Using Aluminum Hat Channel to Hang Acoustic Tile and Panels

When it comes to putting up acoustic panels or ceiling tile, aluminum channel, particularly hat channel, can be very helpful. This extruded aluminum product is the perfect shape to allow the tiles to be hung on it or to allow the panels to be attached to it. The product can save a lot of time and expense on an install, and help the finished room to look its best.

About Aluminum Hat Channel

This type of aluminum channel is called “Hat Channel” because the cross-section looks like a top hat with a central “U” shape with flared ends. It is an extruded aluminum product, which means that it is created by a process in which an aluminum billet is heated and forced through a die shaped like a top hat. The long aluminum channel that emerges can be cut to whatever lengths are preferred.

Acoustic Drop Ceilings

When companies use hat channel to hang an acoustic drop ceiling, they first create a grid using the aluminum channel. The idea is to have squares as big as the acoustic tiles, so in some cases that’s 2’x2′ and in others it’s 2’x4′. The hat channel is installed with the bottom of the “U” facing upward and the flared ends at the bottom. This allows the tiles to rest on the flared ends. In many cases, an installer will not even use an adhesive, but simply let gravity hold the tile on the aluminum hat channel.

Acoustic Wall Panels

When wall panels are installed, aluminum channel is sometimes used as an alternative to aluminum Z Clips and Panel Rails. For a panel installation involving aluminum channel, the hat channel would be fixed to the wall with nails or screws. It can be attached to the wall with the flange side in or flange side out, depending on the preference of the installer. The acoustic panels are then affixed to whichever side of the channel is facing out from the wall. One of the most popular methods of affixing the panels to the channel is to drill holes in both pieces and then use pop rivets to hold them in place.

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