation by DIY! What you'll use? Drumroll, please? STYROFOAM.
Yes, Styrofoam. That white and light cover for your newly bought appliances. The properties of this Polystyrene foam aka Styrofoam can absorb sound.
Simply glue it to your door after cutting it in the door's dimensions. Sometimes, it can be unsightly so just cover it with paint, wallpaper or drapes.
You covered your insulation that messes with your interiors and doubled its ability to dampen sounds.
Egg cartons may be an option too but Styrofoam is better choice if you care much about how it'll look. It is more visually unappealing. .
10. Bring out your extra pillowcases, towels, and spare
Level of difficulty: ✓
It's sleeping time but unfortunately, your neighbor forgets the time and continues his loud upbeat party. Someone is still singing in that karaoke they use.
That's okay. You have all these soundproofing ideas for your door. Besides, we have an emergency solution for this.
If you got a carpet or rug under your door, that's good. Very good actually. Boost its sound-absorbing ability more by adding pillowcases and towels on the floor.
Lay them all at night so no sound can bounce inside your house anymore.
You have a spare mattress? Even better. Most probably you have anyway for your slumber party or guests who will spend overnight. Place it just behind your door and voila! Instant insulation.
Don't be bothered by how messy it looks because you can pick it all in the morning. It'll be your emergency measure at night.
Learning all this, it is safe to say that household items should not be underestimated for being just household items.
A little rearrangement and creativity are all it takes for them to be more useful than they actually are.
They are common, readily available and soundproofing a door using household items cost little to none in our budget.
Doors should be the accommodating path for people and visitors but should never be for the noise.
Jessica is a Acoustical Engineer, currently based in the San Francisco Bay Area in California. After graduating from her degree in Master of Engineering degree in Acoustics from Solent University in 2014, Jessica worked for a few companies before She will be blogging about her past and current experiences in the studio and sharing her journey as she pursues her career goals. She enjoy the balance of work inside and out of the office, solving practical problems on a daily basis as every project is different and requires a different solution, the variety of work (sound insulation testing, background noise survey, mechanical plant commissioning, external plant assessment, plant room breakout assessments) and the mix of independent and team work.