This blog post will answer the question, “What are the methods to soundproof sliding doors?” The ways in which sound can infiltrate through sliding doors, what kind of sliding doors can be soundproofed, and the benefits of soundproofing a sliding door.
How to soundproof a sliding door?
There are several key methods to soundproofing sliding doors
- Brush Weatherstrip
- Acoustic Caulk
- Door Sweep
- Acoustic Curtains
- Double Quilted Fibreglass panels
- Acoustic Blinds
- Laminated or Triple Pane Glass
- Increasing the thickness of the glass pane
How can sound infiltrate through a sliding door?
Sound infiltrates through a sliding door either through airborne transmission or structural transmission.
The general function of any kind of door is to separate one space from another which could either involve the same kind of activity or a completely different one.
Typically, a household usually has at least one sliding door which could either be one that separates the exterior part of the house from the interior or within the house to divide two spaces.
There are 2 ways in which sound can permeate through a sliding door:
Airborne Transmission: As can be seen from Image 1, this can be through the door sill or through the interstitial space between the overlapped doors in the sliding door mechanism
Structural Transmission: This can happen through vibrations of the material of which the sliding doors are made from such as glass, wood, some form of plastic, metal rail or a combination of the four.
Image 1: Ways in which sound can infiltrate a space
Benefits of Soundproofing Sliding Doors
Below are the benefits of soundproofing sliding doors:
- Makes the room isolated from unwanted noise which can disturb activities such as studying or sleeping.
- Reduction of ambient wind noise that can take place from airborne transmission.
- Improves room comfort and a general level of cosiness.
- Reduces outdoor contaminants and/or pests and cold draughts from entering the enclosed space improving thermal isolation (although may not be applicable for all forms of soundproofing).
The need for soundproofing sliding doors
The need for soundproofing sliding doors is to prevent your current activity from getting disturbed. Believe it or not there are standards that measure performance of building materials and associated equipment with respect to sound isolation.
This can objectively quantify the acoustical performance and hence help make an informed decision when considering what kind and type of material you would want when installing and purchasing a sliding door.
Unfortunately, sliding doors albeit aesthetically and practically pleasing actually are rated consistently lower than conventional doors in the STC (Sound
Transmission Class) and NIC (Noise Isolation Class) with a meagre value in the low 30s as compared to conventional hardwood doors whose value lies in the 50s and up.
The Table 1 as shown below can help you comprehend what rating of STC corresponds to what can be heard or how much sound leakage there is. This gives us a good understanding before setting out to soundproofing a sliding glass door.
|STCs by audio distinguishability|
|STC||What can be heard|
|25||Normal speech can be understood|
|30||Loud speech can be understood|
|35||Loud speech audible but not intelligible|
|40||Loud speech audible as a murmur|
|45||Loud speech heard but not audible|
|50||Loud sounds faintly heard|
|60+||Good soundproofing: most sounds do not disturb neighboring residents.|
Table 1: STCs by audio distinguishability
Another crucial element to look at is how much of an open area, exposed surface or gaps can bleed sound into an adjacent space. The transmission loss is linearly proportional to the percentage of Area open.
Albeit, we also have to consider in tandem with this table, the associated cost. It is simply not feasible to achieve 0.02% of an open area unless you are willing to use very expensive solutions or abandon using the sliding doors altogether. This is where one has to consider the law of diminishing returns.
|Sound diminution by percentage openness of barrier|
|Transmission loss||% of area open|
|13 dB||5% open|
|17 dB||2% open|
|20 dB||1% open|
|23 dB||0.5% open|
|27 dB||0.2% open|
|30 dB||0.1% open|
|33 dB||0.05% open|
|37 dB||0.02% open|
|39.5 dB||Practical maximum loss|
|40 dB||Theoretical maximum loss|
Table 2: Sound diminution by percentage openness of barrier
Methods of soundproofing a sliding door
There are several key methods to soundproofing sliding doors:
Seal the interstitial gaps: It is imperative to seal all the nooks and crannies without affecting the sliding mechanism
Brush Weatherstrip: It contains tiny bristles as in a normal toothbrush and bend, twist and contort when the door is slid. This gives it longevity as well as preventing infiltration of dust particles and pests.
Image 2: WeatherStripe
Acoustic Caulk: It’s basically a paste type of solution which is also commonly referred to as an acoustical sealant. It helps in sound dampening all those areas where gaps are found.
Door Sweep: These cover up the undersides of the sliding doors and can be either made up of a polystyrene foam, rubber or like a brush strip as mentioned above.
Acoustic Curtains: Hanging soundproof drapes increases the overall mass of the sliding doors and kind of defeats the purpose of having to install glass paned sliding doors.
On the contrary, the drapes can be folded at will as and when effective sound isolation is needed. The blankets should have grommets for hanging on a rod.
Double Quilted Fibreglass panels: They are a pricier option and functions more like an acoustical blanket than curtains. They are 48” X 96” so you will have to see how many of these you will need to cover the entire door. They also have a shiny quilted look.
Acoustic Blinds: They are as the name suggests and function just as normal blinds when hung against a window. They do, however, have thicker material to dampen high amplitude sound vibrations.
Laminated or Triple Pane Glass: These are as far as it gets bar using non glass paned doors and are often a costlier option. However, triple paned glass sliding doors have dead spaces or air pockets that are very effective at blocking high and low frequency sounds.
An ancillary benefit of these is that they also act as good thermal insulation and prevent high amounts of heat transfer into adjacent spaces.
Increasing the thickness of the glass pane: Although not as effective as using double or triple paned glass, it still goes a long way in soundproofing the sliding doors.
Image 3: Installation of thick glass pane on sliding door
Some of the things that need to be considered are glass thickness, overall thickness, air space, door construction–wood, vinyl, aluminium, fibreglass, and the ability to change glass stops and still have an operating door.) Following Table 3 is a quick look at STC (Sound Transmission Class) ratings of glass.
|STC Ratings for Glazed door pane|
|Single glazed (one pane of glass)||as high as 35|
|Laminated Single Glazed||as high as 40|
|Dual Glazed||as high as 40|
|Dual Glazed (one clear lite/one laminated)||as high as 45|
|Triple Glazed Clear||as high as 45|
Table 3: STC Ratings for Glazed door pane
Attach sound dampening foam: depending on your aesthetical preference you may or may not want to go with this option as it involves simply affixing some foam to the sliding door.
Oversized doors: Oversized doors simply implies that the doors that can go beyond the door frame into a cavity in the wall.
When sound vibrations impact the door, they can spread out over a large area thus dissipating the sound concentration and acoustically proofing the adjacent space.
Also, the doors, by their very large nature, can themselves reduce the gaps.
This blog addresses the ways in which sound can infiltrate through a sliding door, the performance metric information an individual needs before opting for soundproofing a sliding door.
Finally, what are some of the main ways that an individual can address a sound barrier or a sliding door and the effectiveness of each method.
If you have any questions or comments please let us know.
Frequently Asked Questions: How to soundproof a sliding door
Can you make a sliding door soundproof?
For interior doors, soundproofing blankets may be hung directly over the doorway to further decrease the sound from within. Soundproof blankets can improve the sound-blocking of a doorway by 80-90%. Gaps around the sides of sliding barn doors create sound flanking paths.
How do you make a sliding door less noisy?
Now, a quiet whoosh is the only sound the doors make as they glide by! It is easy and frugal to quiet your sliding doors with household wax. You can find paraffin near the cleaning supplies or household goods section of your local grocery store. It can also occasionally be found near the canning supplies.
Are sliding patio doors soundproof?
Acoustic Sliding Doors are soundproof sliding doors are the perfect way to let light in and keep noise out, especially when space is at a premium. Choose to add toughened or safety glass for that added peace of mind.
Why is my sliding door so loud?
The Sliding Glass Door Is Noisy When It Slides If your sliding glass door squeaks, it means that the track and the rollers need lubrication.
First, wipe off or vacuum the track. Then, spray the track with a silicone-based spray lubricant. If the door still squeaks, you can lubricate the rollers.
Does sound travel through glass doors?
An open window lets in air, but it lets in sound too—because the air carries sound waves.
More importantly, while light waves pass through only a handful of solid materials (such as transparent plastic and glass), sound energy will happily storm through most solids and emerge almost as loud on the other side.
How do I stop wind whistling through a sliding glass door?
We can fix it by simply removing the door from its track and then adjusting the roller screws by driving them towards the bottom.
Finally removing the top door stop. Realign the door on the track, reinstall the top plate, and readjust the roller screws.
How can I soundproof sliding double doors in my apartment?
Yes, there are many ways to soundproof sliding double doors using acoustic dampening materials such as foams, blankets, and caulking. In addition, use of wooden or PET doors instead of glass panel doors can also prevent sound diffusion into the adjacent space.
Can a sliding door to a room be as noise-reducing as a standard door? What is the best material?
Triple Glazing glass panelled sliding doors greatly enhances the sound dampening ability. Furthermore, it also greatly depends upon whether the sliding door is placed on the exterior wall of the house or the interior. For example, non-laminated wooden doors may give way to swelling due to moisture and PET doors might develop crack \s due to heat and UV Exposure.
What situations require soundproofing?
The basic reason to soundproof a room or a space is to prevent your current activity from getting disturbed.
This could be in situations such as:
In a bedroom to snooze in absolute silence. A good night’s sleep can keep a person more focused and active for the day and revitalise the senses.
At a recording studio where ambient sounds are detrimental to the recording process which could require multiple retakes and order expensive post processing to filter out such noises
In meetings or during a conference where sound bleeding cannot just be a disturbance but a leakage of confidential or privileged information not suitable for any other audience. Also, it can prevent clear passage of sound and cause incorrect information to be registered by the audience.
Personal office spaces and study rooms greatly benefit from sound isolation as much like good night’s sleep it can help to improve and sustain focus on the task at hand and prevent distractions.
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