When choosing acoustic panels, it’s natural to focus on their look and feel. However, before you begin on this aspect of product selection, let’s start with the fundamentals – the substrate.

Architects, designers and builders must choose the right substrate for the task, selecting an option that achieves optimal results acoustically and aesthetically, and has appropriate fire ratings.

Acoustic panels have four main components:

  1. The substrate, or material they are made out of
  2. The perforations such as holes or slot that allow the sound to penetrate through
  3. The finish – the decorative surface, such as timber veneers or paint
  4. Acoustic backing – the material used to reduce or absorb noise

Understanding the importance of substrates

Substrates play a pivotal role in the success of any interior acoustic project. They provide different possibilities when it comes to acoustic panels while affecting their sound-absorbing and sound-diffusing properties. The right substrate can enhance the performance of acoustics, contributing to better sound control, improved speech intelligibility, and reduced noise reverberation.

Factors to consider when choosing substrates:

  1. Acoustic performance: Different substrates have varying acoustic properties, affecting how sound is absorbed and diffused within a space. Consider the desired acoustic goals of the project and choose a substrate that aligns with those objectives.
  2. Environmental compatibility: The chosen substrate should be compatible with the intended installation location. Plaster shouldn’t be used in high-humidity environments, for example.
  3. Durability and longevity: Substrates should be durable and able to withstand the demands of the environment in which they will be installed. Factors such as potential physical impacts should be considered.
  4. Aesthetics and design: Substrates can influence the visual appeal of the space. Choose substrates that complement the overall design theme and contribute to the desired interior aesthetics.

Common substrate options:

  1. Plasterboard: Plasterboard is a popular substrate choice due to its versatility and availability. It provides a smooth and even surface while offering ease of installation.
  2. Plywood: Plywood substrates are known for their stability and strength. They can be used in various applications and are particularly suitable for areas where a natural wood finish is desired.
  3. MDF (Medium Density Fibreboard): MDF substrates offer a smooth surface and consistent density, making them suitable for achieving precise acoustic performance. They can be easily shaped and finished to meet design requirements.
  4. Cementitious boards (Fibre Cement Sheeting): Cementitious boards are fire-resistant and moisture-resistant, making them suitable for demanding environments such as wet areas or fire-rated applications.

Atkar's expertise in substrate selection

At Atkar, we bring decades of experience and expertise to the realm of architectural acoustics. Our team of professionals understands the intricate balance between performance and design, and we're dedicated to helping you make informed substrate choices that align with your project's goals. With an extensive range of acoustic panels and linings, we offer adaptable and high performing substrate selections, ensuring optimal acoustic results and design cohesion.

In conclusion, the selection of the right substrate for internal acoustic linings is a crucial step in achieving exceptional acoustic performance and design excellence. By considering factors such as acoustic goals, material compatibility, installation ease, durability, and aesthetics, you can make an informed choice that sets the foundation for a comfortable and acoustically pleasing space. At Atkar, we're committed to assisting you throughout this process, offering a range of high-quality products and expert guidance to ensure your project's success.