5 Ways to Stop a Door From Slamming

Technically, it might be virtually impossible to stop a door from slamming shut, or open, occasionally. What we are going to deal with in this article is ‘How to Stop a Door From Slamming Loudly’. Regardless of cause–from wind, to grumpy toddlers, to teenagers. This is, after all, a soundproofing site.

Any one of the following suggestions will help. You may end up using more than one to reduce or eliminate door slamming. Because different people and situations require different solutions. Hopefully we will provide a solution to suit your needs.

5 Ways to Quiet or Stop Door Slamming

All of the following options will still allow you to close and latch the door. Once installed, it may be necessary to adjust strikes because of the extra thickness of the product you choose, or the operation of some of the products. 

1) Install a Door Closer

An overhead door closer (not the one you use on your garage door) is one of the better options to prevent doors from being slammed shut by the wind, or by someone with an attitude. They are usually quite versatile and can be use on inswing or outswing doors, left or right hand doors, interior or exterior doors. They are fairly easy to install without special tools and come with instructions and/or video link, templates, and all required screws and parts. When adjusted properly, they will keep almost any door from slamming, or being slammed, shut for years.

Before buying, and installing an overhead door closer, you will have to take a few things into consideration:

  • Most door closers are designed to keep the door closed at all times. If you want it open most of the time, you will probably have to use some kind of door stopper to prop it open. Or buy a closer with a hold-open option. (Note: Most of the hold-open devices only work on doors that open 90 degrees, or more. If your door will not open that far–because it is tight to the wall or has some other impediment–this may not be an option.)
  • Also, many hold open closers are released by pulling on the door itself to release the mechanism. If you are installing a closer on a hollow core door, it may be essential to  use through-bolts and a steel plate on the other side; instead of the screws that come with it. (The 1/8″ skin on the door will not hold screws in place for long, if it is pulled regularly.) At the very least, this tends toward ugly.
  • If the door is a steel insulated slab, it will present the same problem as the hollow core slab. 24 gauge steel skin will not stand up well to constant pulling and pushing. (Note: Insulated steel doors can be ordered with a wooden ‘closer block’ between the metal skins, but unless that is the plan when ordering, most do not have them.) 
  • Quite often closers are too powerful (or not adjusted properly), making it difficult for a child to open the door–or hold it open while trying to get in or out. Or if she/he gets it partially open, small fingers may get squeezed as it closes.

Assuming that you can comfortably deal with the above possibilities, one of these door closers will be an excellent choice. They are usually a little more expensive than the other options, but will last for years without any major maintenance or adjustments.

 

2) Adjust or Repair Door Swing

One of the problems with doors slamming is that they will not stay fully open. Nor will they swing all the way closed. Just kind of swing half-way, and stay there. So, when the big gust of wind comes through a window, it catches the slab just right–and bang. This is usually caused by the door and/or wall not being plumb. Quite often a quick fix is to replace one short screw in each hinge (screwed into the jamb) with a 2 1/2″ or 3″ screw that will reach through the jamb into the framing. By adjusting these screws a bit at a time (usually less than a quarter turn), there is a good chance you can square the slab in the frame, and it will stay fully open.

If that does not solve the problem, use a level (preferably 4′ long) to check the slab, jamb, and walls for plumb. You may have to move your hinges on the jamb to get the door to do what you want. (If your hinges look worn down, this might be a good time to change them.)

One last option: Remove one–or maybe two–hinge pins. Scar them up on rough concrete. Use a hammer to put a small bend in them (Small being defined as 2 -3 degrees). Spray with silicone lubricant, and re-install. Should keep the door slab from swinging part-way closed without affecting normal operation.

 

3) Cushion the Frame

Regardless of whatever adjustments and modifications you make to your door, it is still a good idea to cushion the frame somehow–just in case. None of the following options will eliminate the sound of a door slamming if you have a slammer with serious attitude in the house, or big winds. But they should save you from having to change your underwear when it happens.

 

Weatherstrip

Installing a good weatherstrip on the complete door stop is your best cushioning option. Not only will the door slab be cushioned for most of its perimeter, there is the added benefit of extra soundproofing. Keliiyo self-adhesive door weatherstrip comes in 4 different colors, with enough product to do 6 single doors. Before installing, wipe down the door stop with a 50/50 vinegar/water mix to remove any dirt, oil, or grease. You could also use TSP or mineral spirits. Vinegar is inexpensive, and when wiped clean with water, should not leave any kind of residue.

Once you have the weatherstrip in place, it might be necessary to adjust the door strike because the extra thickness will not allow the handle backset to engage. 

Note: If you are having trouble moving the strike because the screws are determined to go back in the same holes; mix up some sawdust with wood glue, pack it into the old screw holes, let dry overnight, then drill new holes where needed, and install your strike.

 

Felt Pads

If you do not want to weatherstrip the complete door frame, you can substitute Scotch self-adhesive felt pads. Buy the 2-pack (rectangular), and cut them to the size you need. Cut 3 of them to the width of the door stop (usually about 3/8″). Stick them on the strike side door stop–top, middle, bottom. Although you do not cushion the complete frame, like you will with weatherstrip, these pads will eliminate a lot of that gawdawful wood on wood crash.

Door Silencer

As with the felt pads, you can use cabinet bumpers on the door jamb to quiet down a door slamming shut. These silicone-based dots are normally used for kitchen cabinets but they should dampen the sound of doors closing. They are self-adhesive making them easy and quick to install, and you can use as many as needed. (Note: I would be a little concerned about small fingers picking them off and swallowing them.)

Something else to consider is the possibility of the door slamming open and the handle hitting the wall. (Anyone who slams doors is likely an equal opportunity slammer. Shut, or open, or both.) Not only is this loud, but hard enough and/or often enough will damage the drywall–sometimes badly. 

You may have those spring door stops that screw into the baseboard, and get in the way of the broom, mop, and vacuum cleaner. They also have no give, making the door sound like it is hitting the end of a hockey stick. (I hate these things, and even worse, my wife hates these things.) We have been using different styles of Door Stopper Wall Protectors for years. These are made of silica gel, are self-sticking, and re-usable. (Not sure why re-usable. Ours have been in the same place since we built the house 14 years ago.)

All you will need to do is mark the wall where the center of the door knob hits, and stick the thing on. (Probably a good idea to give that area a wipe with vinegar and water. Specially if there are small sticky fingers running around in the house.)

4) Install a Door Sweep

Although I am generally not a fan of a rubber door sweep for soundproofing an interior door, it might be appropriate for this application. If it is adjusted relatively tight to the floor, it will slow down the swing. It should work fairly well on laminate, hardwood, tile, or linoleum. But I think it could be real annoying if rubbing over carpet. Generally there are 2 choices for installation–screw on or stick on. Be precise if you are using the stick on variety. Most of them are very difficult to adjust once they are in place. They may also remove paint from the door slab if you have to adjust them, or want to take them off for any reason.

For soundproofing and draft I prefer something like the Holikme Twin Door Draft Stopper, which should work fairly well at slowing a door down if it is passing over carpet. But I am not sure it will provide enough friction to do the job on laminate, hardwood, tile, or linoleum. Having said that, I would probably try it first. Not very expensive, and I think it has other benefits that the rubber sweep does not, such as no screw holes, or tape residue. They are easy to cut to length and install–just follow manufacturer’s instructions.

 

5) Install a Door Stopper

Door stoppers are something that will hold the door open. They are very effective at stopping wind induced slamming. And should at least slow down two legged slammers. Following are 3 different types of stoppers:

  • Door Wedge. These small triangular shaped items are usually manufactured of rubber or rubber in combination with another material. I like the AwoDon wood wedges with a string that can be used to pull them from under the door and hung on the door knob. (Trying to pull out the small rubber units that have been kicked tight under the door can be a hassle. Or finding them when needed.)
  • Kick-Down Stops. The Gotega Door Stopper screws into the door and can be pushed down and released with your foot. The leg is adjustable so if the rubber wears down, it can still be adjusted to work properly. (Note: If your door slab is a hollow core unit, install as close to the edge as possible so at least one screw will bite into the stile (solid wood perimeter of door slab). You will not have to look for this unit.
  • Magnetic Door Stopper. The Winonly Door Stopper is a 2-piece unit that attaches to the wall behind the door and to the slab itself. Magnet is very strong so it will defeat any wind, and at least slow down the family door slammer. The soft-catch spring quiets down the door opening against the wall.

Contractor’s Note: For anyone having trouble getting perfect alignment of the two parts: Attach the long leg to either the door, or wall (door location saves you from having to mop around it), put a dab of something that will leave a mark on the center of the ball–like pencil lead, crayon, lipstick. When you open the door to touch the wall, the mark it leaves will be dead center of the other part of the stopper.

 

Final Thoughts

For any number of personal reasons (the closer is ugly, adjusting the swing just does not do the job, concern about small pieces being swallowed), you may need to, or want to, use a combination of the options suggested. If you choose this route, give some consideration to starting with the least expensive option you think will do the job. You can always add products as needed until you achieve the result you are looking for. And who knows, the first one might be the best one for your situation.

 


Terry Schutz

I have worked as a contractor, sales person, and business owner in the construction industry for over three decades--mostly in home renovations and also as a home builder. I have been married to the same wife for 46 years. We have 3 children and 4 granddaughters. I have also been writing semi-professionally for about 20 years--construction articles, personal stories, and politically incorrect social commentary.


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