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Ceiling Tiles – Do You Know the Different Types?

March 12, 2014


Contrary to popular belief, ceilings don’t just come in one shape and size, popcorn or otherwise. Effective building design requires balancing multiple objectives: aesthetics, acoustics, environmental factors, and integration with the building’s infrastructure—not to mention cost of construction as well as long-term operation costs. So how do you know which type of ceiling tiles are right for you?

Suspended / Dropped Ceiling Tiles

With a somewhat interchangeable name, dropped, grid or suspended ceiling tiles are popular because they provide an attractive, finished look that hides wires, pipes, and other unsightly fixtures. The name comes from the fact that it is actually a second ceiling hung below the main building structure. Years ago, dropped ceilings were only available in basic white designs, but nowadays, there are a plethora of shapes, patterns and textures, including our very own tin ceiling tiles to choose from. A typical dropped ceiling consists of a grid of metal channels in the shape of an upside-down T suspended by wires. These channels snap together in a regularly spaced pattern of cells. One disadvantage with dropped ceiling tiles is that a certain amount of clearance is required between the grid and any pipes or ductwork, which may reduce headroom, but using a metallic material like tin can open that space back up again and make it feel bigger than it is.

Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

If you’re designing a banquet hall or space where auditory quality and sound absorption is important, acoustic ceiling tiles provide a way to soundproof a room without the hassle of installing drywall. Available in a wide range of styles and textures, each acoustic ceiling tile is marked with a noise-reduction coefficiency rating. It is recommended that you chose one with at least 80 percent, meaning they absorb 80 percent of the sound. Another industry measurement is the ceiling attenuation class. This indicates how little sound the tiles allow to pass through them. Better-quality tiles should be in the 40 to 44 range.

Good news!

American Tin Ceilings Company is in the process of developing a new type of tin tile that has better acoustic properties. While our current customers often comment that they’re surprised by how good the sound quality is with our current tin panels, we want to make them even better. An upgraded version of our standard tin tiles will be available soon in the same great colors and designs. The new acoustic tin tiles will be outfitted with tiny holes to maximize the quality of sound in the space, while blocking out unwanted noise from the outside.

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