Acoustical Ceilings

Interior Design
By: Sandy Chiu, Helen Wong, February 2003, Vancouver, Canada

General Description
Acoustical Ceiling can be used to control the quality of sound in a place. In an open plan space, speech privacy is a major consideration. Ceiling panels with high NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) can be used to absorb and minimize undesired sound. Acoustical ceiling panels have different degrees of whiteness, surface pattern and texture, all of which affect the amount of light they reflect. High LR (Light Reflectance) ceiling panels provide for the effective use of indirect light sources, and are will suited for open office plans, medical facilities, educational settings, libraries and computer rooms. High light reflectance ceiling panels in conjunction with indirect lighting can add value by reducing glare, reducing the number of light fixtures needed to illuminate a space, and reducing energy costs. Acoustical ceiling has high fire resistance. Also, the materials of acoustical ceiling are mainly renewable agricultural resources such as cornstarch. Some recycled materials, such as waste paper and newspaper, are being used in the acoustical ceiling. It minimizes the damage to our environment.

Manufacture / Source
There are three major manufacturers of ceiling tiles in North America, which are CGC, BPCO and Armstrong. Each of them has several plants in the main demographic areas and ship to their distribution arms. From there, major distributors place the product at smaller distribution points, which we call the suppliers. We associate with the suppliers to order ceiling tiles. However, these suppliers are not installers, but they would recommend or refer some installers to us.

CGC, a company of USG, is the large Canadian manufacture of ceiling tiles with an excessive supply of patterns and colors. Quality products from CGC come with years of research, testing and technical support. The company believes that the health, safety and environmental well-being are compatible wit economic health; therefore, they provide product and manufacturing solutions that reduce environmental impact by using recaptured gypsum, eliminate manufacturing waste by recycling heat and reusing waste, and use recycled material, such as reusing byproducts, discarded material and renewable agricultural sources.

BPB is an international company headquartered in London, UK. BPB is a world leader in the manufacturing and distribution of gypsum board products and complementary building materials. BPB offers great acoustical panels and wall systems. BPB has four main categories of acoustical ceiling tiles, which are Serene, Celotone, Softone and Hytone. Each of them has different products, specific features and characteristics. To begin with, Serene has a clean and monolithic appearance, design flexibility, superior surface durability and excellent sound absorption, which best suits hospitals, retails, offices and restaurants. Next, Celotone has UL classified fire resistance, integral core colors and high durability, which fits hospitals, retails, offices and schools. Moreover, Softone is lightly textured with the appearance of fine fabric, has UL classified fire resistance and customized panel designs, which also applies to hospitals, retails, offices, healthcare centers and restaurants. Finally, Hytone has a variety of surface patterns and scoring options, has UL classified fire protection and impact resistant coating, which is suitable for theatres.

According to Pacific West Systems Supply Ltd., the price of ceiling tiles varies. It depends on the acoustical performance, light reflectance and fire protection. The approximate price is as follows:
1- The cheapest tiles (e.g. BET 197) cost $33.28 per box; each box contains 8 tiles; each tile is 2x4, that means a 2x4 cheap tile costs $4.16; and a 2x2 cheap tile costs $2.08.
2- The medium range tiles (e.g. BQCL 224) cost $59.52 per box; each box contains 8 tiles; each tile is 2x4, that means a 2x4 medium range tile costs $7.44; and a 2x2 medium range tile costs $3.72.
3- The most expensive tile (e.g. Gyptone) does not come in a 2x4; it only comes in a 2x2. The price of a 2x2 Gyptone is $9.72.
The minimum amount to order is one box.

Most tiles (standard colors) are stocked locally so availability is not a concern. However, if the tiles are out of stock locally, other warehouses will ship the products immediately, only if the contractor pays the shipping fees. If not, the products will be shipped on the next available shipping date. The longest, it would be approximately 6 weeks.

There are fabric finishes, wall trim finishes and metal finishes of acoustical ceiling. CGC offers a complete line of fabric finishes for re-locatable walls and interior ceiling. Color compatible finishes extend across all product lines, with fresh, new and traditional choices in paint and fabrics. Some fabric finishes (e.g. Hytex Whispertex and Hytex Rib) are recommended for educational environments. CGC also offers metal ceiling panels in four distinctive finishes: premium metal, polished meta, brushed metal and painted metal.

There are 10 popular standard colors. They are available for quick delivery (within one week) with no minimum order requirement.
There are also some other colors, which are available in small quantities. To order those ceiling tiles, customers should expect at least 3 weeks delivery and must order at least 1536 square feet.

1- Determine new ceiling height. All obstructions such as pipes should be cleared by 3. Keep the new ceiling level above frames and window openings.
2- Mark the ceiling height at several points on each wall and snap a chalk line. Check for level. Do not take measurements from the floor.
3- Align the bottom of the angle moulding with the chalk line and nail it to the walls.
4- Angle moulding should overlap on inside corners. For outside corners, 45 degrees miter cuts and butting are required or use corner caps.
5- Position main tee assemblies by locating room centerline and referring to your drawing.
6- Insert a nail with string attached under the wall angle at each main tee. Keep string taut and flush with bottom horizontal leg of wall moulding. Repeat procedure for first row of cross tees.
7- Insert top bulb section of main tee into the joist hanger strap. Bring the face of the main tee flush with the string line and nail the joist hanger strap to the joist, 2 or more 6 straps can be interlocked as required.
8- Follow procedure outlined in step 6. Drive screw eyes into joists at 4 intervals (maximum) along main tee string lines. Attach hanger wires to screw eyes leaving 6 length below string level. Bend wires 90 degrees at above the string level.
9- Initial main tees must be cut to length to that their cross tee slots line up with the cross tee string nearest the wall. Cut the tee sections at wall end.
10- Rest the trimmed end of main tee on wall angle moulding and insert hanger wire through nearest hole. Bend wire up. Check for level and then twist wire 3 or 4 times to secure. A hanger wire must be within first pilot hole, where main tee assemblies are joined. Hanger wires should be spaced no further than 4 apart.
11- Snap main tee sections together to form continuous run. Join tee sections end to end. Continue to check for level before twisting hanger wires. Repeat 8, 9 and 10 for each row of main tees.
12- Snap cross tees into main tees. Continue to check for level. Always insert cross tee into left hand side of slot for proper locking.

User Restrictions
Product should not be used where humidity is high (above %80), otherwise it will sag and deteriorate. Also, product should not be used where it can be handled (e.g. Wainscoting).

Warranties and Limitations
BPB offers 10 year limited warranty on selected products. CGC offers a lifetime (30-years) limited warranty on selected products. All CGC warranties cover the original owner of the building at the time of installation, expect where stated otherwise on specific product warranties. CGC will replace the goods or will refund or credit an amount equal to the original purchase price of the goods. Customers must pay the costs of removal and installation.

Tiles can be cleaned easily with a soft brush, vacuum or a damp sponge.

Research: Architecture
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