A false ceiling, often known as a fake ceiling, suspended ceiling, dropped ceiling, or grid ceiling, is a secondary ceiling hung beneath the structural floor slab or original ceiling that is popular among modern architects and interior designers.
Though they can be dated back to 14th-century Japan, modern false ceilings emerged in the United States in the early 1920s. Grid support systems were first used in 1950, with entirely accessible fake ceiling units in 1958.
Suspended ceilings are frequently used in business contexts, owing to the design’s inclusion of a beneficial space of 3-8 inches between the false ceiling and its structural support above.
Commercial architects want to maximise available floor space for manufacturing or create a budget-friendly attractive-looking retail environment that will appeal to customers. This gap above the false ceiling can be used to locate all kinds of essential equipment and services.
Insulation, plumbing, and electrics, particularly heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems, are common components housed in this ceiling gap, as are complicated light installations, sprinklers, and other fire-safety equipment and sensors.
In today’s technological age, a ceiling area may also include Wi-Fi system components, computer network cables, telephony equipment, and a PA/sound system with several speakers utilised for various types of communication.
Advantages of using a dropped ceiling
The use of suspended ceilings, while resulting in a lowering of your ceiling height, offers many benefits over a traditional mortar and beam-based ceilings. These include:
- Usually quick and straightforward installation (when done by a trusted professional)
- Can hide any flaws with an existing ceiling that might otherwise have been costly to repair
- Any damaged tiles are easy to replace or repair
- Able to hides unsightly equipment and services such as pipes, wires, ducts etc
- When maintenance to any vital services is required, these can be accessed easily
- Usually a more cost-effective option than ordinary ceilings
New Suspended Ceiling Installation
Creating and installing a fake ceiling begins with measuring the installation site to develop an accurate layout of the room or workshop area. The designers will then construct a suitable ceiling grid based on this fundamental data, which will serve as the main structure for any drop ceiling project.
To make the next procedure more straightforward, the installer must first mark the perimeter walls to indicate the proper ‘drop’ from the main ceiling. The architectural plan will show this on the. Once this key measurement is correctly set up, the rest of the installation project should run more smoothly.
Fixtures for supporting and securing the fake ceiling while it is in place include:
• if the ceiling is suspended from concrete, wire hangers
• purlin clips, if metal purlins will support the construction
• ceiling brackets if the grid is to be secured to timber joists.
A false ceiling may be built using a set of parallel beams rather than a grid.
After the ceiling grid has been appropriately built and secured, technical teams can begin fitting and testing the elements housed in the ceiling void. Experts who have been constructing fake ceilings for decades will have carefully planned and scheduled this step, for example, to ensure that barebones plumbing and electrics are in place early to allow the installation of systems that require power, and so on.
Tiles for the ceiling
Whether the design calls for an interlocking grid or a beam system, the next step is to construct and fit the needed arrangement of ceiling tiles.
Modern false ceilings provide various tiling alternatives in multiple sizes, colours, and materials.
To create ultra-stylish interiors, both the tiling and grid frame can offer a combination of components to create concealed installations, flush-fitting fake ceilings, recessed designs, and minimalist concepts that leave the support grid visible.
‘Standard’ tiles with dimensions of 600mm x 600mm or 600mm x 1200mm are relatively common. They are available in various materials such as mineral fibre, plasterboard, metals, and laminates.
Aside from their obvious visual advantages, such materials are frequently used for their potential to produce rooms with a specific acoustic resonance. You can even opt for ceiling panels that have higher fire resistance, but this will increase the cost.
After the false secondary ceiling has been installed and tiled, the final duty is to add walls to split off space in the room below. These are made with panels, which, like ceiling tiles, come in a variety of possibilities for creating beautiful interiors with distinct personalities and built-in functions.
In general, panelled partitions are installed using one of the following methods:
1. Installing panels that go through the fake ceiling and are secured to the floor slab above.
2. Using panels that intersect with the ceiling or that stop notably short of the ceiling framework.
Well-designed, professionally built fake ceilings and partitioned rooms create attractive work environments that improve the appearance of any business building, promote the company’s image, and improve working conditions for the employees.
What Is the Cost of a Suspended or False Ceiling?
The cost of false ceiling installation will vary from property to property because each home will differ in size, location, and style or requirements of the suspended ceiling. Cost will be determined in part by whether you opt for a low or high end dropped ceiling tiles
|Dropped ceiling option||Celing area 30m2 to 50m2||Ceiling area greater than 50m2|
|Low-cost ceiling||£20 to £30 per square metre||£12 to £18 per square metre|
|Mid-range ceiling||£25 to £35 per square metre||£15 to £22 per square metre|
|High-end ceiling||£35 – £70 per square metre||£30 to £62 square metre|
If you wanted to add an insulation layer above the new ceiling, this would likely cost an extra £5 to £8 per square metre on top of these drop ceilings rates, but would depend on the thickness of the insulation you opted for.
This type of installation would typically be expected to take a professional one day to complete. However, it may take longer if the project is larger in scale or is more intricate, such as involving numerous ceiling accessories or multiple partitions.
What Factors Influence the Cost of Installing a False Ceiling?
Several elements must be considered when determining the final cost of constructing a fake ceiling. Some of the most common are discussed here.
Size of the ceiling
It is possible to have a single artificial ceiling area or many smaller sections. The decision is entirely dependent on your design preferences and budget.
Opting to have multiple ceiling regions will be more expensive than having one large false ceiling because it requires additional material cutting and trimming around the perimeter.
Several ceiling sections can raise your installation costs by £4 per m2.
Height of the ceiling
False ceilings might look especially dramatic if your ceilings are high or tall. However, this will raise the cost of installation.
Installing a false ceiling from a higher ceiling may require more labour and may take longer. Therefore, if you have exceptionally high ceilings, account for this while creating a budget.
Location of the dropped ceiling
Where your ceiling is located in your building will also have a bearing on cost. Typically a suspended ceiling being installed on a ground floor will be cheaper than one required on an upper level. This would be due to the additional labour and time involved having to shift equipment and materials to upper levels.
Ceiling Material Selection
When it comes to false ceilings, you can choose ceiling materials. In addition, you have the option of using suspended ceiling tiles or cladding.
While there isn’t much price difference between tiles and cladding in the basic range, as you look into more luxury and high-end tile selections, tiles will become the more expensive option.
They will also provide more design alternatives than ceiling cladding, so it is entirely up to you if you want to spend a little more for greater quality or stay within your budget.
Because there are so many different types of tiles to pick from, each constructed from a different material, you’re bound to find one that fits your tastes and budget.
As with most things, if you want to spend a little more on the tile to get a higher quality material, the cost of tiling will be more.
Air conditioning, lighting fixtures, fire sprinklers, and soundproofing may already be installed in your ceiling. However, these accessories will make fake ceiling installation much more difficult because the labourer may have to remove and then re-fix or work around the accessories.
This will take longer than a more straightforward installation and increase your labour rates.
The final cost of hiring a tradesperson to assist with false ceiling installation will depend on where you live in the UK. Prices in London and the southeast are likely higher than elsewhere, and this can add as much as 10-20% to the suspended ceiling cost.
What Can I Do to Save Money on a False Ceiling?
To begin, decide on the material for your artificial ceiling. Remember that while some polymer plastics are less expensive than tiles or wood, the visual look may suffer.
You should be able to discover a tile pattern and style that isn’t a high-end or luxury product but still fits well with your aesthetic criteria, so research the various possibilities available to you.
Keep your false ceiling design to one entire ceiling area rather than dividing it into smaller portions, increasing installation costs.
Unfortunately, we do not advocate that you try to install a false ceiling yourself to save money. While there are kits available if you want to install the ceiling yourself, there is an element of risk and danger when it comes to working at a height. A qualified professional will also help to ensure that the finished ceiling looks fantastic, with a level of quality finish that an amateur may not be able to accomplish.