Installing Adhesively Applied Acoustical Ceiling Tiles
- CSI Division:
- Division 9 - Finishes
- Adhesive Applied Acoustical Ceilings
- Last Modified:
Technical Procedures Disclaimer
Prior to inclusion in GSA’s library of procedures, documents are reviewed by one or more qualified preservation specialists for general consistency with the Secretary of Interior Standards for rehabilitating historic buildings as understood at the time the procedure is added to the library. All specifications require project-specific editing and professional judgement regarding the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers are to serve as a general guideline and do not constitute a federal endorsement or determination that a product or method is the best or most current alternative, remains available, or is compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards. The library of procedures is intended to serve as a resource, not a substitute, for specification development by a qualified preservation professional.
We’ve reviewed these procedures for general consistency with federal standards for rehabilitating historic buildings and provide them only as a reference. Specifications should only be applied under the guidance of a qualified preservation professional who can assess the applicability of a procedure to a particular building, project or location. References to products and suppliers serve as general guidelines and do not constitute a federal endorsement nor a determination that a product or method is the best alternative or compliant with current environmental regulations and safety standards.
INSTALLING ADHESIVELY APPLIED ACOUSTICAL CEILING TILES
THOUGH THE INSTALLATION OF ADHESIVELY APPLIED ACOUSTICAL CEILING
TILES IN HISTORIC BUILDINGS IS NOT IN GENERAL CONFORMANCE WITH THE
SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR'S GUIDELINES, IT WAS A COMMON PRACTICE IN
MANY BUILDINGS, PRE-DATING THE SUSPENDED CEILING SYSTEMS COMMONLY
USED TODAY. BOTH OF THESE SYSTEMS WERE POPULAR FOR THEIR SOUND-
ABSORBING CHARACTERISTICS. THIS TYPE OF WORK SHOULD ONLY BE
PERFORMED IN A MANNER WHICH CAUSES MINIMAL DAMAGE TO THE EXISTING
HISTORIC FABRIC AND IS REVERSIBLE.
A. This procedure includes guidance on installing acoustical
tile ceilings, adhered to a substrate such as concrete or
plaster. Such tiles were often retrofitted into existing
spaces before the advent of the "suspended grid"
acoustical tile ceilings, but are generally out of favor
at the present time.
B. This product, though generally not recommended has some
advantages over the "suspended grid", especially in
spaces where detailing in the upper portion of the room
contributes to the character of the space and would
otherwise be obscured by a drop ceiling. Some advantages
include 1) minimal reduction in the ceiling height, and
2) retention of detailing such as ceiling cornices,
picture molding, door transoms and other distinctive
ornament. These character-defining aspects of a space
are often adversely impacted by the installation of
suspended ceiling systems.
C. See 01100-07-S for general project guidelines to be
reviewed along with this procedure. These guidelines
cover the following sections:
1. Safety Precautions
2. Historic Structures Precautions
4. Quality Assurance
5. Delivery, Storage and Handling
6. Project/Site Conditions
7. Sequencing and Scheduling
8. General Protection (Surface and Surrounding)
These guidelines should be reviewed prior to performing
this procedure and should be followed, when applicable,
along with recommendations from the Regional Historic
Preservation Officer (RHPO).
A. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM)
1.03 SYSTEM DESCRIPTION
A. Performance Requirements:
1. Fire Performance Characteristics: Provide
acoustical ceilings that are identical to those
tested for the following fire performance
characteristics, per ASTM test method indicated
below, by UL or other testing and inspecting
organizations acceptable to authorities having
jurisdiction. Identify acoustical ceiling
components with appropriate markings of applicable
testing and inspecting organization.
a. Surface Burning Characteristics: As follows,
tested per ASTM E84 and complying with ASTM
E1264 for Class A products.
1) Flame Spread: 25 or less.
2) Smoke Developed: 50 or less.
A. Product Data: Submit product data for each type of
B. Samples: Samples of each type of exposed finish
required, prepared on samples of each size indicated
below and of same thickness and material indicated for
final unit of work. Where finishes involve normal color
and texture variations, include sample sets showing full
range of variations expected.
1. Full-size samples of each tile type, pattern, and
2. Set of 12-inch-long samples of exposed moldings for
each color and system type required.
1.05 QUALITY ASSURANCE
1. Installer Qualifications: Engage an experienced
installer who has successfully completed acoustical
ceilings similar in material, design, and extend to
that indicated for project.
2. Single-Source Responsibility for Ceiling Units:
Obtain each type of acoustical ceiling unit from a
single source with resources to provide products of
consistent quality in appearance and physical
properties without delaying progress of the work.
1.06 DELIVERY, STORAGE AND HANDLING
A. Packing and Shipping: Deliver acoustical ceiling units
to project site in original, unopened packages and store
them in a fully enclosed space where they will be
protected against damage from moisture, direct sunlight,
surface contamination, and other causes.
B. Acceptance at Site: Handle acoustical ceiling units
carefully to avoid chipping edges or damaging units in
any way. Materials which have been damaged shall be
replaced with new at no additional cost.
C. Storage and Protection: Extra Materials: Deliver extra
materials to contracting officer. Furnish extra
materials described below that match products installed,
are packaged with protective covering for storage, and
are identified with appropriate labels.
1. Acoustical Ceiling Units: Furnish quantity of
full-size units equal to 2.0 percent of amount
1.07 PROJECT/SITE CONDITIONS
A. Environmental Requirements:
1. Space Enclosure: Do not install interior
acoustical ceilings until space is enclosed and
weatherproof, wet work in space is completed and
nominally dry, work above ceilings is complete, and
ambient conditions of temperature and humidity will
be continuously maintained at values near those
indicated for final occupancy.
2. Before installing acoustical ceiling units, permit
them to reach room temperature and a stabilized
1.08 SEQUENCING AND SCHEDULING
A. Coordination of Work: Coordinate layout and installation
of acoustical ceiling units and suspension system
components with other construction that penetrates
ceilings or is supported by them, including light
fixtures, HVAC equipment, fire-suppression system
components, and partition system.
A. Armstrong World Industries, Inc.
B. Celotex Corporation
C. USG, Inc.
A. Acoustical Ceiling Tiles - Mineral-Base, Water Felted
such as "Travertone Fissured" (Armstrong World
Industries, Inc.), "Celotone Natural Fissured" (Celotex
Corp.), "Acoustone F Fissured" (USG Interiors, Inc.), or
1. Provide manufacturers' standard units of
configuration indicated that comply with ASTM E1264
classifications as designated by reference to
types, patterns, acoustical ratings, and light
reflectances, unless otherwise indicated.
2. Provide products to match appearance
characteristics: For acoustical ceiling units
whose appearance characteristics are indicated by
reference to ASTM E1264 designations for pattern
and not by limiting to the naming of one or more
products or manufacturers, provide Architect's
selections from each named manufacturer's full
range of standard products of type, color, pattern,
and light reflectance indicated.
B. Tile Adhesive: ASTM D1779, type as recommended by tile
manufacturer, bearing UL label for Class O - 25 flame
C. Concealed Acoustical Sealant: Nondrying, nonhardening,
nonskinning, nonstaining, nonbleeding, gunnable sealant.
A. Examine substrates and structural framing to which
ceiling system attaches or abuts, with installer present,
for compliance with requirements specified in this and
other sections that affect installation and anchorage of
ceiling system. Do not proceed with installation until
unsatisfactory conditions have been corrected.
A. Testing Substrates: Before installing adhesively applied
tile on wet-placed substrates such as cast-in-place
concrete or plaster, test and verify that moisture level
is below tile manufacturer's recommended limits.
B. Measure each ceiling area and establish layout of
acoustical units to balance border widths at opposite
edges of each ceiling. Avoid use of less-than-half-width
units at borders, and comply with reflected ceiling
3.03 ERECTION, INSTALLATION, APPLICATION
A. Arrange acoustical units and orient directionally
patterned units (if any) in manner shown by reflected
1. Install tile with pattern running in one direction.
2. Install tile with pattern running in alternating
directions to form checkerboard layout.
B. Install edge moldings of type indicated at perimeter of
acoustical ceiling area and at locations where necessary
to conceal edges of acoustical units.
1. Sealant Bed: Apply continuous ribbon of acoustical
sealant, concealed on back of vertical leg before
2. Screw-attach moldings to substrate at intervals not
over 16 inches o.c. and not more than 3 inches from
ends, leveling with ceiling suspension system to
tolerance of 1/8 inch in 12'-0". Miter corners
accurately and connect securely.
C. Install acoustical tile by cementing to substrate, using
amount of adhesive and procedure recommended by tile
manufacturer including removal of loose dust from backs
of tiles by brushing and then priming them with thin coat
of adhesive. Install splines in joints between tiles and
level to 1/8 inch in 12'-0" tolerance. Maintain tight
butt joints, aligned both directions, and coordinated
with ceiling fixtures. Scribe and cut tile to fit
accurately at ceiling edges and penetrations.
A. Clean exposed surfaces of acoustical ceilings, including
trim, edge moldings, and suspension members. Comply with
manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and touch-up of
minor finish damage. Remove and replace work that cannot
be successfully cleaned and repaired to permanently
eliminate evidence of damage.