Frequently Asked Questions
The national average for the cost of an acoustic panel installation is roughly $10 per square foot. However that will depend on several factors, including the size and layout of the room as well as types of acoustical ceiling tiles used.
Size – The size of the area that the ceiling must cover will determine how much material is needed. For example, a standard 2’x2′ acoustical ceiling tile covers a specific amount of square footage.
Grid – Some brands sell their grid materials by the box which contains enough material to treat a certain amount of square footage and if so there may be some leftover depending on the size of your project.
Tile Material – The type of ceiling tiles you choose will influence the overall cost. The more intricate a pattern or the more high-performance the tile is, the more it will cost.
Sound Absorption – Soundproof ceiling tiles have the ability to absorb noise which is what sets them apart from other ceiling materials. When noise hits a ceiling, it loses energy as it navigates through a maze of air and fibers. The more energy it loses, the less it will bounce around and reverberate in the space.
Installation – The labor cost of acoustic ceiling installation is an important factor to consider when installing a new ceiling. This will vary depending on how many hours the acoustical ceiling contractors work, and whether they are working on a new drop ceiling installation or repairing an existing one.
Other costs may include electrical wiring, venting and lighting if those are to be moved as part of the project. Also, a building permit may be required for your locality if you are modifying an existing ceiling.
There are numerous advantages to having an acoustic ceiling installed depending on the space.
The main advantage is ease of access to the floor above. Acoustic ceiling tiles, referred to as an ACT ceiling, are easily and individually removed to allow access to any part of the floor above. Unlike drywall that either needs to have a premade access panel that has limited access above, or it needs to be cut and removed. In addition to removal, acoustic ceiling installation has its advantages as well. Acoustical ceilings easily cover up unwanted plumbing, HVAC and electrical that may be hanging down below the floor. Drywall would require moving the fixtures or additional framing to enclose them.
Aesthetically, acoustic ceiling tiles offer many options for designs, colors and materials. Most drop ceiling installation uses a metal grid and individual tiles. However, if a continuous surface is more to your liking, drywall may be a better option if the space permits.
Acoustical ceilings, sometimes referred to as a drop ceiling or floating ceiling, are a secondary ceiling hung below the structural ceiling to treat room acoustics and to look attractive. They also conceal HVAC, electrical and plumbing installations. Suspended or glued types are available in a wide range of materials, finishes and textures to achieve different levels of sound control.
Acoustic ceiling tiles can be made up of mineral fibers, fiberglass, wood, plastic (PVC), metal and specialty materials. Most acoustical ceilings consist of a metal suspended grid or framing system into which panels of sound-absorbing material are inserted. The resulting ceiling system offers high acoustic control with minimal construction cost and disruption to existing structural ceilings.
Decorative options add to the aesthetic value of an acoustic ceiling. Designers can choose from a wide variety of colors, sheen levels and texture, as well as shapes. Some acoustic ceiling systems mimic a drywall or plaster finish while maintaining the acoustic properties of fiberglass. Metal ceilings provide a wide range of perforation patterns and acoustic backing choices. Wood ceilings offer designers hundreds of species to select from and often use stains, which enhance grain variations and smooth out sharp color contrasts.
Other specialty ceiling materials include acoustic foams, polyethylene felts, cementitious wood fiber and PVC stretch material. These products come in a wide range of acoustic performance, including soundproof ceiling tiles which have a noise reduction coefficient (NRC) ratings and other properties that are specified for specific projects. Be sure to consult your local acoustical ceiling contractors to determine which type of tile is best for you.
R values are usually associated with thermal insulators and measure the effectiveness of the materials ability to disrupt heat flow. This is accomplished by the material’s density and thickness so the R value of an acoustic ceiling tile depends on the material it is made from. Most acoustical ceiling tiles are made from gypsum or a fire-rated mineral fiber that adds both sound absorption and thermal insulation to any drop ceiling. They also help reduce energy consumption by blocking the transfer of heat between rooms. The average R value of the most popular ceiling tiles is 13.6. This is an excellent insulating value and will significantly reduce the amount of heat that escapes from room to room through the ceiling grid. In addition, it will reduce the amount of noise that escapes from one floor to the next. Make sure you consult your local acoustical ceiling contractors to determine which tile material will perform best for your intended needs, whether in a residential or commercial space.
Yes, soundproofing your ceiling is worth it and it doesn’t have to be extremely costly.
One of the biggest benefits of soundproofing your ceiling is maintaining separate living spaces and privacy from neighbors above. Soundproof ceiling tiles can help reduce the amount of vibrations that travel through the floor. This is a cost-effective way to reduce unwanted foot noise and is especially suitable for basement remodeling or finishing. It can also help keep unwanted noise from traveling throughout a home or office, which is good for productivity, satisfaction and overall health. Which means it can keep sounds contained to their intended rooms, whether upstairs or downstairs, without disturbing anyone else.
If you are renting your condo or apartment, then consulting with the landlord first is a good idea to make sure that this is something they will allow. There may be language in the lease that specifically states that no alterations can be made, so be sure to read that thoroughly before hiring acoustic ceiling contractors.
Depending on how much the noise from above is affecting you, you will need to decide if you are willing to spend the time and money on this project or not. Given the relative ease and low cost of drop ceiling installation, if the space permits it then it is definitely worth your investment.
Though they are resistant to certain levels of humidity, acoustic ceiling tiles are not waterproof. Direct contact with water, such as a leaky pipe above can leave a water stain. The good news is that you can just replace the affected tiles easily and more cost effectively than cutting and removing drywall. Another disadvantage of acoustic ceilings is that they require regular cleaning as dust and debris can build up over time. Depending on the type of material and surface texture this can be difficult and time consuming. Lastly, acoustic ceiling installation does require a minimum amount of space between the ceiling tiles and any obstruction above. The industry standard recommends 4” minimum clearance. However, exceptions can be made depending on the circumstances and you should consult qualified acoustic ceiling contractors to inspect the intended area before beginning construction.
There are several ways to make your ceilings soundproof, including adding soundproof ceiling tiles or baffles that can soften and disperse sounds in the room. This can reduce echoes and unwanted noise, and also provide a visual value to your ceiling.
The first thing to do when looking for acoustic ceiling tiles is to find ones with an NRC rating. NRC stands for Noise Reduction Coefficient, and it measures how well a tile can reduce echo and noise from being bounced around the room. The higher the NRC rating, the better the acoustic quality of that tile.
Next, you’ll want to look for a soundproof ceiling panel that can block and reflect sounds, too. This is based on the ceiling panel’s Ceiling Attenuation Class (CAC). The higher this number, the better it is at blocking sounds and vibrations from reaching the spaces below it. Fiberglass, polyurethane, and melamine acoustic foam are all common materials used in soundproof ceiling tiles.
The most common acoustic ceiling system consists of a metal grid and different types of acoustic ceiling tiles, or ACT, made from various materials.
Mineral fibers, which are produced using a combination of clay, mineral fibers, perlite, and recycled newsprint, are the most popular for drop ceiling installation because they’re fire-resistant, inexpensive, durable, and have superior noise-reduction capabilities. These are also the easiest to install and can be painted to match any decor.
Other acoustic ceiling materials include fiberglass, which is available in different variations including post-consumer recycled content and PVC bagged fiberglass. Some of these can be designed to look like painted drywall while others are more textured for design purposes. Some acoustic ceiling products have additional insulation to add extra warmth and moisture resistance.
Wood is also used as baffles for an ACT ceiling. These can take the shape of panels, planks or even canopies and come in a variety of wood species and stains to add colors and grains to your space.
Materials can provide not only differing appearances, but also various levels of soundproofing and insulation. When planning your next acoustic ceiling install, be sure to take all these factors into consideration or spark with one of our knowledgeable acoustic ceiling contractors today.