Dropped ceiling or suspended ceiling: why use them?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 18, 2022
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A suspended ceiling is a ceiling that’s hung from wires or rods attached to the building’s structural beams or trusses. It’s not attached to the walls or floor. This type of ceiling is popular in rooms with high ceilings or large spaces.

In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about suspended ceilings, including how they’re installed and what they entail.

What is a drop ceiling

Discover the Variety of Suspended Ceilings Available

A suspended ceiling, also known as a drop ceiling or false ceiling, is a secondary ceiling that is hung below the primary ceiling. This system is installed using a grid of metal channels, which are suspended from the foundation of the primary ceiling. The grid is then covered with tiles or panels, creating a smooth finish that hides the internal workings of the ceiling.

Materials and Quality

Suspended ceilings are available in a range of materials, including mineral fibre, fibreglass, and metal. These materials provide a lightweight and easy-to-install method for improving the acoustic and sound control of a room. They also offer a lower cost alternative to traditional ceiling systems, while still providing a high-quality finish.

Design and Customization

Suspended ceilings come in a variety of shapes and sizes, allowing for custom designs to be created to suit specific needs. They are available in a range of colours and finishes, including translucent ones that diffuse light for a unique effect. Accessories such as lighting fixtures and air vents can also be easily installed within the system.

Access and Safety

One of the primary advantages of suspended ceilings is that they provide easy access to the internal workings of the ceiling, making repairs and maintenance simple. They also offer improved fire safety, as the tiles and panels are designed to be fire-resistant and can help contain fires within the ceiling system.

Installation and System

Suspended ceilings are a popular choice for both commercial and residential applications due to their quick and easy installation process. The grid system is installed first, followed by the tiles or panels, which simply drop into place. The system can be installed at any height, making it a versatile option for a range of spaces.

Insulation and Acoustical Control

Suspended ceilings also offer improved insulation and acoustical control, as the tiles and panels can be designed to absorb sound and reduce noise levels in a room. This makes them a popular choice for spaces such as offices, schools, and hospitals, where noise control is important.

Why Suspended Ceilings are the Best Choice for Your Business

Suspended ceilings offer a variety of benefits that make them the best choice for your business. One of the most significant advantages is that they improve the quality and safety of your space. Suspended ceilings resist moisture, which means that the space will be more hygienic and healthy. They also provide better insulation, which means you will be better able to keep the heat in – reducing your energy expenses and making the business more energy efficient. Additionally, suspended ceilings are fire-resistant, providing an extra layer of safety in case of emergencies.

Easier Access to Plumbing and Other Areas

Another advantage of suspended ceilings is that they provide easier access to plumbing and other areas that may need maintenance or repair. With a suspended ceiling, you can easily remove tiles to access the space above, without disturbing the rest of the ceiling. This makes it easier to maintain your space and keep it in good condition.

Varied Choices and Improved Sound Quality

Suspended ceilings also offer a wide range of choices when it comes to design and materials. You can choose from mineral fiber, fiberglass, or metal tiles, depending on your specific needs and preferences. Additionally, suspended ceilings can improve the sound quality of your space by absorbing sound and reducing noise levels. This is especially important in spaces where noise levels need to be controlled, such as offices or classrooms.

Savings on Expenses and Improved Lighting

Finally, suspended ceilings can help you save on expenses in a variety of ways. By improving insulation, you can reduce your energy expenses and make your business more energy efficient. Additionally, suspended ceilings can improve lighting in your space by reflecting light and reducing the need for additional lighting fixtures. This can help you save on electricity expenses and improve the overall look and feel of your space.

Not All That Glitters Is Gold: The Downsides of Suspended Ceilings

While suspended ceilings are designed to enhance the quality of a room, it’s important to consider the cons before installing them. One of the biggest disadvantages of suspended ceilings is that they reduce the height of the room by several inches, creating a cramped outlook that can be a big concern if you don’t have standard room height. As soon as they are installed, they reduce the ceiling space, giving the room a touch of claustrophobia that you never wanted. Experts can calculate the headroom needed before installing a suspended ceiling, but it’s important to know that you may lose some height in the process.

Difficult to Maintain and Inspect

Suspended ceilings can be easy to install, but they are not as easy to maintain. The tiles and panels covering the ceiling can hide fixtures and wiring, making it difficult to inspect and maintain them. If there is a water leak or power outage, it can be difficult to locate the source of the problem. Additionally, suspended ceilings require extra work to clean and remove, as the tiles and panels need to be taken down and put back up. This can be a big concern if you need to access the wiring or air conditioning system.

Soundproofing and Air Quality Concerns

While suspended ceilings are designed to reduce noise and enhance air quality, they can also create soundproofing and air quality concerns. The tiles and panels can trap air and moisture, leading to mold and mildew growth. Additionally, if the tiles and panels are not properly installed, they can create tension and cause the ceiling to sag or even collapse. This can be a big concern if you have a large area to cover or if you need a solid and uniform ceiling.

Cost and Construction Time

Suspended ceilings may seem like an easy and quick solution, but they can add extra cost and construction time to your project. The wiring and power needed to install a suspended ceiling can be complex and time-consuming, requiring the help of experts. Additionally, if you need to remove the suspended ceiling in the future, it can be a big job that requires extra time and effort.

Installing Suspended Ceilings: A Step-by-Step Guide

Before installing a suspended ceiling, it’s important to plan and layout the installation process. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  • Measure the dimensions of the room to determine the amount of materials needed.
  • Determine the position of the ceiling tiles and the grid layout.
  • Mark the perimeter of the room on the walls to ensure the grid is level.
  • Plan the position of the tiles and the perimeter trim.


Once you have planned and laid out the installation, it’s time to start the actual installation process. Here are the steps you need to follow:

  • Install the perimeter trim along the walls.
  • Install the main tees, which are the long metal pieces that form the grid.
  • Install the cross tees, which are the shorter metal pieces that connect to the main tees.
  • Position the ceiling tiles into the grid.
  • Cut tiles to fit around the perimeter and any obstructions.
  • Install any additional fixtures, such as lights or vents.

General Tips

Here are some general tips to keep in mind when installing a suspended ceiling:

  • Watch installation videos or read installation guides to get an overview of the process.
  • Use a laser level (here are the best ones for home owners) to ensure the grid is level.
  • Double-check all measurements before cutting tiles or installing the grid.
  • Wear safety gear, such as goggles and gloves, when handling materials.
  • Consider hiring a professional if you’re unsure about the installation process.

Suspended Ceiling Tiles: The Perfect Solution for Your Ceiling Needs

Suspended ceiling tiles are commonly made of lightweight materials such as mineral fiber, fiberglass, or metal. They are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and thicknesses to fit specific needs. The tiles are usually set in a grid system that is attached to the walls or beams of the main ceiling structure. The grid system is composed of tees, which are connected to the main runners or beams. The tiles are then fitted into the grid system, and the edges are concealed to create a neat and finished look.

How are Suspended Ceiling Tiles Installed?

Suspended ceiling tiles are relatively easy to install and can be done by a professional or a DIY enthusiast. The installation process involves the following steps:

  • Install the grid system: The grid system is installed by attaching the tees to the main runners or beams of the main ceiling structure.
  • Fit the tiles: The tiles are then fitted into the grid system, and the edges are concealed to create a neat and finished look.
  • Complete the installation: Once all the tiles are in place, the grid system is filled with a special material to help the tiles stay in place. The tiles are then demountable, which means they can be easily removed if needed.

Drop Ceiling vs Drywall Ceiling: Which One to Choose?

One of the biggest advantages of drop ceilings is that they are easy to repair in case of water damage. Simply remove the affected tiles, dry the area, and replace the tiles. With drywall ceilings, repairing water damage requires cutting through the ceiling and replacing the damaged area, which can be time-consuming and expensive.

Design and Finishes

Drop ceilings offer a unique design element with a variety of tile types and finishes to choose from, including smooth, textured, and even soundproof tiles. Drywall ceilings, on the other hand, offer a more traditional and seamless look but require more work to achieve a smooth finish.

Price and Budget

Drop ceilings are generally more affordable than drywall ceilings, making them a great option for those on a budget. However, the price can vary depending on the type of tiles and finishes chosen. Drywall ceilings are more expensive but can add value to a home and provide a more polished look.

Considerations and Types

When deciding between a drop ceiling and a drywall ceiling, it’s important to consider factors such as the level of work required, the type of finish desired, and the budget. Some other things to keep in mind include:

  • Drop ceilings require a grid system to be installed, which can limit the ceiling height.
  • Drywall ceilings can be locked into place, providing a more secure and stable ceiling.
  • Drop ceilings can be changed easily by simply swapping out tiles, while drywall ceilings require more work to change.
  • Drop ceilings are also called suspended ceilings or false ceilings.


So, there you have it- everything you need to know about suspended ceilings. They’re great for improving the look and feel of a space, and are a much better option than traditional ceilings when it comes to insulation, acoustics, and safety. Plus, they’re much easier to install and maintain, so you don’t have to be a professional to get the job done.

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.