Regardless of the reason for which you are looking to purchase acoustic ceiling tiles, it is important to know which ones to buy, for there are many types, all of them having different effects on the sound in a room. Before looking into the different sound ratings which come into play when determining what effects your ceiling tiles are going to have, it should be noted that there are also other factors affecting how sound travels in a room, including the furnishings and the presence of a carpet. In any case, here’s a look at the three major sound ratings.
Sound Transmission Class
First off, there is the STC, the sound transmission class. This system is used to rate not only ceiling tiles, but also various types of building materials as to how good they are at blocking the sound from travelling through them. In most cases, materials with a high rating are used in walls and partitions in order to create sound-proof environments. The rating goes from 1 to 100, although it is possible for it to go higher, and needless to say, the higher the number the better a material is at blocking out sound. Just to give you a point of reference, a rating of 25 is generally considered terrible, and a rating of 60 is the minimum required for a material to be considered good at sound blocking.
Keep in mind that while this sound rating doesn’t tell you what happens to the sound once it has been blocked; that’s something the noise reduction coefficient is used to determine.
Noise Reduction Coefficient
The noise reduction coefficient goes from 0% to 100%, and it tells you how good your ceiling tiles are at absorbing sound once it hits them. Any sound that is not going to be absorbed will be reflected inside the room, with some of it possibly passing through the walls, depending on their sound transmission class rating. A rating of 0% indicates that a surface is going to reflect all of the sound that touches it, while a rating of 100% ensures that all the sound is going to be absorbed. All in all, this is one of the most important acoustic properties any kind of surface can have, regardless of whether we are talking about walls or ceiling tiles.
Ceiling Attenuation Class
Finally, there is the ceiling attenuation class, and it refers to a specific phenomenon that is particular to the ceiling. There are some constructions which actually allow sound to pass into the ceiling, over a wall, only to end up in the next room. The ceiling attenuation class is a rating used to determine how well the ceiling tiles are capable of blocking that specific passage of sound. It should be noted that many people erroneously believe that this rating refers to the amount of sound reflected from a ceiling tile.
And so, as you can see, while there are a couple of things to take into account when determining which acoustic ceiling tiles to purchase, the whole process is far from being complicated; it’s only a matter of determining what acoustic effects you want and then picking the right tile style to go along with the rest of your room.
What are Acoustic Ceiling Tiles?