My Three Soundproof Door Mistakes
FREE Soundproofing Workshop: https://www.soundproofyourstudio.com/workshop
I had done a version of this article before, but this one builds on the last and introduces a new mistake or two! In this lesson I will go over three mistakes I made when building my soundproof door that really didn't not become apparent until years into its use.
1) Where Did I Learn To Build My First Soundproof Door
Like anyone, we all start with no experience. I only had Rod Gervais's book as a guide and being the person I am, I followed it to a T, you could say religiously. The problem is that Rod's design or more likely, my interpretation of his design did not end up working for me. No shade on Rod, I respect his book and ideas, but my point is that a simple book with a fairly quick run through of how to build a soundproof door never beats the experience of building soundproof doors over and over again and the experience of knowing what happens to that door over time.
2) Soundproof Door Mistake #1: Buy High Quality Door Seals
In his book, Gervais explains that he uses GM trunk rubber and magnetic seals to build custom seals around his doors. He does mention a company called Zero International as well. In my experience the trunk rubber he recommended or at least the one I bought using his recommendations to the best of my research ability, was too stiff. The door would bounce of the seal and it was very difficult to get a complete seal around the door.
So, we took off most of the trunk rubber and used weather stripping we found at our local hardware store. The weather stripping we used is not amazing, but it did the trick. It is called Frost King here in the United States and comes in various widths and depths. You can customize the size to your door design.
On top of using these Frost King weather seals I also recommend that you buy high end door seals to go on the inside of each of your doors. The seals I recommend are:
Zero International Door Bottom 367AA
Zero International Perimeter Seals 770AA
These are not cheap and I spent $770 on my seals and am excited to install them in the coming weeks. If you cannot find these specific seals in your country then look for a similar item that is high quality and acoustically rated.
3) Soundproof Door Mistake #2: Buy A Mortised Door Handle
The second mistake I made was buying a relatively cheap and thus not sturdy door handle and deadbolt for my door. In a previous lesson I talked about buying a door handle with the wrong backset, but that is another story. Today I am saying not to buy a through the door door knob. The reason, mortised locksets don't go all the way through your door, thus improving soundproofing, but they also are usually made for heavier doors and can handle the pressure of a 300lb door.
I have really enjoyed using a company called TruDoor here in the states. Mortised locks are available all over the world, so check your local supplier to pick the right one. You can also use a closed cell foam to help insulate the door handle from sound.
4) Soundproof Door Mistake #3: Buy Pre-Hung Solid Core Doors
It can take a little digging, but getting a pre-hung solid core door is a great starting place. It might be a little more expensive, but you don't have to try and hang a door let alone a very heavy door. If you have not hung doors before it is a very labor intensive process = money/time = money in the end.
Again, in the united states I really like TruDoor. They seem to have great support and a very efficient website, which is so helpful and worth extra money a lot of the time.
If you can find pre-hung solid core doors locally then go with that. The install of the pre-hung doors is beyond the scope of this lesson, but that is another pieces of this complicated soundproofing puzzle I will save for another time.
In the end, buy high quality door seals, buy a mortised lockset, and try to buy pre-hung solid core doors if you can. This will save you time and money in the long run. Remember, I am speaking from years of experience now, so trust me when there are certain corners you just don't want to cut when soundproofing.