Suspended Ceilings: The Commercial Space Solution You Need
When we’re designing interior commercial spaces, we have a lot of decisions to make. From the overall layout to the smallest details, every aspect will determine the overall feel of the space and the productivity of your team. As important as each element is, one spot that routinely gets overlooked is the ceiling.
Different types of ceilings deliver different benefits. Deciding which ones are most important to you will help you choose the style that best meets your needs. Going with a commercial suspended ceiling is a fantastic way to tap into a wide array of benefits.
What is a suspended ceiling?
Also known as a dropped ceiling or false ceiling, a suspended ceiling can be suspended at any height between the true ceiling and the floor, and serves a number of purposes. They’ve become the norm in every industry from education to healthcare to wall street. Here’s why.
Benefits of going with a commercial suspended ceiling
There are a number of individual benefits that a commercial suspended ceiling delivers, but most people choose them for a combination of different reasons.
They’re easily customizable
One great advantage of commercial suspended ceilings is that they’re easily customizable and can help you create whatever space you want. Whether you’re after high ceilings and a more airy feel or low ceilings that create cozy corners, you can choose whatever you like with a suspended ceiling.
High ceilings deliver a more airy feel with lots of natural light, but can raise energy bills due to being less energy efficient. Low ceilings create cozy spaces that are great for concentration and intricate work, but may hinder collaboration and creativity in some situations. Commercial suspended ceilings allow you to choose the precise height you want.
Ceiling height aside, the simple construction offers unlimited customization potential. With a t-grid system, you can place pretty much any type of tile you want in the standard openings associated with these commercial suspended ceiling systems. That means you can choose any color, texture, and finish you want for your space. You aren’t bound to the t-grid system either. Some types of suspended acoustic ceilings that deliver big on aesthetics include:
- Ceiling clouds – This type of suspended ceiling is built on acoustical panels. They are suspended from the ceiling, and provide a visual pop while absorbing excess sound waves. The available variations are seemingly endless, and you can vary their height and angles to deliver the look you’re after.
- Baffles – This type of ceiling utilizes planks suspended vertically. They are fantastic sound diffusers, and really open up your options when it comes to lighting. Since there is empty space between them, you can suspend your lighting to sit above the baffles, on the same plane, or even drop down through them.
- Microperforated panels – This type of suspended ceiling typically still utilizes the t-grid system, but delivers aesthetics on another level. They are typically constructed of metal or veneers, pierced with thousands of tiny holes. This provides a streamlined appearance while allowing sound to pass through. Combine them with an acoustical backer and they’ll even improve the sound in the space.
They provide acoustic solutions for offices
The noise reduction offered by acoustic panels in commercial suspended ceilings provides big benefits to any business. In addition to creating quieter spaces for employees to get their work done, there are security and productivity ramifications of choosing acoustic panels. Here’s how they work.
Like any acoustical treatment product, acoustical panels absorb sound waves and trap them. This prevents the reflections that create audio issues. Placing this type of panel in a suspended ceiling allows it to collect waves from the people and machinery below, as well as provide an acoustic divider between workers and the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing (MEP) systems above.
There’s another overhead noise that many people forget to account for, and that’s the neighbors. Even if you don’t have upstairs neighbors, noisy next door neighbors can contribute to overhead noise due to the typical way commercial spaces are constructed.
In many buildings, the walls dividing units don’t go all the way to the top. This allows the plenum, or space between the true ceiling and the suspended ceiling, to promote energy efficiency for all units. It’s great for cost savings, but not so great when it comes to reducing overhead sound waves. Absorbing these sounds with acoustical suspended ceiling tiles is beneficial for both worker health and productivity.
Noise reduction promotes employee health
You may wonder how a simple acoustical panel in the workplace can help support employees’ wellbeing. It’s due to the way our bodies handle chronic exposure to noise. Of all the benefits of using a suspended acoustical ceiling, your health is the most important one.
First, the more we are exposed to noise, the greater the toll on our ears. Extremely loud noises can do immediate damage to our hearing, but prolonged exposure to lower volumes can have a similar effect. In a loud office, people generally communicate with each other louder to compensate for the elevated ambient volume. Over time, this can lead to tinnitus and hearing loss.
Second, all that exposure to excess noise can raise stress levels. Most of us understand how seriously stress can impact our health, and actively try to limit the number of stressors in our lives. High stress levels can lead to things like anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. An acoustic ceiling installation is a great way to reduce ambient noise and promote the health of your entire team.
Noise reduction promotes employee productivity
Implementing noise reduction measures in your office can promote employee productivity. We covered the fact that it reduces stress, which will help improve productivity in its own right, but acoustical treatments can change the way we communicate and concentrate as well.
In a loud office where sounds carry, open communication may be hindered by privacy concerns or a simple desire to be courteous. Whether we’re after information security or a peaceful office, acoustical treatments can get us there without significantly altering our natural communication habits. Acoustic suspended ceiling systems offer this protection while hiding in plain sight.
They can improve energy efficiency
Suspended ceilings offer improved energy efficiency too. That’s because it’s much easier to heat a small space than it is a large one. If you’ve ever tried to keep a very large space at a comfortable temperature, you may have seen the energy bill that backs this claim up. A simple solution to improving your energy efficiency is the addition of a suspended ceiling with insulated panels.
The specific height you set your suspended ceiling may reduce the number of cubic feet that need to be heated or cooled by half or more. That can increase your office’s energy efficiency significantly, reducing your energy costs by a considerable amount.
They open up our lighting options
While making changes to lighting systems in traditional ceiling designs can be a major undertaking, commercial suspended ceiling lighting is much more versatile. With a t-grid system, this is due to the ease with which we can rearrange panels to meet our needs. With other systems, your lighting design is limited by only your imagination.
You can find lighting fixtures in a variety of sizes, as well as a number of interesting options that break the traditional mold. Once you decide what you’re after, a reputable dealer can help you find the perfect fixtures for your needs.
They allow for easy maintenance
Commercial suspended ceilings are a favorite among maintenance techs around the country. That’s because they are one of the best options out there when it comes to making repairs or servicing MEP systems. The fact that any tile in a t-grid system can be simply removed and replaced without the need for refinishing makes them ideal in any space where access to overhead systems may be required at some point. With other systems, they can simply work around them.
That access is also beneficial for any commercial refurbishment project we may encounter down the line. It’s much easier to run wiring or plumbing when it doesn’t involve demolition or refinishing and attempting to match the repair to the rest of the ceiling.
They may be rated for fire safety
Fire safety is an important aspect of any building material, and commercial suspended ceilings offer fantastic fire safety ratings in an easy to use product. Different interior spaces require different fire ratings, so be sure to familiarize yourself with the fire rated ceiling requirements before making your decision. Fire ratings can be confusing if you’re new to them, so reach out for help if you have any questions.
They may offer moisture resistance
If you work in an industry or region that’s prone to high levels of humidity, moisture can present a problem for some building materials. Luckily, suspended ceilings aren’t one of them.
Since suspended ceilings can be fitted with any type of panel you like, it’s easy to find moisture resistant tiles that work with your interior design scheme. Moisture resistant suspended ceilings allow you to operate your business without any fear of damage.
They provide a low cost of ownership
A commercial suspended ceiling is one of the most cost-effective ways to cover your head on the market. Installing and owning this type of ceiling is so simple that you can often do it yourself. If you’d prefer to leave it to the professionals, that ease of use translates into minimal labor cost.
No special tools or skills are required to work with most dropped ceilings, and many projects can be completed in a day or two. For more involved projects, you can work with qualified professionals for less than you probably think. If you’re ready to discuss your commercial suspended ceiling options, reach out for a consultation.
How do acoustic suspended ceiling systems enhance the sound environment in commercial spaces?
Utilizing acoustic panels as office acoustic solutions allows your commercial suspended ceiling to absorb sound waves, which helps to reduce echo and reverberation in the room. This makes communication easier, lowers the overall ambient room volume, and makes your media sound crisp and clear.
How can acoustic ceiling installation benefit businesses in terms of noise reduction and acoustics?
Improving the acoustics in your office will deliver a number of important benefits. The reduction in echo and reverberation they provide make communication easier, while helping keep conversations private. The reduction in unwanted noise delivers a host of health benefits and increases workers’ ability to concentrate. This promotes productivity across the board.
What are the fire-rated ceiling requirements that commercial properties should consider when installing suspended ceilings?
Most local and state governments require building materials in certain parts of the office to meet fire safety benchmarks. Materials with higher fire ratings take longer to burn, giving occupants additional time to get out safely in the case of a fire. If you have any questions regarding fire safety, it’s best to consult a professional.
How does the choice of commercial suspended ceiling systems impact lighting solutions and energy efficiency?
The type of panels you choose for your commercial suspended ceiling will have a big impact on energy efficiency and the types of lighting available to you. Some will provide bigger benefits in energy efficiency, others allow for more lighting options, and some strike a nice balance between the two. Reaching out to the pros will allow you to land on a commercial suspended ceiling design that meets your needs without breaking the bank.