Simple question regarding Ceiling tiles and sound?
I am not sure where I want to reflect or absorb sound, but what I am trying
to do is, not let the noise from the room above our ceiling get in the our
I don't care as much about sound leaving my room (we are generally quite).
I have the soft light tiles installed in my room right now, would replacing
with the heavy hard type improve my situation?
"andrewpreece" wrote in message
"lbbs" wrote in message
It's a question that I posted on many news groups, but no one
is willing to answer my actual question. It is a simple question.
are two different ceiling tiles to choose from. One is light, flexible
and made fiber glass insulation. The other choice is a heavy tile,
hard (made out of asbestos or dry wall type of material, not sure
Which is better for sound insulation? Simple question right!!
I have asked a slew hard ware store to ask this very question and every
one a ask says the exact opposite. I have always heard that you need
mass and air space to have good sound insulation. My thinking is that
yes, hard objects carry sound, but since this ceiling is free floating
supported only by wire, the sound will not travel through the hard tile.
Those that make sense.
I was just wondering if I replace my flexible 48" x 24" ceiling tiles
the hard type (much heavier) will I notice the difference in sound
I call all kinds of hardware stores to see which of the two is better
sound. The opinions are split 50/50 between flexible and hard type.
personally think the hard type are better, I wonder if replacing them
this type will actually make a noticeable difference to be worth
I don't think the answer is as simple as the question. Let's take it from
Sound can either be transmitted, reflected or absorbed. You want to
the transmitted sound, so you need to reflect or absorb it.
To reflect sound you need to create mismatches in the compliance of the
that the sound travels through ( in electronics, analogous to an impedance
The way to do this is to put dense materials ( or more correctly, massy )
of the sound, as if the noise comes via the air then that has a low
so the mismatch
is high, and the reflectance is also therefore high.
Absorption needs an energy loss mechanism; the sound wave needs to lose
heat whilst passing through a medium, for it to be absorbed. Such a
be rockwool, sand, or some kind of non-resilient material.
The best combination would be a material that is massive and energy
There are complications, low frequency sound will be difficult to defeat,
leaking noise must be sealed, there should be no ( or few ) ways for the
travel through the supports of the sound insulation ( and thus bypass the
and suffer only a small mismatch and thus not be reflected ). Also, any
sound that is
reflected will only try and return if it is not absorbed by something
Your hard tiles have mass but probably no absorption; the sound will be
reflected by them but bounce back up to the ceiling ( slightly attenuated
as some will transmit back up through the ceiling ) then bounce back for a
go at getting through your tiles.
The flexible tiles have less mass than the hard ( so reflect sound
less ) but may
absorb any transmitted sound better. I say may, as we have no info on the
material characteristics vis a vis absorption. So your question is
impossible to answer
on the data given. What I have written here, I hope will allow you to
problem in a more scientific manner, and hopefully you can ask for more
If you go wih the hard tiles, which are massive, you at least can be sure
reflectance will exceed that of the lighter flexible tiles. You might then
some absorbtion material in the airgap. Sand is no good with the suspended
ceiling you have, rockwool might work ( I have no idea of its absorption
it is suggested quite a lot though ). Othe things that might work would be
equivalent of RAM ( Radar Absorbtion Material ) tiles used in radio. These
carbon-loaded and have an exaggerated stalactite type appearance to them.
carbon absorbs the radio waves, and the spiky profile ensures multiple
( and hence opportunity for absorption ) when it is struck by a radio
Sound waves behave similarly and although carbon loaded foam won't work
sound, something that is non-resilient ( i.e. does not instantly spring
position when disturbed ) will. The stalactite/eggbox/dimpled patern will
also work for
sound waves. IIRC, you could also buy sheets of material with lots of
in it, I think it was filled with rockwool; hey used it in 'phone booths,
that is an
absorption type material.
So, high mass tiles for reflectance, then load the airgap with rockwool or
kind of absorption tile or material on the ceiling on the other side of
preferably with the eggbox profile if they do it, and you have the
of both worlds. Seal all airgaps, between the tiles and at thje edges.
suspension wires don't transmit sound along their length, so bypassing the
absorption material, and don't expect too much anyway.
Hope this leaves you less confused, rather than vice versa,