McIntyre Group

How to Install a Trendy Moss Feature

The use of moss in acoustic designs exploded in the final half of 2023. At McIntyre Group we’re seeing as many requests for moss features as traditional acoustic build-outs, and we expect that trend to continue this year. With moss manufactured in Kitchener-Waterloo, we’ve been fulfilling requests across Canada for moss installations.

Considering the aesthetic, health, environmental and economic benefits of moss we’ve detailed in recent newsletters, the explosion in interest is no surprise. This edition of the Acoustic Influencer steps away from why moss has become so popular to discuss successful installation.

Whether our clients are looking for small, aesthetic features or moss installations that serve larger acoustic purposes, there are important steps to be followed in both the short and long terms.

Assessment

Moss is adaptable. It can be applied to walls, ceilings, columns and vertical gardens. But is it right for your space? It’s important to consider lighting, humidity and temperature, as well as what the space will be used for. If it’s going to be overly dusty or active, moss might not be the best long-term solution despite its low need for maintenance.

Types

The two moss classes are live and preserved. Live thrives in areas with indirect or low light and higher humidity. Preserved (or Zombie) moss doesn’t really “thrive” so much as it just is, feeding on micronutrients in the air. At McIntyre Group, we only work with preserved moss because of its versatility and ease of maintenance. Common varieties include Reindeer, Pole, Sheet, Mixed and Mood.

Treatments

Moss is typically preserved by lightly spraying it in glycerin to maintain its natural appearance and texture. It’s also often dyed to achieve desired colours within an overall aesthetic, which doesn’t impact its long-term sustainability. Both are one-time procedures.

Preparation

This seems like a no-brainer but is worth stressing. Prior to installation, all surfaces need to be cleaned; free of dust, dirt and debris, and smooth. When installing moss, the right backing material is key to providing support. In McIntyre’s case, that’s acoustic panelling.

Installation

Moss can be attached using various methods including adhesive, nails or hooks. For vertical installations, a frame or panel system keeps the moss evenly distributed and securely attached. We do that work at our shops so all that’s needed on site is putting up the features.

Education

Moss is very much a look-but-don’t-touch design element. It’s important that staff and visitors understand that. While moss is much less expensive and onerous to maintain than living walls, it is susceptible to damage.

Maintenance

Moss requires minimal (live) to nearly zero (preserved) maintenance.

For live moss, it’s important to regularly check humidity levels and adjust them to keep the moss from drying out. Live moss will also need periodic pruning and trimming so it doesn’t overgrow or lose its shape.

Just like any other surface moss will need an occasional dusting (the “nearly zero” maintenance mentioned above). That’s also a good time to inspect it for damage if in high-traffic areas where people might be enticed to touch the moss.

The Acoustic Influencer is specialized and focused, but we’re open to exploring any industry topics you’d like to read about. Let us know what those are, and we’ll do our best to examine them.

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