By combining cement with wooden board, Hunter Douglas Architectural has created an architectural “best of both worlds”. Concrete is one of the most commonly used building materials in our modern built environment and although it is a versatile material, it offers very little sound absorption. Hunter Douglas Architectural has solved this issue with its new Concrete line, meaning it is now possible to create a beautiful, industrial look for walls and ceilings, without compromising the acoustic quality of a space.
Concrete Veneer is an innovative product that combines a perforated core plate with a finely perforated 1.5 mm cement top layer. It looks exactly like a conventional concrete product, but can absorb ambient noise perfectly – without using additional sound-absorbing materials, it has an acoustic value of NRC 0.65, which makes it particularly suited to large public buildings, such as conference and theatre halls, offices, airports or train stations. Concrete Veneer is available in five different styles, varying in colour and structure.
“Best of both worlds”
Chris Wielenga, Business Manager Wood, said Hunter Douglas Architectural has achieved a “best of both worlds” with its new the new wall and ceilings product.
“Concrete is very popular when an industrial, robust look is pursued,” he said. “But one of the disadvantages is that concrete is a hard material that reflects sound waves, making it disastrous for the acoustics in a room.
“Concrete Veneer solves this problem because it is a perforated wooden plate with a thin layer of cement. This cement layer has nano-perforations, which can hardly be seen with the naked eye, but which allow the sound waves to pass through. These are then absorbed by the acoustic non-woven on the back of the panel. This preserves the concrete look, with the added benefit of good acoustics. And that is a unique combination.”
The perforated panels provide acoustic absorption according to aw 0.50, NRC 0.65 and SAA 0.64. The nano-perforations are microscopic perforations at Ø 0.5mm, which enable high acoustic performance without compromising the aesthetic quality.
“In terms of appearance, Concrete Veneer cannot be distinguished from ‘real’ concrete, simply because the top layer actually consists of at least 85% cement,” said Chris. “And because the panels are available in five different colours and textures, there is always a match with the concrete that emerges in the construction project.”
Concrete Veneer is composed of sustainable materials, with MDF, the wood core material, being certified with the FSC quality mark.
Easy to attach
By combining MDF board and a thin layer of cement Concrete Veneer is relatively lightweight and easy to fix.
“With the supplied profiles, the custom-made panels can easily be placed on the wall,” said Chris. “Standard metal T-profiles are used for ceiling applications. In both cases, the panels are easily demountable if access to the cavity or plenum is required. Any local operations can be carried out with ordinary woodworking tools.”
Being lightweight also helps with the installation: the perforated panels weigh only 12 kg/m2, while the non-perforated version weighs15 kg/m2,
Different colours and textures
Concrete Veneer is unique in several ways, said Chris.
“The material clearly distinguishes itself from other products on the market, often trying to achieve a concrete look with melamine or HPL decors,” he explained.
“Because Concrete Veneer consists of an actual layer of cement, it is virtually indistinguishable from ‘real’ concrete in terms of colour, texture and being cold to the touch. And in the end, that has also been one of the goals of developing this unique product: to create a seamless, concrete panel, in combination with unparalleled acoustic properties.”
Concrete Veneer is available in five different colours: from natural white to dark graphite. Chris said the range of colours was chosen to complement to a number of common concrete styles.
“By offering these five colours and their unique textures, we offer a colour palette with which Concrete Veneer can be matched with as many common concrete types as possible,” he added.
Concrete Veneer is available in both wall and ceiling panels and consists of 16mm fire-retardant MDF with a cement layer of 1.5mm. The product is available in both perforated and non-perforated version.
The perforated version has a layer of acoustic non-woven, which creates a high degree of acoustic absorption.