Best Doors for Soundproofing: What You Need to Know

Sound in itself is a wonderful piece of art, pleasing to the ears –think classics from Beethoven or Mozart or those offered by contemporary musicians like your favorite popstars and trap musicians – healing to mentally unstable patients and an absolute world of ecstasy for music lovers but sound we don’t want to hear, at the wrong time, in the wrong place is simply noise that can make life stressful and make work, sleep and study practically impossible.

If you’re plagued by constant noise problem, it is no rocket science that the easiest way to go is to kill the sound at its source but sometimes this isn’t even on the list of cards for you. If you live close to a construction site, by the road side, near a church, mosque or social gathering, noisy bar/nightclub or simply have an elderly neighbor who plays his sound system at full blast for the most parts of the day, turning down the volume of noise could be very hard to do if not impossible.

Perhaps, your case is the reverse; you have a practice of playing music loudly or practice a noisy occupation or hobby and you want to spare your neighbors the headache of having to be stressed by the noise you make.

Either way, you should resort to soundproofing as it’s a proven way of eliminating such sound or noise. You want know just how? Take a closer look.

Tackling problems associated with noise isn’t the easiest of things to do in theory but a soundproof door could solve all your problems at once but before we go any further, let’s take a look at the science behind all sound proofing elements.

Sound is an energy emitted from a source when it vibrates. This produced energy doesn’t just die so it travels away from its source, making all objects in its way vibrate in sympathy and bouncing off hard objects until what’s left of it gets to our ears, vibrating our ear drums and in turn forcing a response from our brains. Simply put, sound starts at a source, travels through a medium or multiple media, enters our ears, resonates on our ear drums and then lights up our brains.

Knowing this science behind sound itself then begs the question how can unwanted sound be resolved then? It comes with an answer even simpler than the question itself - the use of elements that interrupt the chain of events leading to hearing the sound and the use of a soundproof door is an excellent way of reducing such noise.

Why Replace Your Old Doors?

Even with wall pads, foams, green glue and many other soundproof products, some noises won’t just go away and hollow core doors are often times the culprit or other times an ill-fitting door.

A hollow core door (STC rating of 20 to 25) is usually constructed with a thin veneer of high quality wood applied over a core of honeycombed cardboard or plastic. They are mostly used for interior passage doors and rarely cause holes in your pocket, that is, they are highly cost-saving.

That said, they are very poor at blocking sound due to their light weight and often let up spaces in their frames which are usually huge sources of sound leakage.

The frames when shimmed in place usually leave air gaps which leak a lot of sound. In fact, hollow core doors simply don’t cut it.

Technical Factors Influencing Soundproof Door Choice

The major factor influencing your choice of a door if you’re looking to reduce sound to its barest minimum is its Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings.

STC is a widely accepted rating used to assign the acoustical performance of a door or other materials. A high STC value indicates a higher ability to resist the transmission of sound and vice-versa.

Here’s a list of STC ranges you should get familiar with:

  • 25 – Normal speech can be easily heard.
  • 30 – Loud speech can be clearly understood while normal speech can be heard but not clearly understood.
  • 35 – Loud speech is mostly audible but not understandable.
  • 41 – At this rating, loud speech could pass for a murmur.
  • 45 – Loud speech is hardly audible.
  • 50 – Loud sounds like those produced by musical instruments are barely heard.

Another important rating is the OITC rating (Outdoor/Indoor Transmission Class) which also tells a great deal about a material’s property to block sound.

However, the main difference between these two ratings is that while OITC takes into account lower frequencies, STC does not cater for frequencies below 125Hz.

Best Doors for Soundproofing

The best doors for soundproofing are those who offer high STC ratings. They are mostly thick in nature and fit perfectly into the surrounding walls like a missing piece in a jigsaw puzzle.

Bearing this in mind, we can conclude that the best soundproof doors available in the market are solid construction doors such as solid wood, solid core doors and specialized soundproofing doors.

Solid Wood Doors

Solid Wood doors are usually made of hundred percent natural wood except for the accessories such as hinges and handles. They are often built with a frame and panel construction and have an STC rating of about 30.

Solid wood doors are known to have the following advantages:

  • They have are very strong and are usually solid.
  • They have excellent sound-blockage properties depending on wood species as those of hardwoods such as maple and oak have better sound proof properties than those made of softwood like pine.
  • Their fire resistance are fairly good.
  • They are good for maintaining the resale value of a house.

However, they also have some advantages such as cost as they can be very expensive especially those made from quality hardwoods, also, humidity changes with them can lead to obvious cases of contraction, expansion and warping.

Solid-Core Doors

These type of doors with an STC of 35 are built with high quality wood veneers glued over a solid core of composite or engineered woods which primarily gives them the characteristics of both hollow-core doors and solid wood.

Quite simply put, they are solid slabs of engineered wood of MDF shaped and molded with the intent to give same appearance as that of a painted frame-and-panel door.

It has the following advantages:

  • They are medium priced doors, considerably less expensive than solid wood.
  • Its build makes it better resistant to humidity changes and by extension resistant to expansion, contraction and warping.
  • They have an excellent sound blockage property.
  • Solid-core doors of at least 1.75 inches thick offer good fire resistance.

Still, it comes with a few disadvantages which can be seen as negligible if you are only concerned with reducing sound leakage into your home, however, there would be a need for you to see them for yourself.

  • They have limited style options as compared to solid wood doors.
  • They are not Do it Yourself (DIY) friendly as its study and heavy nature means that two or more people are needed fit its installation.

It is however important to note that solid core doors are not considered suitable as external doors but are a perfect affordable option where solid wood interior doors are called for.

This set of soundproof doors are perhaps the best doors for soundproofing available in the market for the sole reason that they do not only shut out sounds as much as possible but also allow for a wide range of door styling, that is, your doors need not be wood but can in reality be made of glass or some other fancy material and made in any shape whatsoever.

Some types of sound proof doors include sound proof French doors, sound proof folding doors and soundproof sliding doors.

Soundproof French doors

Soundproof French doors

They are mostly used in patios and gardens opening up to busy or noisy environments such as an expressway. These doors present you with a whole new idea of elegance as well as letting natural light in and keeping out antisocial sounds as well as noise from moving vehicles, trains, aircraft.

Soundproof Folding Doors

Soundproof Folding Doors

They maximize space especially when used in buildings with a high rate of movement in and out of the building.

Soundproof Sliding Doors

Coupled with offering high resistance to permeating noise, they manage space well and remain unobtrusive when opened.

Soundproof Sliding Doors

A solid core door with an STC of 35 or a solid wood with an STC of 30 are perhaps not your best option. In this case, a communication door assembly gets the upper hand.

Communication Door Assembly

In this door build, a set of two doors are installed, one on the exterior side and another on the interior side of a wall with a little gap or space between the walls.

In ideal cases, the gap between the two doors should be about 24 inches, forming a strong insulation which will greatly increase the STC rating and in turn reduce noise drastically.

Communication Door Assembly

For the most part, a communication door assembly should give an STC rating of about 50 which is a fairly good rating to achieve for doors.

Tips To Consider When Settling For a Soundproof Door Type

There are indeed no strict rules on what type of door is the best door for soundproofing your home as it depends hugely on what your needs are. Here are some tips you might need.

  • Assess your needs properly and indicate what type of sounds exactly you’d like to eliminate. Whether a home theater noise, noise from a club or pub or barking sounds from a dog at night.
  • Decide what door type could eliminate or reduce the sound with your knowledge of STC soundproof door ratings.
  • Fix properly to eliminate gaps in door frames which could still lead to leakage of sound. You could do this by using sealing kits for the door jambs and sides or applying acoustic caulk where the frame makes contact with the cement or drywall.

Conclusion and Recommendation

Sound proof doors have been tested and proven to by large margins limit the entry of unwanted sounds into a room. Since doors are a necessity, they cannot be done away with and when fitted the wrong way or hollow core doors are used, noise becomes a necessary evil, an evil that can be easily eliminated by using Soundproof doors.

These doors might seem expensive but its advantages far outweigh its disadvantages and is a soundproof solution people should begin to consider.

With specialized or customized soundproof doors, you could get all the styles you need to keep your home aesthetically top-notch while keeping away all unwanted sounds.

With a soundproof door put in place, your noise problems are reduced to the barest minimum and you no longer have to put up with annoying noises from your neighbor kids, or those from your gangster neighborhood. Neither do you necessarily need let your neighbor know what is going on in your home or disturb them with that noisy hobby you have become accustomed with.

It is a sure lasting solution and do not bring with it all the heat that comes with padding up walls with foams and what not. So next time you are building a new home, office space or building, do well to fix a sound proof door and if you currently occupy a space with a door which lets in so much unwanted sound, sound proof doors could be an easy solution.

For reduction of that disturbing sound, Dortek doors can come in handy as they achieve an average level of sound reduction of about 55db and are suitable for a wide variety of spaces such as in sound and broadcasting studios, theatres, hospitals, schools and factories housing heavy engineering plants.

Bespoke doors also do a great deal of magic as they could come in the shape of French doors, sliding doors, folding doors and double layered doors.

Studio 3D soundproof doors are also available on Amazon and provide an STC value of up to 56. They are most suitable for recording studios, band rooms, hotels, conference rooms, door rooms or even offices.

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