Soundproofing a sliding door isn’t easy to achieve. Unlike traditional doors, sliding doors present a tough challenge, especially when blocking sound transmission through the door.
If you have a sliding door in your home, you have two options to help you deal with the noise problem. Firstly, you can soundproof the existing sliding door; alternatively, you can invest in one of the many soundproof slide doors options we have on the market today.
In this guide, we shall be discussing some of my most recommended methods that will help you counter noise transmitted through sliding doors.
What is a Soundproof Sliding Door?
Soundproof sliding doors are noise-canceling doors that can be installed or added to your home sliding door systems.
According to research, sliding doors provide up to 75% noise reduction as they are made of solid laminated glass that doesn’t break easily. A sliding door also offers added security against burglars as the glass used doesn’t break easily.
Understanding Sliding Doors Sound Ratings
There are different sound management techniques, and each is highly influenced by the nature of the specific noise problem.
Sound absorption is the process of eliminating sound energy in a room. Rooms with softer materials than hard tiled surfaces will absorb more noise than rooms with hard surfaces. The same principle applies when it comes to soundproofing a door.
Transmission refers to the movement of sound through a medium. Prevention of sound transfer through sliding doors openings and gaps requires specialized sound-absorbing and blocking products.
When sound comes in contact with a structure such as a door, it transfers into the door in the form of vibrations. These vibrations set the air particles on the other side of the door in motion resulting in more vibrations.
Adding mass to the door is one of the best ways to increase the door’s damping and stiffness, resulting in more resistance against sound waves.
Mass does a fantastic job in blocking sounds at a lower frequency. An excellent example of a material that adds mass to the door without being bulky is an MDF.
Sound Transmission Loss (TL)
Sound transmission loss measures the door’s ability to reduce noise. The value is given in decibels and calculated by measuring sound pressure at a specific frequency at the source and the receiving rooms.
In calculating TL, factors such as the area of partition dividing the two rooms are considered, including the adjustment for the receiving room acoustic reverberation time. This adjusted difference between the two spaces is the door’s Transmission Loss of the door.
The higher the transmission loss, the better the noise reduction.
Sound Transmission Class (STC)
Wide range of frequencies help determine the transmission loss . This makes it hard to compare the effectiveness of different doors in reducing sound transmission.
Sound Transmission Class (STC) ratings solve this problem by providing a single value in the door’s efficiency in blocking noise.
The STC rating determines the amount of noise reduction possible between the source and the receiving room.
The STC rating is calculated by a weighted average of Transmission Loss (TL) values measured across 16 frequencies through a guideline offered by the ASTM E413 Classification Standard for Rating Sound Insulation.
Below is a table showing the STC class of a typical hollow core door versus a door with proper gasketing. The higher the STC ratings, the better the material is in blocking noise. Below is a table showing the representative STC values for glass doors.
|Glass Size||Sound Transmission Class (STC) Ratings|
How to Soundproof Sliding Doors
Just like soundproofing a standard door, soundproofing a sliding door requires you to seal all the gaps and crack on the door to create an airtight seal.
Below are the materials that I would highly recommend if you’re looking to soundproof your existing door. However, the simpler but more expensive method I highly recommend is replacing your standard sliding door with a soundproof sliding glass door. *See a variety of soundproof slide doors I recommend after the below section*
How effective the door will be in blocking and absorbing echoes and reverbs will be determined by the different combinations of soundproofing materials you use.
However, the most important thing you should understand is that a door sound rating is only as good as the perimeter seal and acoustical gasketing seal you add to the opening.
|Standard Hollow Core Door||20-25||Very Poor||Low Speech Audible|
|25-30||Poor||Everyday Speech understood quickly and distinctly|
|Doors with Correct Gasketing||30-35||Fair||Loud Speech understood well|
|35-40||Good||Loud Speech heard but unintelligible|
The table above shows that doors with acoustical gasketing significantly reduce noise transmission, hence improving the STC values.
The importance of acoustic gasketing is derived from an essential property of sound: Sound can transmit through any opening with very little energy loss.
While the amount of noise traveling through a gap increases with the increase in gap size, the size of the gap when a sound barrier is present doesn’t matter.
A tiny hole in your door will transmit as much noise as a larger gap.
See the image below for a better understanding.
Therefore, a hole the size of a square inch in a 100sqft gypsum/drywall will transmit as much noise as the rest of the drywall partition.
Because of this unique sound phenomenon, any unattended gap and spaces in your door will effectively render your door (soundproof or standard).
For example, 1/8 inch of clearances around a soundproof door of STC ratings 52 will reduce the ratings to 21, resulting in very poor acoustical performance.
For an acoustical gasketing to be complete, the seals around the jamb, sill, and head must be complete, airtight, and uninterrupted.
You can use a weatherstripping material to seal the gaps on the bottom and top clearances. Even with a thick door, these gaps will leak in unwanted noise.
One of the weatherstripping tapes that I highly recommend is the Suptikes 2 Pack Door Draft Stopper available on Amazon. Not only does it help in noise attenuation, but it also helps keep small crawling insects out of your room.
It’s important to note that the tape I have recommended above only fits gaps that measure no more than 1 inch.
Mass Loaded Vinyl
If you have a sliding door that’s not thick enough, I would highly recommend you attach mass-loaded vinyl to the door. MLV will increase the door’s mass and density, making it hard for low frequency sounds to transmit through the door.
A good example is the TMS Sound Proofing Padding which is highly effective in blocking sound and noise.
With just a thickness of 1/8 inch, this MLV material has an STC rating of 27, making it effective in blocking low-frequency sounds like a bass.
Hang Soundproof Blankets
Something like the QBS soundproof blankets is a perfect start. These are available in the QBS-1 and QBS-2 versions, with an STC and NRC of 29/ 0.75 and 33/ 0.75, respectively.
Not only do these blankets block noise, but they also absorb echoes and reverbs in a room resulting to mproved acoustic performance and clear audio qualities.
You can use soundproof blankets to wrap around the HVAC ductwork system to reduce noise. These blankets are also perfect for use in outdoor noise control, machine enclosures, and workspace enclosures.
A-List of Soundproof Sliding Doors on the Market
While soundproofing an existing door is possible, sometimes the whole process can be time-consuming and too technical for DIY beginners. If you’re genuinely interested in making your sliding door soundproof, I would highly recommend you consider the options I have highlighted below.
Hawa Suono Sliding Door
The Hawa Suono sliding door boasts a patented 3D movement giving your room more design options. Not only does the sliding door use less space compared to traditional doors, but it also helps block up to 39 decibels of sound.
These doors are available for both residential and commercial setups. You can install them in your bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms, doctors’ offices, or even lawyers’ offices.
What I truly love about the Hawa Suono sliding door is the fact that not only does it reduce sound transmission but also keeps odors, dusts, draughts, and light out of your room.
The Hawa Suono sliding door is designed for interior doors weighing 100kg. For superior soundproofing of up to 39 decibels noise reduction, the Hawa Suono is combined with specially coordinated door frames and leaves.
|Hawa Suono Sliding Door Feature||Values|
ECLISSE Acoustic Sliding Pocket Door
The Eclisse acoustic sliding door is designed to snugly fit in the door frame without leaving any clearance spaces which could otherwise leak sounds. The door is 40mm thick, which ensures that it acts as a barrier, blocking noise from transmitting from one room to the next.
It features acoustic jambs, gaskets, and bumps that activate when the door is closed. They create an airtight seal on the vertical sides of the door, preventing sounds from leaking through.
In addition, the door features magnets that allow perfect and tight closing of the door to prevent airborne noise transmission. You don’t have to worry about investing in additional weatherstripping material as the ECLISSE acoustic sliding door comes with a weatherstrip that activates when the door is closed. The weatherstrips seal both the up and the lower perimeter of the door.
According to a test done on an 890x2030mm frame, it was discovered that the ECLISSE door can reduce up to 38 decibels of sound.
Sliding Glass Doors by Soundproof Windows
You’re assured that these sliding glass doors will block unwanted noise as they feature a second layer that not only blocks sound but also deters thieves. These soundproof doors can be installed inside or outside the existing sliding door.
In most cases, you will find that rooms with sliding glass doors are often the coldest in your home. The second layer of the sliding glass door will eliminate draft and coldness in the room.
You will get several advantages upon installing these soundproof sliding glass doors. They include:
- Improved noise reduction above 75%
- Improved insulations
- The added layer of glass improves security, making it hard for burglars to go through.
According to independent lab results, these sliding doors have an STC of 50, which is incredibly good in blocking noise.
Quietslide™ Power Sliding Doors
The QuietSlide™ power sliding doors by Noise Barriers brand is one of the most popular soundproof sliding doors for:
- Engine test cells
- TV and production studios
- Convention centers
- Concert halls
- Machinery enclosures.
According to the NVLAP accredited testing lab test under tests methods that conform with ASTM, it was proven that the Noise Barriers sliding doors offer an STC of 51.
Soundproof Sliding Door Buyer Guide
Now that you have opted to have a soundproof sliding door installed at your home or workplace, here are some helpful tips to help you get started.
The Right Size
The first important step is to ensure that you have the correct size. Sizing and measuring the sliding door is important to ensure a proper fit that will minimize the amount of noise that bleeds to other rooms.
It’s recommended you get a door that’s 2-4 inches wider compared to the door opening. The extra width helps reduce the amount of noise and increases privacy. The gap between the door bottom and the floor shouldn’t exceed ½ inch but at the same time ensure that there’s enough clearance for the door to close.
Make sure that the door is made of high-quality materials that won’t sag or bend with time allowing more sound to bleed into the room.
Quality hardware ensures that the gap between the wall or the floor and door remains consistent.
Weatherstripping and Door Sweep
Some soundproof sliding doors have weatherstripping, door sweep, and acoustical gaskets to help create an airtight seal.
These are important add-ons that every soundproof door must-have. Contact the manufacturer if you’re unsure.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can You Soundproof a Sliding Door?
Yes, you can soundproof a sliding door. However, you first need to create an airtight seal around the door using acoustic gaskets, weatherstripping, and door sweeps. You can also hang sound-blocking materials such as mass-loaded vinyl and soundproof blankets.
Soundproofing a sliding door isn’t as “easy” as it is to soundproof a standard door. This is because they don’t open as your regular doors and have almost impossible gaps to eliminate.
If you need to soundproof, you must use sound-blocking materials. However, if you simply need to improve the acoustic quality of a room, you should use sound-absorbing materials.
That’s not the case with most bloggers out there. I have seen, for instance, most of the recommending things like soundproof curtains, acoustic foam, and other moving blankets.
Do not be fooled, my dear readers sound deadening curtains and acoustic foam panels aren’t designed to block noise but instead only eliminate echoes and reverb in a room.
The worst of all, moving blankets simply don’t block noise, and they do very little in absorbing it.
If you’re genuinely interested in soundproofing your sliding door, ensure that you use sound blockers such as mass-loaded vinyl or soundproof blankets. The best approach would be to purchase a new soundproof sliding door.
Meet Mike O’Connor, (a DIY enthusiast), living in Cincinnati, a city ranked as the noisiest in the USA.
As a work from home dad, I have a first hand experience of how noise can truly affect your well being.
Soundproofing isn’t something that should be taken as a hobby, it should be a skill that every homeowner should be equipped with.
Most of the work documented on this blog comes from purely first hand experience, and the products recommended work as indicated.