Ceilings: what are the types you can make?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 11, 2022
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A physical ceiling is a material barrier that limits how high something can go. It can be made of wood, metal, plaster, or other materials.

Ceilings are a crucial component of any building. However, there’s more to them than meets the eye. From their history to their purpose, there’s a lot to learn about ceilings. Additionally, there are various types of ceilings to consider.

In this guide, I’ll provide a comprehensive overview of ceilings. I’ll cover their purpose, history, and different types. Additionally, I’ll share some fascinating facts about ceilings that you may not be aware of.

What is a ceiling

Types of ceilings

There are many different types of ceilings, including:

  • Flat ceiling: A flat ceiling is a type of ceiling that is level and flush with the rest of the walls in a room.
  • Textured ceiling: A textured ceiling is one that has been designed with a raised or lowered finish to give it added interest and dimension.
  • Painted ceiling: A painted ceiling is a ceiling that has been decorated with a coat of paint. This can be done for aesthetic or functional purposes.
  • Plastered ceiling: A plastered ceiling is a type of textured ceiling that is created by applying a thin layer of plaster to the surface.
  • Tiled ceiling: A tiled ceiling is a type of ceiling that is covered with tiles. This can be done for both functional and aesthetic purposes.
  • Drop ceiling: A drop ceiling is a type of ceiling that consists of panels that are suspended from the main structural ceiling.
  • Barrel vault ceiling: A barrel vault ceiling is a type of ceiling that features a curved, arched shape.
  • Coffered ceiling: A coffered ceiling is a type of ceiling that features a series of square or rectangular panels.
  • Cathedral ceiling: A cathedral ceiling is a type of ceilings that slopes upward from all sides to meet in the middle.
  • Lowered ceiling: A lowered ceiling is a type of ceiling that has been designed to hang lower than the standard height. This can be done for aesthetic or functional purposes.Functional purposesOne of the main reasons why people opt for a physical ceiling is for functional purposes. A ceiling can help to keep out unwanted elements like dust, noise, and heat

The Different Elements of Ceilings: A Comprehensive Guide

Ceiling elements are individual pieces that can significantly enhance a room’s decor. The range consists of ceiling domes, ceiling rims, ceiling medallions, both elliptical medallions and non-elliptical medallions, and rosettes. These elements come in different shapes and sizes, and are available in a wide range of materials such as stone, steel, aluminium, and cable.

The Importance of Sound Absorption

Sound absorption is an important factor to consider when choosing ceiling elements. Here are some of the factors that influence sound absorption:

  • Distance: The distance between the ceiling and the source of noise is a significant factor in determining the effectiveness of sound absorption.
  • Material: The material used in the ceiling element greatly affects its ability to absorb sound. Low-density materials like acoustic tiles are better at sound absorption than high-density materials like stone.
  • Shape: The shape of the ceiling element can also influence its sound absorption capabilities. Circular shapes are more effective than other shapes in absorbing sound.
  • Colour: The colour of the ceiling element can also affect its sound absorption capabilities. Lighter colours are better at absorbing sound than darker colours.

The Different Materials Used in Ceiling Elements

Ceiling elements can be made from a variety of materials. Here are some of the most commonly used materials:

  • Aluminium: This material is lightweight and easy to install. It is also available in a wide range of colours.
  • Steel: This material is strong and durable. It is commonly used in industrial areas.
  • Cable: This material is flexible and can be used to create unique shapes and designs.

The Different Suspension Systems for Ceiling Elements

Ceiling elements can be hung from different suspension systems. Here are some of the most common suspension systems:

  • Frameless Suspension System: This system is used for suspended ceilings and is efficient in areas where supply and height are limited.
  • Surface Hung System: This system is used for cloud ceilings and is efficient in areas where sound absorption is needed.
  • Aluminium Grid System: This system is used for acoustic tiles and is efficient in areas where sound absorption is needed.

The Importance of Effective Installation

Effective installation is crucial in ensuring that ceiling elements function properly. Here are some tips for effective installation:

  • Ensure that the ceiling elements are properly aligned and levelled.
  • Ensure that the suspension system is properly installed and can support the weight of the ceiling elements.
  • Ensure that the ceiling elements are properly secured to the suspension system to prevent damage or falling.

Choosing the Right Materials for Your Ceilings

Ceilings have been around for centuries, and traditional materials such as wood, plaster, and gypsum boards have been extensively used in their construction. These materials are still popular today due to their aesthetic appeal, texture, and pleasant finish. Some of the traditional materials used in ceilings include:

Fire-resistance rated ceilings are an essential component of modern building design. They are designed to prevent fire from spreading through a building by blocking the passage of flames and smoke. A fire-resistance rated ceiling comprises of steel channels and other materials that are meant to withstand high temperatures and prevent the spread of fire. These ceilings are available in multiple types and are designed to achieve a given level of fire resistance, which is usually measured in hours.

Should You Remove Your Old Ceiling or Not?

Before taking on the significant job of removing an old ceiling, it’s essential to assess its condition. If the ceiling is sagging, cracking, or unsightly, it may be time to consider taking it down. However, if the ceiling is in moderate condition, leaving it in place may be the best option.

Access to Joist Bays and Runs

Removing an old ceiling enables access to the joist bays and runs, which can be significant if you plan on installing new lights or switches. It also enables the installation of a lightweight cover, such as sheetrock or decorative tiles that resemble pressed tin ceilings.

Historical Restoration

If you’re restoring a historical property, removing the old ceiling may be necessary to repair any damage to the original structure. However, it’s essential to consult with a professional to ensure that the job is done correctly.

The Steps Involved in Removing an Old Ceiling

If you’ve decided to go ahead with removing your old ceiling, here are the steps involved:

  • Turn off the electricity to the room.
  • Remove any light fixtures, fans, or other objects attached to the ceiling.
  • Use a pry bar to loosen the plaster or sheetrock from the joists.
  • Carefully remove the old ceiling in sections, being mindful of any wiring or pipes that may be hidden behind it.
  • Dispose of the old ceiling material properly.

Installing a New Ceiling

If you’ve decided to remove your old ceiling, installing a new one can be an interesting and rewarding job. Here are some points to consider:

  • Choose a lightweight material that won’t put too much strain on the joists.
  • If you’re installing sheetrock, be sure to use screws rather than nails to attach it to the joists.
  • If you’re installing decorative tiles, be sure to use an adhesive that is appropriate for the material and the surface it will be attached to.


So, ceilings are the things above your head that separate the rooms of your house. They can be made of all sorts of materials and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. They can also be pretty useful in sound absorption. 

Now you know all the ins and outs of ceilings, so go ahead and make the most of them!

I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.