I often say that doors and windows are usually the main culprits when it comes to soundproofing. Some doors have pretty big gaps between the door and the door frame, and the door and the floor. Others are more flush with the ground, but even then, that tiny space can definitely let noise in and out of the room. So, in a recent article, I found myself recommending soundproof door sweeps for soundproofing a bedroom.
Today, I thought I’d do a deep dive into the world of door sweeps. I’ll explain exactly how you can install the main types of products you’re bound to see if you go shopping for door sweeps. After that, I’ll list and review several of the best soundproof door sweeps in each category. But, before I do anything else, I should talk about what soundproof door sweeps are and how they work.
Types of Soundproof Door Sweeps
Let’s get the basics down. Soundproof door sweeps are essentially products you can use to plug the gap between your door and the floor. As you know, sound waves use any air gap as an invitation to proceed inside your room. So, having something under your door, even stuffing a towel in the gap, should significantly decrease the amount of noise.
In addition, plugging the gaps in the door is essentially the best thing you can do to prevent the noise from coming in as well. I’d start by fortifying the space between the door frame and the wall with some acoustic caulk. Once you’ve done that, you should make sure that the door itself isn’t too thin or too damaged. Only then would you be able to hear a noticeable difference when you install a soundproof door sweep.
Basically, there are two types of products you would use under your door:
- Rubber door seals.
- Heavy draft stoppers.
Rubber Door Seals
Rubber door seals are specifically designed to keep the outside noise out and prevent sound from leaving a room. Most of them have two main parts: the metal or plastic bit that goes on the door and the rubber strip that hangs off the door and touches the floor.
I’ve included several versions of this product in my list of the best soundproof door sweeps. Other than the solid strips of rubber, some come with a softer rubber gasket or even a dense brush. Once I get into my reviews, you’ll be able to understand the difference between them and decide which product you want on your own doors. But for now, I’ll just say that while thick solid rubber may be more effective than a nylon brush sweep, it may also drag on the floor as you’re closing the door.
On the whole, though, most door seals are very effective. However, they may be the hardest to install, especially in comparison to draft stoppers. But we’ll discuss their application in the following segment. First, let’s see what draft stoppers are.
Draft stoppers are exactly what they sound like. They’re essentially long pillows with heavy filling that will prevent the draft from coming into your room. There’s a long flat surface down the length of the stopper for you to slide under the door.
The way a draft stopper works to soundproof your room is pretty simple. Whenever you’re soundproofing anything, you need mass, density, or both. A draft stopper is the best of both worlds here. Even better? The added weight on both sides of the door should prevent it from slamming shut.
Draft stoppers are actually pretty easy to make, too. After all, a towel stuffed under a door is technically a draft stopper. But if you’re interested in making a draft stopper that looks a bit more like the real thing, there are tons of DIY tutorials online. Most of them boil down to using foam products, a long stretch of fabric or even tights or a pant leg.
You can use a hot glue gun to create the general shape of the draft stopper, which is a pillow that’s split into two tubes along the length. Or, you could leave it as a single tube. Then, you just stuff it with loose or bagged sand, rice, or beans.
Most of the products on the market aim to be serviceable, rather than attractive. So, if you like having pops of color around your home, making a draft stopper from scratch might be a great alternative.
Some people might also consider applying weatherstripping tape to the bottom of the door. However, this type of product is supposed to help seal gaps between the door and the door frame. Seeing as it isn’t technically a door sweep, I considered leaving weatherstripping tape out of this article.
In the end, I’ve come to the conclusion that, depending on the door, weatherstripping tape can, in fact, be used for the bottom of the door. For example, some doors, like storm doors, touch the door frame along all four edges. Usually, these types of doors have weatherstripping tape all along the edges, including the bottom of the door.
Whether you use it to soundproof the bottom of your doors or not, the fact is that weatherstripping tape is a very effective soundproofing tool. In fact, it actually has a lot in common with some door seals.
Namely, the fact that they’re made of a similar rubber blend. So you could probably use some rubber seals in place of a weatherstripping tape – though the tape would be much easier to apply. In addition, some weatherstripping products, like the one on my list, even include an actual rubber door sweep.
The Best Soundproof Door Sweeps in Each Category
Before I get into the best rubber door seals and draft stoppers, I’ll review only one tape product. That will show you what you can expect from other tape products, as they’re mostly similar.
1. Kanzzy Soundproof Weather Stripping Door Kit
This Kanzzy weatherstripping kit comes with 39 feet of weatherstripping tape. However, the kit also includes a 43.3-inch door sweep, which you can cut down to the width of your door.
You’ll notice that the tape has two 0.35-inch strips of rubber that can easily be separated from each other. Both strips have their own protective layer over the adhesive, so you’re supposed to use them separately. The rubber is about a quarter of an inch thick, but it’s hollow, which means that the door should close over it easily. So, that will get you three-quarters of the way to a sealed-off door.
Installing the rubber door sweep makes the soundproofing complete. Just like the tape, the door sweep comes in a roll. However, it’s actually 2 inches wide. A part of that surface has the adhesive that will attach it to the door, while the rest will drag along the floor and soundproof the door. This tape is probably the easiest one to apply, as it, too, comes with an adhesive layer.
Peel it off and stick it on, and you’ll be left with a completely sealed door. Neither sound nor heat (or cool AC air) will be able to escape. And all for the price of $25-$35.
2. Best Rubber Door Seals
There are four more door seals I can recommend, aside from the one that comes with the weatherstripping kit. However, these four aren’t self-adhesive, so you will need to screw them on. The first two are in the $10 price range, while the second two are closer to the $20-$30 mark. So let’s see the first product.
M-D Building Products Commercial Grade Door Sweep
This M-D Building Products door sweep is 36 inches long and about 1.75 inches wide. As I have mentioned, it consists of a stiff strip of rubber that reaches the floor and a metal part with pre-drilled screw holes. The product doesn’t come with screws, so you’ll have to get those yourself.
The installation process is pretty simple, though. If you need to, you can use a hacksaw to trim the overall length of the sweep a bit. Then, you can measure out the holes in the metal part of the product and drill matching ones into the door. Finally, insert the appropriately sized screws through the holes in the metal part, and the rubber into the door.
Overall, this door sweep will reduce the level of noise inside of a room, as long as the rest of the door is also secure. However, since the EPDM rubber is fairly stiff, it may make scraping noises as you move the door.
Frost King Premium Extra Wide Aluminum and Vinyl Door Sweep
This product is similar in design to the previous one. It’s 36 inches long and 2 inches wide, so the installation process will be pretty much the same. Trim off any excess and screw it in. The product even comes with 4 screws you can do it with.
Also, unlike the last product, the rubber part on this one seems to be a bit thinner. It should still be effective, and it might actually bend more easily and cause less noise as the door moves. In addition, the metal part of this product is available in several colors, including a wood imitation.
M-D Building Products Seal-O-Matic Door Sweep
This M-D Building Products door sweep takes us into a higher price point, as well as a different-looking range of products.
The sweep is 36 inches long and 2.37 inches wide. Unlike the previous products I reviewed, this one has a mechanism that lifts the rubber part when the door moves. So you should have no problem installing this sweep even over carpeting. Moreover, it won’t scratch your wooden floors.
The product does come with all of the screws and nails you’ll need to install it. Finally, the installation process is a bit more difficult, what with all the moving parts. However, it should go smoothly as long as you stick to the instructions.
This Uxcell door sweep is yet another product that stands out from the crowd. Essentially, it’s fairly similar to the first two products I talked about. It’s about 39 inches long and 3 inches wide in total. As always, you’ll be able to trim it down to the width of your door. But where the other sweeps had solid rubber, this one has a 2-inch long, dense nylon brush.
Needless to say, this greatly reduces the chance that your door sweep will skid along your floors. But does it soundproof as well as a solid rubber piece would? Well, according to everyone who’s tried it: yes. In fact, you may have seen one of these door sweeps yourself, as they’re often used on industrial doors.
Since the metal part of this door sweep doesn’t have holes in it, you can decide where you want them to go. This time, you’ll only be drilling through the metal and straight into the door. However, if you want to avoid having to drill into your door, you could also check out one of the draft stoppers below.
3. Best Draft Stoppers
Both of the draft stoppers I chose to talk about are just under $20. So let’s see what kind of soundproofing results you can expect from a draft stopper.
Twin Draft Guard Extreme Door Draft Stopper
This first product is the standard draft stopper you’ll find anywhere. It’s also pretty much what you’d be making if you decide to DIY it.
The product is 36 inches long in total. You can make it short enough for a window by opening it and trimming the foam cylinders inside. Then, you can close the cloth cover using a strip of Velcro.
Compared to rubber door sweeps, a draft stopper shouldn’t make any noise at all over wood floors. Moreover, you’ll even be able to use it over carpeting. However, unlike rubber and metal door sweeps, this product isn’t water-resistant. So, it’s definitely not ideal for front door soundproofing.
The cloth cover is available in black, brown, burgundy, green, and navy. Of course, there are similar products that come with various patterns as well. And, you can also make your own draft stopper in any color.
Evelots Magnetic Clip-On Door Draft Stopper
For a little variety, I chose this magnetic clip-on draft stopper from Evelots. The product is 36 inches long, 4 inches wide, and 2 inches thick.
Unlike the previous product, you won’t be able to shorten this draft stopper. While the previous product had foam stuffing, this one has insulating yarn inside of the brown fleece and nylon cover. The cover is also sewn shut, so if you want to make adjustments, you’ll have to unravel the seams.
You can install this draft stopper pretty easily in one of two ways. Firstly, you can use the three wrap-around clips under the door. Slip the clips on and then hook the draft stopper onto them.
Or, if you’re installing the draft stopper onto a metal door, you can rely on the strong built-in magnet. However, you should remember that an aluminum storm door isn’t magnetic. Still, since the draft stopper will remain on one side of the door, you will be able to use it on the front doors.
A Brief Installation Guide for Each Type of Door Sweep
Overall, the installation processes for each of these is surprisingly simple, so let’s get the most difficult installation out of the way first.
Rubber Door Seals
As I have mentioned, there are two main parts most rubber door seals have. The metal or plastic bit will probably have pre-drilled holes. Also, many of these products come with all of the screws you’ll need. If some of the seals I mentioned in my reviews are too long for your door, you can saw off the extra length before you attach them to the bottom of the door.
Draft stoppers might actually be the easiest to install. Essentially, you can just slip them under the door. The ones that you slip under the door will have padding on both sides of the door. And, since they’re most often made of some sort of fabric, they’ll slide across the floor more easily when you open and close the door.
There’s also a draft stopper on my list that can attach magnetically or with wrap-around clips.
Since weatherstripping tape isn’t exactly a door sweep, I’ll quickly run through the installation process. Weatherstripping tape usually comes in rolls, so you can cut it down to the length you need. These products are typically self-adhering, so you’ll need to peel off the protective layer and paste it onto the door frame, wherever the door touches it when it’s closed. As I mentioned, that may also be along the bottom side of the frame.
Stop Noise from Entering Under the Door
At this point, you know which types of soundproof door sweeps are on the markets. If none of the ones on my list have managed to catch your eye, you can make a draft stopper pretty easily. But even if you install the best soundproof door sweep onto your door, you may still be able to hear some noise.
If that’s the case, you can do the following:
- Use weatherstripping tape on the remaining three sides of the door.
- Plug the gaps between the door frame and the wall with an acoustic sealant.
- Put up a soundproof blanket or curtains over the door.
Until I return with my next article, you’ll be able to find more ways to soundproof your door or any other area of your home right here.