Your 101 Guide on How to Hang Acoustic Panels in Large Spaces
Acoustic panels are an excellent way to balance acoustics and improve the sound quality of large spaces. They can be used as a ceiling acoustic treatment to reduce aural imperfections like reverberation and resonance and increase speech intelligibility. They can also be used as an aesthetic solution that can also amp up your interior decorating scheme.
But to truly maximize their potential, you need to know the finer aspects of how to hang acoustic panels. With the right tips, you can fine-tune the acoustics in your space faster than the speed of sound. Keep reading for everything you need to know.
Preliminary Step: What To Consider Before Purchasing Acoustic Panels
The first thing to consider when selecting an acoustic treatment for your space is where and how the product will be installed. Although many panels are quite versatile and can be used on either the walls or the ceiling, there may be hardware or wall panel attributes that come into play that limit what you can put in different locations in the room. Ceiling type, lighting, fire suppression sprinkler systems, available wall space, and other similar factors are just a few examples.
The next consideration should be the aesthetic you want or need for the space. Some products can be custom-made for size, shape, and color. Others have very limited options for sizes and colors.
Finally, the use of your space, the way you want the room to sound when you’re done, and the type of sound you want to absorb should all be considered. Are you going for a room that sounds a particular way, or are you just looking to take the edge off the echo and make the room more comfortable? Are you cranking up dance music in the space, or is the sound in the room simply a number of people talking? All these factors are important to ensure you get the right acoustic panel for your room.
We can answer the question “How many panels do I need for my room?” at another time.
Choosing and Hanging Acoustic Panels
Once you’ve researched the different types of acoustic panels available and narrowed down the many options to a handful that interest you, we suggest you request small samples of your frontrunners from the provider. With samples in hand, you’ll have a better insight into which styles will get the job done. Of course, working with an acoustics expert is always a good idea to improve your room’s sound quality.
Wall or ceiling panels with adhesives
Different types of sound dampening panels have different processes for installation. Some panels are installed onto the walls or the ceiling with two different adhesives used together. For these types of panels, a spray adhesive is used for a quick but temporary bond, and a construction adhesive is also used for long-term adhesion. If only the spray is used, some panels will start to delaminate over a few weeks or months. Construction adhesives are not always sticky right away and often take a while to set up, so if a spray adhesive is not used, they may fall right away.
Wall or ceiling panels with hardware
Some types of acoustical panels utilize different hardware or mounting systems to attach to the structure. You can install acoustic wall panels made out of compressed fiberglass (wrapped with fabric) with an impaling clip, and a small metal spike plate used to hold the weight of the panel while a construction adhesive dries. The impaling clip is screwed or glued to the wall surface with the spikes pointing out, and the wall panel is pressed onto the spikes.
There are also two-part clip systems where one of the clips is attached to the wall and the other to the acoustic wall panel, which are great for a wall application but not really a good choice for a ceiling. There are also other systems that work by screwing an insert into the back of the panel and installing a corresponding “plug” on the ceiling or wall that locks into place while pushed together.
A few sound dampening panels are installed by screwing straight through the face of the panel and into the structure. The fasteners for these types are visible, but the degree to which one will see them will vary based on the sound panels and the hardware used. These types of installations, as well as some of the hardware options mentioned above, allow for easy panel removal if needed.
Ceiling panels with hardware
Stick pins are often used for overhead applications. A stick pin is a thin, perforated piece of flat metal with a spike (much like a nail) coming out of the plate. The plate is screwed or glued to the ceiling in specific locations, and the panel is pushed onto the nail – so that the sharp point of the nail sticks all the way through the acoustic ceiling panel. A retention washer is then pushed onto the nail, and the extra nail length is snipped off. There are also decorative caps that can be added if needed.
Wood Framed Panels
Some acoustical panels use a soft core that is not rigid enough to wrap directly with fabric, so many people choose to build wooden frames for their panels––much like stretchers for canvas paintings. Because the most common acoustical core for these types of sound panels is not rigid, many people back the acoustic wall panel with a thin piece of wood and adhere the panels to the backer.
These types of panels can be hung like a picture for a wall application or toe nailed or screwed through the frame directly to the structure for either a ceiling or a wall surface.
Ceiling baffles or clouds
Hanging acoustic baffles or ceiling clouds in a space can be an extreme way to introduce a lot of sound absorption into the room and are great for large rooms with high ceilings. As long as the panels will not interrupt the fire suppression sprinkler system, lighting or impact the HVAC system, baffles and clouds are hung from various types of wires hanging down from the ceiling. The installation contractor will select the right type of eye screw for the ceiling and the type and thickness of the wire based on the weight and size of the baffle or cloud.
Most acoustic baffles will have factory-installed grommets for the other side of the wire. Hanging clouds will also usually come with a fastener or point of attachment from the supplier. There are also fasteners for baffles or clouds that allow for VERY easy leveling of the product making a clean, level and consistent height installation quite easy.
Acoustical Surfaces, Your Audio Design Specialists
From questions about installing all types of acoustic panels to how to soundproof a ceiling in ways that best serve your audio needs, turn to Acoustical Surfaces. Our team of soundproofing design experts is available to answer all of your questions.
Acoustical Surfaces is taking the guesswork out of engineering perfect acoustics in any space. Whether you’re considering adding fixtures like soundproof windows or a soundproof door to your space, connect with our experts today to learn what’s best soundproofing materials and acoustic panel mounting hardware for your project.
- Materials, Inc. The Benefits Of Acoustic Panels. https://www.materials-inc.com/the-benefits-of-acoustic-panels/
- Weekend Builds. Hanging Acoustic Panels On Walls and Ceiling. https://weekendbuilds.com/hanging-acoustic-panels/