Have you ever wondered what the difference is betweena suspendedÂ ceilingÂ and a drywall ceiling?
Most of us look at ceiling tiles and just frown at them without understanding the reasoning behind the application. There is no doubt that a smooth ceiling is elegant, seamless and simple but the difference between the two is important to understand.
If you are not familiar with exactly what a suspended ceiling is here is the Wikipedia description:
“AÂ dropped ceilingÂ is a secondary ceiling, hung below themain (structural) ceiling. They may also be referred to as aÂ drop ceiling,Â false ceiling, orÂ suspended ceiling.Â The area above the dropped ceiling is called theÂ plenum space, as it is sometimes used forÂ HVAC air return. The plenum space is alsovery commonly used to concealÂ piping,Â wiring, and/orÂ ductwork.
A typical dropped ceiling consists of a grid-work of metal channels in the shape of an upside-down “T”, suspended onwires from the overhead structure. These channels snap together in a regularlyspaced pattern – typically a 2Ã—2 or 2Ã—4 foot grid. Each cell is filled with lightweight “tiles” or “panels” which simply drop into thegrid.”
In spaces like basements, mechanical rooms and recreational spaces installing a suspended ceiling could certainly be beneficial. The basement houses a large majority of the wiring, mechanical and plumbing in a home.Â Once you drywall the ceiling, access to those systems means cutting a hole, and patching and painting, and that’s only if you know exactly where all your wires and pipes are running. If you don’t know, it could mean piercing more than one hole, or possibly tearing down a large part of the ceiling in emergency situations.
There are so many reasons that one may need to access their basement ceiling, here are just a few examples:
– If you decide to install a surround sound system, or a monitoring system for your home in the future you will need access to the main hub of wires in your basement.
– If you have heat loss and need to look at the HVAC to see where the deficiency is coming from you will need to go to the source in the basement.
– If you have a leak or need to check condensation on your pipes which tends to build up over the years you will also needÂ a way in.
When you install a suspended ceiling, the ceiling tiles easily pop in and out for maximum flexibility and access to what is hiding directly above you! Today’s ceiling tiles are not like those you may still see lurking around in old office buildings and shabby basements.
Suspended ceiling systems have truly been revolutionized with modern tiles that come in an array of colours, as well as ones that are as smooth as a drywalledÂ ceiling, and even tiles that are made to resemble a coffered or tin ceiling.
For specialÂ applications, there are also ceiling tiles with acoustical properties that have great sound absorption, this is ideal if you plan to have a playroom or a home theatre in your basement. The grid systems, also known as the “T” bars for their T-like shape, have also been updated to have aÂ nearly invisible profile.
When it comes to deciding if a dropped ceiling is the right fit for your space, look at your total headroom. Unlike drywall, which is affixed to the joists, a suspended ceiling requires a drop of about 4 to 6 inches.
If you are convinced that a dropped ceiling is the right way to go but you may have some ducts and large pipes that are running low you may need to include a combination of a drywall and a suspended ceiling toÂ accommodateÂ those lower areas. As long as the majority of your ceiling have access, you will be grateful for the flexibility of it in the long run.
If you have an existingÂ droppedÂ ceiling that needs some updatingÂ considerÂ using a spray gun to paint your old ceiling tiles (after about 2 or 3 paint jobs you will likely have toÂ completelyÂ replace your tiles.)Â To tackle the grid system consider a product known as a ‘grid cover’: this is a decorative molding that goes over your existing grid to create a finishing touch. Check out Armstrong for their “stylestix” product.