Soundproof French Doors: 4 Simple Ways
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When discussing how your home looks, often times the desire is that you have something you want to look at every day. Living in a home that has too many portions of it that downright annoy you can wear a person down really quickly, let me tell you.
Having shared a house with some roommates during college, I was treated, firsthand, to the anxiety-inducing sights of people transforming parts of the house into something unappealing.
Those parts always wore me down and made me consider living anywhere else, short of moving into a shoe box.
So, you’ll be glad to hear, now that I have my own home, I’m definitely enjoying myself far more. Especially since I can decide where things go and how, and French doors have always been something I’m fond for, so I got them.
Except one part of them isn’t even close to ideal, and you’re here today because you’ve seen or rather heard it yourself as well. The blasted noise they let through is sometimes enough to drive to tears or even thoughts of smashing them, despite how much I love them.
Despite how fancy they are, how refined my home looks thanks to them, they are really bad at ensuring a room isn't bombarded with noise from outside. Or even keeping the noise of the room from going out in the first place.
So, let’s look at some options, from expensive and complex to simple and cheap, for resolving this issue. I will have to warn you up front that you might be out of luck if you are hoping for utter and complete soundproofing.
4 Ways You Can Soundproof French Doors
In all honesty, the reason why it will end up being a bit of a challenge to soundproof them is precisely the reason you want to do that, rather than replace them. French doors are beautiful, elegant and are made of lightweight materials, like glass.
Therein lies the heart of the problem. Lighter materials tend to be hellishly difficult to make soundproof and they let in a lot of noise, unlike some other, heavier materials.
This is why windows tend to be a gap in the soundproofing of a room and why you need to follow these steps before you resort to trying to work on your French doors:
With that done, let’s get into exploring your options and seeing what works best for you.
1. Hang Something Up to Block the Noise
Yes, this seems like a bit of an obvious one, but you’d be shocked at just how many things can be used to dead noise effectively in this case and without too much issue. In general, this isn’t going to be an extremely effective method, due to the fact that some noise might still get through.
For the most part, sounds like dogs barking or cars driving past will be blocked with decent success, but the regular everyday hum of life in a house will be blocked poorly. So your choice of this depends on what sort of noises bother you the most and are your biggest concern.
One point in favor of this particular choice is the fact that there are very few of these options that aren't very cheap. It's the sort of DIY and accessible setup that most can use, even with things from around the house.
Let’s go with some general things you can hang up in front of doors to reduce noise. Keep in mind that things can vary from place to place, but I’ll try to list them in order of easiest and cheapest, but maybe least effective, to the most expensive but effective variant, even if harder to find and buy:
2. Check the Installation
You might be thinking to yourself that this has already been done, surely. When they were installed originally or sometime later, they've been checked before and things are all okay, right?
Well, you’d be mistaken, if you think that. French doors are fragile and delicate, compared to doors of almost any other type. It’s why they look so good, comparatively.
This fragility, while beautiful, can be a major drawback when installing them. They can even end up producing noise due to this, in the following ways:
These and a thousand little irritants besides are why you need to be very thorough in this approach. Missing something will inevitably cause the problem to be worse, down the line.
Firstly, check the mounting and how well that’s holding up. The mount needs to be solid and affixed with just enough leeway to ensure the doors move where they’re supposed to and not an inch more.
If this was the issue and you resolve it, you now have doors that absorb vibrations a lot better and that will dampen sound quite a bit, coming in and out.
Second of all, you need to make sure nothing is loose. Moving parts mean that sometimes those same parts can get loose, so check for those and tighten where necessary, if you can.
Finally, check for any cracks that may have formed due to general wear and tear. While you’re doing this, consider what you may want to do with those cracks.
3. Sealing and Stripping Everything
Sound is basically going to behave like the air that carries it. Air tends to just get in and through any and all possible openings it can find to do so.
That's why this is the most useful step that I advise you to do regardless of what else you choose to unless you have no noise issues at all. Simply put, this maximizes your chances of suppressing any and all noise coming through your French doors.
In general, you ought to:
- Apply stripping around the door frame
- Apply stripping in the cracks between the door and frame
These are the two major ways to achieve a good result, when you discount any other possible leaks, with the previously given methods. Simply put, you need something like this and a careful, patient approach.
First, you need to check to see if there is any stripping already there and if it’s worn. Sometimes the problem can just be that it was worn down, so you can fix the issue by replacing it, easily enough.
Then, you apply the stripping carefully to your French doors. Make sure to never block anything, but always cover as much as possible, otherwise, you're not doing much.
4. Doubling Up
This is the most effective method but also by far the most expensive. Essentially, what you’re doing is doubling the methods you used before, like putting up curtains, only this time on both sides of the door or doubling the doors themselves.
Doubling the doors has a surprising benefit of creating a small air pocket between them that tends to absorb noise. Still, the inconvenience of two sets of doors close to each other in a row is the least of your concerns, beyond paying twice.
It’s still cheaper than double glazed doors. These are by far the most elegant and efficient solution, requiring nothing else.
The issue is, they're also the most expensive way to fix things. The costs of replacing the old doors are paltry compared to how much these French doors can cost, going into the range of thousands.
Final Word: Soundproofing French Doors
Whatever you decide to do in the end, I hope this guide was helpful to you and gave you a rough idea of what your choice should be. With any luck, your French doors letting noise through will soon be a thing of the past.