Doors and Your Room’s Acoustics

Are Doors the Weakest Link in Your Room's Acoustics

When silence is golden…

There’s no question – Good acoustics create better spaces to live, work, and play.

Proper noise control and acoustical performance are vital to the healing process. Healthcare facilities need rooms designed for patient recovery and privacy.

Appropriate acoustics are an essential component to guest satisfaction in the hospitality industry. Hotels need quiet rooms to provide the best overnight experience for their guests.

Superior sound isolation creates a better learning environment. Schools need classrooms to keep students focused and engaged.

Acoustical design considerations are crucial in these commercial settings and beyond. Making acoustics a cornerstone of our ability to enjoy life.  Careful design and detailing of a room’s wall, floor and ceiling can provide good acoustics. But room acoustics are only as good as the weakest link. And without proper care, the door is often that weakest link.  This article digs a bit deeper into the importance of acoustics in a few of these building markets. Then offers some ideas on how proper door selection can improve your design

Creating an optimal healing environment

Hospital room

Hospital Design 101 tells us surfaces in a hospital need to be easy to clean and sanitize. It’s a basic rule of infection prevention and control. This means you have hard, non-porous surfaces reflecting sound instead of absorbing it. Creating some challenges from the acoustics standpoint.  Managing acoustic issues can be challenging, but it’s critical to healthcare environments. For many reasons:

Acoustics are also playing a larger role in a healthcare facility’s success. Studies show quieter environments produce higher patient quality-of-care ratings. And hospitals with high patient satisfaction scores were also the most profitable. Why is that? 

To improve quality of care in hospitals, the U.S. government now links reimbursement rates to patient satisfaction. They measure this through a patient satisfaction survey called HCACPS. Now, patient satisfaction scores account for 1 1/2 to 2% of government reimbursements.  STC-rated doors control noise in patient rooms, corridors, and other areas. Think about the number of doors in a hospital. Imagine the effect STC-rated doors, combined with the other STC-rated assemblies, could have. You’d raise the acoustical performance of that facility.

The gift of a calm, good night’s sleep

Hotel Sleep

So how can STC-rated doors help in the hospitality industry?

Behind Wi-Fi concerns, noise is one of the top complaints from hotel guests. If not addressed, poor acoustics can impact guest satisfaction and affect hotel revenue. A J.D. Power study showed only 50% of customers with noise complaints complained to management. The other 50% may voice their complaints on social media or a travel site. That’s negative feedback hotels cannot afford. Another study shows a 43% yearly increase in guests checking online reviews before booking a hotel.

Once again, guest satisfaction is key.  A well-designed door solution decreases disruptive noises generated from hallways or adjacent rooms. Designing a room with an STC-rated door helps you address the #2 complaint in hotels.

As noise goes up, test scores go down


Quality acoustical design improves education and is essential to a healthy learning environment. A study by The Acoustical Society of America shows students had a lower reading test score in classrooms with a higher background noise. They found similar declines in language achievement test scores. 

Designing for good acoustics improves student/teacher communication, test scores and educational quality.  Like healthcare facilities, school walls and floors are hard surface. But durability is the top priority for the materials selected in these halls. Once again, sound bounces off walls and finds any opportunity to find its way into the classrooms. And that opportunity is usually the doors.

Specifying STC-rated classroom doors keeps kindergartners’ laughter down the hall where it belongs. And keeps the other students focused on learning.

The noise stops here

Excessive and repetitive noise isn’t just annoying. It can also be a health hazard, impact your ability to concentrate, and increase your stress level.  In all building types, attention to acoustics enhances the experience in many ways. Doors are often the most direct sound path and can compromise an otherwise excellent design. The acoustics performance of a room is only as a good as the weakest link, and the door can certainly be the weakest link.

Masonite Architectural – Want help?

At Masonite Architectural, we’re finding ways to improve industry standards. To help you shape better environments in your buildings. We know STC-rated doors can be a crucial part of that formula. We have a complete line of acoustic-rated doors to meet your project’s needs.

If you’re ready to get started on your current project, you can call 1-877-332-4484 or email us