ACOUSTICAL CEILINGS: WHAT ARE THEY?
An acoustical ceiling may conjure up a picture of the roof of an opera house in your mind’s eye, designed to enhance the sound within. However, acoustical ceilings are actually quite common in commercial real estate and office buildings. They serve as a sound dampener and to conceal HVAC and other building systems. These ceilings are designed to provide a quiet work space where employees can concentrate distraction free. They are sometimes called lay-in ceilings, are versatile, durable, and cost effective, and are popular in many commercial buildings.
HOW ARE ACOUSTICAL CEILINGS BUILT?
An acoustical ceiling is suspended from the load bearing ceiling by several inches. This allows the individual tiles to be removed as needed, and ensures that the ceiling has ample room for wiring, heating, and ventilation.
The frame of an acoustical ceiling is made up of a series of T frames, which hold the tiles into place. The longer main beams are suspended from the top of the structure, while the shorter beams are placed between them.
Finally, a molding is placed on the walls, which allows the ceiling to stay in place. This connects the ceiling to the wall and prevents the suspended beams from swinging. In seismic zones, this molding is also used to stabilize the ceiling and prevent it from falling in the case of an earthquake.
HOW DO ACOUSTICAL CEILING WORK?
An acoustical ceiling is designed to dampen the sound in a space. Some acoustical ceilings will dampen sound between floors, but most are designed simply to prevent the sound on a single floor from carrying and echoing. This is accomplished by using specially designed tiles which fit into the suspended T frames.
These tiles are usually made of mineral fibers, but can also be made of fiberglass or other materials. Rarely are they made from metal, as it is not as effective at dampening sound and is more difficult to replace.
WHY CHOOSE AN ACOUSTICAL CEILING?
People work best in quiet spaces. Reducing distraction has an immediate impact on a worker’s ability to complete tasks and maintain focus. Acoustical ceilings help achieve that noise dampening. They are also an incredibly versatile building material. Ceiling tiles can be found in a myriad of sizes, and can be easily customized to fit the aesthetic of the room. They can be found in a variety of colors, patterns, styles, and materials, allowing the designer to better match the desired appearance of the space.
Dropped down acoustical ceilings are also much cheaper and faster than total renovation, which makes them ideal for companies that want to add soundproofing or change the aesthetics of a space without breaking the bank.
If you have an interest in exploring if acoustical ceilings might be right for you, we can help you to identify available options for your space.