FAQs - Installation and maintenance

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1 - What are the typical costs for Armstrong installed ceilings?
The cost of an installed Armstrong ceiling will depend upon many factors such as the room's size and shape, ceiling height and any change of levels and, of course, the ceiling type selected. Your ITS group will be able to give guide prices, for budget purposes, but you will need to speak to a ceiling contractor for a detailed quotation. Armstrong can provide a list of Omega contractors in your area.
2 - What is the estimated installation time for Armstrong ceilings?
The installation time for any Armstrong ceiling will depend upon many factors such as the room's size and shape, ceiling height and any change of levels, ceiling type, if any furniture or other obstructions are present and how many fixers are used. The ceiling contractor employed for the project will be able to provide this information.
3 - I do not want to see an exposed grid; what suitable Armstrong ceiling systems do you have for this?
For a fully concealed grid with Armstrong mineral fibre tiles, you can consider planks with either SL2 or K2C2 edges. Armstrong Madera 600x600 tiles are also available with SL2 edges, while for Orcal metal tiles, the 'clip-in' systems do not expose the grid.
If a semi-concealed grid is acceptable then any 'Vector' edge tiles in mineral, wood or metal will provide a neat solution.
4 - How long can Armstrong hanger systems be?
The maximum length of any wire hanger is governed by the ability to pre-straighten it. The length does not affect its tensile strength nor load carrying capacity.
The maximum length of Armstrong other hanger systems is determined by the length of the components and any connection accessories available.
If a wire or suspension angle hanger has to be joined in length, care should be taken to ensure that the failure strength of the mechanical jointing method used is not less than the admissible load of any of the relevant grid connector accessories, information for which is published in the Armstrong Trulok brochure.
5 - Which hangers should be used for supporting an Orcal Clip-in ceiling?
Orcal clip-in tiles are installed by pushing them upwards into the concealed spring bar. Therefore any hangers used must be sufficiently rigid to resist the upward forces and, in this respect, wire or similar thin hangers are not recommended.
6 - What hanger top fixings should I use?
Armstrong does not give recommendations for top fixings as it depends upon the exact nature of the soffit material and construction, as well as the ceiling's applied load. In all cases, care should be taken to ensure that the pull-out strength of the top fixing used is not less than the admissible load for the hanger which is published in the Armstrong Trulok brochure. Further more appropriate advice may be available from the various manufacturers of top fixings such as Fischer, Hilti etc.
7 - Should I offset the hangers on adjacent main runners of Armstrong exposed T grid system?
Unless the specification requires this (perhaps because there are regular obstructions in the void), there is no structural or aesthetic reason for doing this.
8 - What hangers should I use with a non-corrosive grid?
Armstrong’s non-corrosive perimeter trim (BP T1924LB) may also be used as a grid hanger.
9 - What is the minimum void depth for installing suspended ceilings?
The answer to this question is dependent upon two factors, namely the tile and grid system used, and the practical consideration of the installer being able to get his hands into the void to connect the hangers to the main runners.
For 'lay-in' tile systems, where the tile is offered up through the grid before being dropped into place, and conversely removed, about 150mm from the soffit to the top of the main runner bulb, is necessary. For 'Vector' edge tiles or Orcal clip-in tiles, which are installed from below the grid, less 'manouvering' height is necessary, so grid installation considerations will dictate. Of course services in the void, such as ducts, pipes or electrical trunking may overide these limits.
10 - I want to form a sloping ceiling at about 30° angle, should the main runners go 'up' or 'across' the slope?
Main runners must run up the slope. If they are run across a slope the MRs will be 'twisted' with respect to the vertical hangers and not be correctly suspended, which could lead to distortion and damage to the grid.
11 - How do I form a sloping upstand in Armstrong ceiling?
Armstrong mainline brochure gives drawing details for both sloping and vertical upstands but if these do not suit your requirements then please contact your ITS group for further information.
12 - What does Armstrong recommend to create a 250mm upstand in a ceiling?
Armstrong Axiom Profiles provide a very neat solution. 200mm and 50mm sections or 150mm and 100mm sections joined together vertically will provide the required height.
13 - How does Armstrong feel about dropping the perimeter trim to the face of Tegular/MicroLook panels to avoid having to rebate perimeter tiles? What do I need to consider?
If the specification allows this then it is a practicable solution. However the ends of the grid will need to be supported at the height appropriate to the tile being used. Armstrong supplies small plugs for this purpose for both 24 and 15mm grids although they are not suitable for Orcal tiles.
14 - What are the centres of the cross tee connection holes in Armstrong main runner?
These vary depending upon the main runner type and length, so full details are given for the different types that we supply in the Armstrong Trulok brochure.
15 - What is the overall height of Armstrong exposed grid sections?
This depends upon the section considered so all necessary dimensional details are given in the Armstrong Trulok brochure.
16 - How can I connect Armstrong suspended ceiling with a gypsum board perimeter margin?
If both the ceiling and the perimeter margin are at the same level then Armstrong Axiom Transitions allow for perfect integration of both materials. If the plasterboard margin is above or below the ceiling level then Armstrong Axiom Profiles provide a very neat solution. If necessary, Armstrong Axiom Profile sections can be joined together vertically to provide the required difference in height.
17 - At what centres should the perimeter trim be fixed?
450 to 600mm is normal practice but actual site conditions will dictate what is appropriate for the circumstances, provided that the trim's load/spanning capacity is not exceeded.
18 - At room corners, I form dummy mitres on perimeter trims by cutting one side at 45° and lapping a square cut piece on to it. Is this OK?
This is a practicable detail but you should check to see whether the specification or your customer allows or contradicts your proposal.
19 - If I use Armstrong Orcal Axal tile do I need security clips?
What application do you have in mind? Security clips are not available for Armstrong Axal tiles but the tile can be secured into Armstrong Trulok 24 XL2 grid by folding down the border tabs which are provided (as standard) on each non-engaging side. This detail can be utilised when prevention of unauthorised access into the ceiling void is required or when, in sports facilities, impacts from balls could dislodge the tiles.
20 - Can I fix a partition head track to an Armstrong ceiling?
Yes, we have specific details and accessories to facilitate this. However if the ceiling is structurally fire rated you must be careful that expansion of the grid is not adversely restricted.
21 - Should I reseal the cut edges of Armstrong low density mineral fibre products? If so what paint should I use?
This may depend upon where the tiles are to be used. For example, in food manufacturing, preparation and eating areas, resealing may be appropriate to prevent loose fibres migrating into the atmosphere. You should consult further with the specifier if the written specification is not clear.
If cut edges do need resealing on-site, we recommend the use of a PVA adhesive used for building applications, mixed with water in the ratio 1:1 or as is sufficient to make the solution suitably viscous for applying by brush.
If the cut edges will be visible and need to match the tile's face colour, then the PVA will provide a good primer coat for the decorative coat.
22 - How can I cut Armstrong tiles at perimeters?
Armstrong mineral fibre tiles can be cut, and if necessary a new Tegular/MicroLook edge reformed, with a sharp craft knife. If required these cut edges can then be repainted.
Armstrong Madera tiles can only be cut with a manual or power saw with a suitable fine toothed blade.
Armstrong Orcal tiles are best cut with shears or a band saw suitable for sheet metal.
23 - Armstrongs normal recommendation for exposed grid hanger spacings is 1200mm. Can this be increased?
Yes, it may be possible depending upon the grid system used and the tile selected, so full details of grid load capacities for normal grid layouts are given for the different types that we supply in the Armstrong Trulok brochure. For special 'non-standard' layouts, your ITS group will be able to provide further information of possible hanger spacings.
24 - I have to install one of Armstrong 600x600mm exposed grid ceilings in a school hall but I can only hang from steel beams at 2.4m centres. I understand that this spacing is wider than is suitable for Armstrong standard grids so what can I do?
Armstrong Prelude 24, 15 or Silhouette grids are normally syspended at 1200mm centres and although this spacing may be increased for our lighter weight tiles, 2.4m is too great. Therefore consider the use of Armstrong Prelude Sixty2 main runners which can span 2.4m centres provided that the tile load (and any additional overlay) does not exceed 2.3 kg/m2. Alternatively, if you prefer to use a standard grid, can you install a sub-grid to provide the conventional 1200mm spacings for hangers? Armstrong do not supply structural steel sections so you will need to consult with a specialist supplier for details of section sizes, fixings etc.
25 - What is the maximum weight of a sign that I can hang from Armstrong ceiling?
This will depend upon how close together the signs will be located, where on the grid they are suspended and, of course, the grid type. Armstrong supplies specific accessories which allow fixing to exposed grids but you will need to contact your ITS group for specific advice on loadings.
26 - What’s the maximum weight of tile that I can put into an Armstrong exposed grid?
This will depend upon the type of exposed grid used, so full details of grid load capacities for normal grid layouts are given in the Armstrong Trulok brochure. If your grid design is not included in the examples given then please contact your ITS group for further information.
27 - What is the maximum weight of lighting fitting that can be supported on Armstrong grid?
There is no simple answer to this as it will depend on several factors such as: if the fittings are supported on the grid bulb or flange, supported on the main runner, primary cross tee or secondary cross tee? However Armstrong has a datasheet which gives detailed guidance and this can be obtained from your ITS group.
28 - Can Armstrong ceilings support the weight of luminaires and air grilles?
Luminaires can normally be supported on the ceiling grid subject to certain qualifications. Armstrong has a datasheet which outlines our recommendations that is available from your ITS group. Dynamic fittings such as active air grilles should not be supported directly onto the grid because vibration in the grilles could be transferred to the grid and generate unacceptable noise.
29 - Can Armstrong ceiling tiles support the weight of a small diameter spotlight?
There is no simple answer to this question as it is is very dependent upon the size and weight of the spotlight and the type of tile to be used. Essentially Armstrong tiles are designed to support only their own weight so Armstrong recommends that you conduct a trial, using samples of spotlight and tile, before the installation commences. If the weight of the spotlight causes excessive deflection or damage to the tile, you can consider using a plasterboard pattress laid onto the back of the tile to spread the load back to the grid flanges.
30 - How can I establish if a tile is square?
Measure across the face or back diagonals. Perfectly "square" tiles will have identical dimensions.
31 - Can I use Armstrong tiles with another manufacturer's grid system?
Armstrong tiles are specifically designed and manufactured for use with Armstrong Trulok suspension grid systems and all of Armstrong verifiable technical performance values, such as acoustics, fire, humidity resistance, loading, etc, are obtained under test conditions for our combined tile and grid systems. Therefore if you use Armstrong tiles with another manufacturer's grid you must determine their compatibility for yourself and please note that the system's technical and aesthetic performance cannot be warranted by Armstrong.
32 - How do I install a thermal expansion joint into Armstrong ceilings?
Armstrong do not supply expansion joints or provide specific details but recognise that they are sometimes required in larger building installations. Further technical information is available from your ITS group.
33 - Which luminaires do Armstrong recommend for their exposed grid ceilings?
Armstrong do not recommend nor endorse other manufacturer's products although we do recognise that certain fittings may be used with our ceilings. Armstrong understand that most major manufacturers have luminaires which are suitable for integration into modular demountable ceilings so you should seek further details from them about which fittings are compatible with the Armstrong tiles and grid that you wish to use.
34 - Which Armstrong ceilings are suitable for use in wet or high humidity areas?
Three of Armstrong ceiling products, Ceramaguard, Newtone, and Orcal plain (unperforated) tiles painted on both face and reverse surfaces, are suitable for use in conditions of up to 100% RH, which can occur internally in spaces such as swimming pools, showers, laundries and some manufacturing processes, although none of these tiles should be subjected to continuous direct water exposure.
Only Armstrong Prelude non-corrosive grid should be used with Ceramaguard, Newtone and Orcal lay-in tiles, while for Orcal clip-in tiles all grid components should be galvanised.
35 - Can Armstrong ceilings be used externally?
The two main considerations relating to the use of suspended ceilings for external locations are humidity and wind loading.
Three of Armstrong ceiling products, Ceramaguard, Newtone, and Orcal plain (unperforated) tiles painted on both face and reverse surfaces, are suitable for use in conditions of up to 100% RH, which can occur externally, although none of these tiles should ever be subjected to direct precipitation. However, wind loading can potentially be equally as serious by exerting either a positive or a negative pressure on ceilings that could dislodge and damage both tiles and grid. Therefore, because wind forces can vary considerably depending upon both topographical and geographical locations, a thorough analysis should be undertaken by a structural/environmental engineer before an external installation is considered.
Only Armstrong Prelude non-corrosive grid should be specified if an exposed grid system is used externally, using rigid hangers and tile hold-down clips and, in the case of Orcal Axal, with the border tabs on each tile folded down. Orcal clip-in tiles can also be used but all grid components should be galvanised and with security clips used to lock-in the corners of each tile.
36 - What causes "pattern staining" on a ceiling tile?
Pattern staining on the face of a ceiling tile may be due to three adverse causes.
1) Dirty water may have dripped onto the back of the tile and soaked through to the face causing discoloured stains. These will normally be yellow or brown in colour and probably due to ferric oxide (rust) contamination.
2) Tiles in the immediate vicinity of air grilles or diffusers sometimes display black marks or streaks. This is due to dirt in the air being deposited on the tile's surface as the air emanates from or returns to the distribution system. Smooth tiles such as Plain or Orcal plain etc are less likely to be affected.
3) Heat from a room will rise (due to convection) and migrate through a suspended ceiling towards the (normally) cooler ceiling void. Minute particles of dirt in the atmosphere will also rise and be deposited on the ceiling tile's surface. However if the thermal insulation of the tile is not consistent (as often occurs with metal tiles with mineral wool pads in the back, that are not carefully laid flat particularly at the corners) then the dirt will be deposited unevenly with a build-up at the "cold spots" and appear as straw, brown or grey coloured marks.
37 - Can Armstrong tiles be repainted and if so what paint can you recommend?
Armstrong do not recommend any paint for the complete redecoration of our ceilings. Armstrong do recognise that there are specialist companies who can offer a cleaning or redecoration service. However the decision to repaint Armstrong mineral fibre or Orcal metal tiles must be considered carefully because, depending upon the tile face pattern (fissures, perforations, scrim etc), the paint type used, and the thickness of the applied coat(s), the tile's technical performance, such as sound absorption, fire reaction, sag, light reflectance etc, may be adversly affected. If there is any doubt, then laboratory testing to assess any possible differences in technical and legislative performance should be conducted on repainted samples. It is unlikely that that the tiles will be able to be repainted while still in the grid but in all cases the advice of a professional paint sprayer should be obtained.
It should be noted that the repainting of ceiling tiles supplied by Armstrong will invalidate any warranty that was provided when the tiles were new.
38 - I've got to do some touching up on a few of Armstrong mineral fibre tiles which the electrician has slightly damaged. What paint do you recommend?
Armstrong produces its own touch up paint in 1 litre cans which are available from Armstrong distributor trade counters. Failing that, basic emulsion paint may be suitable subject to colour matching.
39 - My ceiling has become slightly soiled, how can I clean it?
Armstrong recommended cleaning methods depend upon the type of tiles used and the degree of soiling encountered. Armstrong have a maintenance brochure which gives appropriate advice so please request a copy from your ITS group.
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