Does a suspended ceiling reduce noise?

Does a suspended ceiling reduce noise?

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A suspended ceiling can reduce noise in your office and the floor above. The design of a false ceiling makes them pretty resistant to sound transmission, and the addition of some specialised materials can make them even better at reducing noise and acting as a soundproofing ceiling solution.

Without a doubt, one of the biggest benefits apart from the aesthetics of a suspended ceiling is the soundproofing capabilities it offers. Soundproofing is all about reducing vibrations from one area to another and the fact that the false ceiling is suspended lower than the actual ceiling beams or rafters means that sound doesn’t have a direct path to travel from the ceiling to the floor above and visa versa.

On top of this, the false ceiling adds an extra layer of material to the ceiling and the type of material used to construct the false ceiling is usually thicker than a standard drywall ceiling, thus providing further soundproofing to your office or room.

Adding mass and insulating your suspended ceiling will help to soundproof

Adding mass to the ceiling tiles to prevent vibrations will also improve soundproofing and some manufacturers offer sound-reducing products, either specially designed dense tiles or dense plates that sit on top of ceiling tiles, that increase the mass of the ceiling making it especially resistant to vibration.

There is also the option to fill the void between the two ceilings with soundproofing material such as insulation to prevent the ceiling material from vibrating to the space above.

Just so you know, insulation won't offer as much of a soundproofing effect as adding mass so it’s worth getting some advice when trying to decide upon the right material for your suspended ceiling project.

When choosing the right material for your suspended ceiling, if sound reduction plays the main factor in your decision-making then make sure the material you choose has appropriate acoustical ratings to deliver the soundproofing capabilities you need.

Acoustical Ratings for Ceilings

There are two different ratings to measure the soundproofing capabilities of ceiling tile materials, the first being NRC “Noise Reduction Coefficient” which ranges from 0 to 1.0 and the other acoustic rating is the Ceiling Attenuation Class.

What does the Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) rating measure?

The NRC rating indicates how much sound the material absorbs. A noise reduction coefficient of 0 means that the material reflects all of the sounds that hit it back into the room (meaning it has poor sound absorption capabilities), whereas an NRC of 1.0 means that the material absorbs all of the sounds that hit it.

What does the Ceiling Attenuation Class rating measure?

The Ceiling Attenuation Class measures how well the ceiling tile or material prevents the transmission of sound through it. This measurement is more important if you are concerned about the sound passing through the ceiling to the office or room above.

As a general rule, a tile with a CAC greater than 35 is considered to have good sound-blocking capabilities, and among ceiling tile materials, mineral fibre tiles tend to have higher CAC ratings.

So to recap, all suspended ceilings will reduce sound, but some materials and configurations will do a much better job in keeping noise from entering or leaving your office so it’s important to keep this in mind when choosing the suspended ceiling design and material for your commercial project.

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Read our latest article on the best material to use for your suspended ceiling project

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