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I would like to reduce the outside noise from inside my apartment. Outside, of my apartment is the hallway, and it can get noisy.

I was thinking about placing felt pads on my door to reduce the noise. My thinking is the sound vibrations from outside travel underneath the door and reach my room. My strategy is to place felt pads on the sides of my door, so the distance between the floor, the door ceiling and the door edges is minimal, meaning sound vibrations can't penetrate that place.

If you have other answers, lets hear them.

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Possible duplicate –  bib Jun 4 at 14:17
Are you sure the problem is the door? Apartments are notorious for thin walls... –  keshlam Jun 4 at 15:59
It's basic science. For sound to travel, it has to reach from part a to part b. If an area is blocked, sound can't possibly travel through it. –  user21922 Jun 4 at 16:04
@user2192: sound can travel through solids, not just through air. For a serious noise nuisance people apply sound-dampening materials to walls, change their doors, add secondary doors etc. You can't prevent sound completely, only reduce it to a tolerable or normally imperceptible level. –  RedGrittyBrick Jun 5 at 9:57

2 Answers 2

Your options are limited being in an apartment, since you likely can't make very many permanent changes. I'll run through some ideas, though.

First, putting felt pads on the sides may help a little, but not for the reasons you think. They will do very little to dampen the vibrations -- you need mass or a dedicated damping agent for that. What the felt pads will help with is to reduce the mount of air flow through the door. Air flow is one of the absolute enemies of sound proofing. The more completely you can seal a door, the better it'll be. If you have the opportunity to attach an automatic door bottom (surface mount) and then some gaskets, then that'll go a long way towards quieting the noise.

Is your door hollow core? That is, does it sound hollow when you knock on it? If so, then you may look into replacing it with a solid core door. This can be done on a temporary basis as long as the hinges match up and you can simply pop out the old one and pop in the new one. A solid core door (especially a 1-3/4" thick one) will do a substantially better soundproofing job than a hollow core one. It does depend on you sealing it, though (see above) or else a lot of that benefit will disappear.

Beyond that... well, it really depends on how leeway you have towards making alternations to your apartment and how what your budget is. Attaching mass loaded vinyl to the walls and door would help, but would get pretty expensive very fast. Building an entirely separate interior wall would do a massive amount of help, but would absolutely cause noticeable marks when it was later removed. The flooring under the wall will certainly have to be re-done.

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Several ways to approach the problem come to mind:

  • Discourage noise makers: make changes to the environment so the noise makers want to leave: make the hallway temperature uncomfortable, install atrocious art, provide a repellent scent, disagreeable noises, threatening animals, and/or arrange scary/dangerous passers-by.

  • Decrease the sound reaching your apartment: sound dampening materials on the door and wall. See this answer.

  • Make it harder to hear the noise: turn up your stereo, wear headphones, or install a noise generator.

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