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Ceilings – General

What are Armstrong ceilings made of?

Mineral fiber ceilings are between 24% to 95% recycled materials and contain renewable/natural materials like starch, perlite (a form of natural glass), and clay.

Note: Insulation behind fire-rated ceilings without prior approval from your building code official is a no-no. Also, putting insulation on the back of fiberglass panels is discouraged.

Will the ceiling sag over time?

No. If properly installed under the right conditions (no excessive humidity, etc.), they’ll be just fine. We recommend superior sag/mold/mildew resistant panels or fiberglass panels for places with high or seasonal humidity but not where there’s continuous moisture (shower rooms, swimming pool areas, etc.).

Do Armstrong ceilings protect against the spread of fire?

Yes, they meet Class A flame-spread ratings.

If my ceiling question is not listed here, how can I get an answer?

Will your ceiling tiles improve my acoustics?

Most suspended ceiling tiles (unless they are very specialized and expensive) will not noticeably change in-room acoustics (NRC) or reduce the amount of pass-through noise (STC) in your home or business. But we do have options that dramatically improve the acoustical performance of any drop ceiling. And when paired with the right tiles, ta-da! A budget-friendly, beautiful acoustical ceiling.

Check out our Acoustics page for an in-depth explanation and exploration.

Ceiling Mantenance

How can I replace a damaged tile?

Our Identify My Ceiling tool can help you ID it and suggest replacements.

How do I clean my mineral fiber ceiling?

It's just as easy to clean as painted drywall ceilings. But there are a few steps to making sure it looks good and keeps working right.

First, use a vacuum cleaner with one of those special upholstery/wall attachments to suck up dust and loose dirt. Only clean in one direction so you don’t rub dust in.

Next, remove pencil marks, smudges, or clinging dirt with a regular art gum eraser. A good grade wall cleaner will also work. Make sure it’s fresh though!

Finally, wipe down with a moist cloth or a damp sponge and mild soap using as little water as possible. Any leftover film can be wiped off with a cloth or sponge and clean water.

Check out our guide to cleaning ceiling tiles here.

How do I clean my fiberglass ceiling?

It’s less affected by moisture so it’ll stand up to repeated washings with mild detergents or germicidal cleaners.

Check out our guide to cleaning ceiling tiles here.

Ceiling Installation

Can I install an Armstrong ceiling as a Do-It-Yourself project?

Sure! Drop ceiling installation is a task for experienced do-it-yourselfers. Direct-apply options are a little easier. Click here for drop ceiling installation instructions.

Do I need to install insulation between floors?

Most ceilings are installed between floors that are about the same temperature so it’s not necessary. Plus, most basements are partly heated through the ceiling so insulating the basement ceiling could actually do the opposite of what you intended.

Can I put insulation on the back of an Armstrong ceiling?

Yes, but ONLY on Armstrong suspended ceiling panels that are at least 5/8" thick and using rolled insulation. Install it perpendicular to the cross tees so that the weight is on the suspended grid system and there’s air space between the insulation and the panel. Ask your dealer for specific details/instructions.

NOTE: Insulation must never be put behind fire-rated ceilings unless designated in a UL design assembly. Backloading fiberglass panels is not recommended.

What is the minimum overhead distance required for a new suspended ceiling?

A minimum of 3-in of overhead clearance is required. Additional height might be necessary for any utilities above.

Should ceiling materials adjust to room conditions (temperature and humidity) before installation?

Yes. Unpack everything at least 24 hours before installation to get it acclimatized. Do NOT install if the room is excessively humid. See specific product instructions for best results.

Can ceilings be installed over embedded radiant-heat coil ceilings?

No. Not only will you mess with the heating, your ceiling will no longer be stable.

How do I choose the right ceiling tile for my installation?

Lucky for you, our Ceiling Replacement Wizard [/ceiling-match-wizard] can help you figure out what you need. After a few quick questions, we give you recommendations and can help you with your order and with installation.

Can your tiles be installed in humid or wet locations?

Definitely. Look for products on the site marked with "Sag/Humidity Resistance" which are designed to stand up to humid spaces and not sag or mold.

How do I cut and trim my tiles for use along ceiling borders?

It’s easy. Just watch our videos for step-by-step instructions.

Ceiling Lighting

Can existing light fixtures be used with a new ceiling?

Yes, but you might have to remove the fixtures to do the install and put them back in after.

How many fluorescent lighting fixtures will I need for a new ceiling if they serve as my main source of light for my room?

Rule of thumb for 4’ fluorescent tube light fixtures is two for every 75 square feet of suspended ceiling.

Can a hanging or swab lamp be used with an Armstrong ceiling?

Yes if it’s supported by an existing structure.

How do I install recessed lighting?

Our lightweight tile makes this easy to do. Watch the video for instructions. Basically, you’ll have to remove the tile from the grid, measure, cut a hole, install the grid-mounted light fixture, re-install tile, then finish with trim ring. The end.

Ceiling Painting

Can Armstrong ceilings be painted?

All tiles and panels (except fiberglass) are OK with latex paints. The front and back of 24-in x 24-in and 24-in x 48-in panels should both be painted.

But please note, we can’t guarantee the surface-burning characteristics, fire-resistance ratings, acoustical performance, dimensional stability/sag, or light reflectance will stay the same after repainting. So basically, painting voids the warranty.

Can I paint the ceiling grid?

Sure. Latex or water-based paints are recommended. Use a 1/4" nap paint roller and apply two coats of paint, waiting 24 hours between coats.

A word of caution: we cannot guarantee that the surface burning characteristics, fire resistance ratings, acoustical performance, dimensional stability/sag, or light reflectance will remain the same after repainting. So painting will void the warranty.

Will painting acoustical ceilings affect acoustic efficiency?

There should only be a slight loss provided you use non-bridging paint which doesn’t cover the holes.

Indoor Air Quality

Are Armstrong ceilings safe to install and use?

Yes. Studies show that exposure during conventional installation is below the standards for nuisance and substances like dust. Power tools should be equipped with special dust collection devices and workers should wear the appropriate NIOSH-designated respirators. Once installed, there’s no risk at all.

Do Armstrong ceiling products contain mineral wool? If so, do these products represent a health risk?

Some do, but there’s no risk. Studies submitted to the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration ("OSHA") showed that exposure to mineral wool during a typical installation is significantly below the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of one fiber per cubic centimeter.

Do Armstrong ceiling products contain silica? If so, do these products represent a health risk?

Most Armstrong mineral wool ceilings contain silica, but there’s no risk. The only foreseeable problem is during installation via power tools. That’s why we recommend a dust respirator and a dust collection device.

Do Armstrong ceiling products release formaldehyde? If so, do they represent a health hazard?

Certain materials might release small amounts of formaldehyde during installation, but the manufacturing process drives most of it off. With proper ventilation, any residual formaldehyde released during installation disappears quickly and is way below permissible exposure levels established by the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

We even have a special coating on some items called AirGuard, which actively removed formaldehyde from indoor air once installed.

Do Armstrong fiberglass ceiling products represent a health hazard?

Proven through occupational studies of fiberglass workers by independent researchers over the last 50 years, there’s no risk. But if power tools are used during installation, they should be equipped with special dust collection devices and workers should wear NIOSH-designated respirators. There might be skin irritation during installation but it stops when there’s no physical contact.

Has there been a recent favorable change in the ruling regarding the health aspects and classification of fibrous glass, mineral and slag wool?

In October 2001, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) re-evaluated the 1988 IARC assessment of fibrous glass, rock, and slag wool fibers and downgraded them from Group 2B (possible carcinogen) to Group 3 (not classified as to carcinogenicity in humans). All Armstrong ceiling products fall under Group 3.

Are respirable fibers released during general maintenance activities that would require the disturbance/removal of the OPTIMA High-NRC product?

Tests were done to measure respirable fibers after the installation, removal/reinstallation of Hi-LR OPTIMA fiberglass. Every time, the results of monitoring* after one hour and 24 hours came back clean.

*Large chamber protocol followed the guidelines of ASTM Standard D5116. The dynamic chamber was operated at one air change per hour and 23×C and 50% relative humidity.
Fiber counts were conducted in accordance with NIOSH Method 7400B.

Are respirable fibers released during general maintenance activities that would require the disturbance/removal of the CIRRUS product?

In tests to detect respirable fibers after the installation, removal/reinstallation of the CIRRUS mineral fiber product, the results of monitoring* one hour and 24 hours proved that none were released.

*Large chamber protocol followed the guidelines of ASTM Standard D5116. The dynamic chamber was operated at one air change per hour and 23×C and 50% relative humidity.
Fiber counts were conducted in accordance with NIOSH Method 7400B.

Cleaning

How do I find replacement tiles?

Our replacement finder walks you step by step through the replacement process. Easy peasy!

How do you clean Armstrong ceilings?

Every product is different so check our Cleaning Methods guide for best recommendations.

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