Suspended Acoustical Ceilings

Friday, April 7, 2017
A suspended acoustical ceiling is constructed from acoustic ceiling tiles and a grid system. Some people refer to this as a lay-in type ceiling. This system is durable, versatile, and has a relatively low cost. Moreover, these tiles are removable without incurring any damage to the structure, enabling you to maintain electrical and HVAC systems that reside above the ceiling. This type of ceiling is utilized in numerous institutional and commercial projects. Acoustical Ceiling Tiles or ACT are a widely used option and there are numerous styles from which to choose.

Components Of A Suspended Acoustical Ceiling

The image below depicts the composition of a suspended acoustic ceiling. The main beams are suspended by hanger wires from structures above the ceiling. Smaller cross segments are connected to the main beam to create a frame that is rigid. In the outer perimeter, edge molding are put in place, and finally the acoustic tiles are dropped in to complete the job.
 Suspended Acoustical Ceiling

Grid T Shapes For Ceiling Construction

Most often 15/16 inch wide T shapes are used. Nevertheless, there are a number of other sizes that are available. Manufacturers produce numerous shapes that are used by a designer for aesthetic reasons. For example, stepped T shapes are frequently used to give a ceiling increased depth. See the image below.
 Grid T Shape For Ceiling Construction

Edge Molding

There are type types of edge molding that are normally utilized at a wall to end the ceiling grid. Most often an angle molding is used but shadow moldings are also available to produce a shadow line that runs along the room’s edge. Several manufacturers produce their own proprietary shapes of edge molding.

Design And Materials Used In Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

There are a large array of designs and textures associated with acoustic ceiling tiles. The majority of these tiles are constructed using mineral fiber, however, other types of materials are also used. Tiles constructed from mineral fiber usually have a favorable NRC (noise reduction coefficient). This makes them an excellent choice for sound absorption to alleviate echo and excess sound in a loud setting. Some of these tiles also have a very high CAC (ceiling attenuation class) which means they impede sound from passing to another floor above the ceiling but these tiles are normally not utilized to prevent sound from entering into another space.

There are a large number of design options and several kinds of material from which to choose. Ceiling tiles may have imprinted designs and different types of textures.

In addition to tile material, there are a wide variety of designs available. Tiles may have a rough appearance or a smooth appearance. Tiles may also have designs imprinted in them or other patterns scored into the tile. Several types of edge options also exist.


Tile Sizes

Acoustic ceiling tiles are manufactured in a number of standard sizes such as 12 x 12, 12 x 24, 24 x 24, 24 x 72, 30 x 60, 60 x 60, 48 x 48, 20 x 60, 30 x 30, 24 x 48 and more. All sizes are in inches. Custom sizes and shapes are also provided by many manufacturers.

Seismic Concerns

Acoustic suspended ceilings that are located in seismic zones have additional factors that must be considered. These may include limitations on ceiling size and weight and the need for edge moldings of greater width. It is likely these ceilings will also require extra bracing and attachments. Refer to local building codes for detailed data.
J. Cameron 4/7/2017

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