Getting the right ceiling for your house

Wednesday December 13 2017

Cardboard ceiling boards are magnificent, easy to modify and have good acoustics, but they are also disproportionately vulnerable to damage by moisture and attack by insects and birds living in the attic. PHOTO | FILE

Cardboard ceiling boards are magnificent, easy to modify and have good acoustics, but they are also disproportionately vulnerable to damage by moisture and attack by insects and birds living in the attic. PHOTO | FILE 

By BARACK ODUOR
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A ceiling is an overhead interior surface that covers the upper part of a room.

It is considered a finished surface concealing the underside of the roof. Although most people have plain ceilings, there is a lot you can do to add visual interest to a ceiling.

For example, a suspended ceiling allows a home owner to hide plumbing, wiring and other utilities while still allowing easy access when necessary. Some materials used on ceilings also reduce noise. A ceiling can be suspended or applied directly over joists or drywall.

A ceiling can be embellished with different materials such as plastic, PVC, wood, or even metal. Mr Alphonse Migai, an interior designer, says ceilings come in different designs.

“For instance, in a coffered ceiling, the ceiling is divided into a grid of recessed panels accented with dropped beams, usually in the form of multiple squares or rectangles,” he says. The designer adds that ceilings are designed with the use of the space below in mind.  

For instance, a cathedral ceiling has high, symmetrical sloping sides that meet at a ridge in the middle of a room. Not surprisingly, they are used mostly in churches. Similar to this is the vaulted ceiling, which extends a room upwards. Both types of ceilings make a room feel bigger.

WOODEN CEILINGS NEED EXTRA CARE

Another type of ceiling is the tray ceiling, often used in hotels and restaurants. It is usually an artistic element added to select ceilings to give them personality and a unique attribute. Tray ceilings begin horizontally at the wall intersection and are then  built upwards in a cut-out resembling a tray.  The cut can be vertical or angled. A series of steps can be added for a more dramatic effect.

Domed ceilings are large and circular and are mostly found in big homes and buildings. A dome ceiling can have a skylight or stained glass opening to let in natural light. Before choosing the appropriate material for your ceiling, you should consider two important factors, namely climate and durability. 

If you are set on having a wooden ceiling but live in a place that experiences extremes in weather, then go for wood laminate rather than natural wood because natural wood expands in hot weather and contracts during the cold season.

It is also important to note that wooden ceilings need extra care; they should be coated with a preservative substance to protect them from damage by moisture and pests. Mr Fredrick Ouma, a painter, adds that applying paint and construction adhesive on the back of the plane right next to the wall is advisable.

“A wooden ceiling should be painted very carefully to protect it against water or destruction by termites,” he asserts. Most people seem to prefer white ceilings, thanks to its ability to reflect light. Indeed, a white ceiling is ideal in a room that receives little natural light for this very reason. Besides, a white ceiling attracts little attention, allowing the occupants of a room to focus on other aspects of the décor.

However, you can paint the ceiling other colours apart from white, such as off-white, beige and cream. A coloured ceiling can enhance a room’s character, but it’s advisable to keep it simple so that it does not clash with other items in the room.

Mr Migai advises that you ensure that the hue compliments the colour of your walls and décor. “Having uniformity in terms of colour creates harmony,” he says. The change in colour where the wall meets the ceiling helps focus attention on the living space instead of the ceiling.