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Community and Q&A

Interior door options: MDF off-gasing vs. sound dampening

Kail_Z | Posted in Green Products and Materials on

I am slowly building a house in the coastal mountains of Oregon and have finally gotten to the point of needing to install interior doors. Thus far there is no MDF or other materials inside the house that are known for large amounts of off-gasing. Also, I have gone to extra lengths to make sure that the rooms don’t have a lot of sound transfer from one to the other. But now it seems I must make a choice between the two.

It seems that all wood interior doors don’t do much to dampen sound and that the only doors that do dampen sound are made of MDF and particle board. It also appears that even the wood paint grade doors (that are probably closer to our budget also have some kind of pressboard paneling incased in the real wood.

Does anyone have any door recommendations that deal with these issues? Our budget is pretty tight and I’m considering buying Jeldwen doors, is there a better option on a budget? Thanks for your help in advance.

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  1. GBA Editor
    Martin Holladay | | #1

    I have ordinary 6-panel pine doors in my house. They are still available from most building supply stores. The key to reducing noise transmission is to install weatherstripping (yes, even on an interior door).

    If you can't afford new doors, buy used doors at a salvage yard. Of course, that means you'll have to address the lead paint issue.

  2. user-2310254 | | #2

    As Martin says, a solid door with minimal air gaps will offer more sound suppression than a hollow-core door. Audio and home theater enthusiasts go to extremes to create sound-isolated listening and viewing rooms. It is a finicky and expensive process.

    (Also... If you really want a low VOC interior door, check out Supadoors.)

    In my current home, I was also interested in reducing sound transmission between rooms and floors. To that end, I installed a lot of special sound deadening drywall, solid-core doors, and mineral insulation. What I didn't count on was how my stair wells and open floor plan would affect sound transmission. The overall experience made me realize how difficult it is to dampen a typical residential home.

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