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Exposed Ceilings vs. Suspended Ceilings: Which Is Better?

Exposed Ceilings vs. Suspended Ceilings: Which Is Better?

A ceiling is a big investment and will be a key feature of your premises for years to come. Finding a high-quality product at an affordable price isn’t easy though, which is why it’s important to compare different options.

Two of the more well-known systems are exposed ceilings and suspended ceilings. But which of these is better for your business? Read on to compare the features and benefits of each, so you can make an informed decision.

What is an open ceiling?

Sometimes referred to as a plenum, its structure and components are clearly visible. Industrial in appearance, it creates more space and its various elements are often painted – but can also be left unchanged.

A wide range of factors must be considered before committing to a specific system like this. Whether you’ve purchased new premises – or are about to embark on a commercial refit – you can’t afford to make the wrong choice.

Here are three disadvantages of open ceilings:

Poor acoustics. Exposed systems create echo chambers, making them unsuitable for certain commercial environments. To combat this problem, you’d need to pay an additional fee for spray-on materials.

Hefty price tag. Don’t be deceived by the unfinished look of a plenum. It takes a lot of effort to create this effect – which means specialists have to be brought in to do the work. As you can imagine, this will be expensive.

Higher energy costs. Plenums increase the amount of space that needs heating. This will have the effect of driving up your energy costs, which could be high if you own large premises across multiple sites.

Although an open ceiling might look on-trend, its trendy aesthetics come at a cost. Is this a price your business can afford to pay?

What is a suspended ceiling?

It is a system normally made from plaster but which can be constructed using other materials. It fits beneath the structural ceiling of your premises and is used in cases where high ceilings aren’t appropriate or practical. Unsightly elements are therefore concealed, creating a better ambience.

Will contractors need access to the space between your new and old ceiling? If not, then you have two options: (i) a clip-in version that fits into an invisible t-bar and which hides the grid; or (ii) a metal-frame system that resembles a flat plaster ceiling.

If your structural ceiling is too high, a lay-in system that attaches using a metal grid is probably best. It will improve the appearance of the designated space and allow workers to conduct repairs and maintenance without risk.

Exposed and suspended ceilings: Making the right choice

A more cost-effective option

From a cost perspective alone, suspended systems are cheaper to install. Instruct specialists to fit an open ceiling and expect to incur fees for specialist labour and additional materials. If your business operates across multiple sites, the cost of the project will be extremely high.

Create a quieter environment

With suspended ceilings, there are no added costs to worry about. As mentioned earlier, they take up less room and create better acoustics – resulting in cosier, quieter environments that are cost-effective to manage and better for your customers, staff, teams, and any other visitors.

Ideal for the retail industry

Aesthetics are important too. Suspended ceilings look the part and present a welcoming environment, making them an indispensable asset for customer-facing businesses – like supermarkets, restaurants, and hotels. If you’re planning a retail fit-out, a drop-system should be part of your plan.

Suspended ceiling prices: Bath & local areas

With a combined experience of 30+ years, we’re perfectly positioned to help. We’re IPAF approved and CHAS accredited for your peace of mind and will price match any quote you get from a competitor. Take a look at some of our projects then contact us for information and prices.


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