What is a suspended ceiling?

Suspended ceilings (also known as drop or false ceilings) aren’t structural ceilings. Instead, they are secondary ceilings suspended from the structural slabs above.

When suspended panels are installed, a gap is created between the underside of the structural ceiling and the topside of the suspended ceiling. This gap is typically around 3 to 8 inches, making the space useful for concealing unsightly wires and structural features.

Suspended ceilings are made from tiles that sit within a metal grid frame. A wide range of tile types is available, meaning property owners can choose a tile colour, design, and material to best suit their building. 


Why get a suspended ceiling?

Suspended ceilings are popular for a variety of reasons. Aside from allowing you to conceal building features like wires and plumbing, the space created can aid heat distribution, air conditioning, and ventilation.

Don’t worry about your suspended ceiling hiding important components — you’ll still be able to access the void space.

Because a suspended ceiling reduces the amount of ceiling space in a given room, less heating is needed to warm the space and property owners benefit from reduced heating bills.

Drop ceilings can also provide properties with a solid platform for the installation of speakers, lights, CCTV, fire detectors, sprinklers, alarms, and more. 

These benefits make them particularly well suited for commercial buildings that require these safety and security features.

Here’s an overview of the benefits:

  • Sleek and clean appearance
  • Improved heat insulation and reduced bills
  • Improved air ventilation
  • Hides wires and plumbing
  • Leaves access to the void and components within it
  • Platform for lights, security features, electrical components
  • Fire safety (drop ceilings will be fire-rated by the manufacturer)
  • Improved light quality (drop ceiling tiles have a high light reflectance)
  • Improved acoustics (drop ceilings act as sound barriers between floors)

The list goes on!


Typical buildings that use suspended ceilings

Buildings that commonly use suspended ceilings include:

  • Industrial units
  • Retail units
  • Offices
  • Schools
  • Hospitals
  • Libraries and other public buildings

What about residential buildings? Well, false ceilings usually tend to be installed in kitchens or conservatories.


What types of suspended ceilings are available?

There are a few types of false ceilings available such as lay-in grid, clip-in, and M/F. Here’s an overview of their features, uses, and benefits.

Not sure which is the best ceiling option for your building? Contact us for a chat. We’d be happy to discuss your requirements and provide our expert opinion.


Lay-in grid

This is the most commonly installed type of suspended ceiling. It uses a metal grid to support individual ceiling tiles. Tiles are easy to install and replace during a commercial fit-out. They can also be removed to allow access to utilities in the void.

Lay-in grid ceilings are frequently used in offices, schools, retail units, and leisure centres.



Not too keen about seeing an exposed grid? A clip-in suspended ceiling might be the best option for you. Metal tiles are clipped into a ‘T’ bar, which creates a sleek, polished ceiling appearance. You don’t need to remove the tiles to clean them.

Note that access to the ceiling void is more restricted.

Clip-in ceiling tiles are often used in hospitals, food preparation areas, and transport hubs.



In M/F ceilings (metal furring), a metal framework is installed and plasterboard is fixed to the underside. This plasterboard is then taped and filled or skim plastered to give a smooth, seamless appearance.

This option combines the strength of metal with the versatility of plasterboard and is suitable for installation in new builds and refurbishments.

M/F suspended ceilings are a popular choice for offices and warehouses.


Tile materials

You can choose a suspended ceiling tile material that best suits your building. Possible tile materials include:

  • Metal – light reflective and heat and moisture resistant
  • Mineral fibre and cork – very lightweight but not as strong
  • Vinyl – hardwearing and easy to clean
  • Timber – less common but good for acoustics


Tile design

You can also select a tile design to match your building’s interior aesthetic. Chat to us about the design options available with your chosen suspended ceiling system. 

You’ll be able to choose a colour, finish, and design that works for you. We can also make accommodations for ceiling features such as beams and changes of level.


Get a quote for your new suspended ceiling

At SLP Interiors, we can make your suspended ceiling vision a reality

We work across the South West of England, including Bath, Bristol, Cirencester, Frome, Glastonbury, Gloucester, Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Shepton Mallet, Yeovil, Westbury, and the Somerset area.

Committed to health and safety, we are accredited by Chas and Constructionline, with all operatives being trained at CSCS NVQ level 2 and holding Pasma, IPAF, and asbestos awareness certificates.