I am currently renting a room, that was a living room once, and one side of of walls are just pieces of wood that you can slide on a track. I use the middle one as my "door". But there is a small gap between my door and the other piece, I am thinking if I can fill that space with something then it would reduce the sound from the other side.

I am renting so I don't want to do anything permanent, I was thinking of maybe hanging a thick blanket or something over the gap or just fill the gap between them with something that would not stop the sliding of the door.

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  • As suggested in the answers, I also would suggest a thick blanket, curtains and other sound absorption at that wall and elsewhere in the room. It's much like how a library sounds quiet: lots of gaps and ways for sound to travel around, but the books absorb most of it along the way, making it quiet. – P2000 Jun 5 at 17:36

There's pretty much nothing you can do so I'll try to save your money from expensive solutions that don't work.

The way to build a soundproofing wall is with a "double skin". You put two sets of studs with an offset, and put drywall on both sides. Each side of the wall has its own set of studs.

When noise (sound waves) in one room hits that side of the wall, it will make it vibrate, but not a lot because drywall is pretty heavy. Then, vibration doesn't go directly through the studs to the other wall because it uses a different set of studs. The inner cavity between both sides is filled with fiberglass to reduce transmission through air. While this is just drywall, it can be pretty good.

So, to stop sound transmission, you need the noise to hit something heavy, like drywall, or better two or three sheets of drywall so it's thicker and heavier, so most of the sound waves get reflected towards the other side instead of making the wall vibrate. Your flimsy "wood" panels do not fit that description, and you can't make them heavier without doing a lot of damage, and there are plenty of holes between them, so... no way.

You may think about buying some soundproofing material for recording studios, and that's when you'll waste your money. The stuff you see on the walls of recording studios like egg-crate shaped foam does no soundproofing (they do that by building double-skin walls as explained above). It is mostly to control sound reflections inside the studio so it doesn't reverberate/echo too much and sound like an empty hallway. If you buy the egg-crate foam, you will have just as much noise, but less money. But you will have less reverberation in your room, I'm not sure you will find it very useful.

Pretty much the only solution that doesn't involve tearing down the flimsy panels and replacing them with a proper wall would be to hang a curtain, made of the thickest heaviest fabric you can find. You can probably convince the landlord to let you install a fixture for that. But it won't be very effective, because even a heavy curtain is a lot lighter than 2-3 sheets of drywall, and it's full of holes.

You treat the slots between the doors with the same kind of stuff we put on doors to make them a bit more airtight and to stop drafts, but that involves glue, and it doesn't really work well for sliding doors...

  • "hang a curtain", like you write, to absorb transmission and reflection. Low cost & renter-friendly. – P2000 Jun 5 at 17:37

Those look like thin, hard panels and they are much more of the problem than that little gap. While plugging that gap may stop a bit of the sound, the panels themselves are acting as sounding boards and transmitting the sound through.

I have a bookshelf nook in my bedroom wall with nothing but 1 layer of drywall behind the books, and a speaker just the other side of the nook. Sound is actually louder in my bedroom than it is in the other room because that piece of drywall reverberates and moves more air on the bedroom side than the speaker cone does on the other side.

Note that there is very little you can reasonably and somewhat inexpensively do to "sound proof" that wall, especially in something that would be removable when you move out. You can, however, deaden the sound to an extent, and that may make your quarters more livable.

The only realistic "fix" would be to cover that entire wall with loose hanging fabric of some sort to help capture and deaden the sound the walls are transmitting through. Your best bet would likely be to put a curtain rod across the entire set of panels and hang curtains/blankets/strips of cloth across the whole thing. Depending on how much room there is above the door panels, you may have to hang the rod from the ceiling instead of the wall. You may find that it will take a fairly heavy curtain or (set of) blanket(s) to kill off enough sound, so be prepared to buy a sturdy curtain rod and mounting brackets.

Generally speaking, most landlords are OK with a few holes in the wall (or ceiling as may be the case) for hanging things because small screw holes (or drywall/plaster anchors, molleys, toggle bolts, etc) are generally easy to fix up with some Spackle. If you're not sure about doing this, talk to your landlord about it. If he's edgy about the damage, either agree on an amount to be deducted from your damage deposit to cover the repair (get it in writing, just to be safe), or promise to make the repairs to his satisfaction prior to moving out. Or, just be willing to sacrifice your deposit for a bit of peace and quiet.

You could, of course, purchase acoustical panels of the sort used in recording studios and attach them to those sliding panels, and that would work far better than a curtain/blankets, but they'd probably be more expensive, have some sort of (semi-)permanent mounting adhesive to hold them to the panels, and you'd have to have at least some of them on the other side of the wall to allow the door to continue to slide, so that's probably out of the question.

  • Seems the two answers here agree: "loose hanging fabric". I'd do the same. Low cost, effective and renter friendly. – P2000 Jun 5 at 17:38

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