Silence is refreshment for the soul – Wynonna Judd
Gazing out at your own little kingdom, from the comfort of an easy chair, through the sliding glass doors that are the gateway between your living room and your yard is one of life’s secret pleasures.
It’s the perfect way to relax, gather your thoughts, and prepare yourself physically and mentally for facing whatever life has planned for you. But that peace of mind can all too easily be shattered by the volume of the outside world, which has a habit of filtering through sliding glass doors.
As convenient, easy to use, and good-looking as they are, sliding glass doors aren’t exactly soundproof.
They won’t deaden and nullify the uproar of everyday neighborhood life that a much thicker wooden door would, and they won’t stop the pandemonium and chaos that exists beyond them from encroaching on your very own slice of suburban paradise.
Most people have resigned themselves to the fact that it’s a trade-off that they just have to live with. If you want the views and the streaming natural light that sliding glass doors provide your home with, you have to put up with the noise.
Or at least, that’s the assumption that the majority of people make about glass doors.
But that assumption doesn’t need to be a fact, as there are a number of simple, straightforward ways to transform your sliding glass doors into an effective and efficient sound barrier that will significantly reduce the amount of racket that filters through them.
And, we’re going to guide you through the six easiest methods that you can use to bring some much-needed peace and quiet into your living room and your life by armoring your glass doors against the continuous babble of the world beyond your borders.
Gaps And Cracks
Soundwaves travel through the air as easily as a hot knife cuts through butter and while it’s all too easy to assume that your sliding glass doors are completely sealed and weatherproof, even the smallest cracks, and gaps in your exterior and interior walls and the seals around the glass doors can let those soundwaves in to bounce around inside your home and wreck your peace and solitude.
The longer your glass doors have been in place, the more chance there is that the constant bombardment by bad weather and the rising and falling seasonal temperatures have caused a few fissures and cracks to form.
And while they might not be instantly noticeable, if they’re there and air can flow through them, then the noise that you’re plagued by is only going to get louder and louder as the cracks eventually get larger and larger.
The cracks are simple to find and even easier to repair. On the interior walls, run your hand along the wall surrounding the glass doors.
If you can feel a difference in temperature or a slight breeze, then you’ve probably discovered a crack in the wall. Don’t panic, mark the point with some masking tape, and having opened your sliding glass doors, find the corresponding point on the exterior wall of your home.
Once you’ve located that point, run your hand along with it, and you’ll probably feel a small crack in the exterior wall. Mark it with masking tape. Repeat the procedure on the interior and exterior walls until you’re certain you’ve located every potential crack.
When that is done, you’re ready to start filling them with soundproofing caulk which dries quickly, and efficiently and will completely seal and fill all of the gaps that you use it in.
And the great news is that as it’s flexible, and expands to fill every micron of the gap that it’s applied to, within an hour, no more sound will travel through the now repaired cracks.
Sweeping The Sound Away
Remember what we told you about soundwaves traveling through the air and finding their way into your home through even the smallest gaps? Well, those gaps exist between the bottom of your sliding doors and the floor, and where air can journey, so can sound.
This means that if you want to keep the sound out, you’re going to need to find an effective way to seal and close that gap.
The simplest way to do it is with a door sweep or, as our Grandpa used to call it a doorstop.
Designed to be easy to fit, almost all aftermarket door stops are fitted with self-adhesive weather and family proof strips, all you have to do is peel the backing off, and stick the strip onto the bottom of your sliding glass doors.
When you fit them though, you’ll need to be aware of, and ensure that you don’t fall foul of, a couple of obvious things – we know you probably already know this, but it’s better to be safe than sorry, and get it right the first time.
Make sure that the stops that you fit don’t stop, or impede the slide of your doors. What’s the point of having sliding glass doors if they don’t actually slide and you can’t open or close them?
You’ll also want to make sure that they don’t drag across the floor too much, because if they do they can not only leave a mark on your floors (assuming that you have wooden or vinyl floors), but they can also an unwanted and unneeded degree of stiffness to your doors, which can make it difficult to slide them open.
The position of the stop is everything, so make sure that you get it right.
As they’ll also help to insulate the gap at the bottom of your sliding glass doors, they also help to keep drafts out and heat in, which should also reduce your heating bills. A quiet life and more money in your pocketbook? Who doesn’t want that?
Make Sure The Weather Stays Outside
Soundproofing doors that are notoriously difficult to soundproof because of the way they’re made and the materials that they’re made from, is mostly about trying to plug any and all gaps that might exist around them.
And the most difficult doors of all to soundproof are glass doors. But just because they don’t make it easy to soundproof them it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it with a little ingenuity and inventiveness.
Weather stripping fulfills the same role as a door strop does, but as it’s easier to use and cut to size than a doorstop is and is more functionally malleable, you can also use it to seal any and all gaps between the doors and the interior walls that they’re part of.
Again, it’s important to pay attention to where you’re fitting it, as you need to make sure that it doesn’t, and won’t prevent your doors from sliding when it’s in place. But the good news is when it is fitted it’ll reduce the amount of noise that makes it through your glass doors.
Curtaining Off The Outside World
Okay, so the idea of covering up your sliding glass doors with a pair of heavy-duty curtains is far from ideal and defies the object of actually having sliding glass doors, but bear with us for a moment and we’ll explain the method to our madness.
The curtains are an additional weapon in your soundproofing arsenal that can be used to prevent the clatter of the night time world from disturbing you during the small hours of the morning.
Soundproof curtains are actually something of a misnomer, as they’re not actually soundproof.
A better name for them would be sound deadening or dampening curtains, as they’re made from incredibly thick material that’s designed to reflect and absorb as much sound as possible.
As we’ve already said, they’re not a day to day solution to the problem of sound pollution, but if they’re used in conjunction with a doorstop, during the hours of darkness you’ll be surprised by how well they can, and will reduce the amount of noise that enters your home through your glass doors.
And, they also look pretty good too, which is always a nice bonus for any living room.
When A Blanket Becomes A Rug
We’re not actually fans of this idea, but as a friend of ours swears by it, we thought it was only prudent and right to include it so that you can make up your own mind about it, and whether or not you think it might work in your home.
In its simplest terms, it involves using a soundproof blanket as a rug.
To be fair to our long-term buddy, it does work and it’s an incredibly easy sound dampening fix.
All you need to do is use the blanket as a rug and position your new rug across the bottom of your sliding glass doors, which will block the gap between the doors and floor, and prevent any sound from making its way into your home through that gap.
You’ll almost certainly have to move it every single time you want to open your doors, and it’ll almost certainly take a while to find a rug (soundproof blanket) that you’ll actually want to use, but if you do follow our friends soundproofing path, you won’t need to add any adhesive stops or strips to your doors as your makeshift soft furnishing will step into their shoes and do their soundproofing job.
It seems like a fairly obvious solution to the problem, but the right pair of blinds can make an incredible difference to the sound levels in your living room.
And, the chances are that if you’ve already got a pair of sliding glass doors, then you’ve probably fitted a pair of blinds above them to keep unwanted attention out and draw them when night draws in.
In which case, all you need to do is install a thicker, hardier, and heavier set of blinds.
The thicker the blinds are, the more noise they’ll absorb and deflect, and unlike a soundproof curtain, you can draw the blinds during the day, and still let natural light in, even if they do spoil your view of your yard.
But, as another acquaintance of ours once said, outside is overrated and you might not want to see what’s happening in the world, which means that a thicker set of blinds could be your new best sound deadening friend.
A Second Door
We know, we promised that we’d tell you about six cheap ways that you could effectively increase the sound dampening ability of your sliding glass doors with and that’s exactly what we’ve done.
This last method, and the seventh on our list, is far from cheap, but it is one of the best and most efficient methods that we’ve seen employed to control and effectively eliminate the amount of sound that a set of sliding glass doors will let into your home.
It’s known by everyone who’s used it, as the second door. Why? Because it involves fitting a second sliding glass door in front of, or behind your existing sliding glass door.
As we’ve said, it isn’t cheap. In fact, it’s anything but cheap, but it will eradicate any noise coming into your home, by doubling the sound deadening ability of your already existing glass door.
Fitting a second glass door will also help to further insulate your home, and vastly reduce your heating bills which will go some way to reducing the amount of pain that the costs of installing it will inflict on your bank account.
It does seem a little like overkill, and an unnecessarily expensive way in order to achieve something that you can do for a fraction of the cost, but it’s also guaranteed to almost completely soundproof your sliding glass doors.
Sure, it’ll be a pain to go from your living room to your yard as you’ll have to remember to open and close two doors instead of one, but it will mean that you’ll never be bothered by noise from the outside world again. And that’s a price worth paying, isn’t it?
The Final Soundproofing Word
So there you have it, six easy, cheap ways to further soundproof your sliding glass doors and one reassuringly expensive method. Which of them you choose to employ to find your much-desired peace and quiet is entirely up to you.