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Discussion Starter #1
I live in a suite in a house. The sound insulation is terrible, but the main culprit appears to be a hollow door leading to my landlord's suite. There's a huge gap at the floor, the frame is poorly built, and there are small gaps around the entire door & its frame.

Would replacing the door alone with a solid-core door provide any improvement to sound insulation?

I need some ideas on the cheap, because I'm tired of hearing conversations from upstairs and I hate to think what they can hear from my suite (other than my home theatre, of course!)
 

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Yes, a solid core will help. I have a solid core on my utility room, and it really blocks the noise from the furnace/sump/water pumps/etc. Of course, sealing around and the bottom will be a benefit, too.
 

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Black foam weather stripping will help. A strip of some kind may be needed at the bottom. A foam filled metal door might be the best option. Those can also be sealed with magnetic weather strips. For a really tight seal and noise prevention, more than one type of sealer can be used at the same time. Seal around the door frame and wall with caulking to stop noise there. Note that a hollow door between suites contravenes fire codes in many locations. A solid, fire resistant door is usually required for apartment entrances. Some localities may also prohibit the presence of a doorway between units and require that the door be removed and replaced with a fire rated wall.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Note that a hollow door between suites contravenes fire codes in many locations.
Heh, well they can add it to a very long list of violations then! Considering suites are technically "illegal" in my municipality, I'm not sure if I've ever seen a basement suite up to code 'round these parts :p

A trip to Home Depot today + your ideas above have helped a lot. In regards to the foam weatherstripping, on which side of the door is that installed? Is the door supposed to close onto the foam to create a seal? (as in, squishing the foam?) Pardon my complete lack of knowledge on this topic; I'm not exactly Canada's Best Handyman (nor the Worst!)
 

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Solid Core is the shiznitz! I changed all the doors in my house with solid core. It's now nice and quiet. I also put the foam weather stripping on the frame sothe door close onto the foam and create a seal. Not only it creates a better sound barrier (from the squished foam) but also it creates light seal so I can be in complete darkness in the theatre (or any room) while the room adjacent to it have its light turn to the max without any leakage I can see in the darkened room.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I also put the foam weather stripping on the frame sothe door close onto the foam and create a seal.
Thank you, David! Exactly what I needed to know.

Gonna try to convince my landlord to invest in some used solid core doors and seal 'em tight :)
 

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they are quite inexpensive, I don't understand why builders don't use them to begin with. Afterall, they only need to install them at the important spots such as 2nd floor rooms (if they really want to be cheap about it). The additional cost is nothing compared to the price of the house.

Unfortunately when I bought my house I assumed that it comes with solid-core (I've never encountered a single house in Indonesia, Singapore and Australia without solid core doors)
 

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David,

In my limitted experience, a solid door is at least twice as expensive as a comparable hollow door. It also requires a 3rd hinge usually....

....it's all about the bottom line.

P
 

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Pete, percentage wise, they are twice the price, but it's really $80 vs $160. When I purchased the solid core, the guy at Home Depot told me that I don't need the 3rd hinge (also in other parts of the world that I mentioned only using solid core, they also use 2 hinges -- actually, they don't even sell hollow core doors in Indonesia and Singapore for sure, don't know about Australia today -- haven't been there in 3 years)

I understand it's about the bottom line (unfortunately), but after paying $400k for a house, you'd think they'd spend an extra $240 for the frakkin' doors Ha ha!
 

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Doors require mass and seals, as has been said earlier. An 1 3/4" solid core door is a great starting point. MDF or particleboard core is actually better than the fire-rated mineral core, as the mineral core isn't quite as heavy. Avoid foam core, as they lack mass. Also, doors with recessed panels have thin spots that are best avoided.

Really, the only issue that remains are the door seals. If you have an exterior door application where you have a metal threshold and weathersrtrip, great. If not, you might consider a 1/16" closed cell foam from Home Depot for the top and two sides of the door. For the door bottom, you'll want either a threashold from the weatherstrip aisle at HD, or look at an after-market automatic door bottom.
 

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For the bottom of the door you may also be able to use a U-shaped door door sweep of as some call it a door shoe. It depends on what kind of flooring you have though. Most door sweeps are adjustable to move up or down on the bottom of the door. Here is a link about door sweeps: http://www.ujr.ca/EN/doorsweeps.htm I prefer the Third image down for a door sweep. They are the adjustable ones and U-shaped. Good Luck in Your sound proofing.
 

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Those sweeps will help with casual airflow, but as they are low mass and not an active seal, your mileage may vary.

An active seal uses a force mechanism to compress the seal.
 

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So long as he has a plate or something to seal to at the bottom of the door. What kind of seal are you talking about for the bottom of the door?
 
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