Acoustic ceiling styles: Acoustic ceilings come in two basic styles.
A dropped or suspended ceiling is more common. It consists of 2 x 2 foot or 2 x 4 foot tiles dropped into an interlocking metal grid suspended from the structural ceiling.
Glued ceilings are tiles (usually 1 x 1 foot tiles) glued directly onto the structural ceiling.
Both offer sound-proofing qualities and can cover-up existing damage, but only suspended ceilings will hide any exposed ducts, pipes and wires.
For a departure from all-too-familiar white suspended ceilings, check out commercial varieties in checkered, striped, and burlap textures.
Tile sizes: Most glued tiles are 12 x 12 inches. Suspended ceiling panels usually come in 2 feet x 2 feet or 2 feet x 4 feet panels. The larger panel is less expensive and takes less material to put it up. Installation is generally faster, too.
All styles will conceal a damaged ceiling and reduce noise. The standard color is white or off-white; however, they all come in many designs and patterns. If you want color, you can paint the panels.
Special characteristics: A standard ceiling is all white with little or no texture.
Most panels and tiles are anywhere from a half an inch thick to 5/8 of an inch.
Designer panels come in a wide array of textures and styles, but also only one color: white. (You can paint them if you want color!) Manufacturers create sound absorbing panels by adding holes in them. They also make panels with insulation, which consist of a vinyl surface backed with about a half inch of fiberglass. The insulation is not a lot (only about an R-3), but if you have a drafty attic, it’ll help.
Some manufacturers also create fire-rated panels that are treated with a fire retardant. The panels themselves are not fireproof, but they should provide you with about 20 minutes of protection.
Reasons for installing: Acoustic ceilings are popular for many reasons—especially in remodeling projects. That’s because you can suspend them at any height from the structural ceiling, giving you the opportunity to completely re-create the look and feel of a room.
Many times just lowering the ceiling will make a room feel more cozy. For example, take a look at many bedrooms and living rooms. Often they have smaller spaces to make them feel more comfortable and intimate. If you have a large cavernous room that you want to make more homey, consider dropping the ceiling.
Acoustic ceilings can also cover up any damage on an existing ceiling as well as hide any ducts, pipes and wires. And some acoustic tiles can absorb sound. Many times, rooms with hard ceilings have a lot of echoes. This can be muffled by adding an acoustic ceiling.