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Evaluating Ceiling Finishes
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: This PagePt. 2: Evaluating Ceiling AcousticsPt. 3: Evaluating Ceiling LongevityPt. 4: Evaluating Ceiling Sustainability
Even though they’re a large and mostly unbroken interior surface, in everyday life ceilings are nearly invisible.
But the ceiling taps into many aspects of the art and science of facilities management. As a significant interior finish, it helps to create the aesthetic energy of a space. As well, it is a major component of a room’s acoustical performance, aids the lighting system and can even contribute to a company’s green initiatives.
Despite the ceiling’s importance, it is a system especially prone to suffer in the value engineering process. “Because it’s a finish, the ceiling tends to be selected earlier in the design process, when owners have one idea of what they can afford,” says Jeremy Verstraete, ceiling products manager with USG. However, it’s one of the last components to go in, and by then the budget can be tight.
Knowing that the ceiling is in danger of getting whacked at the tail end of a new build out or significant renovation, facility executives would do well to understand the attributes of ceilings and specify what they must have for their facility.
Question: What Look?
As a large finish that interacts with the entire space, good looks come into play when specifying a ceiling. Ceilings could stay in place for 10 years or more, but are commonly replaced every five years or so.
“When a new tenant is moving in, often building owners will paint the walls and put in a new ceiling as a way to freshen the space,” says Robert Marshall, manager for marketing technical services with CertainTeed Ceilings.
The majority of commercial ceilings consist of white acoustical tiles with a visible grid, but experts say one of the hot trends in ceilings is achieving a monolithic look approaching drywall.
Since individual ceiling tiles occasionally have to be replaced due to water damage or normal wear and tear, facility executives should be sure to specify a ceiling with a 10-year product availability program, says Joanne Davis Brayman, vice president of marketing, commercial ceiling systems with Armstrong World Industries.
“This removes the risk inherent in selecting a particular ceiling panel as a building standard and then not having that panel available in the future,” she says.