For a lot of people, a door can be a pretty troublesome part of a home to handle from a soundproofing perspective. It becomes even more of a hassle if it is a pocket door, as they are not the strongest doors out there. In fact, they are usually only going to be located between pretty thin walls, and there is no real depth to the set up to handle the noise issue.
On top of that, there is also the fact that there are no stop beads available with a pocket door. It just makes soundproofing a little more tricky, although some methods actually work. It might not be quite as easy as other soundproofing methods with hinged doors, but it is still worth a try.
What is a Pocket Door?
A pocket door is also known as a sliding door in any type of construction. When it is open, the door slides into the wall and disappears from sight. Instead of using hinges, the door operates by traveling on rollers with a track on either the top or the bottom. Some doors have two doors coming from either side, which is done to close a bigger area all at once.
While they can look great, there are some complications when it comes to having these installed. For starters, there are a lot of hidden parts and hardware after the installation process is over. It makes a little more difficult to fix if something goes wrong. Not only that, but there is the soundproofing issue.
Since these doors are a bit flimsier and have some gaps that are not seen with other doors, people need to approach everything a little differently.
Soundproofing Material For Insulating a Pocket Door
The ideal soundproofing material options for any other door are definitely out there, but some work better than others when it comes to a pocket door. Mass loaded vinyl, Green Glue, and resilient channels are the three most popular choices for people who want to handle soundproofing these types of doors.
Out of the three, most people love mass loaded vinyl, simply because it has a very high mass and helps to make up for the relatively weak pocket door.
This article is only going to touch on the most simple methods out there to soundproof a pocket door at least somewhat. For more complicated tips, there are other options out there. On top of that, a person can always contact a professional who might be able to handle the situation as well. It is a little tedious, but most people are satisfied with the results.
1. Make the door thicker
It seems simple enough, but making a pocket door thicker is a little trickier when it is a pocket door. Most of these doors are hollow, so it will normally allow airborne and structural noises through.
Make sure to figure out if the pocket door is completely hollow because if it is, it might need to be replaced with something with a little more weight to it. It might make more sense to replace the entire door, instead of using all the sound of the methods.
There are also ways to load the door by stuffing material inside. Some of these doors have this option available if it is taken off the racks. Just make sure that any material does not rattle around and make too much noise inside.
Since it is hard to control sound, the option of purchasing a brand new door is often the way to go for the most permanent starting solution.
2. Fill up the Gaps
Even the thickest pocket doors are going to allow some sound a pass through. That is because there are a few gaps that need closed to make sure that sound does not become too crazy.
Look for an acoustical type of caulk, or soundproofing rubber to close these gaps as much as possible. Both of these choices will work pretty well over the door, and it is usually not that expensive. The best thing is, this can be a permanent type of solution, without really changing how everything looks all that much.
Since there are no hinges on the door, it does tend to do a pretty good job of sealing off everything around the doors when completely shut. That means that not that much sealant will be needed to fill some of the gaps. Take a look around when everything is closed off, and find out where sound could be leaking through most.
Pay attention to where the track is attached on the door as well. Sometimes, some gaps need filled there as well. These are usually pretty flimsy, and there is a chance that they starting making noise when opening and closing. Proper maitenance with the tracking is necessary to have a fully functioning pocket door with no sound issues.
3. Soundproofing Blankets or Curtains
A temporary solution that is inexpensive and very effective is going the blanket or curtain route. Soundproofing options like this can be put up temporarily to cover the entire area, offering up some pretty good coverage while adding some thickness of the door. (source)
Of course, leaving these up long-term is not only going to be a bit of an eyesore, but it is impossible to get through the door in many cases. This is more of an option for people who need some temporary help with sound, and they do not want to make it any more complicated than it has to be.
Curtains can be stylistically put up and pulled back when not in use. Some people will opt for this option if the room consistently needs soundproofing help.
It might not be the most ideal option in the world to frame the door a lot like a window, but there are ways to make it look very natural in the room.
The marketing terms of soundproofing curtains and soundproofing blankets seem great, but really, they are just thick options that also do a great job of blocking the sun. Some of them are not even marketed correctly as soundproofing options.
The goal is to add mass, so anything that is thick enough should do the trick. Since this is going to go in a living area, it makes the most sense to try to match the color with the decorations inside of the room.
The tough thing is finding options that are big enough for an entire door. In some cases, people might need to either shop online to find the right size, or make their own.
Trying to combine multiple curtains or blankets at once can make the entire project look a little lackluster. If the do-it-yourself look is fine, then go with it. Otherwise, spend the time to make the setup look good enough that it is meant to be that way.
4. Using Rugs and Carpet for Door Gap Closure
A door must have some clearance over the floor for everything to operate smoothly. When a pocket door is on a track, it can’t get caught up. To help close that gap, using rug options or even carpet can make the room a little quieter.
Try to get as thick of a rug as possible to close the entire gap. To test it out, place the carpet under the door and see how well things sealed off. If items can still fit under the door, that means sound can easily get through as well.
Some people have no problem putting a rug or carpeting there permanently. However, if hardwood floors are still desirable for an individual, try to find a temporary piece to slide under the door when needed. It is one of the best ways to keep everything as quiet as possible without having to really change the look of a home.
Adding a rug or carpet also helps with soundproofing the floor. Some people might have problems with sound passing through the floor, especially if there is another floor underneath. It can get a little expensive carpeting the entire area, but it might be worth it in the end for people who need to take soundproofing as seriously as possible.
Another option similar to a rug or carpet is to find a door sweep. The only problem with a pocket door is that these are not nearly as functional, especially when permanently attached. A temporary door sweep that is easy to pop on and off might be the better way to go.
5. Door Paint Designed for Soundproofing
There are some companies out there that make soundproofing paints available to the public. It might not seem like they could do that much, but the thicker type of paint has been created to help control sound as much as possible. It truly does make a difference compared to regular paint, and they come in the same type of colors as well.
Do not expect the impact to be crazy, but these paints do help out with airborne noises. It does not cost that much more than standard paint, and people use it for the home or their car whenever they want.
Most people are going to do some type of painting anyway, so using a soundproofing option is definitely worth looking into before starting. It can be used in different shades all around the room, creating a much better environment as well. There are no issues whatsoever as far as adding bulk to the mix, or changing up much of anything with the door.
Make sure to take the door off the tracking if the goal is to get everything painted evenly. Painting around the door is also highly recommended to help out with the process.
Why are Pocket Doors Popular?
Despite all the negativity surrounding pocket doors in this article, there is a reason why they are popular. Not only do some people prefer the look architecturally, but it helps to save a significant amount of room compared to a hinged door.
The door can travel on rollers and tracks, instead of a more traditional method that eats up a lot of space. This means when the doors opens, it tucks into the wall rather nicely.
Another positive is that a person does not have to worry about what happens to the door when it swings open. If it is an entire door, which is the case for nearly every single pocket door, making
room for the door to swing open can really mess with smaller areas. There also needs to be something on the wall to prevent damage from the door swinging open. With a pocket door, all of that can be avoided.
A final look at soundproofing a pocket door
It is important to make sure that everything is known about the pocket door before making any serious adjustments. Some people might think that it is perfectly fine to add material to the door, but it still needs to be able to slide in and out as usual.
This is especially true if it is something permanent meant to help with soundproofing. No one wants to finally fix a noise issue, only to have a separate issue of getting the door open and closed.
Making the final decision sometimes means trying out a few different options before a person can ultimately decide on what works best for them. People do not want to spend too much money on soundproofing their home, but at the same time, it does make a lot of sense to do it right from the beginning.
Having sound leak from room to room can be a little annoying, and a person should never have to make any drastic changes just to stay a little quieter.
Remember, the door itself is a great starting point to decide on the next steps. A lot of these pocket doors are hollow so that they do not weigh much and are easy to install, but they do not do any favors as far as soundproofing is concerned. Decide on the door first, and then start trying out a few of the different options with soundproofing material.