One form of acoustic treatment is the installation of acoustical ceiling tiles. Installation of acoustical ceiling tiles completes the soundproofing goals for your home.

Consider your home like your ears. You want to get rid of all kinds of noise. It is like wearing a headset to isolate the sound you want to hear.

Acoustical ceiling tiles for soundproofing

The good thing is that you have many options in reducing noise transmission if not getting rid of it. And the way to treat this kind of problem is to find the source of the noise.

Our articles often discuss all kinds of acoustical treatment, including soundproofing pads, acoustic foam panels, soundproof curtains and blankets, bass traps, and many more.

This time we will talk about acoustic ceiling tiles for soundproofing.

Learn how these soundproofing materials are affordable but super effective against noise problems.

Are Acoustic Ceiling Tiles Good For Soundproofing?

If you have neighbors whose habit is shouting and having arguments every night or someone who keeps his music loud no matter what time of the day, install acoustic tiles along with acoustic blankets, soundproof curtains, and bass traps to muffle their sound.

Sometimes you just can’t get enough of the various noises around you. You have installed soundproofing materials on doors, windows, floors, and walls, but to no avail.

And you have exhausted your means and been relentless to solve the problem, but you can’t.

Why?

Because you are not looking at the source of your noise problem.

Acoustic ceiling tiles will only be effective for soundproofing when you know where to install them.

Do Acoustic Ceiling Tiles Absorb Sound?

Just like other sound dampening panels, acoustic ceiling tiles are fitting tools for soundproofing treatment.

The way they absorb sound is the exact science of controlling and improving sound energy within the room by insulating sound waves and eliminating the vibration effect.

However, the materials in every type of sound dampening drop ceiling have a varying performance to fare.

We rate them by different classifications and then understand how much sound they can absorb or reduce.

Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC)

When you plan to aim for a quieter room, an NRC rating is vital in every decision when it comes to choosing ceiling acoustic panels.

NRC is a rating standard for how much a particular soundproofing product can absorb sound. The implication of “noise reduction” tells it all.

NRC-RATING

NRC rates how a product composition dictates the amount of sound it can reduce and reflect. The higher the rating, the better sound absorption capability. However, the coefficient is calculated based on the thickness and density of the material produced.

A rating of NRC 1 is the highest absorption rate of any given acoustic material.

So if your soundproofing panel has a 0.90, it absorbs sound at the rate of 90% while the remaining 10% is a “reflected” sound.

Acoustic products with NRC rating effectivity have been lab-tested to determine the average absorption capacity they contain based on the following:

  • Size of a room
  • Amount of sound produced in that room

Sound Transmission Class (STC)

Going back to sound waves 101, STC is another valid sound rating when it comes to isolating sound. Understanding the NRC rating will give you a better grasp of the concept behind STC.

STC is almost the opposite of NRC.

If NRC rates the absorption level, STC rates the transmission level. Also, STC ranks the sound isolation of a building wall assembly—ceiling and floor partitions, windows, and inner wall partitions.

An acoustic assembly with a high STC rating means it is effective in reducing the level of noise penetration.

To illustrate, a hollow-core door without any insulation added has an STC rating of 30. This means a typical conversation from another room can be heard but not audible.

This can be compared to having soundproofing implements within that wall with a rating of STC 50 means that even loud music can hardly be heard.

Ceiling Attenuation Class (CAC)

Though STC and NRC ratings are significant factors in choosing acoustic soundproof tiles, CAC will complete the cast.

Being the last on the list, CAC should be the priority factor when looking for effective sound-absorbing suspended ceiling panels. It specifically rates a ceiling system serving as a barrier against airborne sound transmission.

Home Theater Soundproofing Curtains -Does it works?

What we know of airborne sound is that it travels between spaces invents. Soundproof ceiling tiles with a high CAC rating perform well in keeping closed spaces quiet.

To better understand the application of CAC rating is by knowing the two different types of noise.

  1. Impact noise. This is the type of noise that needs an object to be heard. Footsteps on the floor above can be heard on the ceiling below or in the basement. The ceiling serves as the barrier between the two floors. And the vibrations from the foot stumps pass through the floor/ceiling barrier.
  2. Airborne noise. Much harder to control because this type of noise travels through the air. It can pass through joints, vents, and beams of ceilings. This means that any noise from above can still travel below. Soundproof ceiling tiles with a high CAC rating reduce airborne noise.

PRO TIP: A quality soundproof ceiling tile should have high STC, NRC, and CAC ratings.

What to Look for When Buying Acoustic Ceiling Panels

  1. Sound Ratings. Sound ratings should be the top priority when buying sound dampening tiles for your ceiling. The ratings alone can speak for the quality of the product.

If anyone of the three—STC, NRC, or CAC—is missing, it is better to look for a soundproofing ceiling assembly that performs better and with these three markings.

  1. Installation. No one likes hassles and inconvenience. When you buy a specific product, especially for something that needs installation, you will be betting for the product that is hassle-free and quick to install unless you are hiring a professional to install the product for you.
  2. Coverage. The size of your space that needs ceiling acoustic panels is considerable because it will affect your budget to a great extent. It will be a win-win solution when you find a product that can cover a wide range of space at a low cost and performs according to its purpose.
  3. Pricing. Sometimes, tag price can speak for quality. But this doesn’t always mean that expensive is quality and cheap is poor quality. You have to weigh the scales.

Get a soundproofing ceiling panel that is a bit pricey, but you are confident it possesses all the good qualities you are looking for.

Best Sound-absorbing, proofing, and deadening Materials in 2021

We bet for the product with a fair price but high sound classification ratings. The size and installation perhaps can be put last on the list of buying considerations.


Best Acoustic Ceiling Tiles for Soundproofing


If you live in two-story or multiple-story homes and are on the lower level, the ceiling should be the top of the list of considerations for your soundproofing.

The ceiling is a receiver of noise from all sources.

The ceiling, like the floor, is one of the most expansive surfaces in the house that need soundproofing materials.

Soundproofing on walls, doors, and windows will offset the noise that the ceiling receives, but it will still make a difference if you install acoustic pads intended for the ceiling alone

Here, we will provide five product reviews for your buying reference.

1. Acoustical Ceiling Tile

The Ceilume brand acoustical ceiling tile is thick rigid vinyl, has excellent coverage, and is lightweight! The 14 individual soundproofing tiles can cover ceilings up to 56 square feet, leaving your area sound-free from the noise coming from the upper floor.

Ceilume-14-pc

More features and benefits:

  • Not designed for gluing, which makes installation highly manageable
  • Includes all sound classification ratings: STC, 10; NRC, 0.25; CAC, 14
  • Fire and safety compliant, making your home safe and secure from fire-related emergencies
  • Stain-free and waterproof
  • The square shape makes the tiles easy to cut for customization

2. BUBOS 12“x12” inch Premium Acoustical wall panel

Bubos acoustic panels are unique on their own for being the most stylish decorative sound-absorbing panel. Widely applicable in various acoustic rooms; concert hall, recording studio, vocal booth, home theater, classroom and conference room, and many more!

BUBOS-Acoustic

More features and benefits:

  • Made of eco-friendly material suitable for children and the environment
  • Five-star flame retardant
  • Reduce noise and enhance sound quality
  • Superior sound performance with the beveled edge
  • Improve home interior’s design with their modern designs, which enhances your creative outlook and artistic sensitivity by getting away from the monochromatic colors of traditional acoustic foam panels
  • The adhesive is not included, but adhesives like double-sided tape, velcro, spray adhesive, or screws can do the job.

PRO TIP: Acoustic panels are not sound blockers. Instead, they modify the sound in such a way they reduce the reverb and echo effect. Echos travel through hard surfaces while reverberations through corners.


3. 48 Pack 12″X 12″X1″ Acoustic Panels Studio Soundproofing Foam Wedge Tiles

Not very dense and has minimal dampening, but it will do the trick in reducing the reverb and echo effect in a room. This product is typical for studio and recording booths’ purposes as they are best applied on rigid walls or drywall ceilings.

48-Pack

More features and benefits:

  • Remove auditory unpleasantries like echos or natural room noises, mainly when you record
  • Enhance the sound quality of acoustic instruments
  • Best in homes with many working appliances simultaneously (e.g., generator, aircon, washer, TV, etc.)
  • Wedged soundproofing foam tile is excellent for music-related activities

4. Acoustimac DMD Stagger Acoustic Panel

The Acoustimac DMD Stagger Acoustic Panel has a staggering NRC rating of 0.95! It is a slight margin that will make this acoustic tile product reduce the sound by 100%.

Acoustimac-DMD

More features and benefits:

  • Excellent acoustic treatment tool against reverberation and echo
  • Loaded with high-performance 4lb Rockwool insulation
  • All panels have a wooden backing, and the front and sides are wrapped
  • It comes in two colors for optional alternating tile design
  • Includes easy to install mounting hardware for all of them
  • Class A fire-rated, safe to use at any room temperature.
  • Best to hang on walls with their elongated design and backed the room up with acoustic curtains

5. DEKIRU Acoustic Foam Panels

With an NRC rating of 0.92, the DEKIRU acoustic foam panels are excellent in removing unwanted noise but retain the quality sound of the source.

DEKIRU-New

More features and benefits:

  • Comes in multi-color options. You can play with different colors for your artistic feel, whatever you want for your wall or ceiling design.
  • It is made of polyester fiber, high-density material for maximum absorption.
  • The texture is hazard-free, safe for family and the environment.
  • 215kg/m3 Density. Made of 100% Polyester Fiber, flame Retardant, it is both safe to breathe in and touch, making it great for any location in the home or studio. It’s safe for adults, kids, and pets!
  • Acoustic quality enhancer as these foam panels are recommended for audio and recording rooms.
  • Odorless and safe for kids

How to Install Your Ceiling Tiles

Installation of ceiling soundproofing tiles is not a challenge and doesn’t require a professional at most times. However, consider the addition of ceiling grid sizes to match with the tiles.

Check the following:

  • Most of the acoustic foam panels are sold with adhesive tapes or velcro strips included and installation instructions. If not, you need to purchase them separately.
  • It is rare for these ceiling tiles to use screws as appendages, but the sturdier installation must prevent them from falling. Anything placed on the ceiling is more vulnerable to gravity so you need a strong adhesive to keep the acoustic tiles in place.
  • It is recommended to use high-grade adhesive tapes to install these facade drop ceiling tiles to lock them effectively against the ceiling.
  • A double-sided sticky tape is OK if you wish to take away the tiles and move them to another location. This ensures that disabling doesn’t damage the tiles.

How Do you Maintain and Clean Your Acoustical Tiles?

Acoustical ceiling panels are different from plain ceilings that serve only as a visual barrier, so the maintenance and cleaning of these components vary from the manufacturer’s guidance.

Acoustical ceilings get stains harder to remove than regular ceilings made of painted plyboard.

They are also vulnerable to moisture, molds, and mildew with the type of material they are built.

Generally, you can do the following tips applicable to the type of material of your acoustic ceiling tile.

  • Establish a regular schedule depending on where the acoustic tiles are located. Those not exposed to humidity and heat are easier to clean and should be cleaned often.
  • Use a lint-free cloth to let loose the dust on the tile surface.
  • Use a vacuum cleaner to collect dust. Do not soak or apply wet, especially if the tile is made of polyester fiber.
  • Follow the specific cleaning directions if provided by the manufacturer.
  • Don’t paint over stains as this will void the warranty of the product and will make it flammable due to the paint’s component.
  • Get professional assistance on cleaning if you have no idea how to clean acoustic ceiling tiles.

The life expectancy of acoustic ceiling tiles is up to 10 years. They are prone to warp and will lose their appeal and functionality. That’s why regular maintenance is essential to preserve their quality.

Can acoustic tiles solve impact noise?

Acoustic tiles both work on impact and airborne noise. What they do with impact noise is to mitigate the vibrating and echoing effect but not block it completely.

Which acoustic panels absorb the most noise?

The one with the most credible STC, NRC, and CAC ratings. Suppose an acoustic panel has a high rating on all of these classifications. In that case, it means they are high-grade acoustic materials recommended for soundproofing solutions and have undergone laboratory and field tests.

What is the approximate cost of soundproofing a 150 sqft room located on the first floor?

If the average cost per square foot for acoustic panels is $12, multiply that by 150, it will cost you $1800. However, this isn’t always the correct estimation because you have to consider the material type, design, thickness, dimension, and star ratings of a particular product has.

PRO TIP: Neighbors shouting from the next room or floor can still be heard even with an acoustic tile ceiling installed. However, the sound is muffled, and the conversation is hardly audible and clear.

Conclusion

When buying acoustic ceiling panels, look for NRC, STC, and CAC ratings because acoustic assessors have attested the integrity of these products before they become available to the market.

CAC rate is the most critical rating for acoustical ceilings since these soundproof ceilings are put there to serve as a sound barrier from airborne noise coming from the adjacent floor or room.

Acoustic ceiling tiles do not have to be integrated hollow walls, similar to adding mass-loaded vinyl to drywall. They can be suspended below the drywall ceiling but leave an ample amount of distance or headroom.

Don’t settle for cheap products. As long as the acoustic panels get the job done and make your home a happy place where peace is restored, that’s priceless.

If you have neighbors whose habit is shouting and having arguments every night or someone who keeps his music loud no matter what time of the day, install acoustic tiles along with acoustic blankets, soundproof curtains, and bass traps to muffle their sound.

Keep your home safe and quiet, get restful sleep, or do your job with full enjoyment any time of the day.

Robert Castelao

Robert is an electronic engineer with more than five years of experience with a solid affinity for helping people reduce noise. He writes about these silent home appliances and easy soundproofing measures to help everyone avoid the negative effect of extended exposure to high noise levels.

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