Ceiling Tiles

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Typical standard acoustic ceiling tile, showing a water stain from a plumbing leak above, as they often do.
Photo: http://dailyhomerenotips.com/2008/11/02/exterior-toilet-leak-part-1/

Acoustic ceiling tiles. They’re everywhere, and for those not educated or experienced in the design or construction industry, the obvious question is often why? Why, why, oh why?? Let’s face it, aesthetically, the best they seem to be able to do is to show up as little as possible!

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A home renovator installs standard suspended acoustic ceiling tiles.
Photo: http://lipidejournal.com/2013/02/how-to-install-suspended-ceiling-tiles.html

For architects, designers, and construction experts, however, they do serve some important functions. First, the reason they’re called “acoustic” is that their characteristic rough surface with random holes does go a long way toward mitigating unwanted sound in a room. Second, they’re less expensive and easier to install than a smooth drywall ceiling, and third, they have long been used to hide unsightly HVAC (Heating, ventilation and air conditioning), electrical and plumbing equipment in office and industrial buildings in a way that still leaves this equipment accessible, should it need repair or maintenance. Access is gained by simply popping a tile out, and then back into place when the work is done.

HoK office Toronto

Architecture & Design firm HoK achieved LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold status for its own Toronto offices. Leaving the industrial mechanical ceilings high and bare was part of its sustainability strategy.
Photo: http://dcnonl.com/article/2006greenbuilding300

Recently, we have been gaining increased awareness of our impact on our natural environment however, and the industries surrounding the built environment are no exception. Close to 50% of all the materials that go to landfills in North America are building materials, so the less we put into buildings, the less we’ll eventually have to take out. For this reason, dropped acoustic tile ceilings have been disappearing from new builds and renovations in favour of high ceilings with all of the mechanical equipment open for all to see. Painted in flat black or white, it’s not all that bad to look at, especially if this view means saving the earth a little, and the higher ceiling often means a more open, airy feeling, which can be especially important in offices as individual work stations continue to get smaller and could easily become claustrophobic. (For more info on environmentally sustainable design, see CaGBC’s sustainable building progam, LEED).

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This contemporary office has a high industrial ceiling, but couldn’t be left with the ceiling bare due to sound levels, so acoustically absorbent insulation material has added by spray application.
Photo: http://lipidejournal.com/2013/02/how-to-install-suspended-ceiling-tiles.html

There are also challenges and issues with open ceilings, however. For one thing, they consist of hard surfaces that bounce sound, and that original reason for acoustic tiles has not gone away. In a large office,

the constant buzz of hundreds of people talking and all of their machines working can be a source both of stress, and poor communications. Also, all of those many surfaces gather dust, and while ductwork may not be so bad to look at when it’s just been installed and painted, after a while it is natural to start wondering who is going to climb 20 or more feet up and dust everything, without the dust falling into sensitive electronics and on workers with allergies. A team of professionals has to be called in, and often the company puts this off for far too long in order to meet budget restrictions.

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Laqfoil matte stretch ceiling panel – White

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Laqfoil high gloss stretch ceiling panel – Gold Metallic

So before you think about tearing out a dropped ceiling grid and sending it, and all of its acoustic panels to a landfill, there’s more to consider than what meets the eye. Perhaps an even more ecologically and financially sustainable solution is to reuse what’s already there.

Laqfoil’s fully recyclable polymer vinyl and nylon membranes can be used not only to cover an entire ceiling surface, but also for wrapping ceiling tiles, which can then be popped right back into the existing t-bar suspension assembly. While the tiles are out, if desired, the suspension assembly can be repainted with spray paint.

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Laqfoil high gloss stretch ceiling panel – Red

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We replaced only a few of the existing 2′x2′ tiles at Pho Saigon Vietnamese Restaurant in Salt Lake City, Utah. The result successfully added atmosphere and tied the ceiling in with the walls and furniture, without becoming overwhelming.

The result? Anything you want it to be! Combine colours and LED lighting to activate a space, or hide colour changing LEDs behind

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Laqfoil high gloss stretch ceiling panel – Orange

translucent white tiles for a “business by day” look. Add digitally printed images to transport the viewer to a different place or time, or reinforce your company’s identity.

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Rendering showing how stretched ceiling tiles can be used to reinforce the identity of a Scottish-themed retail store.

Shine is unexpected on a ceiling, and also makes more efficient use of lighting by reflecting light back to the room. Our high gloss membranes are as shiny as a new car, in over 260 colours, but if you don’t want a high gloss look, we have matte, satin, and canvas textured finishes as well, and yes, we have white.

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Laqfoil high gloss stretch ceiling panel – Green

Like ceiling paint, our membranes come in several different shades of white. Combine high gloss with bright white for maximum light reflection and lamping efficiency.

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Laqfoil high gloss stretch ceiling panel – Cyan

What about that dust? Dust that settles above the tiles will be trapped up in the plenum (the space between the original ceiling and the dropped ceiling) harmlessly, and dust below wrapped tiles will not adhere to them as the membrane has a particulate-repelling static electrical property. Likewise, chemical vapours do not get embedded in these materials, and they do not off-gas. If something should become splashed or stuck onto a wrapped tile (I’m not going to try to guess how that could happen!), no harsh

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Laqfoil high gloss stretch ceiling panel – Violet

chemicals are required, a soft damp cloth should do the trick, and if necessary, a little household soap can be added.

–Esther Yates-Abrams

Contact Us

Our website

20 Magnetic Dr., Unit # 2
Toronto, Ont. M3J-2C4
Canada

Tel: 416 663 1708

Fax: 416 663 1707
Toll Free : 1 888 663 1708
Email: info@laqfoil.com

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One Response to Ceiling Tiles

  1. Those are beautiful ceiling tiles.

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