Residential ceilings typically use flush mount coverings like standard wallboard, wood, cornice moldings, or ceiling tiles. Drop ceilings, common in commercial construction, use suspension or grid systems to place a decorative ceiling beneath the structural ceiling. This approach conceals mechanical and electrical components, plumbing, pipes, and wiring while allowing maintenance access. Materials for drop ceilings include decorative wood, mineral fiber, wool, fiberglass, gypsum, and metal. Specialized fabrics and felt tiles or panels may be used for sound control.
The workhorses of ceiling materials, drywall and gypsum are versatile, low-cost solutions for both drop ceilings and flush-mount finishing. Drywall provides flame-resistance and superior insulation. Gypsum is frequently used in grid-style drop ceilings for easy plenum access. It can also be fashioned into functional and decorative acoustical panels.
An attractive and affordable solution for drop ceilings where concealment of the plenum space is desired. Fabric may be loose draped in decorative configurations, wrapped around a PVC or fiberglass core as an acoustical baffle, or stretched to provide complete concealment and sound control. Fabric offers limitless creativity, as it may be shaped into everything from butterflies to waves, simple lines to diamond-like facets.
Metal is surprisingly versatile. Advantages in ceiling applications include strength, moisture resistance, and lightweight, Metal tiles are effective in a grid system as they can be easily removed for mechanical access without fear of breakage. They’re also easy to clean. Options include steel, brass, copper, aluminum, and chrome, with finish designs in metal mesh, stamped tin, interwoven metal strands, and powder-coated paint. It may also be over-layed with wood laminate or plastic or adhered to an acoustical backing for excellent sound control.
Fiberglass reinforced plastic provides an exceptional strength/weight ratio and is easy to mold into tiles for grid systems. Made of completely natural materials, cementitious wood fiber and stone wool are sustainable solutions with excellent acoustical performance and inherent mold/mildew resistance, making them ideal for humid environments like swimming pools and rec centers. Options include grid installation and floating/suspension systems with decorative panels.
Innovative approaches with cutting-edge materials to achieve customized solutions. These ceilings may be flush mount or grid systems with excellent acoustical performance and modular capabilities. Materials include compressed polyester, melamine foam, recycled polyester felt, or polycarbonate. They are lightweight and durable, offering easy installation and options like customized shapes, coatings, and edge detailing.
Grid Systems offer convenience, reliability, and ease of installation. They are perhaps the most cost-effective solution for drop ceilings where easy access to the plenum space is desired. Most feature a galvanized steel grid for rust resistance. Options include choice of lay-in panels or snap grid and a variety of grid colors to coordinate with colored panels. Suspension / Grid systems may also accommodate drywall andindirect light coves.
Combining a classic aesthetic with excellent acoustical performance, wood ceilings may be flush-mounted for a uniform look or suspended in intricate displays. Solid wood panels are beautiful statement pieces while veneers offer design versatility. Grilles, waves, linear configurations, and perforated tiles provide excellent acoustics. Suspended systems may be designed for maximum concealment or for an industrial look with an artful reveal of plenum infrastructure.