How to Soundproof a Sliding Door (Glass or Barn)

a glass sliding door

Last updated: April 6, 2022 at 13:38 pm

While there is plenty of soundproofing advice available relating to doors, most of it applies to standard door soundproofing. Many homes have sliding patio doors, so it can be a weak spot and let a lot of sound into your home. So today, we’re going to look at how to soundproof a sliding door.

Soundproofing a sliding door varies depending on the type of door you have. The two most common door types are glass and barn. So today, we’re going to look at how to soundproof each type.

Different Types of Sliding Door

Sliding Glass Door

A glass door is the most common sliding door you’ll find in the UK. Commonly used as a back door or door between a house and conservatory it’s open to the elements, and most importantly sound.

Not only will soundproofing it block noise, but it will have a positive impact on heat retention and energy costs.

Sliding Barn Door

In contract to sliding glass door, barn doors are commonly used in bedrooms or wardrobes. These trendy pieces are often built using wood, and add a contemporary feel to the room. Since they’re not airtight, sound will get through and can be frustrating, especially in bedrooms.

How to Soundproof a Sliding Glass Door

sliding glass door

There are several options if you would like to soundproof a sliding door. The best option for you may not necessarily be just one of them. Soundproofing is at its most effective when all gaps are sealed. You might need to use more than one product to achieve the best results.

Install a Sliding Door Seal

One way you can reduce the amount of noise you can hear through your sliding doors is to install an acoustic drop seal. They are made to create a seal in the mechanism that allows the door to slide. The seal reduces the amount of noise that can pass under the door.

Another option is to buy a perimeter seal. As the name suggests, it can be fitted around the edge of your door and acts as a sound barrier. You can buy kits to do this, and while they vary, most will include a seal big enough to go around the entire door and adhesive to attach it.

Install a Door Sweep

As with all types of doors, a fundamental weakness when it comes to noise is the gap underneath. It can let through a surprising amount of sound, so installing a seal to block sound waves is the first step. There aren’t many door sweeps designed to work with a sliding door, but a regular one should still be effective. The only issue is that if your sliding door is wider than a traditional door, you may have to buy more than one sweep and cut them to size to fit your door.

If you don’t want to drill into your door’s frame, then another alternative would be to put a good quality draft excluder at the bottom of the door. If you don’t open the door a lot, this may be a more straightforward solution. Draft excluders aren’t particularly expensive, and you can make one yourself as a craft project if you wish.

Replace the Glass with Acoustic Glass

If your sliding door is relatively new, then replacing the glass may be too expensive unless the noise getting through it is a major issue for you. If it is old and has gaps, it may be worth considering both to block out sound and keep the heat in your home.

Acoustic glass is more expensive than regular glass, so you’ll need to consider your budget and how much noise you need to block out. Acoustic glass is more effective than standard glass at blocking sound because it is usually the thickness of two panes. It also has a layer of soundproof material sandwiched in the middle to take power out of sound waves.

Replacing the glass isn’t something you can do yourself, which will increase the cost. However, you should still consider getting a quote if you live in a very noisy location, as acoustic glass can be very effective.

Hang Soundproof Or Moving Blankets

If you don’t want to modify your door, or if you want to enhance the soundproofing effect even more, you could hang soundproof or moving blankets over the door. Although they are not designed for soundproofing, moving blankets are made from dense material to protect any items wrapped in them. The denser a substance is, the more it’ll block sound. They are usually cheaper than soundproof blankets if you’re on a tight budget.

Unlike moving blankets, soundproof blankets are made to block sound. They are either made from layers of particularly dense material, have a soundproof product like mass-loaded vinyl sandwiched between the fabric, or both. Because they are often hung on the wall, many soundproof blankets come with kits to attach them, making installation easier.

Some of the benefits of hanging blankets are that it does not require you to modify your door frame or damage it in any way. Because the blankets can be easily removed, you can choose to cover the door up only if it is what you want. So, if you wish to leave the door open to increase airflow in summer, you can take down the blankets in a couple of minutes. Blankets are also a cheaper option than replacing the glass.

Another alternative to blankets is to hang soundproof curtains. Curtains would look attractive and can be closed or drawn back without being removed. However, soundproof curtains can be expensive. Also, it’s not guaranteed you’d find pre-made curtains in the correct size to fit your door as they are made to fit windows.

Fill Any Gaps with Acoustic Sealant

Acoustic sealant is not a complete fix on its own. You should use this step-in conjunction with the other options to ensure a complete job. As you need to find all gaps around your door, it is easiest to check on a windy day. Close the door and slowly run your fingers around the gap between the frame and the wall and around the edge of any glass in your door. If you feel any air coming in, you need to seal the hole with acoustic sealant.

Top Tip! If you’re not positive if you detect a hole, place a piece of tissue paper over the area. If the paper starts to move, you know there’s a hole to be filled. You don’t necessarily need to use tissue paper but the lighter the paper is the easier it will be to find the holes.

It is always worth sealing any little gaps during a soundproofing project, but if you are finding lots of gaps, then you should think about if your door is still in reasonable condition or if you should replace it.

Use Weatherstripping Around the Edges

Weatherstripping kits are easily available and help form a tighter seal between the door and the frame. There are many kits available, but you need to be careful to choose the correct thickness. It will impede the door as it slides back and forth if it is too thick. However, if it’s too thin, it won’t do a good job at blocking out sound.

To make installation easier, you should also look out for self-adhesive stripping. It means you can cut it to size, remove the backing and stick it in place with minimum difficulty and it requires no DIY skills. Sliding doors tend to have bigger gaps to allow for the sliding motion, so weather stripping and door sweeps are more important than on other types of doors.

How to Soundproof a Sliding Barn Door

sliding barn door

Seal Any Gaps

If you have a sliding barn door, it’s unlikely you have glass panes to worry about. Most of the tips listed above also apply here. You should consider:

  • Installing a door sweep or a draft excluder to prevent sound coming in under the door and heat from getting out
  • Hanging soundproof blankets, moving blankets, or soundproof blankets over the door
  • Installing weatherstripping where the door meets the frame. Barn doors can have larger gaps around them. This is an important step in your soundproofing project
  • Filling in any holes with acoustic sealant

Add Thickness with MLV or Similar

A barn door’s benefit over a glass door is that you don’t need to worry about blocking the window. This means you can install extra soundproof materials on the back of the door to enhance its soundproofing ability.

Mass loaded vinyl is thin and flexible, so it’s easy to install it onto the back of the door. You can also paint it to make it look like a design feature, or you could cover it with wood and paint it to hide the MLV altogether.

Whichever option you choose, remember you’ll need to cut holes for the door handles and hinges.

Conclusion

Doors can be a significant weak spot when it comes to sound entering your home. However, by taking your time and blocking up as many gaps around it as possible, you will be able to reduce the noise you can hear to a significant degree. Many of the options listed above will also help keep in the heat, which will help you reduce your heating bill.

Before you begin, consider your needs and your budget carefully and take the time to select the most appropriate solution for you. Once you’ve decided, always remember to take your time and, where necessary, ask the professionals for help.

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About the Author: AJ

AJ is a self-confessed soundproofing nut. He has written full-time on Quiet Living for the past 3 years, and has a wealth of knowledge about living a quieter life, soundproofing and fixing loud noises.

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