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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Tips: Let's Talk about Ceilings - False Ceilings

Let's Talk about Ceilings - False Ceilings

Okay, I know what are you guys thinking - home owners like you do not need to know about the technicalities - or should you?

Why do Home Owners need to do some Homework?
I always advocate that home owners should do a little homework before approaching any Interior Designers or Contractors. Why? Simply because when you are armed with some knowledge, this allows you get to:
  • Access their competence by the way they answer your questions;
  • Let them know that that you are not someone who depends entirely on their judgement, and that you do expect a certain quality of work. They probably be more careful when they realise that you will scrutinise their quality of work closely.
Why is the Quality of Ceiling Important?
The quality of ceiling should be checked particularly when false ceilings are involved. This is because problems might surface if they are not checked throughly during installation.
What are the types of Ceiling Finishes?
The 3 main finishes for ceilings are:-
  • False Ceilings (very common and popular with home owners right now);
  • Skim Coats;
  • Moulded Plaster Decorative Fittings (used to be very popular in the past).
  • False Ceilings
For today's post, we are looking at False Ceilings. :)

So you might wonder what exactly is a False Ceiling? Well, it is a minor ceiling, hung under the main ceiling. Other common names are Drop Ceiling and Suspended Ceiling. Do refer to this blog for some examples.

Functions of False Ceilings:
False Celings are not simply used for design purposes only. Their other lesser known functions include:
  • Plenum space (Area between main ceiling and false ceiling) is used to veil wiring, ductwork and piping;
  • Provides thermal insulation;
  • Allows for hidden lighting;
  • Soundproofing the room.
Those who are keen to find out the materials used for the construction of False Ceiling can refer to the last section of this post.
There are actually 2 types of False Ceilings:
1. Directly Fixed Ceilings
 "The timber joists with gypsum plasterboards as ceiling panels is the most common directly fixed ceiling. The ceiling boards and timber batten are fixed to:-

  1. horizontal timber joist under pitched roofs
  2. to the underside of sloping rafter beams or purlins
  3. above rafters or purlins, so that these could be seen from below"

2. Suspended Ceilings
 "The ceiling panels are usually hung on:-
  1. T and L section metallic modular grid systems supported from structure above
  2. the flanges of I-section metallic structure members in proprietary combined roof and ceiling framing systems"

What Should You Look Out For?
Firstly, look out for the Quality of Material:
  • All timber elements (i.e. rafters, battens etc) should be pressure treated with wood preservative;
  • All metal fixings used should be corrosion-resistant;
  • Ceiling panels made of gypsum plaster should not have cracks, holes or dents.
Secondly, watch out for the Quality of Work:
  • For directly fixed ceilings, all fixings should be secured by scrim, a fabric material, to gypsum plaster ceilings panels;
  • Plaster ceiling panels should be temporarily nailed in position first. Grout is then used to attach them to the timber battens. Joints between plaster ceiling panels should also be grouted;
  • All temporary nailings and supports should be removed after grout has set and hardened;
  • All joints and nail holes should be covered up and flushed;
  • Surface of the plaster ceiling panels should be left to dry for at least a day before any painting to it is carried out;
  • For suspended ceilings, all ceiling panels should either be dropped in, clipped in or on, screwed or bonded in place. Check that each panel is adequately secured and not loosely positioned.

 Materials Used for the Construction of False Ceiling:
  • Gypsum Board: Lightweight, flexible and fire resistant,most commonly material as they are tough and cheap.
  • Metal Ceiling Panels: Ideal for concealing ducts and wiring due to ease of installation and maintainance.
  • Fiber Mineral Reinforced Materials such as Tiles and Fibreboard: High insulation against sound and fire. Fiber increases the hardness and the toughness of the material and water repellents and preservatives can be added to increase the lifespan.
  • POP (Plaster Of Paris): First applied to a wood base or fiberboard and then perched from the false ceiling. Lightweight and results in a smooth and uniform finish.
  • Plywood sheets: Stripes of ply wood are nailed or glued together. Popular in cold countries because of their visual appeal.

 Reference Materials taken from BCA and

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