Ask the Experts: 8 Things to Know About False Ceilings

  • Mar 26, 2019

Unless you’re going for a pared-back, grungy aesthetic or the industrial theme which values anything exposed, you will most likely be convinced to go for a false ceiling. The alternative is to have visible cables and trunking running through your ceiling, which can be an eyesore, particularly if you’re hoping for a minimalist look.

False ceilings provide a clean look by hiding all the electrics.

Design: FOMA Architects + Interiors

1. False ceilings give you more lighting options

Not only does a false ceiling conceal all your electrics, it has other benefits too. A spokesperson from Paramount Construction, a company in Singapore specialising in false ceiling installation, shares that false ceilings can provide more lighting options in a room, such as cove lights, which help to spread lighting more evenly in a space while lending a cosy ambience.

False ceilings let you install cove lights which add to the ambience of a room.

Design: Schemacraft Interiors

With false ceilings, you will also get to go for recessed lights or downlights. They are a modern way to light up your space, and besides the illumination, no other part of the fixture is visible, creating a clean, contemporary look.

2. False ceilings help to save energy bills

What air that is trapped between the false ceiling and the real ceiling actually helps to lower the temperature in your room, acting as an insulator of sorts. This will mean you won’t need to blast the air-conditioning as much. And even if you do, your air-conditioner actually works better and will feel cooler because of the smaller volume in the room. This will feel especially significant if you’re living on the highest floor of a building.

False ceilings help to bring down the temperature of a space while also creating a smaller volume in the room so your air-conditioning doesn't have to work as hard.

Design: Neu Konceptz

3. False ceilings are usually made from plasterboard

While false ceilings can be made from either gypsum board or plasterboard, the latter is more of an industry standard nowadays as the former is a more expensive material. According to Paramount Construction, the finishing for both false ceilings made from gypsum board and plasterboard look the same after a paint job so you can’t really tell them apart. The only advantage to gypsum board is from a contractor’s point of view: they are a lot easier to install and produce less mess during construction.

False ceilings are mostly made from plasterboard nowadays.

Design: Fuse Concept

4. False ceilings don’t have standard heights

The height to which false ceilings can drop down to can be completely customised to your preference. However, Paramount Construction shares that they are usually dropped about 6 inches from the ceiling in order to accommodate for most lighting fixtures. For homeowners who prefer a taller ceiling height, 4 inches from the ceiling also works although that will depend on the lighting fixture. Note that having a 4-inch false ceiling will make it more difficult to source for lightings that can fit.

You will need a minimum gap of 4 inches from the actual ceiling to accommodate lighting fixtures.

Design: Rockin Spaces

If you’re staying in an HDB flat, do bear in mind that HDB stipulates that there should be a clear height of at least 2.4 metres from the finished floor level. So if you're doing a flooring overlay as well as a false ceiling, you might want to check that you have minimum clearance.

5. Go for an L-Box if you don’t want to compromise your ceiling height or want to install a ceiling fan

An L-Box is only installed in the perimeter and border so that the centre of the ceiling still retains your actual ceiling height. Price for an L-Box is usually calculated by per foot run (pfr), and will cost you about $9 pfr.

L-Box is less costly than false ceilings as they cover a smaller surface area.

Design: Schemacraft Interiors

An L-Box option is also a more viable option for folks who want to install a ceiling fan. While hanging a ceiling fan from a false ceiling is possible with extra reinforcement for the fan to be anchored upon, the lowered height might mean your fixture is hanging down too low. With an L-Box, you can install your ceiling fan on the actual ceiling, while installing your lights on the perimeter of your space.

L-Box designs are great if you're thinking of installing a ceiling fan, but don't want the fixture to hang down too low from a false ceiling.

Design: Couple Abode

6. False ceilings can be installed in wet zones

While most of us commonly associate false ceilings in the living room or the bedroom, they can actually also be installed in wet zones like the bathroom and kitchen. However, it is important that the materials used for the installation over wet zones be a moisture-resistant plasterboard. Standard plasterboard is not as resistant to water in comparison.

False ceilings are also possible in wet zones like the bathroom.

Design: Meter Square

7. You don’t (usually) need to take down your entire false ceiling if you’re changing the electrical wiring

Most of the time, you won’t need to remove your entire false ceiling when changing your electrical wiring or adding additional lighting points. The electrician can cut out a part of your false ceiling and install the new wires. The cut out parts will then be patched back later.

You won't need to remove the entire false ceiling for minor changes to your electrics.

Design: Black N White Haus

However, in major works involving things like your air-conditioning or storage heater tanks or if you wish to assess damage to your electrics, you might have to remove the false ceiling to make any necessary repairs.

8. Housing pests on the false ceiling isn’t exactly a myth

We hear incidents of rodents falling from false ceilings in shopping malls and food courts so it isn’t too far to say that there might be cases of pest infestation in the false ceilings of our homes too. But while Paramount Construction has said they have never encountered any in their years of installing and dismantling false ceilings, it pays to take precaution. Make sure your false ceilings are properly sealed by your installer on all sides to prevent any pests from entering and making it their breeding ground.

Make a point to check that your installer has properly sealed your false ceiling on all sides to prevent pests from entering.

Design: Neu Konceptz

Want to do more with your ceiling? Check out our blog post on 35 Beautiful Ceiling Designs That Will Make You Look Up.


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