What is a False ceiling? Types of False ceiling and its Application

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What is False Ceiling?

False ceiling is the best way of adding sophistication to the indoors. Under normal conditions, the false ceiling lasts normally beyond 20 years. Having a false ceiling is better than having traditional lights because of their ability to reflect and diffuse light over a wider area.

The false ceiling also known as the secondary ceiling, drop ceiling, T-bar ceiling, suspended ceiling, drop-in ceiling. In architectural vocabulary, it is addressed as the fifth wall of the structure. In layman’s language, a false ceiling is a second ceiling created below the original ceiling of the superstructure.

The purpose for false ceilings these days is not only limited to aesthetics but also includes acoustics, environmental factors like indoor quality, integration with infrastructure, and cost.

Components and parts of false ceiling include expansive bolt, hanging pipe, main kneel, panels of selected materials, wall angle, etc. Due to its versatile nature and other important features, the false ceiling has become an indispensable part of every commercial and residential space.


  1. The room interior is enhanced.
  2. Electrical cables and wires are concealed
  3. If the superstructure ceiling is too high, a false ceiling is used to maintain the height of the roof.
  4. It also provides sound and thermal insulation.
  5. It is vastly used for air conditioning.


  1. Light fixtures and other fittings need to be installed and secured safely into the false ceiling to avoid overhead drop hazards.
  2. In case of a fire emergency in the space between the false ceiling and the roof, the Fireman will have to remove the entire framing structure leading to more disastrous consequences.
  3. During an earthquake or earthquake-like conditions, a partial or complete collapse of the glass ceiling is a probable danger.


Depending upon the material used false ceiling is classified as:

  1. Gypsum ceiling
  2. Plaster of Paris ceiling
  3. Wooden ceiling
  4. PVC ceiling

Gypsum ceiling:

The most important content of gypsum is calcium sulfate. Sound insulation, light-weighted, fire resistance, and thermal insulation are the major characteristics of this type of ceiling material.  

To create a false ceiling, an iron framework is used to hand square gypsum boards. Shades of brown, yellow, red, and grey are naturally available shades of gypsum. It is also available as colorless material.

To enhance the aesthetics of gypsum boards, a finishing touch of laminates and paints is given to elevate the overall experience. Gypsum boards are generally used in large spaces where the central air conditioning is the major requirement.

Gypsum boards available are generally in uniform shape, uniform quality, provide a smooth finish with minimal joints because of factory production, thus it makes it easily available at a cheaper cost.

Types of gypsum boards are

  1. Regular gypsum boards
    1. Fire-resistant gypsum board
    1. Moisture resistant gypsum boards
    1. Fire-resistant and moisture resistant gypsum boards

Plaster of Paris false ceiling (POP):

plaster of Paris ceiling

Through the process of calcination or heat treatment on gypsum, plaster of Paris is produced. It has various commercial and residential roofing advantages and uses. Plaster of Paris is nothing but gypsum minus water and generally available in powdered form.

It starts to set on the addition of water. Long life span, less maintenance, and attractiveness are the major characteristics of POP. Apart from these characteristics, the major character that POP possesses is excellent insulators of heat and cold.

As they are available in powdered form, it is easy to mold it into desired shape and size to the ceiling but it increases the labor cost and demands huge skill to provide a smooth finish.

POP does not shrink while setting, thus the probability of formation of cracks is eliminated to a great extent but this type of false ceiling cannot be used in moist conditions like bathrooms, etc. There is huge wastage while application plus the post-work cleaning of excess POP is a tedious task and its repair is difficult.

Wooden false ceiling

Wooden false ceiling

Natural textures and patterns are easily available on these types of ceilings thus a vintage texture is easily made available. Mist favorable regions for these types of ceilings are cold regions.

Easily available and easy to work with are the main characters of this type of ceiling but termite attack is the major setback. In ancient times these types of ceilings were used for commercial as well as residential buildings, with increasing advancement, it has been replaced with more advanced materials which provide acoustic and other design comforts other than aesthetics.

Hollow blocks, panels, boards, or ply are some forms in which they are available. They are easy to install, durable, soundproofing using sound-absorbent materials are the main advantages of these types of ceilings.

The structure has to be fireproof as wood is susceptible to catch fire easily, high maintenance, high availability cost are some disadvantages of using wooden false ceiling.

Polyvinyl chloride false ceiling (PVC):

Polyvinyl chloride false ceiling (PVC):

The ideal material for the false ceilings is the plastic ceiling. On average, the life span of such a ceiling is 10 years. These types of ceilings are generally used in garages, toilets, bathrooms, kitchens, etc.

It is generally used in moist places as plastic neither deteriorates nor does it corrode as it is a non-metal material neither it is susceptible to termite attack. In addition to these advantages, they remain unaffected by UV rays hence color lock is a major advantage.

They are available as panels of different sizes, shapes, and desired colors and are light in weight. Flush fittings, hidden ceiling lights, accessible air vents, hatches, and sprinklers are easily incorporated features in this type of ceilings. Hassle-free easy installation, lightweight, durable, easy to clean are some advantages of PVC ceiling.


  1. The material used for the false ceilings is generally so chosen that it absorbs access and unwanted noise. It is designed such that there is no echo generated in the room. Generally used in commercial places. For residential purposes, the main use is excess sound absorption.
    1. VOC control, thermal insulation, thermal comfort are some major factors for indoor quality.
    1. By creating a gap in between, it helps in keeping the room cool in summer and warm in winter.
    1. For aesthetics purposes, and it helps in hiding wires, adding lights and other fixtures to the ceiling.
    1. Outside light can be concealed easily behind the false ceiling.
    1. Since most of the mechanical electrical and plumbing routing are above the false ceiling, their integration with the structure is most important.
    1. Sustainability is the major design objective which includes energy efficiency, daylight efficacy, and thermally insulating qualities.
    1. There are proven more ROI over the false ceilings as compared to open roofs.


  1. False ceiling can make the room look small and claustrophobic if the height of the main ceiling is not enough. Usually, the gap between the false ceiling and superstructure ceiling is between 4 inches to 8 inches.
  2. Damp and moisture are common to get collected on the secondary ceiling. This damp and moisture can spread over the main ceiling and can cause damage to the main ceiling.
  3. Needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid making it home for rodent and prevent from rodent attack.
  4. Repair of concealed electrical cables and wires becomes difficult.
  5. In case of failure of the secondary ceiling, damage and threat to life is a major risk.
  6. Skilled labor is the major requirement.

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