- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 26 Mar 2020
A ceiling is part of a building that encloses a space and is exposed overhead. Ceilings help create enclosure of and separation between spaces, they help to control the diffusion of light and sound around a room, and help prevent the passage of sound between rooms. They have fire resistant properties and may also accommodate building services such as vents, lighting, sprinkler heads and so on, as well as being able to conceal other services such as ducts, pipes and wiring.
There are a number of ways of finishing a ceiling.
 Plasterboard and skim
- Can create a void for services.
- Good fire-resistance.
- Smooth seamless finish.
- The grid is convenient for housing lighting and other services.
- Good acoustic qualities.
- Variety of tiles available.
- Good for covering roof voids.
- Individual tiles can be easily replaced.
- Very hygienic and surfaces can be kept clean.
- No decoration required.
- It can be used as a suspended ceiling.
- Larger panels can start to sag.
- Not very good fire rating.
- Heat can cause damage; lighting installations need to be considered.
See also: Stretched-skin ceiling
- Can be aesthetically pleasing.
- Sustainable material.
- Can have a low fire rating.
- Requires sealing and maintenance to prevent timber deterioration.
- Can be troublesome in high humidity areas like bathrooms and kitchens.
In some buildings, it is possible to omit a 'finished' ceiling completely and simply expose the structural and mechanical components of the building to the interior. This offers the advantages of economy and ease of access for maintenance, and can also expose the thermal mass of the building. The thermal mass of exposed ceilings can be further exploited by the installation of heating or cooling elements such as chilled beams.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Barrel vault.
- BREEAM Speculative floor & ceiling finishes.
- Chilled ceiling.
- Definition of ceiling.
- Domestic roof.
- Floating floor.
- Folded plate construction.
- Inspecting historic fibrous plaster ceilings.
- Integrated service module.
- Loft v attic.
- Plenum ventilation in buildings.
- Raised floor.
- Stretched-skin ceiling.
- Suspended ceiling.
- Types of ceiling.
 External references
BTEC National Construction - Pearson
Featured articles and news
Civil engineers can lead the way.
Cutting-edge tech pairs with building management systems.
BSRIA updates its assessment of the industry.
What happens when it all goes wrong?
Input being gathered by CIOB.
Changes proposed for MHCLG consultation on house building statistics.
Full of passion and acerbic wit. 1 min book review.
Reminding us what is possible.
Five signs you are at risk.
Biotechnology as it applies to the built environment.
Stopping sound coming through windows.
Government response to the Building a Safer Future consultation.
Energy savings quickly payback any small additional capital investment.