Barn doors are all the rage now and are an attractive feature in barndominiums or country-style design homes. They look gorgeous and make a great feature in the house, but in a busy, noisy home, are they ideal? Are barn doors soundproof?
Barn doors are soundproof and heavy. Solid-core barn doors do have the capacity to lessen sound transfer. Despite their mass, sliding barn doors are not the reason for their failure as a soundproof barrier. The spaces around your barn door are where your soundproof rating falls.
The good news is that there are ways to increase the soundproofing of your barn door and keep your kids/partner’s noise from driving you up the wall, so keep on reading. But first, let’s discuss how soundproofing works.
What Must I Consider When Soundproofing My Barn Door?
Sound is difficult to block because unlike light, which is a short wave, it is made up of long waves and can permeate barriers in a multitude of ways. Sound waves are made up of vibrations and can travel through almost any material obstacles, unlike light. It can emerge as strongly as they went in.
Sound can also bend and diffract through baps, openings, metal ducts, and vents, and permeate from room to room annoyingly. When attempting to soundproof your barn door, you should take into consideration four essential factors.
Check out my guide on soundproofing doors in general.
The density of the material make up of your barn doors is very important. Sound travels faster through lower density mediums.
The greater the mass of your barn door, the fewer sounds will penetrate to other areas of your home. One way to increase the barn door’s soundproofing is to use acoustic panels and add to your door thickness. This way, you can reduce reverberation and echo.
Certain materials have a dampening effect on the sound. Wood reflects sound better than it absorbs it due to its porous nature. However, this sound absorption is nowhere near complete dampening as wood conducts sound along its longitudinal surface.
Sound absorption minimizes echoing and reverberation inside a room and reduces echoing and amplification of sound. A solid mass like a wood barn door has great sound absorption qualities but ensure that you don’t let gaps in your door make this quality irrelevant.
Due to the nature of barn doors, particularly the sliding barn door variety, most of the sound transfer is created not by the door but the gaps around it.
All the gaps above and around the barn door should be sealed the best you can without obstructing the aesthetics or affecting its functionality. Even the smallest holes and gaps in and around your door will increase the transmission of sound considerably.
What Material Is Your Barn Door?
The most popular type of barn door is the wood variety. Check out my article on the best woods for soundproofing.
However, you can also find barn doors made of manufactured wood or metal and glass. Unfortunately for those who like a modern feel, metal is a superconductor of sound, passing sound waves at 21,460 km/h (13,330 mph).
Barn door cores may also affect their sound transmission class (STC.) Your barn door may have a hollow or a solid core. The hollow core barn doors are popular for hanging slide doors and are lighter and generally less expensive. These doors are not hollow but have a core of synthetic materials and wood to make them less dense.
Solid core barn doors are not necessarily solid wood, and their cores may be made up of various materials. The heavier the solid core mass, the more effective it becomes as a sound barrier.
How Do You Soundproof a Barn Door?
In acoustics, a specific rating or numerical value is given to a wall or surface as to how well or poorly it conducts sound. This rating is called STC or sound transmission class. The sound transmission standard is the decibel range of human voices and is in the 125-4000Hz range.
25 STC generally refers to a door that transmits sound so well that you could hear a quiet conversation clearly in the adjoining room. Solid wood or solid core barn doors have an STC of between 30 and 35, meaning that you will hear loud talking in the adjacent space.
This innate STC of wood is lessened by gaps considerably, so you would need to address these sound leakages. There are five ways you can help get your barn door up to the STC standard.
Weatherstripping is the process of sealing your doors, windows, or cars from outside elements. In this case, it would be to lessen sound transmission with an added benefit of insulation.
There will be a gap between the wall and the door because it often slides over a baseboard. To eliminate this sound leaking space, you should apply a self-adhesive weatherstrip to narrow the gap between the door and the wall. As this is a long expanse of potential sound leakage, you should already notice a difference in sound traveling from the adjacent room.
Foam weatherstrips work well and are easy to attach to your door. Apply to the sides of the door where there are gaps, from top to bottom. If you are worried about it clashing with the color of your door, they come in a variety, and you may choose a strip that matches your barn door. Make sure you leave a small space to allow your door to move freely.
If you would like to see how to weatherstrip your barn door and to get a visual stance on the key areas to target, you are welcome to watch this video:
Install a Brush-Style Door Sweep
Door sweeps are great for the bottom of a barn door because they bridge the gap between the bottom of the door and the floor without affecting the smooth action of sliding.
Install an Oversize Door
If your sliding barn door is still in the planning stages, be sure to purchase an oversize door. The size eliminates some of the air gaps that allow the sound to travel through. If you are handy, you could add a layer of wood on the inside of the sliding door and paint it the same color as your wood.
Use the Best Quality Hardware
Don’t try to shave costs by buying more inferior quality hardware to hang your barn door on. The quality makes the difference in terms of solid grip and eliminates the shakes and wobbles that can amplify the transmission of sound.
Hang Moving Blankets
A less drastic way of soundproofing your barn door would be installing a rail to hang moving blankets over to dampen noise. The better quality moving blankets are made with fiberglass, mass loaded vinyl, and polyester, which provides an excellent base for muffling outside noise.
Hire a Professional
Even though it will cost more, it may benefit you to hire a professional. Many DIY barn doors look fine, but minor variations in the cut and fit of your door can make a world of difference to its soundproofing capabilities. You can also ensure that your door will be solid wood at its core, which raises the mass and its sound-deadening qualities.
Barn doors can be a feature in your home, but that shouldn’t mean that you will have to listen to your partner watching football next door when you want some reading time. You have many options to use to make your barn door more soundproof and keep your space warmer as a bonus.