False ceiling and their types

Concrete ceiling is a commonly known name to everybody. But false ceiling is a name that has redefined the interior designing. Due to versatile nature and other important features of false ceiling made it an indispensable feature for every commercial place, be it in a office, or business place, or commercial complex or IT companies or a restaurant or a theatre or stadium one can witness false ceiling. Various types of false ceilings have become part and parcel of all these places.


History of false ceiling started when Dropped ceilings were firstly used in Japan for the purpose of aesthetics in Muromachi period (1337 to 1573) later black friars theatre in London, England, built in 1596, had dropped ceilings to aid acoustics. On 24th October 1950 Remmen and Bibb designed first fully developed grid system concept. Modern dropped ceilings were built using interlocking tiles and the only way to provide access for repair or inspection of the area above the tiles was by starting at the edge of the ceiling, or at a specifically designed “key tile”, and then removing the tiles one at a time until the desired place of access was reached. Once the repair or inspection was completed, the tiles had to be reinstalled.

This process was very time-consuming and expensive. On September 8, 1958 Donald A. Brown of Westlake, Ohio designed Accessible Suspended Ceiling Construction. This invention helped suspended ceiling construction in which access is readily obtained at any desired location.


It improves aesthetically appearance ( form, colour, treatment etc.) & proportions by managing room – heights basically and remaining are as follows:

  1. Hides ducting & reduces the volume of room Ugly structural members like beams, etc that usually spoil the ‘look’ of the room are concealed.
  2. Provides insulation from heat.
  3. Acoustical improvement.
  4. As a design element to create various shapes and curves.
  5. Fire safety is always a factor in several industrial buildings, ceiling tiles made from mineral fibres or fire-rated wood panels can be used within the construction to meet acceptable standards and ratings. Differing levels of fire protection are obtained from the various types of ceiling available.
  6. Anti-microbial performance. The control of bio-contamination is essential in healthcare settings such as hospitals and large commercial kitchens
  7. Light reflectance. A ceiling with that reflects more light can reduce lighting and electricity costs.
  8. To accommodate lighting systems. to provide lighting effects such as hidden lighting etc
  9. Soil resistance and clean ability. Environments that are subject to a lot of dirt such as certain manufacturing buildings may need ceilings that can resist dirt and are easy to clean.
  10. At some places to hide ugly trusses(commonly known as attic)
  11. Sound proof rooms such as meeting rooms, conference rooms, etc, which require a quit environment.
  12. Echo reduction in cinema and concert halls
  13. Sound absorption reduces noises and reduces reverberation with in the area covered by the ceiling.
  14. Reduces overall volume of the space which reduces air conditioning cost.


A suspended ceiling system consists of 3 parts:

  • Primary Members
  • Secondary Members and
  • Main Ceiling Material or Tiles (e.g. acoustic boards, cloth etc.)

These primary and secondary members are called the structural members and form the framework on which the boards, lighting fixtures, A.C ducts etc. are fixed. The diagram below depicts all the important parts of a false ceiling (suspended ceiling) system:


Cross section of false ceiling details
              Cross section of false ceiling details

Suspended ceilings are created using metal grid systems, which are suspended below the ceiling or roof deck using a series of wires. The grid is then filled in with ceiling tiles, which are primarily made from mineral fibre blends. Depending up on the appearance and visibility of the members false ceilings are classified in to two types. They are :

  1. Exposed Grid
  2. Concealed grid


A system where the grid is visible and into which panels are laid. The grid is finished in colours to harmonies or contrast with the panels is known as exposed grid type ceiling. Exposed grid varieties are the most common type of suspended ceiling. They consist of long metal strips, called “mains,” which are interconnected with shorter metal pieces known as “tees Together, the mains and tees form a grid system ,which are then filled with acoustical ceiling tiles. Exposed grid suspended ceiling systems can contribute to passive fire protection. The system is rapid to install and can provide a high degree of access to the ceiling void.


Concealed grid systems use the acoustical tiles to hide the grid system from view. The tile used has a small groove built into it’s perimeter, which slides over the mains and tees to cover them. Various metal and a few kinds of pop ceilings come under this category .This type is more expensive than an exposed system. This kind of false ceiling system is difficult for maintenance to access areas above the ceiling.


Depending on the place of usage, ambiance needed and economy available. The most commonly used false ceiling materials are

  1. Gypsum boards
  2. Plaster of Paris (POP)

Other materials used are

  1. Metal ( aluminium, Asbestos)
  2. Mineral wool board
  3. Poly vinyl chloride (PVC)
  4. UPVC
  5. Wood
  6. Polystyrene
  7. Glass
  8. Acrylic

GYPSUM BOARD (Gyp board):

Lightweight, flexible and fire and moisture resistant, gypsum is most commonly used for false ceiling. Gypsum board panels are tough, versatile and economical, and are fast replacing other ceiling materials such as POP. Gypsum board can be used while constructing false ceiling. as well as to renovate old ceilings. The material is fire-resistant, waterproof, as well as soundproof, which is why it is the most preferred material for false ceiling. A gypsum panel could have tapered or square edges.

Panels with tapered adage are used for ceiling since the gap between each edge can be filled, to give a smooth surface. Square-edges board can be used. Where visibility of the joints is a requirement. A suspended Gypsum board ceiling can be constructed by nailing Gypsum board panels to each other, or by fixing the panels in a metal grid (usually steel). Generally, gypsum panels of 600 mm×600mm are used. Gypsum ceiling are popular because:

  1. The ‘dry construction’ eliminates the use of extra water while making the ceiling. This also keeps the building clean.
  2. Gypsum board is quite flexible. It allows for various shapes and design-such as plain, curved, stepped, coffered, pelmet, drop design, etc.
  3. Gypsum board has high impact-resistance and is very strong. It is possible to suspend a load of up to 15 kg from the ceiling without any difficulty.
  4. A Gyp board ceiling suspended on a metal grid forms a strong ceiling design.
  5. The ceiling can be easily decorated with wallpaper or paint, 24 hours after it is constructed.
  6. Glass fibre-reinforced gyp board makes excellent insulation material.
  7. Gypsum ceilings are non-resonant which makes then good soundproofing.
  8. When exposed to fire, gypsum gives out water, which is converted to steam and helps combat the fire. This is what makes the ceiling fireproof.

Generally available in the tiles of 600mm X 600mm.

Rates of some of the available Gypsum board false ceilings based on the survey and brouchers available are as follows:

  1. Plain gypsum board ceiling panel: 40/- per sft.
  2. Gypsum board poly Ceiling panel: 47/- per sft.
  3. Gypsum board PVC laminated Ceiling panel: 70/- per sft.
  4. Gypsum board Semi Perforated Ceiling panel: 48/- per sft.
  5. Gypsum board Fully Perforated Ceiling panel: 60/- per sft. without glass-wood.
  6. Gypsum board Fully Fissured Ceiling panel: 60/- per sft.
  7. Gypsum board Silt Ceiling panel: 64/- per sft. without glass-wood.


Metals ceilings are suitable for a large Range of applications. The false ceiling is constructed with metal panels. Which are coupled with insulating materials to make them soundproof? They are ideal for concealing ducts and wiring, since they can be easily installed and maintained. Aluminium or steel panels, 600mm×600mm in size, are generally used. The panels can be laid on a visible steel grid with T-sections or cross-sections that are suspended from the ceiling by rods.

This result is strong, long-lasting surface, which is easy to access. The panels can also be clipped to each other or clipping into a suspension system having springs. That method prevents the panel edges from being seen. The third method is to stretch the metal sheets to form various shapes, which can be suspended from the ceiling. This treatment is ideal for obtaining a variety of shapes in the metal, without changing its soundproofing ability.

Advantages of metal ceiling:

  1. They reduce overall cost, since they are easy to install and access.
  2. Hidden services can be easily accessed since the panels are removable.
  3. They are ideal for workspacewhich require clean environments and services that require maintenance such as the machinery rooms, the AHU, etc.
  4. They have a monolithic look.
  5. They give the space a very modern look and blend well with glass.


Plaster of Paris (POP) is commonly used for constructing false ceilings. Gypsum, which gives out water when heated, makes POP. Post-heating, gypsum softens and is then crushed to form a powder. POP hardens instantly when water is added to it. It is applied to fibreboard or a wood base, which is then suspended to form the false ceiling.

Advantages of POP:

Ø A smooth, uniform finish.

Ø The surface can be recorded or painted.

Ø POP false ceiling are easy to construct and maintain.

Ø The ceilings are really light.

Thickness- 10-15 mm

Rate: 30/- per sft. to soon depend upon the design & Pattern.


Plywood ceiling are widely used for their visual appeal. These ceilings are created with strips of ply glued or nailed together. The strips are held together and strengthened with ply supports at equal distances. Ply ceiling are generally used in place with cold climates.

 Advantage of ply ceilings:

  1. They are strong and look appealing.
  2. They can be given various finishes, or painted to get the right look.
  3. They can be treated to increase their lifespan.

But ply ceiling are difficult to maintain, since these are prone to termite attacks. The room has to be thermally controlled to reduce the humidity in the air. Also, the wood is prone to warping and other physical changes, with time.


PVC ceiling system is light in weight, moisture resistant and reduces condensation and subsequent dripping from ceiling onto work surfaces. The cleanable, non-absorbent surface is UV stable and will not discolor.PVC ceiling systems solves the problem of dirty, unhygienic ceilings that are difficult, and expensive to clean by providing a bright, durable and hygienic surface, which is easily maintained. This extremely practical ceiling system is suitable for any area requiring a fixed, on-porous, non-fibrous and non-absorbent ceiling. they are waterproof, termite proof, fire retardant, economical, maintenance free, being non-porous and non-absorbent, can incorporate flush fitting, lighting, access hatches, air vents and sprinklers easy to install & available in various colours shades & no hassles of painting & polishing.


1.The most worrying aspect of having a false ceiling would be pests. They can get through into the space between and can start their own breeding which might lead to a lot of trouble.

2.Also be careful while putting up decorations or hangings while you have a false ceiling in place. Make sure you know the strength and durability, do’s and don’ts with regard to your ceiling.

3.Lastly, the false ceiling would reduce the height of the ceiling considerably and hence do not install false ceiling unless you have a decent ceiling height.

Hello friends, my name is Bipin Kumar, I am the Writer and Founder of this blog and share all the information related to Civil Engineering, Civil practical Knowledge, Site Execution Knowledge, latest information about construction and more through this website.

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