Choosing the Best Fabric for Your Acoustic Panels
You have several options when it comes to covering your acoustic panels but depending on whether you are looking to cover a few panels in your basement theater or to fill an auditorium, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind when choosing which material, you want to cover the acoustic panels with.
As you know the work of absorbing sound in the room is being handled by the acoustic panels, so you might be asking what the purpose of the fabric might be? Well the fabric is there to help make the room look great, but there is a little more to it than just choosing the acoustic fabric based on aesthetics alone. You must keep in mind that you don’t want the fabric to get in the way of what the acoustic panel is there to do. The sound needs to be able to pass right through the fabric and into the acoustic material behind it. If the fabric is reflecting the sound back into the room, your acoustic panels are not doing the job they are intended to do.
For example, polyester and polypropylene (a type of olefin) work well on vertical surfaces, but fabric made from nylon is a poor choice because it absorbs and retains too much moisture. This means that it will start to sag and look terrible as soon as the humidity levels get too high. That is why none of our Acoustic textiles are made of nylon.
One other consideration is flammability. In a lot of applications, a fabric being used on vertical surfaces must pass the ASTM E84 Tunnel Test. Basically the test is determining how much smoke is created when the fabric is burned and how quickly (or sometimes not at all) the fabric burns and how much flame is produced. These are important factors when you think about a room full of people. Is there toxic smoke and the fire spreading too quickly for people to exit the building? Clearly not a good situation.
Fabric Finishes for Acoustical Panels
Your acoustical panel finish choices are endless. Choose your own material, or here are some links provided to a few of our recommended textile manufacturers for your fabric selection. Please note not all fabrics are suitable for premium acoustical performance.