08/08/2001

Over Head and On the Brain

What to look for in your facility’s next ceiling system

Contributors: James Earl  
 

Balancing Acoustics


Improve acoustics in noisy areas with higher noise reduction coefficient (NRC) and ceiling attenuation class (CAC) ratings. According to ceiling system manufacturer, USG Corp., Chicago, a minimum NRC rating of 0.55 is important, with ratings of 0.80 to 0.90 NRC and 35 to 39 CAC for open-plan office environments optimal. NRC measures a ceiling panel's ability to reduce sound reverberation within a space. CAC is a measurement that indicates the transference of sound through a panel into an adjoining area.

Consider how the surfaces in a space will impact acoustics. According to Rosa Lee, marketing manager, architect and owner segments, USG Corp., "In a conference room where you're using a lot of hard surfaces - glass walls, metal top tables, wood floors - you'll want a higher noise reduction."

Stained. Sagging. Nicked. Look up - is this what you see?
Establishing the right ceiling system for a retrofit or new construction project may seem difficult. With so much to choose from and consider - design, properties, performance attributes, etc. - you may feel a migraine coming on. Hopefully, the following tips will ease your brain strain.

Retrofit
Acoustical ceiling panels have been progressively shrinking in size - from the 2-foot by 4-foot panels favored previously to the 2-foot by 2-foot panels currently preferred. When retrofitting a ceiling to accommodate this smaller dimension, the suspension system can be outfitted with cross tees that allow for the look of contemporary 2-foot by 2-foot layouts. "Survey the grid," warns Rosa Lee, marketing manager, architect and owner segments at Chicago-based USG Corp. Make sure that the existing suspension system is in good shape before modifying and adding new panels.


If the suspension system requires replacement and the layout of the space is unchanged, existing hanger wire locations can often be reused, cutting installation time.

Warranties
"You should expect at least 10 years out of your system," says John Mandel, manager of corporate communications at USG Corp. However, some manufacturers offer lifetime warranties.


Be sure to read the fine print. When only one component of a system is purchased (i.e. panels), the length of the warranty often diminishes. Installing new ceiling panels in an existing grid during retrofit could limit the duration of time the panels are covered under warranty.

Maintenance
With so much above the ceiling (sound masking, HVAC plenum, and wire/cable), the removal of ceiling panels for accessibility purposes is inevitable - and frequent. "Most ceiling tiles have direction," Lee says, and can easily be replaced incorrectly. To lessen the chance of this, companies like USG are offering non-directional products that simplify replacement and installation. Investigate whether non-directional panels are right for your application.


In areas where durability is a priority, cast panels are recommended. With a more impact-resistant surface and integral color throughout, they can sustain more abuse. However, because panels will suffer from nicks and smudges during removal and replacement, replacing panels may be necessary occasionally to keep the ceiling in "like-new" condition. Check with the manufacturer to see how long the product you are purchasing will be available.

Performance
If indirect lighting is a source of illumination in your facility, the ability of a ceiling panel to reflect that light down, evenly dispersing it over a workstation, should be a primary consideration during ceiling system selection. Higher light reflectance (LR) values can minimize the number of lighting fixtures needed, which will also reduce the number of lamps that require changing - saving both time and money. An LR rating of 0.85 or higher is recommended.


Moisture over time can cause ceiling panels to sag in the middle, creating a pillow-effect. If you live in an area of the country that experiences high humidity or are installing a ceiling system in a moisture-prone area, choose products with this in mind. Many manufacturers incorporate sag-resistant formulas into their products.

Jana J. Madsen (jana-madsen@buildings.com) is senior associate editor at Buildings.

 


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Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

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Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

Replace core drilling with Connectrac In-Carpet and On-Floor Wireways, the proven connectivity solution in open interior spaces of all kinds. These elegant low-profile wireways are great for AV / telecom connectivity wherever it’s needed.

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.


Visit our website today to learn about the design flexibility of a Morton building and the endless possibilities of partnering with our designBUILD team.


Wood construction is both cost and energy efficient. Check out Morton Buildings and our designBUILD team online today to discover all the benefits of post-frame construction.


When choosing a metal-clad building for your next construction project, consider Morton Buildings, Inc., and their designBUILD team, we’ll make your dream a reality.

We Can Help You Reduce Energy by 30%

Our mission is to help our customers manage their buildings' energy costs, improve reliability, and enhance performance while having a positive impact on the environment.
CLICK HERE to find out how.

 

Add highly responsive multi-zone comfort to any building project, in any climate. Our CITY MULTI H2i R2- and Y-Series VRF systems give you flexibility to fit the needs of any building. Enjoy 100% heating capacity at 0°F outdoor ambient, and 85% heating capacity at -13°F outdoor ambient.  For more information, log on to www.mitsubishipro.com

 


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.


Tennant Company is a recognized leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. With thousands of satisfied customers already using award winning ec-H2O technology, why not see what you're missing? Test ec-H2O on your soils in your facility. Get a free demo.

 

Replace core drilling with Connectrac In-Carpet and On-Floor Wireways, the proven connectivity solution in open interior spaces of all kinds. These elegant low-profile wireways are great for AV / telecom connectivity wherever it’s needed.

Bluebeam® Revu® simplifies digital facilities document management from design review to leveraging as-builts, maintenance manuals and O&Ms submittals.


 
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