How to Hang Acoustic Panels on Walls and Ceilings
Before I started selling acoustic products, I was installing them with the team here. We’ve hung a lot of acoustic panels in almost every situation you can think of. We’ve hung them in schools, churches, concert venues, gun ranges, and homes. We traveled down south for a job at a car production facility where they wanted to shake cars to see if they could detect any rattling, whether from loose screws or because employees dropped screws or tools inside the vehicle. For one school, I installed the panels in a building that was over 100 years old. We ran into some issues with now-ancient building materials and methods, but got the job done!
After all of these experiences, many challenging and requiring my team to be inventive and flexible, I love to be able to tell the DIY-minded homeowner that the installation of hanging acoustic panels is easy! If you’re comfortable with a drill and a measuring tape, adding acoustic panels on your own is straightforward and can be done in an afternoon.
To be successful, you need to be prepared, do your research, and know the options for installing the type of panels you’ve chosen for your needs. With that in mind, I’m going to share my knowledge and experience so that you can hang acoustic panels like a professional!
What Are Acoustic Panels?
Acoustic panels are a type of sound-absorbing material (not soundproofing; there is a difference!) that are mounted to a wall or ceiling. Essentially, when sound vibrations hit the acoustic panels, instead of bouncing off they are absorbed, which reduces or outright eliminates reverberations.
Acoustic panels are mounted to improve sound quality, which is achieved by controlling echoes. They are utilized in homes, offices, manufacturing centers, entertainment venues, and more, but they can’t do their job if they don’t have the right installation.
Before Installation – How High to Install Acoustic Panels?
How high to install acoustic panels depends on your unique situation. Generally speaking, the acoustic panels should be placed where they will be hit by sound waves. No matter the situation, just adding acoustic treatment to a space that would benefit from it is a big step. While it certainly will help to put the acoustic panels in the perfect positioning, as long as you follow the general guidelines of placing them at the first reflection of the sound source, sound absorption benefits will be in play.
Let’s look at some examples:
For an office setting, the sound source will be the human voice, so acoustic panels need to be placed at the height of the mouth. Since office workers both sit and stand when speaking, placing panels just low enough to be in front of seated speakers is a good strategy, because the rest of the panel that rises up the wall will take care of any standing speakers.
Churches and Theaters
In situations where sound is emanating from a singular area, such as the dais in the front of a church or the stage at a theater, then acoustic panels should be placed at the sound’s first reflection, or where it hits first. For a raised dais and stage, this will typically be the back wall of the room.
For a studio, typically the operator of the computer or mixing boards is at a desk facing a wall where speakers are set to send sound toward the operator. In this instance, the first reflection point will still be the back wall behind the operator, so that is where the acoustic panels should be hung.
Something to Keep in Mind – Acoustic Panels Will Be Seen to Do Their Job Effectively
Sometimes customers ask if the panels can be placed somewhere so they don’t disturb the visual aesthetic of the room. As can be understood from the above, acoustic panels need to be where the sound is, and that’s generally where you are. This is why there is a broad availability of aesthetic options with acoustic panels so that you can select the right one for your setting.
How to Properly Hang Acoustic Panels
The most important factor to consider is the wall material to which you’ll be mounting. You might run into concrete, drywall, wood, or plaster. (Plaster is especially common in older homes, and it’s tricky for mounting.) There are countless materials to which you might mount the panel, but in general, there are three main mounting clips.
A quick hint before starting: Smaller panels can be hung by a single person, but regardless of the size, it will be much easier to complete the installation if you have two people. For example, one can hold the panel while another marks the wall. I always prefer to work with a team member when hanging acoustic panels!
Impaling clips are glued, screwed, or nailed to a wall, then an acoustic panel is firmly pressed and impaled onto the clip’s spikes, which gives the adhesive time to dry. The purpose of the clips is not to hold the panels permanently, but to hold the panels while the construction adhesive sets.
- First, you should determine where you want the panel to sit by holding it against the wall. Then mark the corners or edges along the top, bottom, and sides.
- Remove the panel, then glue, screw, or nail the impaling clips inside the space where the panel will rest. Screws provide the best hold, and placement near the four corners of the panel is preferred, but they should be six inches from the outer edge.
- Now apply a generous amount of construction adhesive to the back of the fabric and hold it against the wall, lining it up with the previous marks.
- Firmly press the panel onto the clips’ spikes and squeeze the glue so it spreads out.
- This is one of the easiest methods, as you only need to mark the panel location and place the clips in a general area. They don’t have to be perfectly aligned, which leaves more room for error.
Z-clips are an effective way to create a firm, lasting hold, but they are a two-part system that requires perfect alignment between clips mounted to the panel and clips mounted to the wall. They come with factory-mounted clips on the panel, as well as additional clips for the wall, which are supplied with the order.
The main advantage is that the panels are removable. In many ways, this is the only “temporary” method, although screw holes will remain in the wall.
- The first step is to determine where you want the panel to rest on the wall.
- Next, determine the clip location along the wall. This can be done by measuring the back of the panels and transferring the measurements to the wall. It’s usually best to create two wall reference lines for the top and bottom rows of clips.
- Secure the z-clips with the appropriate fasteners.
- Once the wall clips are in place, lift the panels so the clips align and slide downward.
You will need to measure the backside of the panel and accurately mark the location of the panels, so this process is a little more complex and more likely to cause a mistake. That’s why I usually recommend other methods when homeowners are considering mounting their own panels.
Installing a panel with Rotofast anchors is also fairly easy. The clips are attached to the back of the panel and pressed onto a screw that is placed in the wall. Although they need to be aligned, there is a process for perfectly marking the locations.
How to Install an Acoustic Panel with Rotofast Snap-On Anchors:
- Most of the time, the anchors are already mounted at the factory. However, you may need to install the anchors to the back of a panel using a hex screw bit. The anchors have screw threading that drives into the panel.
- Next, insert the marking plugs into the anchors with the plug point facing away from the anchors.
- Hold the panel exactly where it will be mounted and press firmly into the wall. This will leave small marks for screws.
- At the marked locations, screw the ratchets into the wall using the correct anchors. EZ anchors are provided for drywall, but you may need a different fastener. (Also, be sure to note the direction of the ratchet for proper placement.)
- Finally, you can firmly press the panel onto the ratchets, making sure to align the screws with the Rotofast anchors.
Just like that, you’ll have acoustic panels properly installed in your home or office.
Trust in Acoustical Solutions for the Best in Acoustic Panels
Acoustic panels to control reverberation are absolutely essential for any situation where you’d like to control reverberation and echo, leading to cleaner sound. Whether in an office, church, studio, arena, or even just a living room, adding acoustic panels can dramatically improve sound quality, something we cannot live without!!
At Acoustical Solutions, our mission is to offer both the homeowner and professionals with the best modern acoustic panels to bring their acoustic vision to life. Contact me today to find the best acoustic panels for your home or business.
To learn more about how Acoustical Solutions can solve your noise control problems, use our contact form, call one of our Acoustical Sales Consultants at (800) 782-5742, or visit us on the web at acousticalsolutions.com.