McIntyre Group

Laser-like Accuracy is Best Achieved With … Laser Levels

You’ve read this before in this newsletter, but it’s worth repeating: Installing acoustic panels is not the same game it used to be. No longer is it just a matter of slapping panels on a wall or hanging them from a ceiling. At McIntyre Group, we couple math with construction skills in consultation with acoustic engineers or sound professionals to reach desired absorption levels and create aesthetically pleasing looks.

To achieve those goals, laser levels play an important role in our work. This edition of the Acoustic Influencer is dedicated to explaining why that is and how we use them.

The Why

Some installers just use just a pointer laser to find marks from one side of a space to the other and then use a level or even a chalk line to map out panels. That doesn’t work. There are too many variables at play, and it leaves the process open to human error.

Our lasers automatically level themselves when moved around the site, so we can count on our panels being 100% pure and plumb every time. And while a top-of-the-line laser level can cost upwards of $1,000, it pays for itself when it saves you from just one or two missed panel placements.

AI Tip: Have your laser levels calibrated once a month to ensure accuracy. You don’t want to be on the hook for errors that could have been avoided when installing pricey panels because your laser was bounced one too many times around during transport or was dropped.

The How

  1. We determine the correct height for the acoustic panels based on the size of the room and the desired sound-absorption properties.
  • We break out our laser levels; one on a horizontal line, the other a vertical line. That ensures our panels will be straight on both planes.

AI Tip: When working with ceiling panels, always leave a half-inch gap in case you find that they aren’t straight. Scoring panels to fit isn’t a good practice. But with that small gap, if you’re off by an eighth or a quarter of an inch, you won’t see it at the very top of a wall panel.

  • We mark all the corner positions of the panel along the laser line with a pencil or marker.
  • We then doublecheck our lines with a bubble level, just to be sure.
  • We apply the adhesive and mounting hardware to the back of the acoustic panel, making sure we follow manufacturer instructions.
  • We always do a dry run before just to make sure the first panel is exactly where we need it to be.
  • Once we’ve positioned the panel on the wall, we align the top edge with the laser line and corners we marked out earlier.
  • We press it press the panel firmly onto the wall making sure it’s level and square. And then we repeat that process for the rest of the panels.

That’s the process. One made much easier by working with laser levels from the beginning. There’s really no excuse not to use them. They’re accurate, save time and will save you money in the long run.

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