Ever since men first had ceilings overhead there was an urge to make them much more than their natural appearance. Cave drawings, ornamental hangings, woven rugs and other materials either tried to take the blandness from the roof of the dwelling or to recreate a natural setting such as the sky.
In most modern home building the ceiling is a white space, usually sheetrock screwed to the ceiling joists. The look is unobtrusive and, with an appealing light fixture, are favored over a cluttered, decorated look. However, for those many homeowners who want something different there are many options from which to choose, some old and some very new and exciting:
1. Acoustic Ceiling Tiles
2. Dropped Ceilings
Usually used in commercial applications dropped ceilings required the installation of a 2x2 or 2x4 foot grid made from inverted "t-bars" suspended from the roof. The space between the grid and the ceiling can be from six-inches to a slow as a person wants to make it. This space can be used to hide utilities such as electrical conduit, plumbing and heating and can also double as a plenum for a cold air return. Tiles are "dropped" into place form a tight, acoustic bond. Efficient and clean, most homeowners only use this type of ceiling tile for basements and utility rooms.
3. Ceramic Tiles
In bathrooms and washrooms ceramic tile is popular and this includes on the ceiling. On a base of cement backerboard a plastic lathe is attached to support the thinset mortar that holds the tile in place. The thinset is worked, or "keyed," into the lathe and the tiles are pressed into place and held with upright lengths of studs until they set.
4. Ceiling Roses and Medallions and Crown Moldings
Ceiling roses, ceiling medallions and centerpieces are plaster or plastic ornamentations for enhancing light fittings. Although these plaster and plastic ceiling decorations can be quickly installed by drywall plasterers they can easily be put up by a handy homeowner. Edging and square patterns can be achieved by painting moldings and installing them in a box pattern to give a picture-frame effect. Although crown moldings look great in many settings they really set off plaster decorations.
5. Stucco Ceiling
Using a spraying apparatus the ceiling can be coated with a stucco material in a manner sometimes called a "popcorn" effect. This rough appearance can then be painted to a desired color with a thick roller.
6. Tin Ceilings
A staple ceiling design for a thousand years the "tin' ceiling is composed of metal squares of tin, copper or some other metal that are used to cover a ceiling. Today these squares are interlocking and available in a wide variety of colors, metals and designs. At around $8 a square foot they are around the same price as a fine wood floor but are easy to install. Crown moldings also work well with these ceilings.
For those who want a great-looking ceiling without the cost can use a paintable wallpaper. Many types of these wallpapers are available in patterns that resemble the ceiling tiles. Once put up on the ceiling the wallpaper can be painted with a base layer and then the raised paint is brushed with an antiqued-metal paint for the effect.
For more information on great ceiling effect consult our Contractor Directory for a painting or plaster contractor, or simply post your project online.
Kim Kinrade writes for renovation, travel and news sites. When he is not doing this, or renovating old houses, he finds the time to write novels.
Key Hiring Tips
From large to small projects, before you select any contractor be sure to take the time to properly screen them. The time it takes now to screen a contractor will help ensure success for your home improvement project and avoid problems down the road.