Helping You Choose the Right Acoustic Panels for Your Project
With so many types of material now on the market, choosing the right acoustic products to improve your sound environment can be a minefield.
Whether your focus is aesthetics, functionality or budget, you will find some useful information here in this acoustic panels guide. From decorative acoustic wall panels that serve as feature pieces, to discreet sound absorbing solutions tucked out of sight, the products displayed are manufactured from the highest quality materials and cover the full spectrum of interior acoustics.
Our in-house team of highly skilled consultants, designers and installers are then here to help achieve your acoustic goals.
The Main Acoustic Panel Types
Click here for a wide range of fully tested sound absorbing wall panel products, from functional, to high-end, meaning you’ll be able to find a solution that suits your interior and budget. See further information below and advice below.
Hanging acoustic panels provide excellent scope for a variety of design solutions. Typically installed on wires horizontally (rafts) or vertically (baffles), they absorb sound on all sides making them one of the most effective acoustic treatments available.
Stretched Systems are site-manufactured acoustic systems combining high quality sound absorbing materials and a stretched fabric surface for a high quality decorative finish and amazing sound absorption for walls & ceilings.
Combine aesthetics and performance with Textured Wall Panels. 3D panels combine the best in noise diffusing material and give a textured finished that creates an architectural feature, whilst enhancing the soundscape of any space.
A great way to combine your sound control solutions with pieces of art, graphics and branding. Customise your acoustic treatment and create a stunning feature whilst solving a problem.
Acoustic screens are a great way to attractively divide work-spaces, whilst having the added benefit of reducing the propagation of sound through an open plan space. Easy to customise and re-locate.
Choosing the Right Acoustic Products for Your Room or Space
Every space is different. The choice of acoustic product is critical to ensuring the treatment is fit for purpose and will last.
Some spaces, such as sports halls require acoustic panelling which is impact resistant. Swimming pools must have panels that do not take on moisture and mould. School classrooms should have panels that absorb mid and high frequencies so that the teacher can be heard clearly for optimised learning. The quantity, type and position of the acoustic surfaces should all be taken into account. Below we look at the different types of spaces and what should be considered. You will find some simple information specific to your space and case studies to review.
Tips For Choosing Products In Your Space
- Open plan offices with hard surfaces – especially those with exposed concrete soffits can be very uncomfortable. If the type of work is quite noisy, i.e there is a lot of phone activity such as in call centres it can be very difficult to resolve the problem without a full consultation and assessment of the space. Don’t commit to spending money on acoustic treatment until you are 100% satisfied the solution will meet your expectations. Also remember that low level ‘acoustic desk screens’ tend to be highly ineffective and costly. Absolutely the best way of resolving open plan office noise issues is to treat the ceiling with acoustic baffles or rafts. We won’t recommend a specific product here because design will be a key driver. Please visit our ‘ACOUSTIC CEILING BAFFLES’ page for more information.
- If you, or your staff are complaining of being distracted at work – please consider that this could be because the noise levels in your office are too low!. Acoustic panels alone will not resolve the issue of low ambient noise levels. If ambient noise levels are too low, this often means that employees can be distracted by noise that has been created from far away. Conversations can be heard clearly and there is a lack of speech privacy. It may be counter intuitive, but very quiet offices can be extremely distracting and unproductive. Distraction distances need to be reduced. Consider a consultation and the implementation of a ‘SOUND MASKING‘ system.
- Meeting rooms, particularly those which use audio visual equipment quite often suffer from poor acoustics. For more information on this, please visit this post > ‘AV Room Acoustics‘. Our favourite products for meeting rooms are stretched fabric systems by ‘FABRIC WALL‘, with thousands of fabric choices, this specialist site built system is ideal for cellular office and all types of meeting room. For ceiling, we recommend acoustic baffles by Autex called ‘FRONTIER‘. Both offer that extra level of design and quality.
- Tip!: Remember that if you are having issues with sound ‘leakage’ (unwanted sound that is transferring between rooms), then sound absorption products are not the best solution to the problem. Consider having site sound testing done – which will show you where the problem is. ‘SOUND MASKING‘, will always resolve the problem of a lack of privacy between rooms.
- School classrooms need wall space for displaying the work of the children. A brilliant acoustic panel product by Autex called ‘COMPOSITION‘ is perfect for displaying work because it is pinnable. We have used this product in many schools. It is relatively low cost and it is durable. Available in lots of vibrant colours, it is a great alternative to simply painting the classroom walls. The product is only 12mm thick so we recommend full wall covering. It is likely further acoustic treatment will be required to the ceiling to achieve the recommended reverberation times as set out in BB93. This product is now commonly specified by architects for new school projects.
- No school classroom should have poor acoustics. If the class is too noisy and this is causing the teacher difficulty in managing the class – then there is an acoustic problem that needs resolving. The most cost effective way to deaden sound in an existing classroom with poor acoustics is to install sound absorbing acoustic ceiling rafts suspended from the ceiling. We recommend the product range ‘SOLO‘ by Ecophon. The right amount of panels installed makes an incredible difference to the noise levels in the room.
- If the ceiling level is too low to install suspended acoustic panels and the walls are ‘too busy’ to install products there – then we suggest installing Class A acoustic wall panelling on the walls at high level, or, if there is an existing ceiling grid with tiles – get these replaced with Class A acoustic ceiling tiles. Ecophon ‘ADVANTAGE‘ tiles are a great solution and this can be done by school maintenance teams.
- Some of the noisiest spaces in schools are the sports halls, assembly halls, school dining and circulation areas. Because of the size of these areas a lot of treatment is required, so it can be important to choose a product which is cost effective but also is highly effective. Impact resistance, especially in halls with hard ball sport is critical. Don’t use fabric wrapped products in these areas!. We find that the most effective and affordable solution is the impact resistant wall panelling system called ‘SUPER G‘, manufactured by Ecophon. The panelling surface is made from woven glass fibre and is very strong. The system absorbs over 90% of sound.
- We have completed over 100 village and worship hall acoustic treatments. The reality is that these premises tend to be used by older people on average; and we know that older people often have issues with their hearing. Large empty halls without acoustic treatment are highly reverberant and this can play havoc with the ability for somebody with impaired hearing to clearly hear normal conversations. Added to that, village halls are often used for noisy children’s parties or classes such as the ever popular Zumba!. These events can be uncomfortable to the adults and in many cases mean they won’t book again. Village halls now rely on this income – so acoustics are so important. The good news is that the problem can ALWAYS be resolved and it does not need to be too expensive. The average cost for a full village hall acoustic treatment is typically between £3,000 – £6,000. We have used may products – but most often we use ‘SOLO‘ ceiling panels by Ecophon for their effectiveness and discreet design.
- Tip!: Never go ahead with a hall acoustic treatment if the products being proposed are not properly tested and have laboratory test data to prove it (Class A ideally).
- The key word here is ‘non-hygrosopic’, which means ‘having little or no tendency to absorb moisture’. Swimming pools can be noisy spaces and benefit greatly from acoustic treatment, dramatically improving the comfort of these much loved leisure spaces. Upholstery fabric wrapped panels will eventually de-laminate and are susceptible to mould. UPVC stretched ceilings with micro-perforated surfaces are ideal for swimming pools. Consider a ‘CLIPSO’ stretched ceiling. Alternatively PET (polyester fibre) panels by ‘AUTEX‘ are a great option.
- Tip!: Swimming pools require a specialist installation – any metal components for fixing must meet a strict criteria as they will, in time, corrode in chlorinated environments. Seek specialist advice.