Suspended ceilings are not the most exciting part of an interior, but it does pack a punch when saving energy. Not only do the types of suspended ceilings impact the overall look of a space, but it also plays an important part in acoustics and insulation. People might say that “exposed pipework is the trend!” but it’s certainly not the best option for spaces that require a high level of hygiene.
This is where drop ceilings come into play.
We can make this with materials resistant to bacteria and fungal growth, essential if you keep a medical facility. What about spaces that suffer from poor indoor air quality? Well, we’re sure you can guess what the answer might be.
So to help you decide on the best choice, here’s a list of all the most popular suspended ceiling types you can choose.
Types Of Suspended Ceilings: Tiled or Paneled Ceilings
Ceiling panels are a quick and easy way to hide electrical wiring and pipework but allow easy access for future maintenance. They are often made of lightweight materials and are generally simple to install. If you’re looking for variety, then ceiling panels are a great choice as they come in various materials like fibreglass and mineral fibre.
You’ll often notice that these are popular in commercial buildings as they can easily cover large areas and provide acoustic benefits.
These suspending ceiling systems are placed in a grid foundation made of aluminium and exposed or concealed. By exposed, we refer to the metal grid being visible with the ceiling tiles, whereas, in a concealed format, the grid is hidden behind the tiles.
While exposing the grid is not the most attractive option, it does make it easier to carry out any repairs.
Acoustic Types of Suspended Ceilings
Good sound insulation plays a key part in productive workspaces. Have you ever wondered why some spaces seem to be noisier than others? Well, that comes down to acoustic design considerations that have been added.
Softer materials and noise-absorbing furniture are important factors in dampening conversation, ringing phones, and even the clacking of keyboards. This is especially important in open-plan areas that bring together many teams.
A lick of paint and a few pictures are great for sprucing up an office space, but it doesn’t factor in the effect of sound. Hard walls and ceilings are often forgotten for noise pollution, often causing the sound to rebound.
Acoustic-suspended ceilings are a great way to reduce the effects of excessive noise. Ceiling tiles with acoustic qualities can help dampen the effects of noise through sound absorption or sound insulation.
Sound absorption works by absorbing energy from sound reflecting on surfaces, which is ideal for reducing echoes in spaces.
On the other hand, sound insulation prevents noise from travelling from one space to another. A great example is when you want to avoid noise escaping from an open-plan area into private meeting rooms.
Aluminium ceilings are an attractive alternative that’s also hardwearing and water-resistant. You can find aluminium ceilings in the form of square panels, but they do come in various shapes and sizes.
Its malleable qualities make it the perfect material for stamping patterns and custom designs, so endless possibilities. The reflective surface can also help to enhance ceiling lights and create an interior that appears more eye-catching.
Does your building have damp problems, or does your work cause indoor moist indoor conditions? Then aluminium is the perfect choice with its mould-resistant properties. Not only does it repel moisture, but it’s easy to clean, heat resistant, and does not stain easily.
Although there are many positives, there is, of course, a downside to it.
Expect to pay a lot more if you plan on installing an aluminium-suspended ceiling. Opting for faux aluminium can cut costs if you’re only after the aesthetics.
But if you need all of the benefits of aluminium, we recommend going for real aluminium. It’s easy to maintain and will last you a long time.
Free Span Ceilings
Free-span ceilings are like tiles but in planks that span across the ceiling. The planks only need two wall angles to hold them, making installing them much faster and easier than the grid system. Because of the length, free-span tiles are most suitable for corridors.
As a result, removing or demounting the free span planks is just as easy, making accessing utility works a simple process.
In another type of panelled ceiling, modules are larger and incorporate more decorative panels. Sparse open spaces often use this form of modular panelling to add interest and detail.
Compared to normal panelling, modules are much larger and can be three-dimensional. Designs often range from simple geometric style tiling to more complex organic shapes.
Using acoustic modules as separate panels can help improve the acoustics in open areas. Open atriums are a great example of this, where you have a wide size and tall ceiling height. However, the noise level within these spaces can be a problem, especially when quiet areas are next to high-traffic spots.
For this reason, single modular panels can be positioned over the quiet areas of the atrium to help dampen excess noise.
Traditional Acoustic Tiles
One of the earliest forms of suspended ceilings was the coffered ceiling, going as far back as ancient Greece. Its purpose was to reduce the ceiling height and to hide surface imperfections. Today, this panelling is mostly for styling purposes and to “create an illusion of height“.
Modern coffered tiling is much lighter than its predecessors and can be installed in multiple ways. Two methods include mounting the tiles on a suspended ceiling grid or attaching them directly to the surface of the ceiling. Traditional designs tend to be more intricate, but you can also purchase simple techniques to add a classical touch to modern interiors.
One important aspect is that suspended ceilings are not suitable for low ceilings. Although many pros come with a suspended ceiling, they can take up a lot of overhead space and make an otherwise spacious interior appear smaller.
However, other alternatives fit in spaces with limited height, such as ceiling-mounted tracks. This type of mounted ceiling only needs a couple of inches to install and comes with various panels to choose from.
Traditional Ceiling Types
Lath and Plaster Ceiling Types
Custom ceilings that might be oddly shaped will suit a lath and plaster ceiling. This is one of the most traditional types of suspended ceilings but also more expensive. This is due to the construction method, which makes it more durable than other forms of drop ceilings.
But what exactly is a lath and plaster ceiling?
It’s a construction method involving strips of wood nailed across a timber frame. These are known as the lath, which forms the foundation of the suspended ceiling. The next step involves smoothing plaster over the laths to develop a clean and smooth surface.
One advantage of this style of ceiling is that it allows for plenty of flexibility. This can be ideal for intricate ceiling designs such as historical interiors. Moreover, lath and plaster ceilings are denser than the plasterboard variety, offering better soundproofing.
However, it is now rarely used since the introduction of plasterboard. Despite this, they sometimes call for this form of suspended ceiling. For example, this method would better suit interiors with many curves and arches.
Sometimes known as “drywall,” plasterboard ceilings are among the most popular choices. This type of ceiling format will be found in many residential and commercial interiors. It’s both economical and attractive, which makes it a good option if you need something that’s more budget-friendly.
Although lath and plaster ceilings have existed for much longer, plasterboard became widespread in the 1950s. Today plasterboard is the preferred choice out of the two for most modern buildings.
Plasterboard has the advantage of being thinner, making installing electrical fittings such as lightbulbs easier. Not only that but combining insulation with plasterboard can also help to absorb noise pollution and prevent heat from escaping.
So it’s no surprise that plasterboard ceilings remain one of the most popular choices when it comes to ceiling options.
More Types of Suspended Ceilings
Whether or not you opt for a suspended ceiling, there’s no denying the benefits of energy savings and soundproofing. Hopefully, our guide has given you a thorough breakdown of all the types of suspended ceilings available. There are, of course, many more designs that cater to every type of interior space.
Ready to get started on your next building project? Then why not take the next step and contact one of our team today for a quote?