Can we soundproof pocket doors? Many people have asked me this question. I totally understand.
This is because, in some cases, pocket doors do not contain sound. Also, the pocket door if not installed correctly, does produce sound. If it is near your bedroom, it does disturb your sleep.
But soundproofing pocket doors is trickier than soundproofing regular doors.
The reason is obvious. Unlike regular doors, pocket doors are located in between walls. This means that when the pocket wall installed, it is already fixed.
Although it moves back and forth, you cannot open then the walls that cover the door.
As time goes by, the materials being used may get damaged causing some serious problems.
Why are Pocket Doors Noisy?
The main reason why pocket doors produce noise is that they do not installed as tight as the regular doors.
If sit tightly, the door, of course, won’t move back and forth.
Aside from being noisy, pocket doors could not effectively seal the room. As a result, the smell from the kitchen or other parts of the house could readily travel around.
Although it is difficult to soundproof a pocket door, this does not mean that you couldn’t.
Like any other problem in life, there are ways to solve the noise you’ve been fighting against every now and then.
In this post, I will share with you some of the methods you can apply to soundproof your pocket door.
However, none of the following methods are easy. All need patient, determination, and a lot of time especially if you are a total beginner to soundproofing.
Choosing the Best Soundproofing Materials
Sometimes the challenge is not the actual soundproofing process but choosing the deadening materials.
The reason is simple if you choose the wrong material the whole project will be compromised.
Applying low-quality material, for instance, can be comparable to no soundproofing at all.
The sound is still there. Or worse, the materials will be ruined sooner than you might have thought.
The second important thing to consider is the size of the gap between walls. The narrower space could tightly seal the gap which in turn regulates the sound from passing through.
But the problem is that if the gap is so tight, the number of materials can be used to soundproof the door is limited.
Lastly, the frame. You should make sure that the door is strong enough for sound abating. The stronger the frame the more choices you have in terms of choosing the right materials.
Choosing the Best Soundproofing Materials for Pocket Doors
As mentioned, the materials you use will determine the overall success of your soundproofing project.
Luckily, you can find a lot of choices when it comes to soundproofing pocket doors.
The challenge, however, is how you can choose the best one. Obviously, there is a big difference between wants and needs.
Sometimes we get caught up in a situation where we bought materials we want but we don’t really need them.
Every door differs from another. What you want maybe not what you need.
So the key here is to figure out the material that will really work in soundproofing your pocket door.
One thing that you can do before deciding what to buy is to do research. Get as much information as possible about the product before purchasing it.
The best source of information is the people who actually tried the product. You can find them from your neighbors or from experts online.
This post, for instance, is written to speed up your research process. My goal here is to give a basic idea of how to choose perfect materials for soundproofing pocket doors.
The following are the materials you need;
1. Mass Loaded Vinyl
I have mentioned this material in my previous article about soundproofing ceilings in apartments.
As I said in that article, the mass loaded vinyl is versatile and has unlimited usage. You can use it not only in soundproofing the ceilings but also in pocket doors.
This material helps strengthen the fragile pocket door.
2. Green Glue
Green glue is great material being used in building construction. In my previous post, I talked about using green glue in blocking the holes in the apartment ceiling.
It does a very good job of sealing the gaps between plywood and other construction materials.
It also works in soundproofing pocket doors.
3. Resilient Channels
This material can also be tremendously useful in the entire soundproofing process. Although it is commonly used to abate vibration, it helps in the noise abatement process.
This material is similar to carpentry products. In fact, it looks like a plyboard but a lot lighter compared to plyboard.
Homasote is designed for insulation projects. But it is a great material for soundproofing doors, floors and doors.
Okay, you have all the materials, now is the actual process.
How to Soundproof Pocket Doors?
There are many strategies you can employ to soundproof pocket doors.
Strategy #1: Make the Door Panel Stronger
Reinforcing the door panel is the first step to deaden the sound. Most doors including the pocket doors have gaps and airspaces where sound could easily pass through.
So the first thing to do is to reinforce the door panel. This will help establish your defense against noise.
Pocket doors come with many types and grades with different frame ratings.
But the thing is that not all doors are created equal. Some doors are flimsy.
Before buying a door, make sure that it has a sturdy or strong frame rating. Only the strong doors have the ability to withstand noise.
If you know someone who is a better carpenter, you can have him make the pocket door you want.
In case you don’t know someone who can carry out the quality output you want, you may want to buy commercial pocket doors.
You can try the Johnson Hardware Commercial Grade Pocket Door Frame.
This ready to install frame is of high quality you can rely on. It is sturdy enough for a pocket door.
If you want a heavy-duty pocket door frame, this one can fit with your needs. Easy to install and comes with all the hardware necessary for installation.
A flat and solid wood could also be a great addition. Choose a wood that has a similar size with your existing pocket door.
You can also use drywall instead. This whole process will depend on your material preference. As long as it works, you are good to go.
The main purpose here is to make the door stronger. The reason is simple. You cannot put soundproofing materials on a flimsy wall or door.
Deadening materials need something hard enough to stick with. Even simple insulation needs sturdy walls or frames.
After ensuring that all materials are durable, you can proceed with the actual process.
It will be easier to implement all the techniques and strategies if you have materials that are reliable.
Strategy #2: Use a Soundproofing Rubber
This is another great material commonly used for soundproofing pocket doors. The soundproofing rubber, for instance, neoprene soundproofing rubber does a very good job in sealing the gaps between the door frame and wall.
After implementing rubber materials, examine all the corners. If smaller gaps are still there, you can use the Acoustic Caulk to block all the noise passages.
Completing this step gives you the confidence to continue to the next step of the soundproofing process.
Strategy #3: Use a Door Gasket
Aside from the previous soundproofing materials shared above, there are other materials that could help you attain the level of quietness you always want.
However, the types of materials you can use may be dependent on how much you are willing to spend on the materials.
If your budget is limited, you can go with weatherstripping materials. These materials are inexpensive compared to the door gasket.
One of the best is the silicone weatherstripping. Unlike other materials in this category, this one is more durable. The durability comes with special compression properties that give the material extra strength.
However, if you really want high quality and better soundproofing results, your best option is to use door gaskets.
In most cases, door gaskets are being used sealing the top and two jambs. These materials fit the gaps tightly leaving no room for the soundwave to pass through.
Like any commodities, the more expensive the materials, the higher the quality they have. One of the examples of the pricey but more durable soundproofing material is the Basic Door Gasket.
This material is made of high-quality neoprene and anodized aluminum retainer. These ingredients make basic door gasket durable.
Strategy #4: Use an Automatic Door Bottom
Working on the air gaps on the top and side areas of the pocket doors is always a good idea. In fact, it is the best starting point for soundproofing pocket doors.
The bottom may still have the gaps where the sound wave could travel through. The sound always finds a way to enter the room.
The only way to at least abate the sound for about 100% is to seal all the gaps.
However, sealing the bottom of the pocket door is different from dealing with regular doors. But there is a material you can use to do it.
What I am talking here is the Automatic Door Bottom (you can order this on Amazon). This material is designed to seal gaps in the bottom of the pocket doors.
This soundproofing material works well. It fits well too without encountering any considerable problem during the process.
As the name suggests, the automatic door bottom is an automatic system. The seal drops down when the door closes and raises up when the door opens.
Aside from easy installation, this durable soundproofing material is incredibly effective in abating the sound.
The mentioned strategies are great for sturdy and stronger pocket doors. If you have flimsy frames and pocket doors, however, the strategies won’t perfectly work.
Not only you need strong heavy doors, but you also need to tightly seal all air gaps. In most cases, this is challenging.
Not all pockets doors are equal. Depending on the materials and installation of the door, each pocket door may have certain demands.
The biggest challenge is to figure out the best possible way to contain the sound. The problem in pocket doors is that the more materials you incorporate, the higher the chance of getting the door stuck.
As a result, the door won’t slide back and forth. In this instance, the pocket door does not serve its real purpose.
But don’t worry. There are still other available strategies you can employ to achieve the goal of abating the sound in your home.
Try to consider the following:
1. Use two-wheeled doors
You can make your own doors if you are a carpenter. Or, to save time and energy, you can buy two heavy wheeled doors. Then link them together while leaving a space in between.
2. Make a track
The wheels of the doors should be moving back and forth through a track. This looks like sliding van doors the only difference is that, in here, the door is double.
With this setup, the door slides apart as the door closes forming a seal from the front to the back of the doorframe.
When the door opens, it slides back together forming a sealed space in between.
There you go. You have my simple tips for soundproof pocket doors. But the techniques that I shared here are just a few.
There are many pieces of advice you can learn from the experts or even from online sources.
However, not all of them may work in your case. It is important to understand that soundproofing pocket doors are a lot harder than dealing with regular doors.
The key to having a sound abating pocket door is making the right decision in the installation process and buying the durable soundproofing materials.
I understand why so many people have problems with pocket doors. The reason behind this is that the problem only arises after the pocket door is installed.
You think everything was perfect until you hear the water from the bathroom while the door is closed.
That’s the only time you realize that the pocket door does not really contain sound.
If you already have installed the pocket door, there’s nothing we can do than trying to soundproof it.
You can employ the tips mentioned above.
But if you are just about to install your pocket door, this section is for you.
I will share with you some helpful tips on how to successfully install pocket doors.
Tips on How to Install Pocket Door
1. Use Solid Doors
The key to a long-lasting pocket door is the use of durable doors. And I mean the solid doors. Although this may come with a higher price, the benefits are greater than the money you spend.
The best thing about using the solid door is that when you apply soundproofing materials later on, you can easily do it. You don’t have to reinforce the door to make it stronger.
2. Use 2 X 6 Walls
Make the pocket door opening stronger. The way to do this is to use the 2 X 6 walls. In the long run, choosing stronger door opening can have tremendous benefits.
You can easily install accessories on the wall if it is stronger.
3. Use High-Quality Hardware
The durability of pocket doors starts with the type of materials being used. To avoid future problems, I always recommend using high-quality hardware.
For instance, instead of buying inexpensive rollers, choose the heavy-duty ball-bearing nylon rollers.
This is to make sure that the rollers can support the solid pocket doors. Install high-quality door pulls too.
Make sure that you’re using the best soundproofing materials as possible.
4. Don’t Protrude the Fastener into the Pocket Space
One of the common causes of problems in pocket doors is the protruding fasteners into the pocket space. It, therefore, blocks the door’s path.
When this happens, it is difficult to fix. Most of the time, you need to open the wall and fix it. It requires so much work, time, and sometimes, money.
5. Find the Best Carpenter to Install your Pocket Door
If you can’t install the pocket correctly, then find someone who can. Aside from high-quality soundproofing materials, the person installing the pocket also determines the quality of the output.
A great carpenter knows exactly all the requirements and materials for pocket doors. The money you spend will be worth it.
There are hundreds of benefits you can get from having pocket doors in your house.
One of them is maximizing space. Everyone can tell that using a pocket door instead of a regular door can save a lot of space.
However, it does not come without a toll. Pocket doors are not good enough to contain the sound.
That said, you need to apply some soundproofing materials and techniques.
The problem is, unlike regular doors, soundproofing a pocket door sometimes has numerous issues.
And sometimes even cost you money.
But all of these should not discourage you to install a pocket door in your house. The benefits are greater than the problems.
The good news is that you have all the techniques you need to soundproof the pocket door in case you need it.
I hope that this simple article helps you decrease if not totally eliminate the disturbing noise in your house.