How can I soundproof an old, unused door?
January 7, 2008 12:09 PM   Subscribe

Help my soundproof the door between my room and my roommates' room.

I live in an old rowhouse, and there is a very thin door between my room and the bedroom that my roommate and his girlfriend both share. I can hear EVERYTHING. I would like to fix this situation.

The door opens into their room, so the jamb is on my side and I have a little bit of space in which to install something.

Based on previous ask threads, I was thinking about making some kind of sandwich of acoustic tiles, foam, or egg crates and installing it in the door frame. Will this work? Where can I get these materials?
posted by deafmute to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Well it would appear that my IMG tags didn't work, so here is what the door looks like.

It's probably irrelevant.
posted by deafmute at 12:11 PM on January 7, 2008

You're probably fighting a losing battle, but you can probably make some improvements. You will be dealing with a couple of vectors for noise--direct (through gaps and such) and indirectly, transmitted via the materials of the door themselves.

Have no idea if this would work, but this is one of the top results for "soundproofing doors."

As I recall from my reading on the topic, the idea is you want a variety of material densities to stop different wavelengths of sound, and you really want any actual air gaps closed. I expect it can get much better, but don't expect miracles if they're really noisy.
posted by maxwelton at 12:25 PM on January 7, 2008

Have you talked to your roommate? I know this is another issue but when living in a multifamily house years ago we were especially quite during activities that might make extra noise. Does your roommates SO know?

Oh Yeah - maybe a heavy carpet over the door would help.
posted by doorsfan at 12:36 PM on January 7, 2008

Heavy velvet curtains on both sides.
posted by brautigan at 12:40 PM on January 7, 2008

Well, the good news is that you have what looks like a fairly heavy solid door, not a thin hollowcore.

I would start by simply stuffing something into the cracks around the door (look for a round foam weatherstripping) and taping over it with some sort of tape that's not going to rip all of the paint off when you move out.
posted by davey_darling at 12:41 PM on January 7, 2008

I couldn't tell from the picture, but if there's a gap at the bottom of the door, cover that. Anything from one of those "draft dodger" beanbag things to a rolled up old towel will do the trick.

On your side, you can also hang a tapestry or blanket just to muffle the sound transmission a bit. If your roommate is a true friend, you won't have a problem convincing him to hang something similar.

Lastly, if the door's one of those thin, hollow doors, see if you can get your landlord to offer to replace it with a door of decent weight. Perhaps offering to do the replacement yourself might be sufficient to get the landlord to pay for it. Alternately, if you don't need to be able to pass through, maybe remove the door from its hinges and replace it with a construction of foam. Check either Home Depot/Lowes/whatever for materials, or perhaps a low department store's bedding section for a cheap eggcrate. No need to splurge when you're not even sleeping on it.

Mostly though, I think the fabric over the door will work as long as the door's not hollow.
posted by explosion at 12:44 PM on January 7, 2008

I dealt with a similar problem years ago (my roommate's girlfriend was a 'screamer' in bed) by placing a heavy bookcase in front of the door. You didn't mention if you have to use your door; we didn't, and this method worked really well. Eventually, his girlfriend started sleeping with our other roommate and the noise moved completely to the other side of the house.
posted by item at 12:44 PM on January 7, 2008 [1 favorite]

soundproofing and then put a piece of heavy furniture, such as a dresser or bookcase, in front of it. i have a redundant door at the other end of my bedroom from an ill-planned remodel and while it opens into a common room with little noise/distraction, furniture put on both sides of the door renders it nearly as quiet as a wall, and that's without soundproofing material placed directly on the door.
posted by kuppajava at 12:45 PM on January 7, 2008

Thanks for the advice everyone.

I don't have to use the door, which is certainly a plus. However, basically the only way to configure my room is to have the bed right up against the door, so I'm not too hopeful about blocking it with furniture. Luckily, I have maybe 4 inches of space on my side of the door to stuff with sound absorbing material, which gives me some hope. it's a fairly sturdy door, too.

I'm close with my roommates, and we're both very conscientious about the noise we make. Still, it would be nice to not hear every conversation that they have with each other.
posted by deafmute at 1:29 PM on January 7, 2008

I've dealt with this situation too and I've found that it's really hard to block out the noise by creating a buffer. No matter what, you're going to be focusing on whatever noise you can hear. I suggest going about it a different way. Get a white noise machine or a fan and some of those spongy earplugs. Together, they should knock out most of the noise.
posted by jrichards at 1:38 PM on January 7, 2008

I would seriously stab someone over my Marpac. It's made all the difference in the world when it comes to blocking out street noise, neighbors, etc. I love that little thing.

A white noise machine (or a cheap box fan) plus an insulated door should do the trick.

And also talking to your roomie.
posted by wfrgms at 2:50 PM on January 7, 2008

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