Building Quieter: Achieving the fine line between aesthetics and acoustics in wall and ceiling specifications

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Design/construction teams are constantly balancing the desire for a high-quality look and feel with adherence to acoustical requirements and project budgets. This is especially true when it comes to wall and ceiling choices. Whether selecting from basic wall and ceiling panels or custom woodwork, noise is a primary consideration—no matter how it looks, it has to perform.

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Specifying acoustical ceilings in green buildings


Until now, acoustics in commercial office buildings had not been a formal part of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating systems except on a case-by-case basis. The new LEED v4 criteria, however, now takes into account the value of good acoustics in enhancing occupant satisfaction and productivity.

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Designing Sound Isolation in Multi-family Living

Acoustic_Rendering Twenty 20 Credit CBT Architects

Imagine moving into a new condo, only to realize the TV next door, the dog barking across the hall, and the neighbors walking around upstairs can all be easily heard. Acoustical consultants would love to help, but unfortunately there is little that can be done at this stage without significant cost and intrusion. Sound isolation issues are most effectively addressed before construction, during the design phase.

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Designing Stone Wool Ceiling Assemblies

All images courtesy Rockfon

Stone wool’s various attributes are making the material attractive for use in suspended ceilings in educational, office, and healthcare projects. This article touches on such assemblies’ acoustics, air quality and light reflection impacts, along with information about fire performance, humidity, and dimensional stability. Design professionals must also understand the aesthetic possibilities, including flexibility with edges, sizes, colors, surfaces, shapes, and textures.

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Improving Floor/Ceiling Sound Control in Multifamily Projects: Sound Testing Practices

The sound transmission class (STC) and impact insulation class (IIC) are ASTM-derived single number ratings that try to quantify how much sound a stopped by partition being tested. Laboratory testing involves an ideal setting for the floor/ceiling assembly—it is isolated from the walls, and there are no penetrations for HVAC, plumbing lines, sprinklers, can lights, or electrical boxes. In the field (i.e. F-STC and F-IIC), the floor/ceiling assembly often sits on load-bearing walls, is connected to the structure, and contains many ceiling and floor penetrations for the items just mentioned. Consequently, the code allows for a lower rating for field scores over those in the lab.

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Improving Floor/Ceiling Sound Control in Multifamily Projects


Demand for better floor/ceiling acoustics in multifamily construction has been spurred by consumer desires, new guidelines from code bodies, and stricter enforcement of existing codes. This article reviews important new guidelines, delving into how construction manufacturers have created new products or enhanced existing ones in the pursuit of achieving higher acoustical performance.

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