Using Acoustic Ceilings to Mitigate Sound

Most office spaces are crowded with people. Any layout, from cubicles, to open floor plans, will be bringing a group of people together within a finite space. As workers make calls, write reports, type emails, walk on floors above, meet clients and print letters, space becomes animated and at times, noisy.  That’s where acoustic ceilings come in.

How Do Acoustic Ceilings Work?

In commercial construction, acoustic ceilings are used to dampen sound. Sounds can come from workspaces, but can also come from HVAC and pipes run between the floor above and the acoustical ceiling. Properly installed acoustic ceilings can absorb and attenuate sounds coming from adjacent spaces. That means that a conversation in a conference room is less likely to carry over to an office located next to it.

The ceilings do this by limiting the ability of the sound waves to travel through the ceiling to other spaces. The sound will bounce off surfaces until it either dissipates or finds a route to a new location. Acoustic ceilings limit this process by absorbing sound waves, causing them to dissipate faster and giving them less opportunity to reflect off of flat surfaces like walls and glass.

Think of a racquetball court. 3 solid walls and 1 glass wall cause the sound waves of the ball to reverberate until they dissipate, and the glass provides no insulation to the noise. This allows the echoes to not only bounce around the original court but also the surrounding courts and hallways. If one of those walls was made of an acoustic material then the sound wouldn’t reverberate to the same degree and would dissipate quicker, preventing the auditory pollution from affecting the rest of the area.

In order to accomplish their dampening duties, the tiles in acoustic ceilings are usually made of mineral fiber.  However, other materials, like fiberglass, are often available as well. Each material will have a specified level of dampening capability. These levels are designated by the Ceiling Attenuation Class or CAC of the ceiling panel. The higher the CAC the better the material is at dampening sound. Mineral fiber has one of the highest CACs and is cost-effective, which is why it is such a common material for acoustic ceilings.

How to Know What Type of Acoustic Ceiling is Right for Your Job

Understanding where to put an acoustic ceiling, what type of tiles to use, or how best to hang the tiles is not an easy task. Our project managers are able to work with you to help you understand all your options and to ensure that you know exactly what will work best for you and your needs.

Contact United Builders Services for a quote on your building retrofit or new construction at 303.466.7200

How To Tell If A Metal Stud Framer Will Be Right For Your Job

Because of its importance to a construction project, picking a reliable company or subcontractor to handle the installation of metal stud framing is essential. However, understanding how to pick a provider can be difficult. Knowing what to look for in a contractor will smooth the way for a successful project.

Warning Signs

Every installer should have a portfolio of projects they’ve worked on. Being able to look at that portfolio can help a team leader, designer, or architect learn what the applicants’ previous work has looked like. It can also help with seeing if there have been problems with previous projects. Did the walls on a project buckle, break, or bend? That installer may have missed placing interior studs into the frame. Did the drywall break down after a flood? They may not have properly measured and placed the frames, resulting in greater flood damage. Were there repeated problems with electrical or communications wiring? They may have been using materials with sharp edges that damaged the wiring. Did doors or windows not fit in the framing as the blueprint said they should? The installer might have neglected to properly measure the studs before installation.

One of these issues alone is not a reason to doubt the capabilities of an installer, but a history of repeated issues is a cause for concern. Checking the contractor’s history is a critical step in determining if an installer will be a good fit for a project.

Other Things You Can Do

It is also important to check what materials an installer plans to use. Each manufacturer has their own warranty, and you should review the materials specifications and warranty when evaluating the installer. Understanding the installer’s process and their choice in materials is important to making sure that their work will be completed correctly and will stand the test of time.

You should also check how your installers hire subcontractors or workmen, and how they handle managing their teams, to ensure that they will work well within the ecosystem of your project. If a team has poor management or brings on unqualified labor, it can be detrimental to not only the framing installation, but also to the installation of wiring, heating, plumbing, and flooring.  Like a machine, if one component is out of place, then the rest can quickly be brought to a grinding halt.

For more info on our services, our history, and our expertise, or to see our commitment to the completion of each job, contact us today.