Suspended ceilings are common in both commercial and residential construction. Designed to minimize acoustic pollution and increase the aesthetics of the space, drop down ceilings can be both functional and visually appealing. There are multiple types of tile available, each of which has its own pros and cons.
MINERAL FIBER TILES
Mineral fiber ceiling tiles are the most common type of ceiling tile. Made of interwoven fibers, they are one of the least expensive materials available, often as low as 2 or 3 dollars per tile. Easy to obtain and easy to configure, mineral fiber tiles provide an accessible and straightforward installation process.
The biggest risk in using mineral fiber tiles is that they can easily break, and the results can be messy. The debris can wind up everywhere, making it difficult to clean. Additionally, these ceiling tiles can be difficult to handle if there is a need to access the space above the tiles.
PLASTIC CEILING TILES
Plastic tiles have become more popular in recent years, in part because of their ease of use. They aren’t bulky or dusty, meaning that installation and maintenance are easier and less messy. Because they are made of plastic, they tend to be lighter than other materials, making the wiring and piping above the drop ceiling grid more accessible. Additionally, there is no mineral fiber residue to deal with if the tiles ever need to be exchanged. Customization is also easier, as the tiles come in different colors and patterns.
Plastic tiles are more expensive and aren’t usually found at local home renovation stores. Tiles will need to be ordered for initial design and whenever replacements are needed, which can increase the cost of the job and ongoing maintenance.
METAL CEILING TILES
Metal tiles are manufactured to fit the room, so there is no need to cut the tiles further during installation. Because metal tiles are custom cut for each room during their construction, there are more design possibilities. However, this means that the design and manufacturing process will typically require more time than other ceiling tile options.
The biggest drawback of metal tiles is the custom manufacturing process, which can make them more expensive than other material options. Costs can range from $2 to $17 per tile. Metal tiles can also have a negative impact on the acoustics of a room, providing more opportunity for reverberation and echo.
Composite tiles can be cheaper than metal tiles and are the best at reducing noise pollution, which makes them ideal for areas that need higher levels of privacy, such law offices or medical centers. Additionally, they are more common than plastic, wood, or metal tiles, allowing for easier repairs and replacement. Composite tiles are made of a combination of mineral fibers and more supportive material like concrete, which means that they are less likely to break than mineral fiber tiles.
Composite tiles may not be as readily available as mineral fiber, which means they may need to be pre-ordered before a job starts. This also might require that additional tiles are stored on site for maintenance and replacement purposes.
Wood panels are yet another option. Each tile is individually cut, allowing a unique design for each space. Their acoustic capabilities are also better than metal, with less reverberation of sound. As a result, they can create a unique look without increasing acoustic pollution.
Wood panels can be just as expensive as metal tiles, making them one of the costlier options on the market. The material can be hard to work with, and if they break it can be difficult to replace them, adding to material and maintenance costs.
OUR TEAM IS HERE TO HELP
Each type of panel has its own benefits and challenges. As a result, deciding which type of ceiling tile to use in your construction or rehab project can be a complicated process. We work with you and your designers to find the solution that will best match your project needs and budget. To find out more about our drop down and acoustic ceiling tiles contact us at 303.466.7200.