More often than not, we don’t give much attention to the ceilings of rooms in offices. To some extent that is because the only time we need to look at the ceiling is when some lighting arrangement gets disturbed for whatever reason. Generally, we are content by simply painting the ceiling in an appropriate color and that’s the end of it. But, if you just realize that there are better options available that help you have improved lighting and other benefits by incorporating suspended ceilings that come with quite a few options, you would certainly like to consider having one.
Earlier we used to have suspended ceiling comprising of metal grid and boring, off-white tiles, which were good only to the extent of helping to get better light and contained sound within the room. Perhaps that kind of ceiling was needed and thus proved popular with places like hospitals schools and offices all over the UK. But, now all that has radically changed and you get off-white tiles too, allowing consumers to be a bit more daring with their choice of suspended ceiling by installing colored tiles to complement the rest of the décor.
You may opt to have ceiling comprising of multicolored tiles, and even a chessboard kind of a design using only white and black tiles. You get very many options and they are increasing by the day.
Again, the options are not of colors only, even the material used for making tiles can be varied. The choice of martial is no longer restricted to just polyester. You get them in tin and wood also, thus giving you a fantastic looking room. Apart from the choice of colors and materials used, there have been other developments too. For one, the increasing sizes of offices led to increased level of noise therein, prompting manufacturers to produce tiles with acoustics design to keep the noise level within control, and thus reduce noise pollution.
Then, we also get tiles these days that help increasing the amount of natural light in any room. So, you are not relying upon only artificial lighting during cold winter mornings. If you are in some profession needing creativity and you tend to lean back in your chair and looking up at a dull boring ceiling, why not go for one with some striking variety of suspended ceilings available in the market these days. These kinds of ceiling not give you a better-looking office, but also offer improved lighting and quality of sound.
Though suspended ceilings are great, they have their own plus and minus features. If you were considering having such a ceiling, you would do well to go thru what follows here:
- Fire safety. You get fire resistant tiles conforming to many standards as prescribed by commercial organizations and councils. You may use such tiles. It helps.
- Modification. With a drop ceiling system you can change the tiles without taking long. So, that facilitates repairs and change of scene whenever you like doing that.
- Maintenance. Maintenance of the ceiling is convenient, as is the building maintenance with suspended ceilings. It allows you to conceal all wires, cables and plumbing, while providing easy access.
- Appearance. Suspended ceiling tiles are available in a very large variety, giving almost endless possibilities of having an appearance exactly as per your taste and the demands of the décor you wish to have.
- Reduced Headroom. Having a suspended ceiling surely reduces headroom, but that’s not a very serious issue with most designs and people. This design of ceiling reduces headroom by four to eight inches. So, in case the height of the original ceiling is already low, you may like to consider some other options.
- Cover up damage. The cost and convenience of installing a drop ceiling is an attractive option for landlords wanting to cover up any damages of the ceiling. Therefore, it becomes important for a prospective tenant or a buyer to check what’s the state of the original ceiling.
- Aging. Unless properly maintained, drop ceilings begin to give indications of its early aging. Tiles tend to sag quite often and even slightest blow can cause damage at times. Moreover, excessive smoking causes their discoloration. The frequent replacement and reinstallation of part of the tiles also indicates ageing and adds to that.
Suspended ceilings are available with many variations enabling you to choose the kind that best meets with your requirements. Here’s a brief description of some of the more popular types of these ceilings:
Concealed suspended ceilings: This gives very neat looks as all the accessories offering suspension remain out of sight. The only important and serious consideration while opting for this kind of ceiling is whether you want the space between the two ceilings to remain accessible or not. The benefit of opting for an accessible design is that you can approach the void for all maintenance related issues, which won’t be possible with a non-accessible design. And, mind you, it’s not practical to alter the design once the ceiling has been fixed, unless the whole ceiling is dismantled and rebuilt.
Exposed suspended ceilings: This design of ceilings comprises of panels positioned in a ceiling grid. You also have a few design options in their case like the size of tiles to be used since they are all positioned into a grid. Perhaps, the most helpful feature of this kind of ceiling is the speed and ease of installation it offers. It is ideal if you have very limited time for completion of the project. And of course the other helpful point is that you get an easy access to the void for the purpose of maintenance.
Suspended ceilings with free span: This design results to giving you seamless kind of a structure. This design of ceiling comprises of ceiling planks that are kept together by the perimeter trim. Most often, you’ll find them being used for corridors. They can have a span of up to 2.50 meters with lined up planks, making it perfect for corridors. Here again, it’s possible to have them with an accessible design or a completely inaccessible design. The advantage of having an accessible design is that you can approach the void for undertaking any kind of maintenance.
Bandraster grid suspended ceilings system: This system has a very smart design that can be put into practice depending on the type of the building. This can be shaped to follow the design of the building, using the parallel suspension sections, which comprise this excellent system. In case the building has a round design, the tiles can tag along the building in a curved form. It requires preparing and assembling a horizontal bracing with the structure of the ceiling that helps preventing the ceiling to have any horizontal movement or vibrations. The bracing made in this suspended design of ceiling offers an option for sections that allow you to have demountable or totally inaccessible void.
Apart from some of the above described styles of suspended ceilings, there are other designs too that are not covered here. The description of the popular styles as given here should suffice to help you choosing an appropriate design for your suspended ceiling.
Suspended ceiling systems are a favorite of homeowners while they undertake renovation of basements. If you decide to undertake the project of your own, you’ll find installation of a suspending ceiling to be more convenient than drywall and the project can be accomplished on a weekend. Also, a suspended ceiling is ideal for damaged ceilings.
Discovering the Right Suspended Ceiling System
You mat choose from a variety of this kind of a ceiling and there are many designs and styles of ceiling panels. You have some very affordable designs, as well other expensive designs too, which are easy to install, yet stylish. The choice of design to a large extent depends on your budget as you are going to incur additional expense for the final decor, which may include a wall clock and such.
An accurate measure of the room should be done before buying the ceiling system. You’ll also need to decide how you would like displaying the tiles on your ceiling. The total area of the complete ceiling divided by the area of one tile gives you the number of ceiling panels you are going to need. This calculation lets you know the how many full ceiling panels will be needed for completion of the job. You are going to need some partial tiles too. It’s always helpful to buy some extra material than your calculation for any eventuality that may arise during the course of installation.
Arranging the Wall Molding
For installing drop ceiling measure the walls. If you intend installing fluorescent lighting on the ceiling mark down 6 inches from the floor joist. On the other hand, if you plan not to have any lighting fixture, four inches should suffice, and that is the lowermost limit you should have. Make sure you have sufficient clearance between the ceiling and the perimeter molding so that you have adequate space for proper positioning and moving of ceiling panels. Make use of a level while adding the perimeter molding to the room.
Main Beam Assembly and Cross Tees
Now, you need to add the main beams. Along the entire room draw chalk lines separated by four inches each. Next, fix the hanger wire screws all along the chalk lines.
Once you have installed the hanger screws, extend the wire from one hanger to the next, taking care to make ninety degrees twirl at the end to ensure that the wire remains firmly stretched. All the tees end up at this structurally important wire. First install the main tees taking care that they remain straight and maintain an even height. You’ll find a level of help while doing all this. The cross tees start falling in place on the main tees. Frequently use your level to ensure that the ceiling remains straight.
Putting In the Ceiling
Once you are done with suspending of all the tees and cross tees, you can set the ceiling panels in position. Before installing fluorescent lighting panels you may suitably decorate the ceiling.
For all practical purpose, suspended ceiling is a secondary ceiling that is installed just below the main ceiling. Usually, they are suspended from the main ceiling by means of wires to form a grid like pattern into which tiles are fixed. Quite many materials are used for making such ceiling and wood is one of them.
The gap created between the original ceiling and the suspended ceiling is easily exploited to cover up wires and cables so that these are not visible, thus presenting a neat look to the area. The gap can also be used for installing insulation that can absorb sound and heat. You can include fluorescent lights on the installed suspended ceiling.
The gap available between the two ceilings can be so made as to facilitate maintenance
The depth of gap is decided at the time of installing the suspended ceiling
The most important part of the design of the suspended ceiling is whether you like to have a demountable style of ceiling or a totally inaccessible design. This aspect needs to be decided before the ceiling is installed, as it’s not really feasible to change the design subsequently, and the entire ceiling has to be dismantled and reinstalled. The benefit of having a demountable design is that you can access the void created between the two ceiling for repair or maintenance of ceiling itself, as well other electrical or plumbing accessories. If you opt for the other inaccessible design, you are unable to approach the void between the two ceilings for any maintenance work, whatsoever.
There are different kinds of suspended ceiling systems, suiting different requirements, but the basic idea is the same. For instance, we have a free span suspend ceiling system, which is most often employed for corridors. The design of this kind of ceiling comprises of ceiling planks that are held in place on their small edges by the perimeter trim. Such a system is very quick and easy to install and gives a very smooth and nice effect on completion. The good thing about this design of suspended ceiling is that you can have it in both the types, the demountable or the inaccessible design. In case of demountable design, the ceiling planks can be removed, thus providing access to the void.
Bandraster system is another design for suspended ceilings. This design provides a lot of flexibility and can be used for almost any architectural design that the building may have. Here again you can have either of the designs, the demountable one or the inaccessible one. This style of suspended ceiling can be designed using either hidden or exposed sections that are connected to get lateral bracing, thus enabling its modification to suit any building.
Another system that facilitates easy and quick installation is the exposed suspended ceilings system. Here also the void is accessible, enabling you to carry any maintenance work. This kind of suspended ceiling has tiles put into a suspended grid enabling it to be edited with no trouble.
The only visible component of a suspended ceiling is its tiles. Therefore, they need to be attractive looking. But, apart from their looks, you need to consider some other factors too while selecting tiles for such a ceiling. These are their fire resisting, acoustic and hygienic properties.
It’s not difficult to guess that in a place like a medical lab or a hospital we would certainly like to have tiles that are least friendly to bacterial gems.
Certain varieties of tiles are capable of breaking down harmful bacteria to non-critical components. These tiles minimize the effects of unhealthy emissions released from cleaning agents, cigarettes, construction materials and cosmetics.
The manufacturing process adopted for making tiles invariably leaves behind a thin layer of residual dust on their surface. Tiles meant for facilitating hygienic environments are specially treated to prevent releasing of unhealthy micro particles.
Tiles treated with an anti-microbial material can resist formation of fungi and bacteria.
At places you need tiles with acoustic properties enabling them to absorb sound rather than reflecting it back. Tiles have suitably been developed to fulfill such needs. There are tiles available that prevent the noise generated in your premises from entering your neighbors place. Likewise, there are special tiles needed for installation in a large auditorium so that people at the rear can conveniently hear the sound.
Fire can destroy a building. That’s why there are stringent regulations that the builder must conform to while using tiles for suspended ceilings or residences and business or commercial properties to avoid paying penalties and minimize fire risks.
Accordingly, fire resistance tiles conforming to prescribed standards are also manufactured. These tiles are tested and certified to be fire resistant for sixty minutes beneath timber joists and steel beams.