Idea for making soundproof door...

Discussion in 'rec.audio.pro' started by John Arkensaw, Aug 18, 2003.

  1. I've been thinking of soundproofing my basement, but alas am to poor
    to call in professionals so I must resort to ingenuity..
    I have this idea for building a soundproof door, from what I know
    (which admitedly is not too much) this could be an effective (and
    inexpensive) solution.
    First off, this is for the door way at the bottom of the stairs in the
    basement, it is NOT a standard sized door way so custom work would
    have been necessary anyway. I would build a wooden frame to snuggly
    fit the opening, then side this frame with sound board - finally I
    would wrap the whole door with those sound blocking vinyl sheets.
    Afterwards I would line the edges with those rubber edges to make sure
    it seals tightly. The inside could be left hollow (as a sound
    chamber), or stuffed with fiberglass (or other better material?).

    Any thoughts on the potential effectiveness (or lack thereof) of this
    design?
  2. James Boyk

    James Boyk Guest

    WHen considering sound-proofing, first consider ALL the possible paths by which sound can travel into areas where it isn't desired. You might have an absolutely sound-proof door, but if there are (for instance) heating ducts between the basement and the up
    stairs, the door will do little or no good. So the first thing to do is a survey of all the possible paths.

    As for the door itself, is there also a door at the top of the stairs? If not, and if you install one there, the two doors plus the 'stairway air lock' thus created between them will probably be effective enough that some other path will be the limiting fa
    ctor.

    You can make a rather effective isolating door very simply by using 1 3/4" solid-core material for the door, fitting it snugly as you suggest to the jamb, weather-stripping around the door with *acoustic-rated* stripping, and fitting an acoustic-rated "dro
    p bottom" to seal between the door and the floor or the sill. Stanley, among other companies, makes such stripping and drop-bottoms. This does not work like a highly-rated professional door, but if you have a door like this at top and bottom of stairwell,
    I'd be surprised if this path was the limiting factor.

    James Boyk
    (not an acoustician, but I've got a couple doors like this!)
  3. James Boyk <boyk@performancerecordings.com> wrote in message news:<bhpeof$q6p$1@naig.caltech.edu>...
    > WHen considering sound-proofing, first consider ALL the possible paths by which sound can travel into areas where it isn't desired. You might have an absolutely sound-proof door, but if there are (for instance) heating ducts between the basement and the

    upstairs, the door will do little or no good. So the first thing to do is a survey of all the possible paths.
    >
    > As for the door itself, is there also a door at the top of the stairs? If not, and if you install one there, the two doors plus the 'stairway air lock' thus created between them will probably be effective enough that some other path will be the limiting

    factor.
    >
    > You can make a rather effective isolating door very simply by using

    1 3/4" solid-core material for the door, fitting it snugly as you
    suggest to the jamb, weather-stripping around the door with
    *acoustic-rated* stripping, and fitting an acoustic-rated "drop
    bottom" to seal between the door and the floor or the sill. Stanley,
    among other companies, makes such stripping and drop-bottoms. This
    does not work like a highly-rated professional door, but if you have a
    door like this at top and bottom of stairwell, I'd be surprised if
    this path was the limiting factor.
    >
    > James Boyk
    > (not an acoustician, but I've got a couple doors like this!)



    Thank you for your helpful reply.
    I have considered all the possible paths through which sound may be
    escaping, and I am quite positive at this time that the doorway is the
    major culprit right now.

    Here is the full situation of the basement: it is a semi-detached
    house, so three of the walls face dirt and are thus not much to worry
    about. The 4th wall obviously faces my neighbour's basement, but
    seems to be ok - thick brick wall dividing us, unrefinished on my side
    right now, but it is refinished on his. Thus far I never hear a peep
    coming from his side, and I think the same can be said coming from my
    side. The next major hurdle would be the ceiling, but here some dumb
    luck has made things easy for me. Some years ago when we renovated
    the kitchen, we had cermaic tile laid down - for some baffling reason
    the builder put in a 2 inch cement foundation before laying the tiles!
    Everyone would remark on how strange this was, and in fact when we
    later on had the rest of the flour tiled, the workers who did it
    expressed their professional opinion that the previous fellow did not
    know what he was doing... anyhow, to make the floor level throughout
    they put in 2 inches of cement foundation throughout.
    This has now turned to my advantage, since that thick solid surface
    has already done much to soundproof the basement. My listening tests
    indicate that the doorway is in fact the main leak - which is not
    surprising, since right now there is NOTHING to block anything at all!

    There is a door at the top of the stairs, but it is a thin hollow
    decorative thing that does not seal at all - sadly, the other
    inhabitants of the household will probably not let put up a big ugly
    homemade soundblocking door up there.. I have thought that perhaps
    one of those acoustic curtains behind the useless door might be a
    possibility?

    The door design you suggest sounds like an interesting possibility
    (simpler then what I was thinking) - what types of solid-core
    materials are advisable for best results?
    Is it completely useless to do the sorts of things I was thinking
    about (adding sound boards, or the vinyl)?

    As you said, there may well be other limiting factors involved, but in
    the meantime if I can resolve this glaringly obvious one it will allow
    me to find them more easily!

    (err... sorry about the longish post ;))
  4. Lee Liebner

    Lee Liebner Guest

    > The next major hurdle would be the ceiling, but here some dumb
    > luck has made things easy for me. Some years ago when we renovated
    > the kitchen, we had cermaic tile laid down - for some baffling reason
    > the builder put in a 2 inch cement foundation before laying the tiles!


    Luck is right. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is jealous.


    > There is a door at the top of the stairs, but it is a thin hollow
    > decorative thing that does not seal at all - sadly, the other
    > inhabitants of the household will probably not let put up a big ugly
    > homemade soundblocking door up there.


    Two options, both between $60 and $75:
    like Prof Boyk said, get a solid-core exterior door. It's one of the
    cheapest forms of mass you can buy. Get it with a birch finish, bring it
    home, sand it, and seal it with polyurethane. It may end up looking better
    than all your other doors.

    Or get a Premdor Safe-n-Sound door. Looks like a standard colonial 6-panel
    door.

    Regarding your other questions, use good seals with *two* solid-core doors
    and you won't have to worry about the rest of the things you were
    considering doing.

    Lee
  5. Higgs

    Higgs Guest

    Earlier this week I also posted a question about a studio door and had
    the safe-and-sound door recommended. Searching on the net I cannot
    track down a price, or a local carrier of this door. Does any body
    know if Home-Depot carries them? I looked on their site and can't
    find them.

    I did run across this info from Owens Corning:
    http://pressroom.owenscorning.com/acoustic_door.html . Does the Owens
    door have any additional benefit over the "regular" safe-and-sound
    door?


    "Lee Liebner" <jazzman@oceanbridge.com> wrote in message news:<0kednSbwbtNw7t2iXTWJiA@comcast.com>...
    > > The next major hurdle would be the ceiling, but here some dumb
    > > luck has made things easy for me. Some years ago when we renovated
    > > the kitchen, we had cermaic tile laid down - for some baffling reason
    > > the builder put in a 2 inch cement foundation before laying the tiles!

    >
    > Luck is right. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is jealous.
    >
    >
    > > There is a door at the top of the stairs, but it is a thin hollow
    > > decorative thing that does not seal at all - sadly, the other
    > > inhabitants of the household will probably not let put up a big ugly
    > > homemade soundblocking door up there.

    >
    > Two options, both between $60 and $75:
    > like Prof Boyk said, get a solid-core exterior door. It's one of the
    > cheapest forms of mass you can buy. Get it with a birch finish, bring it
    > home, sand it, and seal it with polyurethane. It may end up looking better
    > than all your other doors.
    >
    > Or get a Premdor Safe-n-Sound door. Looks like a standard colonial 6-panel
    > door.
    >
    > Regarding your other questions, use good seals with *two* solid-core doors
    > and you won't have to worry about the rest of the things you were
    > considering doing.
    >
    > Lee
  6. Mike Rivers

    Mike Rivers Guest

    In article <dc0dabe4.0308172147.49c4e610@posting.google.com> johnarkensaw@yahoo.com writes:

    > I have considered all the possible paths through which sound may be
    > escaping, and I am quite positive at this time that the doorway is the
    > major culprit right now.


    If you're sure that it's important enough to work on, then it's
    important enough to fix. But soundproofing is a progressive thing.
    Once you seal up the door, then it'll be easier to hear other sound
    leaks and you can decide which, if any, of those you need to seal up.
    It also depends on why you need to seal up the basement. If you want
    to play drums down there when the rest of the family is sleeping, you
    won't be able to do it without spending a whole lot of money (or just
    a lot of money and a lot of time).

    If you just want to keep normal household noises out of your studio,
    that's possible, but if the kids are playing in the room directly
    above, the door won't help all that much. Also, remember that low
    frequencies travel very effectively and don't need a direct route. A
    booming rap record on the stereo in the kid's room goes EVERYWHERE.
    And thumping bass from a passing car radio will get through any window
    in the vicinity.

    > There is a door at the top of the stairs, but it is a thin hollow
    > decorative thing that does not seal at all - sadly, the other
    > inhabitants of the household will probably not let put up a big ugly
    > homemade soundblocking door up there..


    Replacing it with a solid door and rubber weatherstripping will help.
    It won't block the lowest frequencies or screaming and running kids,
    but it will be effective against speech, TV sets, and help block
    outside noises coming from that direction.



    --
    I'm really Mike Rivers - (mrivers@d-and-d.com)
  7. ScotFraser

    ScotFraser Guest

    << The inside could be left hollow (as a sound
    chamber), or stuffed with fiberglass (or other better material?). >>

    No, a hollow core door won't do squat for sound transmission. It has to be the
    thickest solid core door you can get. Mass is what stops sound.

    Scott Fraser
  8. ScotFraser

    ScotFraser Guest

    << There is a door at the top of the stairs, but it is a thin hollow
    decorative thing that does not seal at all - sadly, the other
    inhabitants of the household will probably not let put up a big ugly
    homemade soundblocking door up there.. >>

    A solid core door is not in any way inherently ugly. They are available with
    various hardwood veneers, maple, oak, etc. The hollow core door may as well be
    left open for all it does to stop sound. Just replace it & beef up the jambs
    with 1 x 2 & neoprene stripping. Done right it looks just fine.

    << I have thought that perhaps
    one of those acoustic curtains behind the useless door might be a
    possibility? >>

    Won't really do much at all. You need a tight seal.




    Scott Fraser
  9. Lee Liebner

    Lee Liebner Guest

    "Higgs" <jamescashworth@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:4e3cce4a.0308180338.4310bee7@posting.google.com...
    > Earlier this week I also posted a question about a studio door and had
    > the safe-and-sound door recommended. Searching on the net I cannot
    > track down a price, or a local carrier of this door. Does any body
    > know if Home-Depot carries them? I looked on their site and can't
    > find them.
    >
    > I did run across this info from Owens Corning:
    > http://pressroom.owenscorning.com/acoustic_door.html . Does the Owens
    > door have any additional benefit over the "regular" safe-and-sound
    > door?


    Both Lowes and HD carry the Premdor Safe-n-Sound solid core interior doors.
    These are not as massive as flush solid-core exterior doors and are more
    expensive.

    My attempts to get info from Lowes and Home Depot about the Owens-Corning
    version of this same door, i.e. with their seals, ended in frustration. Too
    much trouble. Solid core exterior is cheaper and more massive, but you will
    have to create your own frame using thicker than 3/4" jambs because these
    doors are heavier.
  10. Rob Adelman

    Rob Adelman Guest

    ScotFraser wrote:

    > << The inside could be left hollow (as a sound
    > chamber), or stuffed with fiberglass (or other better material?). >>
    >
    > No, a hollow core door won't do squat for sound transmission. It has to be the
    > thickest solid core door you can get. Mass is what stops sound.


    In my music room I used 2 solid core doors with about a foot of air in
    between them. This really does the job.

    -Rob
  11. EganMedia

    EganMedia Guest

    I have the system Mr. Boyk described thoughout my studio: A solid core door,
    acoustic-rated weatherstripping, and a drop seal on a hardwood threshold. I
    have airlocks between critical recording/listening spaces and with two of these
    doors between the drum rooom and a very quiet control room, the results are
    more than satisfactroy. I hear more leakage through the 35' of cabling conduit
    running under the concrete slab of the live room into the wiring trough under
    the console than I do through the doors.


    Joe Egan
    EMP
    Colchester, VT
    www.eganmedia.com
  12. mrivers@d-and-d.com (Mike Rivers) wrote in message news:<znr1061205435k@trad>...
    > If you're sure that it's important enough to work on, then it's
    > important enough to fix. But soundproofing is a progressive thing.
    > Once you seal up the door, then it'll be easier to hear other sound
    > leaks and you can decide which, if any, of those you need to seal up.
    > It also depends on why you need to seal up the basement. If you want
    > to play drums down there when the rest of the family is sleeping, you
    > won't be able to do it without spending a whole lot of money (or just
    > a lot of money and a lot of time).
    >
    > If you just want to keep normal household noises out of your studio,
    > that's possible, but if the kids are playing in the room directly
    > above, the door won't help all that much. Also, remember that low
    > frequencies travel very effectively and don't need a direct route. A
    > booming rap record on the stereo in the kid's room goes EVERYWHERE.
    > And thumping bass from a passing car radio will get through any window
    > in the vicinity.
    >
    > > There is a door at the top of the stairs, but it is a thin hollow
    > > decorative thing that does not seal at all - sadly, the other
    > > inhabitants of the household will probably not let put up a big ugly
    > > homemade soundblocking door up there..

    >
    > Replacing it with a solid door and rubber weatherstripping will help.
    > It won't block the lowest frequencies or screaming and running kids,
    > but it will be effective against speech, TV sets, and help block
    > outside noises coming from that direction.



    Yes, it is indeed progressive and I am taking it one step at a time.
    First thing is the door. I did some more listening tests today, and
    was yet again amazed at how silent the floor (with the 2 inches of
    cement) is - I discovered another point of escape though, a fairly
    obvious one, the air ducts. The air ducts in the basement are
    conducing sound up above like those tin can with string telephones - I
    have read that there is a special spray that is used to deaden the
    sound in ducts? Any views on how effective this is, or if there are
    better ways?

    Yes, the basement will become my studio and listening room -
    practicing my various instruments, composition, and a good deal of
    listening. Potentially some recording as well.
    The room is approximately 13' x 20' - what kind of bass traps should I
    look into ? The key again is sound blockage (mostly sound going out
    of the room), but also to improve the acoustic in the room itself.
    Another thing, would it serve any purpose in a basement to place
    acoustic mats underneath the speakers, or would that just be a waste
    down there? (the speakers, for the time being at least, are not on the
    floor but on top of other furniture)

    Thanks for your thoughts
  13. ScotFraser

    ScotFraser Guest

    << In my music room I used 2 solid core doors with about a foot of air in
    between them. This really does the job.
    >>


    Same for the door from the back of my control room to outdoors. Two solid core
    doors a foot apart keeps the outside outside.


    Scott Fraser
  14. Lee Liebner

    Lee Liebner Guest

    > I discovered another point of escape though, a fairly
    > obvious one, the air ducts. The air ducts in the basement are
    > conducing sound up above like those tin can with string telephones - I
    > have read that there is a special spray that is used to deaden the
    > sound in ducts? Any views on how effective this is, or if there are
    > better ways?


    Sound doesn't like going around corners. Consider replacing that run of
    ductwork with SuperRounds from Johns-Mansville, and make the path a little
    more labyrinthine. It's insulated but smooth inside, reportedly better for
    soundproofing and airflow than the Flexduct brand.

    http://www.jm.com/wwwroot/insulatio...cematerials/airhandling/ahs201_superround.pdf

    Lee
  15. James Boyk

    James Boyk Guest

    Sound will travel readily between spaces connected by ducts. If you can't eliminate the ducts, and you need serious isolation, I think you'll have to make the ducts long, labyrinthine and sound-absorbent. This will mean having ducts running back and forth
    inside one or the other of the connected spaces; and this in turn will mean a change in the acoustics of the space because of the presence of the ducts and the acoustic properties of the duct walls. In other words, this is a tough one.

    James Boyk
  16. Rob Adelman

    Rob Adelman Guest

    I built my room with no ducts. Just baseboard heating. It is usually
    pretty cool in there being in the basement, course you still need to
    open the doors sometimes for fresh air.


    James Boyk wrote:

    > Sound will travel readily between spaces connected by ducts. If you
    > can't eliminate the ducts, and you need serious isolation, I think
    > you'll have to make the ducts long, labyrinthine and sound-absorbent.
    > This will mean having ducts running back and forth inside one or the
    > other of the connected spaces; and this in turn will mean a change in
    > the acoustics of the space because of the presence of the ducts and the
    > acoustic properties of the duct walls. In other words, this is a tough one.
    > James Boyk
    >
  17. James Boyk

    James Boyk Guest

    The sacrifices (gasp) we make (choke) for good sound!
  18. Rob Adelman

    Rob Adelman Guest

    James Boyk wrote:

    > The sacrifices (gasp) we make (choke) for good sound!


    <g>

    It has actually never been a problem except when I had a whole band in
    there for an entire afternoon. It got a bit warm in there from all those
    bodies, and guitar amps, etc.

    Are there any kind of silent air coolers? Perhaps a few garbage cans
    full of ice?
  19. David Bock

    David Bock Guest

    Put a sheet of lead between two doors if you really need isolation...
  20. James Boyk

    James Boyk Guest

    I'm not an expert in this, but I think you need absorption along the entire length of the duct. That is, you need to replace the ductwork.

    About the doors, you keep asking the wrong question: "Will this do it?" Given how the ducts compromise the isolation, perhaps you could replace the doors with solid lead and it would make no difference! No one can tell without evaluating the transmission (
    vs. frequency) coming through each path. People who do that are professional acousticians. You've arrived at the point where what you might do is hire one for an hour or two; then maybe hire him or her for another couple of hours to draw up plans and speci
    fy just what you need. But nail down in writing what you're going to get from them; I've not had good experiences with acousticians.

    James Boyk
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