For many business and property owners, the ceiling in their commercial space is often an afterthought. Typically, more attention is paid to walls, floors, and furniture, since that’s where patrons, customers, and employees focus most of their attention.
Nevertheless, the right ceiling has a lot to do with the atmosphere you want to create. From the way it fits in with the décor to the kind of noise it helps dampen, it is important to find the right ceiling for your space.
If you’re unsure where to start, here are six factors to consider as you begin planning your commercial ceiling purchase and installation.
The high noise level of commercial spaces can often be a burden on patrons and employees alike. Hard surfaces like walls, ceilings, windows, and tile floors can reflect sound back into the room, creating a noisy atmosphere that only becomes noisier as customers and patrons raise their voices in response.
Typically, restaurants and offices have the greatest acoustical challenges due to a variety of factors. For restaurants, it’s all about trying to dampen the loud activities of the kitchen staff and equipment while also creating a pleasant background buzz in the dining room. Many restaurants turn to ceiling cloud panels to absorb excess noise and keep ambient sound at an optimum level.
For offices, creating a quiet, yet collaborative workspace can be difficult thanks to the trend toward open office layouts. Without noise-softening walls and cubicles to provide a quieter soundscape, businesses have turned to hanging baffles as a way to absorb sound while maintaining an open look and feel to the room.
From offices and restaurants to hospitals and schools, acoustics have a lot to do with how people perceive your organization. Learn more about the acoustic challenges businesses face (and how ceilings can help) in our blog post, Acoustic Challenges in Commercial Spaces.
A 2017 study conducted by the National Fire Protection Association showed that nearly 7,500 structure fires a year were reported in eating and drinking establishments. With open flames, oils, and paper products galore, restaurants are particularly vulnerable to the threat of fire. But restaurants aren’t alone. Any commercial space where members of the public gather should consider fire-resistant walls and ceilings.
Florida building codes require the use of Class A fire-resistant ceilings with a Flame Spread index of 25 or less and a smoke-developed index of not more than 50. These types of ceiling materials can resist melting and burning and limit the amount of smoke that’s created.
Creating a clean environment in any commercial space is always important, but it’s especially critical for hospitals, doctor’s offices, and other health care spaces. The type of ceiling chosen during construction plays a key role in how easy it is to clean.
Once ceilings are installed, they should be cleanable without affecting their appearance or performance, especially if the tile has been rated for infection control. In addition to being easy to clean, it must also be water repellent, since any absorption of water could cause mold or mildew growth.
Many commercial ceilings are treated to prevent mold and mildew buildup and to protect against the growth of bacteria that cause odor or stains. Some ceiling tiles can even prevent water absorption for up to 15 minutes—about the length of time it takes to clean them.
The durability of your ceiling tiles is important to consider when renovating or constructing your commercial space. A few features to think about while picking durable ceilings are impact, scratch, and soil resistance.
Some commercial spaces, like kitchens, are naturally wet and can, therefore, create moisture buildup on the walls and ceilings. In a high humidity area, certain ceilings can sag, warp, or break over time as the buildup gets heavier and the structure weakens. Depending on the severity of it, excess moisture can expose patrons and staff to mold, which can cause skin infections, pneumonia, and other airborne illnesses.
Companies like Armstrong feature ceiling tiles with mold and mildew resistance that are ideal for healthcare facilities, kitchens, and clean rooms.
It’s important to understand that no ceiling will be completely impervious to moisture, so owners and operators should make a concerted effort to control the humidity in their buildings. This can be done by keeping up on maintenance to ensure there are no issues like roof leaks, gutters directing water towards the building, and unvented combustion appliances.
A ceiling should be just as ornate and pleasing to look at as the rest of the commercial space, and an attractive ceiling doesn’t have to take away from other considerations like acoustics, durability, and cleanliness. There is an endless number of design options that look good, yet still provide important intangibles such as sound absorption, fire resistance, and high sanitation standards.
Many businesses and organizations are trending toward a more nontraditional approach when it comes to ceiling design, moving away from the look of smooth, white tiles that most of us know all too well. Some of these outside-the-box ceilings feature colorful custom tiles, contrasting suspension systems, staggered patterns, and concave or convex arches.
Improving the aesthetic of a building’s ceiling can also improve the experience for employees and patrons. A clean, aesthetically pleasing room that features just the right kind of ambiance will keep people coming back again and again. For examples of great looking ceilings, check out and scroll through our ceiling designs page.
If you are in the process of building or renovating a commercial space and are looking at your options for a new ceiling, then please feel free to reach out to us today by email or by calling us at 954-931-6688.
Spending some time at the job site with your contractor, architect, and vendors before starting your renovation or buildout is critical to ensuring everyone is on the same page about the project.
RCA Contractors is an experienced commercial construction company with professionals who specialize in building and renovating restaurants and all commercial spaces. We will work with you and your team to come up with ideas for a ceiling that reflects your taste, vision, and style.