Decorative Acoustic Panels Covered in Fabric

Decorative Acoustic Panels

Acoustic panels help reduce unwanted reflected sound in any room of your home or building. Until recently, however, many people were confined to utilitarian panels that didn’t do much for the rest of the décor. With decorative acoustic panels in your home or office, you can make a statement while you insulate for sound at the same time.

Sound absorption panels trap acoustical energy (sound) and prevent it from reflecting off of the surfaces they cover.  The panels are used to eliminate echoes and reflections that muddle or color amplified music and speech.  These wall panels will also reduce reverberation levels in a room, which can sometimes provide ambient noise reduction. Suitable applications for sound absorption panels include improving surround-sound imaging and clarity for dvd/blu ray movies, sports, or video games in a home theater, reducing chatter and noise in crowded gathering spaces, restaurants, or bars, or providing more accurate listening conditions in recording studios and control rooms.

The essence of a good acoustic panel is the guts, the sound-absorbing core material which usually consists of a type of foam, or bonded acoustical cotton, cellulose-based materials or expanded polypropylene. That material still needs to be covered when it gets mounted on the wall. There’s no reason why the final product shouldn’t look stylish.

The purpose of the fabric cover is to give the panel a handsome, decorative appearance. To ensure that sound penetrates through to your fiberglass insulation rather than reflects off the surface, you must ensure that your fabric is acoustically transparent.  A simple way to test this is to hold the fabric to your mouth and exhale through it.  You will sense a level of airflow resistance through the fabric.  Select a material with very little resistance.  Solid vinyl, leather, or acrylic-backed fabric is not acceptable for this application.

Things to consider when you’re selecting your fabric cover; it must be “breathable” and sound-transparent. Ensure that the core of your panel is not visible through the fabric. Finally, Beware that fabric with visual patterns will be tricky to line up squarely when stretched over the wood frame.

If you’d like to talk to one of our experts for choosing the right fabric for your acoustic panel project, contact us. Our knowledgeable staff is always happy to help.