There are many different types of soundproof door. Depending on the performance required and the application, the material choice can play a big part in determining the correct solution to your noise control problem. In any room, the door is a weak point in achieving a level of acoustic integrity. The performance required for a space can be improved or let down by the choice of door installed.

Acoustic doors are typically manufactured from either steel or timber. This article aims to help you choose the correct material that best suits your needs.

Timber Soundproof Doors

Acoustic doors made from wood offer a number of aesthetic and performance advantages that make them ideal for certain scenarios. Timber is a natural product and if an acoustic door needs to match others within a building, then this can offer an architectural benefit. Cost is also an important plus point for timber doors as they are usually less expensive than steel equivalents of a similar performance.

Due to the number of manufacturers and their relatively low cost, timber doors are more accessible to domestic and independent buyers. As such, they are very popular for home studios and creating quiet spaces in houses and offices. Performance typically begins at Rw35dB which is far greater than a regular architectural timber door.

Wooden doors are usually more mass-produced than steel, meaning there are sometimes less options for bespoke sizes and hardware. This can be an issue in some circumstances, especially for electronic access systems which may require wiring from within the leaf.

In terms of an architectural choice, timber acoustic doors are usually easier to blend in with regular doors in the same vicinity. This is particularly important if part of a new build or large-scale refurbishment project as timber offers more aesthetic choice for designers and architects. What timber gains in colour choice and natural aesthetics, it lacks in strength and integrity. This especially apparent if vision panels are required. Glass can only usually be used in small amounts as this can have a negative impact on the overall performance that can be achieved. Large glass panels are unable to be used in most cases which may offer a limited choice for certain applications.

The overall strength of timber is probably adequate for most applications with fire ratings available on some models up to 60 minutes. This is however where any fire rating usually stops with longer times unable to be achieved. This can be a limitation for some projects, but probably more than adequate for most situations.

Although aesthetically pleasing, timber doors are limited by their performance. Usually with limited space for multiple seal arrangements, a double seal is usually all that can be achieved. This reflects in the available performance range. Timber soundproof doors are usually unable to achieve much past an acoustic isolation rating of Rw50dB. With this in mind, timber may not be the material of choice for highly demanding specifications of critical applications.

In summary, soundproof doors manufactured from timber offer a great solution to isolating noise whilst at the same time looking great. What timber lacks is the strength and durability to match steel, especially for high-performance areas such as testing rooms and studios.

Steel Soundproof Doors

Steel acoustic doors were traditionally used for industrial applications and renowned for their agricultural looks. In recent years, steel manufactured doors have not only improved in terms of performance, but also in the way they look. In many ways, steel offers even more possibilities for finishing than their timber counterparts.

As steel acoustic doors tend to be bespoke, the ability to add custom-features is greater than that of timber. Steel lends itself to a painted finish and this is usually offered as standard. With a practically limitless number of colours to choose from, creativity can be used to make doors a feature, rather than trying to make them blend in with surrounding elements. In addition to paint, more natural finishes can be achieved using digital printing and wood-grain finished vinyl. By wrapping doors at the manufacturing stage, a near seamless finish can be achieved. For those who desire the best of both worlds, steel doors can be veneered to match other timber doors, however this can be a very expensive option.

Robust manufacturing techniques mean steel soundproof doors are ideal for high-traffic areas such as offices, schools and universities. As creative study becomes more popular, with specialist courses offering vocational learning, classrooms need to act just like real-world studios. With the need to isolate a potentially noisy activity, the high performance nature of steel comes into its element.

With durability comes longevity. Steel soundproof doors usually require less maintenance and are not prone to shirking, cracking or warping. The additional strength also means steel is often used to combat security issues in addition to acoustics. This can be especially important for areas where expensive items are stored such as musical instruments and recording equipment.

The multi-tasking ability of an all-steel construction also features when fire ratings are concerned. Steel doors are able to withstand much higher temperatures. As a result, up to 240 minute fire ratings can be achieved.

The acoustic performance than can be achieved from a single steel acoustic doorset ranges from around Rw40dB to a maximum of typically Rw63dB. This jump in performance means specialist, critical specifications can be achieved with ease. With additional performance comes greater flexibility. This enables building designers to place people or equipment closer to the acoustic environment, maximising space allocation.

Best Soundproof Door

In trying to pick the best soundproof door for your project, always ensure your choice has the right mix of aesthetics and performance. Do you really need that Rw60dB+ performance for your home studio? Is it a must that you have a 2 hour fire rating? If you want a cost effective solid door, with an average performance, then a timber solution might be best. But, if you need performance and durability, then steel, is probably the way to go.

Still need help? QuietStar can supply acoustic doors in either timber or steel for most applications. We can offer advice on choosing the best value for money solution to your noise control problem. Get in touch today.

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