Video: Tiled Suspended Ceilings
Everything happened according to the principle - now empty, now thick. For a whole year I blamed my beloved businessman brother: "Well, how can you live in such a tattered apartment?" And day after day she persuaded him to hit the road to the construction market … But when he finally matured and, mustering his strength, started repairs in the apartment, he was immediately offered a suitable office space. Moreover, it requires urgent updating. A relative began to grieve and complain about an annoying coincidence, and I realized - now he will give out the phrase: "In general, I can't do without your help!" And she was not mistaken.
Fortunately, I played a very modest role in this story. All I had to do was get serious about the choice of false ceilings for the office. That is, find out everything to the smallest detail, weigh the pros and cons, choose the best option and hire craftsmen.
At that time, I only knew about suspended ceilings that there are slatted ceilings (consisting of aluminum slats, externally similar to lining) and tiled, that is, squares. Brother wanted tiled. Having looked through the advertising newspapers, dazzling with the inscriptions: "The ceilings are so, the ceilings are so," I was not particularly discouraged. My brother and I decided that the slabs - they are slabs, outwardly everything seems to be the same. And they were wrong.
Food for thought
Firstly, I was absolutely sure that all (I emphasize - all) tiled suspended ceilings are called "Armstrong". That it is something like a single brand or base model. I am sure that thirty percent of Russians are in exactly the same delusion. For some of the more advanced part of the population, the word "Armstrong" is still associated with the name of the black king of jazz. Our ignorance, by the way, is used by not very honest companies, posing as "Armstrong" anything. For example, having called on one of the advertisements, I heard that there are ceilings of the Armstrong type - produced by three different (!) Firms!
On the other hand, this situation is quite understandable - more than half of the sales of suspended ceilings in the Russian market are accounted for by Armstrong. By the way, do not be surprised if in one store you will be offered "Armstrong" made in the USA, and in another - from Holland: there is no mistake or catch, there are simply factories of this company both in the United States and in Europe.
The second half of our market was shared by several large and respected firms, plus those that are smaller. Armstrong's popularity rating is followed by another US-based company, Celotex. Next - the German company "USG Donn" (USG Donn), often referred to in advertisements simply "Donn". Then the Swedish Ecophon and the Finnish Akusto, both of which are part of the transnational concern Sent Gaben.
Tiled suspended ceilings of these companies mainly shape the tastes of the Russian buyer today. All these are companies with experience and a name, but their ceilings, of course, differ in quality, purpose and price. Each has its own characteristics. But I really do not advise chasing cheapness and buying ceilings from an unknown and, therefore, unreliable company. Do not hurry. The best way to get started is to ask the seller for a hygiene certificate. If the product is not "left" - there must be a certificate. And this, by the way, is already some kind of guarantee.
In all the firms, I asked: "Does our industry produce domestic tile ceilings?" But she did not receive an intelligible answer. Experts say that somewhere, somewhere, they seem to have heard about the existence of Russian suspended ceilings from someone, and even supposedly someone saw them with their own eyes. They say that their production was discontinued several years ago and they have not been on sale for a long time.
On the other hand, in the process of "inquiry" it turned out that sellers often unknowingly give out Baikal suspended ceilings manufactured by the same Armstrong company for our products. The point is this: this model was developed specifically for Russia after the notorious August crisis of last year. It is considered cheap and is not sold anywhere except in our country, therefore it is not in the Armstrong catalog either. And the name is strictly ours - Baikal. Hence the confusion.
How do they work?
However, I was interested not only in companies, but also in the very essence of suspended ceilings. Before disassembling them, as they say, by tiles, you need to say about what the false ceiling kit consists of.
It includes a suspension system (frame) and slabs made of hard or soft mineral fiber, usually 1.5 cm thick and measuring 60 x 60 cm or 61 x 61 cm. The difference of one centimeter is not accidental: the first size is designed for Europeans with their metric system of measures, and the second - on the Americans (61 cm in their language 2 feet). Both in Europe, and we sell both those and other plates. In Armstrong's catalog, I also found the following dimensions of plates: 62.5 x 62.5 cm, 60 x 120 cm, 62.5 x 125 cm. In principle, they are not available on our free sale, but if you prefer these are the dimensions, they will be brought to you to order.
The suspension system is a set of metal slats, which have a sectional view of the letter "T" and are interconnected in a modular grid. The hanging principle is simple. In a regular ceiling, holes are drilled with a drill or punch. Dowels are inserted into them. Special hooks are attached to the dowels, on which the modular lattice is suspended. Plates are inserted into the resulting metal frame. Just as easily and naturally they can be taken out if necessary. Around the perimeter, the room is finished with a ceiling plinth.
When buying a suspended ceiling, you need to pay close attention to the "unity" of the slabs and the suspension system. Unscrupulous sellers (and there are a great many of them, as I was able to make sure) sometimes strive to foist on a “non-native” harness. That is, the slabs are from one manufacturer, and the suspension system is from another. Such a ceiling may not collapse on the head, but it can easily deform. Difficulties in repair and maintenance in this case are also practically guaranteed - different systems do not always fit together.
In some firms that sell all types of suspended ceilings at once, there are some "sales consultants" who are not able to really advise buyers. They, for example, have no idea how one model differs from another. They also assured me that it was possible to hang the ceiling without the help of specialists. Like, what is there to do something!
Another thing is more impressive in offices. There they told me unequivocally: the “skillful hands” circle is appropriate here, then only if you need to make a ceiling in a very small room. In all other cases, it is better to use the services of the seller. But the installation of the ceiling with the involvement of professionals is a paid pleasure, which will cost from 4 to 7 $ / sq.m. (depending on the company and store, as well as on what kind of ceiling you are hung - simple or more complicated). Considering that the cheapest suspended ceiling costs at least $ 5 per square meter, it turns out that, together with installation, it will cost almost twice as much.
What are they?
Material. Firms Armstrong, Selotex and USG Donn produce ceiling tiles from solid mineral fibers with the addition of cellulose, which gives them greater strength. However, everything in this life has its downside: if you hit this slab well with something heavy, dents will appear on it. The products of the Saint Gaben concern are “soft”, in fact they are pressed glass wool. To the touch, "soft" boards, as the name suggests, are softer. On impact, they are less susceptible to deformation than solid ones. Another advantage of "soft ceilings" is that they are more convenient to transport, they will not break.
Colour. Most often, the slabs of suspended ceilings are monochromatic white, the classic texture is smooth, but they can also be with a rough surface, "worms", dots, jags, relief geometric patterns, etc. If desired, the boards can be painted with water-based or latex paints. For example, the Armstrong firm produces Dune ceilings, originally painted in soft pastel colors (light green, sky blue, pale pink, peach). I would love to make the ceiling in my brother's office more fun. But according to statistics, almost 99% of buyers in our country are conservatives, and therefore they order exclusively white plates. It seems to me that my dear brother is among those 99%.
Groups. The ceilings of different companies are outwardly absolutely similar, but quite different from each other both in quality and in purpose. Why, even one manufacturer, more or less large, produces more than one type of ceiling “clothes”. Moreover, large firms even have their own classifications of ceilings in terms of appearance and quality. Armstrong tiled suspended ceilings, for example, are divided into 4 groups, each, in turn, has several types, completely different (smooth, rough, etc.).
Armstrong ceilings are divided into four groups:
Designer (or exclusive)
How do they differ from each other?
"Basis" are the simplest. They should not be hung in basements, bathrooms and generally in rooms with high humidity. These plates are not friendly with water, they can leak, sag and absolutely deform - something resembling blisters will appear on them.
Plates of the "Basis" group, as a rule, are white, with "worms" or dots. But such ceilings are the cheapest and, as a result, the best selling. Buying "Basis" together with the suspension system, you will pay from 4 to 5.5 $ / sq.m.. There are four types of ceilings in this group, including the already mentioned "Baikal", "Cortega" and "Tatra". They differ from each other only in the different direction of the "worms" and the relief of the slab. Ceilings of the same class from Donn and Selotex are a little more expensive.
"Prima" - slabs adapted to "life" in the climate of Central and Eastern Europe. This means that in Russian too. They feel great even at 95% humidity, unlike Basis ceilings, which are designed for humidity up to 70%. Rest assured: Prima ceilings will not sag due to accumulated moisture and will not mockingly bubble, spoiling the interior and causing your irritation. Still, it is better not to mount them in bathrooms and other "wet" rooms.
The guarantee for this type of tiled ceilings (provided that it is mounted on the Armstrong suspension system) is 10 years. "Prima" costs a little more than the ceilings of the "Basis" group: on average by 15%, that is, by about $ 1-2 / sq. M. But what is interesting, because of such a generally small difference in price, sellers are cunning and simply do not "declare" the ceilings of the "Prima" class. This is explained something like this: "We, they say, do not want to scare away buyers at a high price and deprive them of the pleasure of purchasing a suspended ceiling." It turns out, as in our well-known proverb: "We wanted the best, but it turned out - as always." As a result, we suffer again, buying cheaper and less durable ceilings.
Functional ceilings are several types of ceiling tiles. Each of them has certain specific properties.
Acoustic ceilings perfectly absorb sound inside the room and provide sound insulation outside. How? It's very simple: soft fiberglass slabs are loose in structure (apparently, the sound "gets stuck" in them). This is the first way. Second, many tiny holes are made in the slabs, this method is called microperforation.
Hygienic ceilings are ideal for medical and childcare facilities: if they get dirty, they can be washed. These boards are covered with vinyl, so they can be easily washed with a high pressure jet. Moreover, bacteria die on this film, and you can, if you wish, cover the plates with a special antimicrobial film.
Moisture-resistant ceilings are great for rooms with 100 percent humidity, such as a bathroom or swimming pool. The secret is simple - silicon-containing additives are mixed into these boards, in addition, moisture-resistant boards are very dense. This is noticeable even by weight: if an ordinary plate weighs 3.5–4.5 kg / sq. M., Then a moisture-resistant one - 7 kg / sq. M. In case of leaks, it so strongly absorbs moisture that it can withstand up to 17 kg! And when the slab dries, it regains the same weight, volume, shape and color (except for those "accidents" when neighbors from above poured rusty water onto your suspended ceiling).
But you have to pay for the pleasure - the price of functional ceilings is from 12 to 20 $ / sq.m. If you need exactly them, I advise you to tell the seller when buying: "We need, they say, ceilings from the functional group."
Designer (or exclusive) ceilings amazed my imagination with a variety of textures, reliefs and colors. The prices, however, are also impressive - up to $ 25 / sq.m. However, do not be greedy - designer ceilings are worth it: they fit perfectly into almost any interior. Tired of the standard squares? No problems. You can disguise the suspension system by matching it to the color of the slabs - the "square" frame will practically not be visible. You can make the structures of the suspension system to match the baseboards, doors, vases and even office folders!
As for the slabs themselves, there are more than 15 varieties in the family of designer ceilings. There are slabs on which squares, "slats", ribs and other geometric patterns are extruded. There are slabs with more interesting reliefs. At the request of the customer, they are combined in such a way that very intricate patterns are obtained on the ceiling. Due to the high cost of designer ceilings, they are sold only by the largest players in the ceiling business. Such as the Torgovaya Ploshchad firm.
The American company "Selotex" declares its "first night" right. It is believed that it was she who became the pioneer in the production of suspended ceilings. This is despite the fact that the Armstrong company appeared in the 19th century. (But then she was engaged in the processing of the bark of cork, in other words, made corks for "Champagne".) But the nimble "Selotex", which appeared only in the XX century, immediately launched the production of ceilings. Plates "Selotex" are stronger than Armstrong's in structure, although they are made of the same mineral fiber, but they are pressed using a different technology. Externally, the boards look more like very dense cardboard - thin and hard (boards from other companies resemble gypsum). Prices and assortment of Selotex do not differ much from Armstrong ceilings.
Selotex's hit of sales are Serene ceilings. Other popular models are "Concord" (in terms of their performance belongs to the "Basis" group) and "Send" (claiming the title of "Prima").
"Solid" ceilings of "USG Donn" company are similar in range and quality to the products of the mentioned companies. But the prices for German goods are more expensive (from $ 6 / sq. M. And more). There is only one plant in Germany at USG Donn. But representative offices and distributors of the firm have settled in every major European city, including in the cities of Russia.
USG Donne does not have such a clear division of ceilings into groups. There are just separate models. So, deciding to buy ceilings from this company, you need to take this circumstance into account and ask the seller about the properties of each model with passion.
"Soft" fiberglass ceilings from "Ekofon" and "Acousto" companies are often called acoustic suspended ceilings. I emphasize: these firms specialize in the production of precisely "soft" and precisely acoustic ceilings. Plates perfectly absorb sound inside the room, so you will not be heard in neighboring rooms. But you can eavesdrop on the conversations of neighbors. Not a ceiling, but just a godsend for a spy. The disadvantage of these ceilings is the monotony of the design. In addition, "soft" plates, like a cigarette filter, absorb all the muck from the air. Therefore, after a while, such a ceiling turns yellow and even blackens. On the other hand, acoustic ceilings resist moisture perfectly.
"Akusto" sells its products at a price of $ 9 / sq. M., "Ekofon" - from $ 10 / sq. M. Installation will cost from $ 7 / sq.m. and more.
In each reputable company or large store, using a special computer program, they will calculate the number of plates and elements of the suspension system required for your premises. This will allow, firstly, not to buy too much and thereby save money. And secondly, you will not end up with a hole in the ceiling, "underestimating" the plates and slats. As a rule, the cost of such a service is already included in the ceiling price.
Another interesting nuance. If desired, if a flat surface tires the eye, you can make a "chocolate bar" from any suspended ceilings. This is done in this way: the suspension system is recessed inside, and the plates turn out to be convex, like squares in a chocolate bar, and each ceiling plate is trimmed with a piping. This edge of the slab (step) is called "microlook" or "tegular".
Trough luminaires - ideal for large spaces
At least a dozen lamps can be installed in the suspended ceiling. Or, instead of several plates, you can insert lamps of the same size as the plates themselves (the so-called "trough" lamps with fluorescent lamps). Or make a hole in each slab and stick spotlights. As a rule, serious companies selling suspended ceilings offer clients all the equipment necessary for lighting.
Repair and dismantling
Repairing and dismantling a suspended ceiling is extremely simple. Required: a stepladder, a spare plate and three minutes of time. The damaged plate is removed, a new one is inserted. All. If you didn't take care of the tiled stash when you bought the ceiling set, that's okay. Just buy another box (usually there are 14 or 16 tiles in it; if these are exclusive models, then 8 pieces each). The only problem is to find exactly the same ones. Therefore, in order not to suffer later, remember (or better write down) the name of the ceiling model that you bought.
Fire safety: on, off?
For example, I was very interested in this important moment. If you do not want to burn with a blue flame, I advise you to inquire when buying which flammability category the ceiling you have chosen belongs to. Of course, all foreign manufacturers of tile ceilings have a European certificate. But this does not exempt them from receiving Russian: according to our laws, all construction products must be certified for compliance with Russian fire safety standards.
The sellers told me that the tiled suspended ceilings of all the firms on our market fall under the most "slow-burning" category G1. This means that it is difficult to set the ceiling slabs on fire even with a blowtorch, and they will not even "notice" a short circuit. In addition, the stoves practically do not smoke. Therefore, it turns out that suspended tiled ceilings can be considered as an additional element of fire protection of a conventional ceiling.
For home, for family?
My brother, concerned about double renovation, was so carried away by the idea of installing false ceilings that he was on fire to buy them for an apartment. But I dissuaded him.
All the same, suspended tiled ceilings were invented specifically for office space. First of all, if you don’t go out of your way, the design is too formal, not homely. Secondly, the suspended ceiling eats up to 10 cm in height - you must admit that for typical apartments this is simply an unacceptable waste.
Of all the above-mentioned manufacturers of suspended tile ceilings, only Armstrong has taken care of residential premises. The firm produces solid fiber ceiling panels specifically for the home, which are called “Doma”. They are fastened without any frame: they are glued directly to a regular ceiling, taking only 1.3 cm of height or "sewn" with a construction stapler to a wooden crate (in this case, you will lose a maximum of 5 cm in height). Suspended ceilings for a home really look sophisticated and home-like. But, perhaps, they cannot be called truly false ceilings. Why? But we'll talk about this next time …