How do I keep noise out of my shared hallway?
November 6, 2011 4:18 PM   Subscribe

I moved into a loft and the acoustics in the hallway are terrible. If someone walks past my talking to someone else, at a normal volume, I can hear every word, even with the television or music on. It is as if the door is made out of paper. What's worse, is that the opposite is true. When walking past a door you can very clearly hear what is going on inside. Any ideas on soundproofing my place?

This is not normal, apartment level noise, or at least shared hallway noise I've experienced. I'm not talking about muffled voices, or the occasional loud drunk, I'm talking it as if the door is physically open. Other tenants warned me about this on the first day, so it is not just me.

My biggest concern is that the only room in the place, my bedroom, is right next to the door. The walls don't go to the ceiling so they do little to block out sound. I don't want to subject my neighbors to bedroom noises. I'd also rather not my neighbors clearly hear any conversation just by passing me by.

I don't own the place, or I'd purchase a nice heavy wood door with weather strips on the bottom.

Any ideas on what I can do? The door itself seems to be made for an interior door, and not one that sits in a hallway. Surely there's got to be some soundproofing tricks out there, or do I just learn to live in a glass house?
posted by geoff. to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
If it's only the door that is causing sound leak, and it is indeed an interior door, I'm willing to bet that there might be a code violation involved. Often, regulations require that units be fire separated... with a big bulky fire door.

And after reading the whole question, if the walls don't goto the ceiling? Good luck. You could always build yourself a bed box to 'sleep' in.
posted by mmdei at 4:23 PM on November 6, 2011

How about cork tiles on the inside and outside, along with weatherstripping all around? Find some temporary way to stick them up, like 2-sided peel-off tape.
posted by ottereroticist at 4:24 PM on November 6, 2011

You can get a rug and hang it on the door. I am guessing the door is a steel fireproof door. They are usually hollow and will amplify sound. If you get a few really strong magnets from the hardware store (they make ones that look like donuts, buy a hook and nut to make a magnet hook, you can hang a pretty rug on the door and it will deaden the noise coming in and going out. Did that make sense? I can e-mail you an example of what you can make if you like.
posted by Yellow at 4:52 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was going to suggest what Yellow did -- hang a tapestry on the back of the door.
posted by inigo2 at 5:43 PM on November 6, 2011

But good thick front doors need not be so very expensive, and probably your landlord would give you a rent-credit for it anyway.

You can get salvaged/used doors at places like this, or on Craigslist.
Either find the right size (with the holes and routed places in the right places), or have it cut/routed to size.
Then, all you need is either a screwdriver and patience (or a drill and no patience) to put the old hardware on the new door and hang it.
Easy peasy.
posted by pH Indicating Socks at 6:12 PM on November 6, 2011

You might consider a white noise machine, too. Plugged in by the door.
posted by amanda at 7:59 PM on November 6, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have exactly the same problem; noise insulation between the interior walls (between units) and the outside are pretty good (excepting; the sound/vibration insulation between the unit and the wooden fucking roof with the stupid high powered HVAC units and non-baffled exhaust, which is draft Hell, but I digress).

My door is an apartment-level thick-assed door. The noise doesn't come through that. It's the thin fricken hallway/unit wall, which I suspect that I can break through by giving my fridge (against the hallway/unit wall) a decent side kick.

Haven't figured any practical solution. I've tried tons of stuff with towels under the door, a couple of pounds of poster putty hand rolled into strips to seal the spaces in the door jambs. It's all through the wall.

If this is similar to your situation; the only thing that might work is to put acoustic tiles in the rears of the cabinets/walls that front the hallway, but that can be quite expensive and leaves you less space to put your stuff.
posted by porpoise at 8:42 PM on November 6, 2011

Also seconding Yellow- hang some heavy cloth behind the door.

You may also want to get a folding screen, put it in front of the door inside, to give another layer of blocking.
posted by yeloson at 10:30 PM on November 6, 2011

If it's a hollow steel door, forget the rug. Ensure the hinges are strong, then drill a hole in the top and fill it with sand. Check behind the knob and deadbolt (or whatever) to make sure the sand won't clog things up. Weatherstrip as normal.
posted by rhizome at 11:17 AM on November 7, 2011

« Older when to finish?   |   Is Nar-Anon or Al-Anon for me? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.