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Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

by Dylan Johnson

As the name suggests, acoustic ceiling tiles have a purpose to improve the acoustics. Besides, they are basically designed to absorb the sound, reducing the noise in the room.

Acoustic tiles are also formed to improve the sound quality in a room. Most importantly, these tiles are frequently used in recording/sound studios as well as home theater.  

In this review, you will be navigated to the content which includes the best acoustic tile brand, the installation and benefits, types of acoustic ceiling tiles, how to measure noise reduction and control, top manufacturers, top acoustic tile brands, options and cost, pros and cons, installation and frequently asked questions.

Now let’s go to all of the detailed explanation of each sub-content below:

The Best Acoustic Tile Brands

To give you such a summarized overview of the best acoustic ceiling tiles, here is the table you can have a look quickly.

BrandMaterialSizesNRC RatingThicknessColorsPrice (Sq.ft)Overall rating
ArmstrongMineral fiber24×24 24×28.50 – .75¼ – ¾ “White$1 – $3.755
SonexMelamin Foam12×12 12×24 24×24 24×28.75 -1.21.22 – 2.25”White Black Colored-fabric$6 – $114
CeilumePolyester24×24.50- .85N/A5 colors 3 faux wood 3 metal$3.25 – $75
USGFiberboard24×24 24×280.55¾”White$.60 – $24
SoundsulateFiberglass24×24 24×48.70 – 1.01-2”White Black$2 – $44

These brands are reviewed in this reviews later on.

Installation and Benefits

Dealing with the installation, acoustic tiles for ceiling are good to install in drop/suspended ceiling grids. This way, the developed suspended ceiling is aimed to cheaply hide the wiring, plumbing or ductwork or to allow for easy maintenance.

Later, acoustic ceiling tiles are commonly used to add such acoustic control to the room of your home.

There are some additional benefits offered by this kind of ceiling tiles. Actually, a room that is controlled by acoustic will feel more comfortable for everyone there, making it easier and pleasant to enjoy having conversation, listen to the music and television as well as keep you from hearing the sounds outside the room.

Simply to understand, it makes the room quite since the occupant will not hear the noise outside.

Acoustic ceiling tiles are available in a wide range of materials including foam, fiberglass, wood, fabric wrapped and polyester.

The sizes are also various, ranging from 12” x 12” to 60” x 60” along with the thickness, finishes and colors options.

Read Also: Faux Tin Ceiling Tiles Reviews

Types of Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

There are a wide range of material of acoustic ceiling tiles you can check out here as follows:

  • Mineral Fiber Tiles

Mineral fiber tiles are designed with the high density of mineral fiber that is formed into the tiles through the high pressure binder.

In this material, the tiles are spongy and having small holes named fissures. This is aimed to enhance the acoustical and sound absorbing capabilities.

Mineral fiber tiles are available in smooth finishes along with the selections of textures and surface treatments.

These tiles are frequently constructed from the recyclable materials. Thus they offer a green factor.

  • Fiberglass Tiles

Fiberglass tiles are formed through pressing the materials into a tile with a binder. These tiles are commonly used on commercial settings especially for the interiors.

However, they are also good for areas with the high humidity due to the fact that they will not absorb the moisture. Further, they are resistant to mold. Overall, they are good for the damp areas such as basements.

  • Wood Tiles

Wood tiles come with two option, wood veneer and fiberboard. Wood veneer is installed on the hard backing panel using an acoustical pad adhered to the panel’s back.

The tiles might be perforated in order to increase an acoustical effectiveness. This way, the perforations will absorb and dampen any potential echo.

Fiberboard, which is the second option, is a cellulose product. It is made of wood pulp combined by glue. This combination is heated and formed into tiles later on, making it a good option for dry locations.

However, it is still recommended that you use something else in a damp areas because cellulose (wood fibers) basically absorb moisture. Thus, mold is the potential threat to it.

  • Foam Tiles

Foam tiles are the last type of acoustic tiles for ceiling. Generally, these tiles are made from melamine foam and applied to backer board that is rigid.

There are various patterns available along with the rich textures. Trust, they are just another good options for damp areas and climates.

How To Measure and Control Noise Reduction

NRC rating is used to rate these acoustic ceiling tiles. This way, NRC stands for Noise Reduction Coefficient. This is a standard measurement for how well a material absorbs sound.

NRC rating is used in percentage. For example, like you see on the table above, the rating is 0.75 so it means that the rating is 75% of the absorbed sound energy that is not reflected back into the room. As a result, the noise in the room where you install the tiles reduces.

This way, a product with 0.5 NRC rating will help improve the general acoustic of the room while another product with 0.70 NRC rating or above can greatly increase the sound absorption, meaning that the room can be much quieter.

Top Manufacturers of Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

There are some best manufacturers of acoustic ceiling tiles that are Armstrong, Sonex, Ceilume, USG and Soundsulate. These are also recognized as the best brands for acoustic tiles. Jump to the next session to check them all out.

Top Acoustic Tile Brands, Options and Cost

Here are the top acoustic tile brands’ explanation along with the options and cost information. So don’t miss any important part of them.

  • Armstrong

In the world of acoustic ceiling tiles for residential, Armstrong is one of the largest manufacturers that offers a variety of profiles. This way, all of the profiles are made from mineral fiber in which the primary differences lay on their surface texture and the edge treatments.

The surface textures come with the rage from smooth to fissured while the edge treatments have square lay-in edge and a beveled edge. The tiles from Armstrong are available only in white color but the can by painted using the latex paint.

The Ultima line comes with 0.75 NRC along with the features of HumiGuard, moisture protection and a 30 year warranty against mold and mildew as well as sag. Meanwhile, the Cortega line offers 0.55 NRC and a square lay-in edge along with the large fissures feature.

Armstrong tiles pricing range between $1.00 and $3.75 per square foot. The tiles come with the thickness 4/8” or ¾”. Further, they are Class A fire rated.

Based on the customer reviews, Armstrong tiles are excellent because of their easy installation fitting well into the standard drop ceiling grids, their appearance and well packaged. Armstrong tiles can be purchased at Amazon and at most of the big box of home improvement stores.

  • Sonex

Sonex comes with 5 profiles of melamine foam tiles. They are mostly sized at 12” x 12”, 12” x 24” and 24” x 24’ as well as 24” x 48”. All of these tiles can be easily installed using the standard ceiling grid system.

The thickness of the tiles ranges from 1.25” to 2.25” along with .75 to 1.2 NRC ratings. All of the tiles from Sonex are white but they can be well painted.

The Contour line offers beveled edges features. Additionally, this line is available in either 1 3/8” thick with 0.95 NRC rating or 2 ¼” thick with 1.20 NRC rating. The Clean profile is featuring foam tiles wrapped in vinyl taffeta. It is available in various colors.

The pricing is started at $6.00 but it can be higher up to $11.00, too. Note, all the profiles are easy to clean and Class A fire rated. They are also resistant to mild. Sonex tiles have very good customer reviews for their sturdiness, effectiveness and well-fitting.

If you are interested in Sonex acoustic tiles for your ceiling, you can search online at the company’s websites.

  • Ceilume

There are two profile options offered by Ceilume. Those are Stratford .05 and Stratford .85 which are all featuring stain, mold and moisture resistant. They are made of thin rigid polyester completed with the thermally bonded polyester fiber backing.

The tiles from Ceilume come with the beveled pattern creating the effect of a coffered ceiling. Both of the lines also have the same size which is 24” x 24”. In this option, there are 5 colors to choose from that are 3 faux wood options, a copper, a bronze and a tin look.

Stratford .50 has 0.50 NRC rating and costs around $3.25 per square foot while Stratford .85 has 0.85 NRC rating and costs around $6.95 per square foot.

Ceilume has exceptional customer reviews for the attractive look, easy installation and perfect fit into a standard drop ceiling grid. According to the customers, the tiles are very realistic-looking.

Now if you want to buy the tiles from Ceilume, you can get them online at Amazon, at the company’s website and at the most of the big box home improvement stores.

  • USG

The forth top brand of acoustic ceiling tiles you may want to consider is USG. USG has various profiles that is different from one to another depending on their different perforated surface textures.

The tiles are sold in the sizes of 24” x 24” and 24” x 48”. All of these profiles deliver a .55 NRC rating along with a Class A fire rating. Like many other profiles from the other brand, these tiles are white but you can paint them.

Luna profile of USG comes with a protection feature against humidity and mold while the other profiles do not. For pricing, they cost around $.60 and can be up to $2.0 per square foot. It is easy to find these tiles since they are sold at the big box stores.

The customer reviews are positive enough. But you need to look over the tiles before you purchase. USG tiles are typically available online both at Amazon and at the big box home improvement stores.

  • Soundsulate

The last brand of acoustic ties for ceiling is Soundsulate. There is only one line of fiberglass offered by this brand. The tiles from this brand are usually available in 24” x 24” and 24” x 48” sizes and 1” to 2” thickness.

The tiles with 1” thickness deliver 0.7 NRC rating and cost around $2.00 per square foot while the tiles with 2” thickness come with 1.0 NRC and cost around $4.00 per square foot. They are all available in black and white along with Class A fire rated.

Soundsulate receives very positive reviews due to the easy installation and effectiveness. If you are interested in purchasing tiles from this brand, you can find them at Amazon.

Pros and Cons of Acoustic Ceiling Tiles

There are five pros of acoustic ceiling tiles that make people keep using them.

First, the tiles improve the overall room acoustic characteristics.

Second, the tiles are able to block the noise from anything that enter and exit the room.

Third, there is an additional insulation to the room provided by the tiles.

Later, the tiles are able to cover an exposed under floor. Last, they are just easy to replace.

The biggest downsides of acoustic tiles for ceiling include the need to install a drop ceiling grid. Next, it is hard to paint the tiles since you must remove the tiles for painting.

Further, the tiles can be sag or moldy if you don’t add any moisture and mold protection. Last, you need to know that the drop ceiling will reduce the room height.

Installation Method

As we have mentioned, installing acoustic tiles for ceiling is fairly easy as long as you have already an existing drop ceiling grid. It can even be your DIY project.

This way, you need only to remove the old tiles, clean and repaint them, trim and place them back into the grid.

However, if you don’t have an existing ceiling grid yet, you need to install one, at least. This way, hiring a professional is recommended if you are not skillful enough.

Read Also: Styrofoam Ceiling Tiles Reviews

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I maintain the cleanliness of my acoustic ceiling tiles?

Use a soft brush to regularly dust the ceiling. You can also wipe it using a damp cloth or sponge.

Can I paint my acoustic ceiling tiles?

Of course, you can. Most of acoustic ceiling tiles are white colored. Most homeowners paint them. Just remove the tiles from the grid and paint them. After that, you can place them back. This way, different tiles materials may require different type of paint, too. So it is recommended that you check with the manufacturer first.

Can I replace the damaged tiles?

Yes, it is pretty easy to replace the damaged tiles. You can just remove the old or damaged tiles by lifting it up and dropping it down through the grid. Later, replace with the new tiles. Make sure you glue and fasten the new tile.