Bifold doors are absolutely stunning. The problem? There are also incredibly loud. It isn’t uncommon for even the softest shutting of a bifold door to send an almighty boom throughout a building.
Most of the time, it isn’t really the shutting sound that you need to worry about. This is something that you will be dealing with every so often. it is more the sound that bifold doors can let through due to their hollow construction. This sound can be almost constant.
Luckily for bifold door owners, there are a few ways in which the doors can be soundproofed.
We are going to give you a step-by-step guide to soundproofing bifold doors. However, do not think that you have to follow absolutely every single step here. Instead, you can pick and choose the steps as your budget allows. For most people, just one of these steps will be more than enough to properly soundproof their bifold doors.
Tools and Materials Needed
You probably won’t need everything here. As we said, it is unlikely that you will need to go through each step.
On each step, we will tell you the exact materials and tools that you require. So, read each step for a bit more information about what is needed. This is just a general overview:
- Drill for masonry
- Curtain rails, with relevant fixings e.g. screws and wallplugs.
- Soundproof curtains
- Soundproof rugs
- Paint similar to the color of your door
- Soundproofing paint
- Door sweep
- Insulating foam
- Foam gun
- Clean cloths for cleaning surfaces
- New glass for the windows
- New acoustically-treated bifold doors
- Step 1: Check for air leaks
- Step 2: Check for Loose Screws
- Step 3: Soundproof Curtains
- Step 4: Use weatherstripping to cover up any gaps
- Step 5: Insulating Foam
- Step 6: Install Sound Absorbing Rugs
- Step 7: Soundproofing Paint
- Step 8: Install Door Sweep
- Step 9: Replace the glass in the windows
- Step 10: Replace the Doors
Step 1: Check for air leaks
This is going to be preparation for step 4 of this list. However, it is good to get it out of the way at the start so you know exactly what you are dealing with.
Chances are that if there is a lot of sound coming through your bifold door, you likely have an air leak. This is something that will need to be sealed (see step 4)
There are a couple of ways that you can check for air leaks.
Some people will simply move their hand up and down the various gaps in the door to see whether anything is getting through. However, this isn’t really a method that we find that effective.
Your best option is to light some candles and gradually move them up and down the gaps. If the smoke from the candle starts to move away from the door, then you know that you have an air leak and it needs to be patched over!
Step 2: Check for Loose Screws
Chances are that your door may have a couple of loose screws if it is a bit on the older side. If screws are loose, it could cause the door to vibrate. This will, of course, make a sound.
Your second job should be to go all over the screws on your bifold door and tighten them up. There are a lot of people that will find that this is more than enough to ‘fix’ the issue.
Step 3: Soundproof Curtains
Perhaps the quickest way to drown out sound coming through your bifold doors is to hang up some soundproof curtains. These are incredibly heavy curtains that barely let soundwaves get through them. You may still hear a bit of noise coming in, but it will be far, far lower than before.
If you have a curtain rail up already, then you just need to hang the new curtains in place. No need for a new curtain rail. If you don’t, then follow these steps:
- Hold the new curtain rail above the bifold door in roughly the position you want it to be in.
- Mark the drill holes.
- Drill the required holes using a masonry drill and a masonry drill bit. The drill bit should be the required size for the wallplugs that you are using.
- Place the wallplugs into the freshly drilled holes.
- Screw the curtain rail into place.
- Hang the curtain.
Alternatively, especially if your bifold door is an internal door, you can hang up soundproof rugs over the door. It isn’t the most aesthetically pleasing thing in the world, but it works. Some people will only put them up when the sound is really bad. They won¨’t have them up permenantly.
Soundproof rugs will normally require you to drill some fixings onto the door. How you do this will be dependent on the rug that you purchase. The rug will then just hang over the door, absorbing any sound that tries to get through!
Step 4: Use weatherstripping to cover up any gaps
On occasion, there may be gaps in your bifold door. They may be small gaps, but even the smallest of gaps will let sound in.
This means that you will need to go over your door and see exactly where that sound is coming from. If you can feel air coming through a gap, then chances are that is your culprit.
To fix the problem, you are going to need to get hold of some weather stripping, cut it to size, and then stick it over the gap.
Now, the weatherstripping is going to be quite unsightly. Unless you are going for that “I just patched my home with whatever I could find” look, then you will want to paint the weatherstripping. This is why we suggested that you get hold of a paint that is the same color as your door!
Step 5: Insulating Foam
If you do not want to soundproof the door using weatherstripping, which can be quite hard if the air gap is closer to the wall, then you can use some insulating foam.
The process to apply the insulating foam is a little bit trickier than just sticking it on. So, follow these steps:
You will need to begin by completely cleaning the surface with warm water and soap. This will help to ensure that the foam can adhere to the area properly. It also means that you do not have loads of dirt and grime underneath the insulating foam. Allow the area to completely dry.
Now, you need to grab your foam gun and the insulating foam.
The insulating foam will need to be sprayed into the gap until it is completely filled up. It shouldn’t be overflowing, but it should be evident that the area no longer has a gap in it.
Once the insulating foam has completely dried, the door should now be a bit better soundproofed.
If the sound is particularly bad, then you may want to use acoustic foam instead of insulating foam. It is a lot more expensive, but it has been designed specifically for dealing with noise issues.
Step 6: Install Sound Absorbing Rugs
This is something that can work well with both indoor and outdoor bifold doors.
If there is a lot of noise, some soundproofing rugs laid out on the floor could help. If anything, it will help to fill up the room a little bit more so there is less of an echo.
You do not even have to buy proper sound absorbing rugs. There are a lot of people that will make-do with heavy-duty rugs laid out on the floor.
Ideally, you would place the rugs as close as possible to the door. This will help to absorb the majority of the sound. It will not make the room completely silent, but this is a case where ‘every little helps’.
Step 7: Soundproofing Paint
This is really something that you will want to use as a ‘last resort’ i.e. if the sound is so awful that you have no choice but to completely paint the door.
The job of soundproofing paint is to ‘catch’ the sounds as they pass through the door. The soundproofing paint will absorb the sound and you will barely be able to hear anything.
The reason why the soundproofing paint is going to be a ‘last resort’ is that it doesn’t really look that brilliant. It is a heavier paint, and this means that it is going to look quite thick.
You should also remember that the soundproofing paint isn’t going to stop sound coming through the glass. This means that you could spend ages and ages painting your door only to find that it didn’t really have that much of an impact on anything.
Your main issue, however, is due to the way in which soundproofing paint works. When it ‘absorbs’ that sound energy, the sound energy has to go somewhere. The paint actually converts this into heat. It isn’t a huge amount of heat, but if you are sitting close to the bifold door then you will certainly feel it.
Painting the door with soundproofing paint is much like any other type of painting. However, here, you will need to think about how much paint that you want to add. The more layers of paint that you add to the door, the better it is going to be at absorbing sounds. However, the more heat that it is going to generate.
Step 8: Install Door Sweep
This is something that can be installed on both interior and exterior bifold doors.
The purpose of a door sweep is to seal the gap at the bottom of the door. Once you have one installed, the sound won’t be able to get underneath. Now, their main purpose is going to be for blocking drafts, but they work just as well with blocking sound.
Installing a door sweep is easy. You will have to screw some holes into the bottom of your door, and then screw it into place. The exact process that you need to follow will be dependent on the door sweep that you purchase, so make sure that you read those instructions to know exactly where the holes need to be drilled and how to attach the door sweep!
If you want to save yourself a bit of time and effort, then you can also purchase door sweeps that just clip to the door. However, these are not quite as effective at soundproofing a bifold door as there will be inevitable gaps underneath it.
Step 9: Replace the glass in the windows
The problem with a lot of bifold doors is that they are made for quite a cheap price.
If your door has glass on it, then you may notice that it is quite thin. The thinner the glass, the easier it will be for sound to travel through it. This means that you will need to install some thicker glass in the door.
Sadly, this is not a job that you will be able to do yourself. You will need to outsource the job to a glazier. They will be able to replace the glass for you. Ideally, if your door allows it, you will have double glazing glass installed. It isn’t going to be cheap, but it is certainly going to do a brilliant job at keeping that sound out.
Step 10: Replace the Doors
In recent years, companies have started to realize just how noisy bifold doors can be. As a result, they have introduced doors that have been acoustically-treated. This means that they have been designed from the ground-up to ensure that the minimum amount of sound gets through them as possible.
This is going to be quite a considerable cost but, if you feel as if the sound cannot be dealt with any other way, then replacing your bifold doors may be your only option.
You can purchase acoustically-treated doors for both indoor and outdoor use. These doors will tend to be a bit thicker, which is ideal since the main reason why most bifold doors tend to have noise issues is that they are quite hollow inside, particularly the ones that have been designed to be used indoors.
This is a job where you will need to call the experts in. You cannot fit a new door yourself since these doors will be thicker and won’t just ‘slide’ into place.