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Soundproofing Basement Ceilings

Soundproofing basement ceilings is easy with Armstrong ceiling tiles and panels that absorb up to 70% of the sound that strikes their surface.

Armstrong decorative ceiling tiles and panels can help with soundproofing basement ceilings for a home theater, game room, home gym, office or guest bedroom. Unlike drywall, the materials and manufacturing technology used in ceiling tiles and panels provide acoustical benefits that can make a big difference in the sound environment of a room. So how can you find out how effective ceiling tiles or panels will be in soundproofing basement ceilings? Look for the sound performance ratings listed for each Armstrong ceiling product.

Sound Performance Ratings

While most Armstrong ceilings offer sound isolating qualities, many, like HomeStyle ceiling products, offer extra sound reduction to further lessen noise within a room or noise traveling from room to room, absorbing up to 70 percent of the sound that strikes their surface.

When evaluating acoustical properties of materials used in soundproofing basement ceilings, you’ll want to reference two general ratings: Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) and Ceiling Attenuation Class (CAC).

NRC is a rating that tells you how much sound a surface will absorb. This industry standard is typically expressed as a decimal, with 1.00 being perfect absorption of sound and 0.00 being perfect reflection or no absorption whatsoever. In practical use, a NRC rating of 0.50 would indicate excellent sound absorption, compared to standard drywall, which typically rates a .05.

CAC rates a ceiling’s efficiency as a barrier to airborne sound transmission. In a suspended ceiling system chosen for acoustic performance, the tiles or panels prevent most sounds from passing through the ceiling and traveling further into an adjoining room. The rate at which ceiling tiles or panels inhibit the passage of sound is called the CAC rating. A ceiling system with a CAC < 25 rating is considered low performance, meaning sound is able to reach the space above the ceiling tiles (called the plenum) and travel through adjoining walls. A  CAC rating > 35 indicates high performance, meaning very little sound is transmitted through the tiles or panels.

In a nutshell, the NRC rating refers to how well the tile or panel absorbs sound that hits its surface; the CAC rating refers to the amount of sound that is allowed to pass through. A suspended ceiling with a high NRC rating and CAC rating would be very effective in deadening sound.

To learn about the NRC and CAC soundproofing ratings for an Armstrong ceiling tile or ceiling panel, you can select a product and look for “Details” in the Performance section. You can also view the ratings for all Armstrong ceilings products in the Retail Ceilings Guide brochures available online.

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