How To Soundproof Sliding Doors

Soundproofing “normal” doors might seem an easy task, but soundproofing sliding doors require some bit of extra efforts. A fact is that sliding doors open differently than traditional doors and installing noise reducing materials on them can be tricky at times.

By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll know how to soundproof sliding doors and the materials that are effective for this purpose.

How to Soundproof Sliding Barn Doors

Unlike sliding glass doors, sliding barn doors are usually installed half an inch from the wall. That means that the biggest challenge with these doors is the gaps between the door and the wall.

Below are different methods/techniques you can implement right now to soundproof barn door without burning your wallet.

Thicken the barn door

Unlike glass doors, most sliding barn doors are made of thick solid wood panels. So you’ll less likely have a problem with the solid wood panels allowing outside noise to enter inside the room. But to achieve the best results in terms of soundproofing, you could try thickening them by adding a layer of wood or Mass Loaded Vinyl. Alternatively, you can install some acoustic foam panels. (Note: Acoustic panels can only be installed on sliding barn door. You shouldn’t use them on pocket sliding doors- they would make the doors impossible to open).

If the gap between the door and the wall is big enough, you can install acoustic foam panels on either side.

Seal the gaps

As earlier mentioned, sliding barn doors have a bigger gap between the door frame and the wall. That said, almost all weatherstripping tapes won’t seal the big gaps on the door. Additionally, adding a layer of rubber won’t get the job done because

I would only recommend you to use this thick weatherstripping tape and stick it on the wall where the barn door closes. Additionally, you can attach a door sweep brush on the top and bottom of the panel.

Hang soundproof curtains

While curtains on the barn door don’t sound like a good idea at all, they can really help in reducing the amount of sound that leaks in or out. Soundproofed curtains come in a variety of beautiful designs and are made of heavy materials that block out unwanted noise.

You can learn how the curtains work or how you can make such acoustical curtains using old cloth rugs in your home. At times you won’t need them because most barn doors are made of solid wood panels which already block out sound itself.

Just in case you want to try out this method, make sure that the curtains you purchase are big enough to cover the entire barn door. So I would recommend you first take the door measurements and buy curtains that are an inch wider than the door and extend from the ceiling to the floor.

Moving blankets on the barn doors

Another great way to soundproof barn doors is by using heavy moving blankets. Just like acoustical curtains, sound deadening blankets use the same principle to absorb unwanted noise. (See price on Amazon)

I discussed in details how these blankets work in my article on soundproofing bathroom. Just to brush a little bit, hanging the blankets on your barn door won’t completely solve the noise problem, but they will dramatically reduce noise problem.

When buying go for ones that are heavy and have grommets to make it simple to hang them on the door. You may need to add another layer of moving blankets to get the best results.

Install an oversized door

One of the common mistakes that homeowners make is installing a common door and a slide and assume they have a sliding barn door. Well, installing a regular door on a slider will leave big gaps where sound and light will be able to pass through.

But if you are tight on a budget, you can still use a regular door but make sure that you make some modifications to the door to make it bigger in size. You can achieve this by adding pieces of wood on the inside of the door to make it bigger.

Soundproofing Sliding Glass Doors

The amount of noise coming through a sliding glass door will depend on the type of glass used.

Here’s an example:

PVC sliding doors have a complete frame where the glass slides against and have internal weatherstripping brushes already installed. Additionally these PVC doors either have a double or triple pane and therefore they are somehow effective in noise dampening.

On the other hand, unfortunately, Sliding French Doors are allow “more” unwanted sound compared to PVC models. This is because the doors don’t slide against a frame but instead slide against railings installed at the bottom and top of the door.

Some sliding doors have very thin glass and the rule of thumb when it comes to soundproofing is that the thicker the material, the better. If possible, I’d recommend you to upgrade to a fully soundproofed door. However, if you’re on a budget below are some methods you can implement right now to sound deaden the sliding door.

· Thicken the glass

A thin glass will allow outside noise to enter the house and the only way to prevent noise through the glass is by thickening it.

One of the few methods you can thicken glass door without covering it entirely is by use of a product known as plastic film for windows. (Check the variety of these films here).

Alternatively, you can thicken the glass with a transparent MLV. You can also add another layer rather than using a single layer of glass.

· Seal all the gaps

Like I have always emphasized, gaps are the biggest culprits in allowing unwanted sound through the door. Our biggest concern, in this case, is the gaps that exist between the frame and the door frame and the wall.

To seal these gaps, you will need a weatherstripping tape (check this one out). Make sure that you thoroughly clean the surface before sticking the tape.

· Space under the door

The next step would be to deal with space underneath and around the door. Unlike traditional doors that require common door sweeps, sliding doors will require brush door sweep.

However, there is an excellent alternative to a door sweep, a draft sweeper.  This is a good option especially if you don’t want to deal with any damage to your existing door. You can always place the sweeper underneath the door when you close it.

However, if you’re on a budget, you can make one at home. You will only need old rugs or unused heavy blankets. Whatever you use, make sure it’s made up of heavy material.

You should also focus on the space between the wall and the door frame. If the door is still new and well installed, you shouldn’t worry about this then. But we all know that as door ages, cracks may develop. You can seal these cracks using Green Glue if Green glue dampening sealant isn’t available check these alternatives and see whatever product works for you.

· Try a Fiberglass Blanket

Note that the benefits you get with a fiberglass blanket are quite different from moving blankets.

  • Does a good job in soundproofing
  • It’s cheap
  • Great in absorbing with impact noise

But unlike soundproofed curtains or blankets, these fiberglass blankets look ugly. So if you need something that will improve aesthetic appeal, I would suggest you try the methods mentioned above.

Here’s an example (see picture), you might have seen it in nightclubs or big concert halls. The installation process is very simple, use these anchors for easier hooking and take down.

How to Soundproof Pocket Sliding Doors

Pocket sliding doors are not as hard to sound insulate them as doors mentioned above, but still, they have their limitations when it comes to soundproofing.

Whatever material you add to thicken the door, it’s important to remember that it should slide along with the door and fit in the pocket. But since we’ve already solved this problem with the other sliding door models, soundproofing a pocket sliding door will be an easy job for you.

The only real challenge with pocket sliding doors comes in when sealing the gaps and cracks. You can use this rubber weatherstripping tape (High-Density Foam Seal Strip) to close the gaps at the edge of the panel.

Try laminated door for best results

For best results, you should consider replacing the existing door with soundproofed ones. For sliding glass doors, you can replace with laminated ones. Laminated doors are:

  • Strong
  • Elegant
  • Designed to block out noise

However, you will need to invest heavily on this option. You should also consider hiring a professional to get the job done right. Here in Texas, the cheapest laminated door costs about $500 less the installation fee.

On Soundproofing Sliding/Barn/Pocket Doors

Unlike soundproofing normal doors, soundproofing sliding doors can be tough and hard at times. But if you follow the above mentioned step, you’ll be able to reduce noise levels to manageable levels.

Sound dampening your sliding doors uses similar methods and is also as easy as dealing with the windows, or sound insulating the bathroom. If you’re looking to deal with noise nuisance to manageable levels, I’d recommend using simple and cheap methods mentioned above. The trick is to identify the source of noise problem and the method that will best deal with the problem,

What method do you think will work out the best? I have covered different methods you can sound dampen different doors and hope they will work out best for you. You can read this article on how to soundproof a window from traffic noise.

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