Surface Mount vs Lay-in Diffuser -Select Best Diffuser Frame

Surface Mount vs Lay-in Diffuser

Surface Mount vs Lay-in Diffuser-  A lay-in diffuser and a surface mount diffuser seem to look very similar, but they are different in many ways. Both of these types of diffusers are used in heating and cooling ventilation systems to control temperature and humidity by distributing the air evenly throughout the space. Here’s how you can tell them apart.

Surface Mount vs Lay-in Diffuser

Surface Mounted Defined

Surface Mount vs Lay-in Diffuser- The Titus mounting clips are designed to mount on standard ceiling grids (3 x 3 or 4 x 4). If a grid is not present and you are installing over open ceiling space, surface mount your diffusers. With surface mounting, you do not need a grid present. In lay-in applications, a grid is required for mounting.

Surface Mounting an Acoustic Panel

Mounting acoustic panels is similar to mounting any other ceiling grid. It can be done with an air stapler, adhesive and screws, or any of a number of speciality adhesives designed specifically for mounting diffusers.

Regardless of how you choose to mount them, be sure to test fit each diffuser first and make sure they look flush on all sides; wall plate positions vary widely between manufacturers. Once you’ve got them installed and are happy with their look, use an acoustical sealant around their perimeter—about 1/8 inch (3mm) thick will do nicely—to ensure that there aren’t any air leaks between the speaker fabric and your mounting surface.

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Surface Mounting an Exhaust Fan

Surface Mount vs Lay-in Diffuser- If you don’t have access to a ceiling grid, exhaust fans can be mounted directly to drywall with anchors. It’s possible to mount an exhaust fan with just two screws and is done in just a few minutes.

However, if you want your exhaust fan to last then it’s best to add reinforcement. Surface mounting an exhaust fan requires three or four anchor screws and is actually much easier than installing on a ceiling grid because there isn’t any obstruction. 

Surface Mounting under a Drop Ceiling

Our most popular surface mounting application is that of a drop ceiling. When a grid is not present, installation becomes difficult. By using spacers and a few other tricks, these installations are made easier without sacrificing aesthetic appeal or volume of air delivery.

Surface Mount vs Lay-in Diffuser

Surface Mount vs Lay-in Diffuser- In addition to looks and performance, you’ll need to take into account your current heating/cooling system and make sure there’s enough clearance from elements such as steam pipes or ductwork. If you have questions about diffusers for your specific application, feel free to contact us today at 800-554-4226 (or fill out our online request form)

Surface Mounting Under Insulation

If your goal is to have a completely concealed air diffuser, you’ll likely be best off with a lay-in diffuser. If you are installing directly into insulated drywall, surface mounting is not advisable; it isn’t as easy as it may seem and requires an additional layer of drywall (which will end up looking ugly).

Surface Mount vs Lay-in Diffuser- Additionally, if your insulation isn’t 100% uniform on all surfaces in relation to your diffusers, it will be more difficult to ensure complete coverage. Insulation can also cause stress cracking which is a further concern. For these reasons, we don’t suggest doing any lay-ins without adding a layer of insulation under them.

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Wiring from Above or Below

There are two basic ways to wire a diffuser. Some diffusers can be mounted from above and wired from below, making them a lay-in or ceiling grid mount. The other option is to mount a diffuser on a surface, behind drywall. In either case, it’s best to turn off power at least one hour before wiring.

Using your hands and not pliers, twist together wires with wire nuts or boxes; secure them tightly with electrical tape for added protection against shorting out. If you’re building an exhaust system with multiple rooms interconnected through vent runs, it may be best to install Romex cable and wire all diffusers from one location—typically at each room’s outlet—rather than in each room independently.

GFCI Protection

Surface Mount vs Lay-in Diffuser- When a standard wall switch is wired with an AFCI breaker and there is no power to be lost, it is still very important to install GFCI protection on AFCI circuits. Because our diffusers do not have wire leads, they can be used in existing installations without losing power.

Surface Mount vs Lay-in Diffuser- If a mount diffuser is used in place of a lay-in model, an AFC should also be installed for protection. Make sure you consult local electrical codes for GFCI requirements. Be sure that your installation complies with code if GFCIs are required because many municipalities require them even when they aren’t mandatory by code.

Circuit Breaker Protection

Titus diffusers can be hard-wired to a circuit breaker for protection. It is highly recommended that you use an approved circuit breaker and not wire directly to your home’s electrical box. When wiring your diffuser(s) to a circuit breaker, please consult a licensed electrician for assistance.

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Surface Mount vs Lay-in Diffuser- To mount one or two diffusers on a surface (like drywall), simply secure each module with two screws as seen below: For mounting three or more units, secure all units together with a crossbar as seen below: The Titus quick connector should be plugged into any three-prong outlet within 15 feet of each module.