Frequently Asked Questions

ACOUSTICS 101: The Basics of Sound

What testing is important when measuring the performance of an acoustical system? 

To understand how a material would perform in an actual installed environment, seek a product’s third party test data for the ASTM-C423 standard. BASWA Systems have been tested using ASTM-C423 A & E Mounting in order to give the most accurate indication of its performance characteristics in multiple installation conditions. Uniquely, BASWA systems are acoustically consistent in performance, despite differing installation conditions from project to project, due to its simplistic system installation requirements. Learn more about how BASWA Systems perform

Can walls or ceilings be soundproofed with BASWA Systems? What is the difference between sound absorption and sound transmission?

In truth, very little is sound "proof." However, excellent sound control can be achieved with the right product. If you want to reduce the noise level in a room, add sound absorption. If you want to reduce the transmission of noise from one room to another, add high sound transmission loss values to your walls, ceilings, and floors. BASWA Phon can add 5-7 points to STC rated wall or ceiling, in conjunction with products specifically developed for managing sound transmission. The STC (Sound Transmission Class) is a single-number rating of an assembly's ability to resist airborne sound transfer. In general, a higher CAC Rating or STC rating blocks more noise from transmitting through a partition.

Learn more about sound absorption versus soundproofing.

How do BASWA Phon and other BASWA Systems work?

High frequency sound absorption is accomplished by allowing sound wave energy to pass through the micro-porous finished surface of a BASWA System, thereafter dissipating into heat energy in the mineral wool panel. When low frequencies hit a BASWA System, the surface vibrates like a diaphragm. These vibrations are then converted to heat energy as well. BASWA Phon has a noise reduction coefficient rating up to 1.00, unmet by other products. This reduction of mid-range and extreme high or low frequencies allows for clearer sounds in any room, hall, atrium, or auditorium. BASWA Phon absorbs consistently high in all frequencies. Learn more about how BASWA Systems perform.

What is Reverberation / Reverberation Time?

Reverberation is sound resonance, similar to what you might think of as an echo. Reverberation Time (RT) is the time it takes for sound to decay by 60 dB once the source of sound has stopped. Reverberation Time is affected by the size, shape and volume of a space and the amount of reflective surfaces versus the amount of absorptive surfaces within a space. Reverberation has an important impact on speech intelligibility, and can affect safety, learning, or the quality of an everyday conversation.

What is an NRC Rating? What is the difference between NRC, CAC, STC, and IIC Ratings? 

NRC - Noise Reduction Coefficient Rating (NRC Rating): The average of a material’s sound absorption coefficients at 4 frequencies of 250, 500, 1000, 2000 Hertz. This number is between 0 and 1, rounded to the nearest 0.05; zero being perfectly reflective and 1 being completely absorptive. BASWA Systems have NRC Ratings from 0.80 to 1.00.

SAA - Sound Absorption Average (SAA Rating): The average sound absorption at 12 frequencies. This number is between 0 and 1, rounded to the nearest 0.01.

CAC - Ceiling Attenuation Class: The performance of a ceiling system as a barrier to airborne sound transmission through a common plenum between adjacent closed spaces.

STC-  Sound Transmission Class: Integer rating of how well a building partition reduces the amplitude of airborne sounds. Considered when trying to minimize the transfer of sound through a wall between two adjacent spaces.

IIC- Impact Insulation Class: The ability to block impact sound by measuring the resistance to transmission of impact noise or structure-borne noise (ex. objects dropped on the floor)

Learn more about sound absorption versus soundproofing.

What is acoustic / sound absorption?

Sound absorption refers to the process by which a material takes in sound energy when sound waves are encountered, as opposed to reflecting that sound energy. All materials are either acoustically absorbent or reflective. Hard surfaces, such as glass or concrete, tend to be more reflective, while soft surfaces, like furniture, drapery or carpet, are absorptive. Acoustically absorptive materials are typically rated with an NRC Rating. Learn more about acoustics here.

SYSTEMS & SERVICES: BASWA Systems and start-to-finish support services

Can BASWA Finishes be used for image and media projection?

Any BASWA Finishes that are trowel-applied smoothly are great projection surfaces with high light reflectance. Projects utilizing BASWA Systems for projection include multiple Planetariums, museums, and the New World Symphony Hall in Miami. Contact BASWA to get more information for your application.

What is the difference between the standard BASWA Finishes?

BASWA Finishes differ minimally, with the main contrast being the size of marble aggregate. Classic Fine and Fine utilize the finest aggregate and Classic Base, Base, and Frost with a slightly larger aggregate.

Finishes designated with “Classic” are two coat finishes and are ideal for most applications and in areas with high critical lighting. As such a product is hand applied, two-coat systems are best for achieving the smoothest possible finish. 

Learn more here.

Are BASWA Systems suitable for existing spaces that are being renovated? What about historical renovations?

BASWA Phon is an ideal system for existing construction and historical renovations. BASWA Phon can be applied directly to an existing, stable substrate, with the capability of preserving original plaster or encapsulating asbestos. Decorative moulding and hand-painted motifs are possible. Learn more about how BASWA Systems can be applied in Historical Renovations here

Can BASWA Systems be applied on walls?

BASWA Phon Systems can be applied to walls and ceilings, and are great for flat, curved, domed, complex-curved or vaulted surfaces.

Can BASWA Systems be applied in humid areas?

BASWA Systems are great in high humidity environments. BASWA offers system options for ≤75% or ≤95% relative humidity. BASWA Finishes are not water soluble. Past installations include spas, natatoriums, porte-cochères, and covered outdoor spaces. BASWA Phon tested with no mold growth per ASTM D 3273-16. Learn more here.

Can BASWA Finishes match _______ (stone, concrete, custom technique or pattern, etc.)?

BASWA Finish materials are capable of creating infinite custom aesthetics and finishes. Employing creative troweling or spray applying techniques in addition to utilizing the endlessly custom BASWA Colors tint additive or BASWA Shine materials, BASWA systems can be artistically matched to stone or concrete, or a completely unique texture. Learn more here. 

Can BASWA Finishes be applied directly to drywall?

BASWA Finishes can be installed over BASWA Hybrid or directly applied to drywall to allow for the fine tuning of sound within a space, absorbing the high end frequency range. This type of application is best for performance spaces with challenging high frequency regulation needs and will not affect the overall dynamism of the performance. Third party acoustical test data for BASWA Hybrid available upon request.

Can BASWA Systems be installed in any color? Can they be painted? Will it affect the acoustical performance?

BASWA acoustic does not believe owners and designers should be limited in choices of finish colors. BASWA Systems can be finished to match any color or multiple color gradients, tying the finished surfaces into the overall design aesthetic of the space. In no way does the tint affect the acoustical absorption qualities, as these colors are integrally added to the product before application.

If a mural or decorative accent painting is desired, care must be taken to select a paint that is not likely to bridge pores, such as a water based paint. Acoustical ceilings perform through the porosity of their surface and lose their acoustical absorption when painted with traditional paints.

Contact BASWA acoustic to find out more about color and how you can start planning your new finish.

How much does BASWA Phon cost?

BASWA Phon and other BASWA Systems are priced competitively, though some misinformation exists in the market with word-of-mouth pricing figures and product equality. The cost of BASWA Phon varies by project size, system requirements, and location. For accurate, fair pricing of the BASWA Phon system, please contact BASWA acoustic for budget information.

Where can I find details, specifications, SDS, test data, or other technical information?

All technical data for BASWA Phon is available here. If you are in need of specific details or submittal information, please contact BASWA acoustic.

Can BASWA Systems be used as part of a LEED, Well, or sustainability rated project?

BASWA is uniquely mindful of sustainability from product development, raw material sourcing, and manufacturing impact, to the end-user's wellbeing. BASWA strives to standardize wellbeing in all spaces. #HealthyArchitecture   

BASWA systems are VOC-free, Formaldehyde-free, have no LBC Red List violations, high light reflectance and R-values, are 81 - 83% recycled content, and EPD & HPD documented. More information on how BASWA integrates into LEED or Well certified projects is available here.

Will you work directly with my ______ (Architect, Designer, Engineer, Contractor, etc)?

BASWA acoustic has worked with thousands of project teams, architects, and engineers from all over the world. We have the experience to quickly get all required information to a firm as it is needed. Contact BASWA acoustic to discuss your project.

Are BASWA Systems similar to other seamless acoustical products?

BASWA systems are unique in many ways. BASWA acoustic pioneered the seamless acoustical system market, and has set the standard for performance and aesthetics. 

BASWA Systems are not just an acoustical panel or finish with added, disparate, off-the-shelf components, but a complete and fully-tested system that creates a monolithic aesthetic. 

BASWA offers the following qualities:

  • Installation on curved, domed, and compound curved surfaces.
  • Wall or ceiling applications.
  • Ideal for historical renovations, with the capability of preserving original plaster.
  • Standard and custom finishes.
  • Custom color options with uniform installed color.
  • Custom hand-painted motifs and patterns.
  • 1.00 NRC Ratings per ASTM C423, the highest in the market.
  • No mold growth per per ASTM D 3273.
  • No VOC content per CA Dept. of Public Health CDPH/EHLB/Standard Method.
  • Average light reflectance L-value of 0.91 per ASTM E1477-98.
  • Heat-bonded Panels of randomly spun fibers ensure thickness uniformity and structural integrity, and avoid delamination.
  • Panels are factory-coated and sanded, requiring no panel sanding and maintaining undetectable variances. 
  • Installed by local, independent, certified installers.
  • Acoustically monolithic without discoloration from non-acoustically-transparent glues or mechanical fasteners.
  • Ideal for humid environments, with non-water-soluble finishes and mold resistance.
  • Uniquely LEED and Well friendly. 
  • VOC-free, Formaldehyde-free, no LBC Red List violations.
  • High light reflectance and R-values. 
  • 81 - 83% full system recycled content.
  • EPD & HPD documented. 
  • Simple to repair using techniques similar to those used in repairing drywall damage. 
  • Full line of lifespan lengthening products, including BASWA Protect, BASWA Clean, and BASWA Casual. 
  • Typical installation timeline of 4-5 days.
  • Systems require less labor than other systems and pricing is competitive.
  • Materials are stocked and ready for shipment from Cleveland, Ohio.

Where are BASWA Systems available?

BASWA Phon and other BASWA Systems are available globally. Find your local contact.

What type of projects specify BASWA System applications? Is it appropriate for a Private Residence? 

BASWA Systems are installed in a wide variety of project types, from Yale University to the White House, Utah Museum of Natural History to Dallas Cowboys Stadium, and Carnegie Hall to private residences or restaurants. A portfolio of projects that have incorporated BASWA Systems is available here.

Why should I use BASWA Phon over other products?

The beauty of a finish is just as important as the acoustic performance qualities. Where some seamless  acoustic products may come as a formaldehyde-based, soft, puncturable, or have short-lifespans, BASWA Systems create a durable, smooth surface developed for longevity.  BASWA Phon follows the contours of a substrate, curving across domes or across arched ceilings and creates an elegant and effective environment for events, get-togethers and general purpose rooms. In addition to these qualities, BASWA Systems have the following advantages:

  • The original, most-trusted seamless acoustical system.
  • Flat, curved, domed, complex-curved or vaulted wall or ceiling surfaces. 
  • NRC Ratings up to 1.00. Highest performance system on the market.
  • Easily cleaned or repaired.
  • Match any color. Uniform color with no effect on acoustical performance.
  • Swiss engineered components made in the USA.
  • Great in Humid Environments. 
  • Durable marble finishes made with post-consumer crushed marble aggregates.
  • Factory-coated and sanded supporting panels. No onsite panel sanding, delaminating, compressing or future telegraphing seams.
  • 4 - 5 Day Installation, quick drying times
  • Approximately 1.25 - 2.00 lbs/sf.
  • LEED and Well friendly. VOC-free, Formaldehyde-free, no LBC Red List violations, high light reflectance and R-values. 81 - 83% full system recycled content. EPD & HPD documented. 
  • Certified local independent contractors.
  • In stock and ready for immediate delivery.
  • Class A fire rated per ASTM E84.
  • Average light reflectance L-value of 0.91 per ASTM E1477-98.

Can BASWA Systems be curved, domed, or warped?

BASWA Phon follows the contours of a substrate, curving across domes or across arched ceilings and creates an elegant and effective acoustical environment. 

BASWA Phon panels are durable but flexible, simply installed down to a 2 foot radius.

What is BASWA Phon?

The BASWA Phon Seamless Sound Absorbing Plaster System is used to reduce reverberation time making voice, music and other sound much more intelligible. The full engineered system is made up of a Supporting Panel of mineral fiber adhered to a stable substrate, such as drywall, and seamlessly coated with a micro-porous marble coating. Learn more here.

INSTALLING BASWA: What to expect before and during installation

When does BASWA get installed during a project timeline?

BASWA systems should be installed at the typical time of dropping ceiling tiles. Prior to an installation, the following should be completed:

  • Proper substrate is installed. Drywall substrates are taped level one.
  • All substrate penetrations are sealed with drywall mud and tape or with an adhesive back tape.
  • Drywall abutting the application area is finished with a minimum of primer.
  • Required scaffold is fully assembled. 
  • Electricity is available on the jobsite.
  • Site to be conditioned.

Can I incorporate access panels into a BASWA System?

Trimless access panels up to 8’x 8’ are available. Contact BASWA acoustic to discuss your access panel needs.

Is BASWA difficult to install?

BASWA Systems are considered to be simple to install and are preferred by contractors for their ease of installation in addition to BASWA’s highly-involved contractor focused support team. BASWA offers standard details for installation and is involved in the shop drawing process to ensure preparedness prior to installation. Learn more about the installation of BASWA Systems here.

How are the BASWA Phon panels attached to a substrate? How big are the panels?

BASWA Phon Supporting Panels are adhered to the substrate using the plaster based BASWAphon Adhesive. The panels, which are 2’- 8” x 1’- 11”, are heat bonded mineral wool panels with a factory-applied and sanded brown-coat of recycled glass beads. BASWA Panels are available in 3 thicknesses: 26mm, 36mm, and 66mm. The difference between thicknesses is the measurement of the mineral wool layer only. Each panel thickness option absorbs frequencies differently. Learn more about the installation of BASWA Systems here

What is the recommended substrate for the BASWA Phon system? What level of substrate prep is required?

BASWA Phon systems are installed over a new or existing, stable, sealed substrate. Ideal substrates include standard drywall with taped joints (no finished coating of the tape or screw heads required), concrete, intact existing plaster, or GFRG forms. Due to the system’s lightweight construction, ceiling substrate system does not typically require additional or unusual support.

HVAC diffusers, fire sprinkler heads and light fixtures are roughed in below gypsum board to finished ceiling height. Voids and penetrations not yet sealed with drywall tape are sealed with adhesive tape. This creates sealed substrates that do not allow air to pass through which would otherwise cause discoloration over time.  Learn more about the installation of BASWA Systems here

How is BASWA Phon installed over curved surfaces?

BASWA Phon can be applied to curved, domed, vaulted or warped surfaces. In order to make the panels more flexible, the backs are factory-kerfed in one or two directions. For extreme applications, the glass bead crust can be heated. The panel becomes pliable and can be fitted to the curved or domed surface. The panel is then screwed in place until the adhesive is dried. Screws are then removed and screw holes are filled with BASWA Fill, the same material used to factory-coat the panels. This ensures monolithic acoustical absorption without potential telegraphing of mechanical fasteners.  Learn more about the installation of BASWA Systems here

Can BASWA Systems integrate with my ______ (concealed speaker, recessed lighting, trimless lights, diffuser, etc.)?

BASWA Phon can be integrated into any design concept and can be installed around light fixtures as well as access panels and speakers. By roughing in these items, the lighting and speakers can be flush with its surface. No pre-installation measurements are needed as all cuts are made onsite to accurately fit each light, speaker, diffuser, access panel, etc.  

Concealed speakers can be recessed into a BASWA Panel, meshed, and coated with the chosen finish to create an invisible speaker aesthetic. 

Learn more about the installation of BASWA Systems here

Is there a local installer in my area?

BASWA acoustic has a global network of certified installers. For a list of approved and certified BASWA Phon Installers, contact BASWA acoustic.

Who installs BASWA Systems? Can my builder or I install the BASWA System?

BASWA Phon is installed by Certified Installers that are trained by BASWA acoustic in order to ensure a successful application and high performance sound absorption. New companies may be certified for installing. Any interested parties should contact our Contractor Sales department.

The global network of BASWA Certified Installers is skillfully trained and closely supported to ensure the simplest integration of a BASWA System in any project. BASWA Installers are supported by a contractor-dedicated technical support team and continuous education developed to ensure the delivery of quality, high performing acoustical plaster systems.  

After careful consideration, certified installers are chosen based on location and proven craftsmanship. When a certified installer is added to the team, BASWA acoustic trains on-site to ensure that the contractor has a thorough understanding of the product and process. Learn more about this network. Find your local installer.

How long is a typical BASWA Phon installation?

Every project differs in technical installation details. A typical installation takes 4-5 days. Typical drying time between coats is overnight.

CLEANING & MAINTENANCE: Care and Upkeep for BASWA Systems

What options do I have for areas prone to dirt or grime?

BASWA Protect repels water and dirt from BASWA Plasters without influencing sound absorption characteristics or causing discoloration. Once applied, water, wine or other liquids will bead on its surface, making it ideal for restaurant applications or areas surrounding return air grills which might see a significant build up of dust over time. See the full list of products available here or watch them in action here.

Are BASWA Systems repairable? 

BASWA systems are simple to repair using techniques similar to those used in repairing drywall damage. Learn more on reparability and patching here.

Are BASWA Systems soft or easily damageable? 

BASWA Panels are not easily compressible and ensure a difficult-to-crack finish. BASWA Finishes are made with marble aggregate, are highly durable, and do not puncture easily. Request a sample.

What products have been developed to ensure a long system lifespan?

BASWA has developed a full line of products that are intended to extend the life of a BASWA System, in line with the goal of offering the most sustainable systems. The products range from prevention of damage to cleaning, to refreshing a finish. Learn more about these products here or watch them in action here.

Are there warranties available?

Warranties are available for BASWA Installations. Contact BASWA acoustic to learn more

What if a change in color is requested in the future?

If there is a desire to change the color of an existing application, contact BASWA acoustic to discuss the options available to refinish the surface.

What if there is damage or staining that occurs to the BASWA Phon surface?

Under normal circumstances, BASWA products age evenly and do not require any maintenance. However, surfaces may be damaged by punctures, stains, or water. Similar to any building material, a BASWA surface may accumulate a buildup of dust particles. Acoustical ceilings perform through the porosity of their surface and therefore can not be cleaned with conventional products. BASWA acoustic has developed a range of techniques and products, which allow for removal of staining or repair of surface damages without affecting the acoustical performance. See the list of products available here or watch them in action here.

Learn More About Acoustics here

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