What Are Acoustic Ceiling Tiles?

What Are Acoustic Ceiling Tiles?

Acoustic ceiling tiles are a form of tile that absorbs sound and reduces sound escaping through your suspended ceiling.


How do acoustic ceiling tiles absorb sound?


Acoustic ceiling tiles are made up of specialist materials, that allow the tile to absorb sound energy that hits its surface. As a result, this reduces sound reverberation, also known as echo and sound transfer to the void or floor above.

The performance of the tile is generally rated in Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) and Ceiling Attenuation Class (CAC). The higher the NRC and CAC rating, the higher the acoustic performance. The best way to understand this is to imagine a cinema room, which has a flat above it. The cinema room itself would want the sound in the room to remain clear and echo free, whilst also preventing sound from travelling through the suspended ceiling and subsequently to the flat above.

sound reverberation in a classroom

The make up of the ceiling tile plays a big part in this, as we have different forms of ceiling tiles produced from mineral fibre and glass wool. Glass wool tiles, such as the Ecophon Advantage A tend to be the better absorbers of sound, similar to acoustic insulation rolls or slabs.


Do acoustic ceiling tiles all look the same?


No, they do not. There are many different sizes and styles of acoustic ceiling tiles available, meaning there is a style to suit every project. However, the vast majority of these tiles tend to be white, and there are only a couple of options in black which are readily available, such as the Rockfon Charcoal.

Glass wool-based tiles have a similar material type finish, whereas mineral fibre tiles, come in an array of plain, sandy and perforated type finishes. The style that you opt for would be down to personal preference and in most cases, wouldn’t affect the acoustic performance of your ceiling system.

Ecophon acoustic ceiling tile


Who are the leading brands of acoustic ceiling tiles?


There are many manufacturers around the world who produce ceiling tiles and boards. The most popular, and reliable in our opinion are: -

·         Armstrong Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

·         Ecophon Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

·         Rockfon Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

·         Knauf Ceiling Solutions Acoustic Ceiling Tiles


We have chosen these four as the leading manufacturers as they have the most sales and highest performance tiles in the UK. Between them, they have spent millions of pounds on acoustic research, to ensure that their ceiling tiles are suitable for your application.


Where do you need acoustic ceiling tiles?


Surprisingly, there are many areas where you either need, or would benefit from an acoustic tiles ceiling. The most common places to find these would be: -

·         Schools

·         Cinemas

·         Theatres

·         Studios

·         Offices

·         Board Rooms


The above are just a few of the areas you would tend to use sound absorbing ceiling tiles, this is due to the nature of the environment. Acoustic tiles are used where concentration and privacy are required, such as in classrooms, where students need focus, ceiling tiles would reduce echo and make the teachers voice much clearer. We talk about Building Bulletin 93 in our Ceiling Tiles For Schools guide, where the government has set minimum performance standards for ceilings, to ensure that classrooms are as well equipped for concentration as they can be.

So, it’s not always just about performance, there are also areas in which you must meet minimum performance standards, outlined by the government or local councils.


Can you paint acoustic ceiling tiles?


You certainly can, however, changing the surface of a ceiling tile will change its technical performance. The surface of the tiles are specifically designed to reflect and absorb sound, so changing the surface would alter how it reacts to sound waves.

We understand that you may want decorative acoustic ceiling tiles but painting them is not always the best solution.

Our advice would be not to paint your ceiling tiles, unless acoustic performance is not a requirement, as you will ultimately alter the performance and void any manufacturer warranties that your ceiling has. Further to this, painting your ceiling can make access into the void more difficult as paint can also overlap on to the ceiling grid, meaning a messy entrance to the void above.


Can you clean acoustic ceiling tiles?


Cleanability is often a requirement on suspended ceiling instillations, so most manufacturers do make their tiles cleanable. However, different tiles will need to be cleaned in different ways, some tiles can only be wiped down with a slightly wet cloth, whereas others can be pressure washed.

Pressure washable ceiling tiles are of course extremely dear and not very common, so the chances of you having this form of tile would be slim.

You should always check data sheets and product detail sheets to find out how your tiles can be cleaned; this will ensure that your tiles remain intact for as long as possible. Like painting tiles, if you were to clean your tiles with the wrong product, you may void your warranty.


Do acoustic ceiling tiles work?


They certainly do! Acoustic ceiling tiles can make huge differences in a room, from reduced echo to sound transfer, they are designed to keep sound in, and keep it sounding good!

Here at Judge Interiors, we have had many customers over the years that have had trouble with acoustics and come to us for advice. We would always advise installing an acoustic ceiling system, where sound is a problem, but installing acoustic tiles isn’t the only thing you can do, we also supply many other acoustic products to go with your suspended ceiling, such as our ever-popular acoustic insulation pads. These pads sit directly on top of your ceiling tiles and make a massive difference to the sound quality and performance of your ceiling.


Acoustic ceiling tiles truly are worth the investment, they can turn a loud and uncomfortable atmosphere into a relaxing and comfortable space. When ordering new or replacement ceiling tiles, you should always consult an expert, to ensure that you are choosing the best option for your project.

For more information on acoustic ceiling products, give our expert team a call today on 01253 864901.

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