Hard surfaces do not make for a comfortable living and working environment. That’s because sound bounces and without any porous absorptive surfaces it keeps bouncing (known as reverberation), effectively echoing, to a point that is uncomfortable. Modern offices accommodate the need to reduce echoing by introducing perforated metal tiles or absorptive mineral fibre ceilings that allow the sound to be partially absorbed into the sound reducing materials formed within or by the tiles but that may come at the cost of longitudinal soundtravel, i.e. room to room sound transmission. With new gypsum ceilings there are opportunities to introduce perforated boards and homogenoussound absorbing surface treatments. However, that is not always possible in refurbishment or retrofitsituations. There are other solutions to reduce the problem of sound bounce and that is by incorporating baffles and by so doing baffling sounds become baffled sounds.
Baffled ceilings are not new. There are a number of proprietary metal baffle solutions on the market all doing a fine job of absorbing sound. However, metal baffles come in pre set sizes and are not designed for retrofitting to an existing plasterboard ceiling requiring in the main their own independent suspension system. Plasterboard baffles formed from v-cut boards can be made to any required depth, perforated with a number of different and potentially unique hole patterns, infilled with mineral wool and easily fixed to an existing boarded suspended ceiling. This is a relatively cheap solution.
Whilst there is a great deal of science in relation to how sound performs, baffled ceilings provide one major benefit over flat ceilings when it comes to sound absorption – not only is the sound disrupted differently by the baffles but, depending on the depth of the baffles, the surface area available to absorb sound can be much greater than a flat ceiling. The choice of metal or plasterboard may be a matter of taste but gypsum baffles offer far greater flexibility in dimensions and are much better for retrofit applications ensuring a low cost simple solution. Beautiful coffered ceilings can be created which not only appeal in form but also have an important function ensuring the environment is no longer uncomfortable by echoing/bouncing sound.