"Acoustic" popcorn ceilings - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 03-28-2007, 04:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Why are popcorn ceilings often called "acoustic ceilings"? Do they have acoustically absorbent or diffusive properties?

Yes, the place I moved into last year has popcorn ceilings, even though it was built only about 4 years ago.
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post #2 of 8 Old 03-28-2007, 08:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hdmi4ever View Post

Why are popcorn ceilings often called "acoustic ceilings"? Do they have acoustically absorbent or diffusive properties?

No, a typical popcorn ceiling is acoustically identical to a flat painted ceiling. There might be a tiny amount of diffusion at 30 KHz though.

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post #3 of 8 Old 03-28-2007, 08:08 PM
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There is a special kind of popcorn texture which is made from acoustically absorptive material, and which will absorb some part of the first-bounce of mid-to-high frequencies. You can't paint those ceilings, though, or they'll lose their quality. Basically, it's a lamer, different-looking version of ceiling tiles. It's not going to do anything to control boominess in a room.

However, if your house has painted popcorn, it's not the acoustical kind, and it's not going to do anything at all, as Ethan says.
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post #4 of 8 Old 03-28-2007, 10:30 PM
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That's disappointing. Thankfully I don't have them in my current house, but I used to have them in my condo. Now I know that besides looking ugly and dated, they were also useless.
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post #5 of 8 Old 03-29-2007, 03:56 AM
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Yes, not all popcorn ceilings are not created equally. They can absorb sound. But there is a lot of variation, and the materials used to obtain the texture has changed over the years. Perhaps the most effective ones were made with asbestos!

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post #6 of 8 Old 02-25-2012, 07:40 AM
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I'm going to revive this dead thread.
I currently have popcorn ceilings in my place. A flood has caused much damage and the insurance will be replacing them.

I've read that the more common replacement, knockdown, causes sound to travel through a place much more than popcorn ceilings do.

If not all popcorn ceilings are equal, can anyone recommend a type that does have favorable properties?

I don't want to put knockdown in and have my sound suddenly muddy.

--
(this space for rent)
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-25-2012, 09:36 AM
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I never heard of knockdown, but Google showed me some photos of a slightly textured ceiling. None of these slight textures have any acoustical effect at all. Not even a little. So do whatever you think looks better.

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post #8 of 8 Old 02-25-2012, 10:54 AM
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Once painted, any small differences between textures are moot. The diffraction offered by different textures might be a factor, but again a very small one.

Given the issues presented by "popcorn" type textures, which have just been demonstrated following water damage, it's hardly worth messing around with.

A few absorption panels attached to the new ceiling would offer a great deal more benefit. But, if the rest of the room is adequately treated, it's still a relatively small benefit. Worrying about just one of six surfaces is mis-directed energy.
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