USA: Drop Ceilings: Drop Ceiling Manufacturers
ABOUT DROP CEILINGS
Drop Ceilings, sometimes known as dropped ceilings or suspended ceilings, are secondary ceilings fitted below the main ceiling. They conceal wiring, piping, and ductwork, into a space known as the plenum. Drop ceilings are formed from a grid of metal channels which is suspended on wires from the main ceiling. Panels or tiles drop into the grid. Alternatively, air diffusers or light fixtures may be fitted into the drop ceiling grid. In addition to screening pipework and cabling, drop ceilings can be used to provide acoustic absorption, and to improve heat insulation.
This type of ceiling should be considered as an alternative to drywall ceilings in basements. Their great advantage over drywall ceilings is that they provide access to services running under the floor.
CHOOSING THE BEST TYPE
The main options when are the material, the size of the panels, and the finish. You also need to consider the following features: acoustics, fire resistance, light reflectance, sag resistance, and anti-microbial. Manufacturers will usually provide data on these performance factors on their websites.
The most common and cheapest materials are mineral fiber and fiberglass. But these are not the only choices. Panels may be made of metal, wood or translucent materials. For a highly sustainable option, ceiling panels may be made of a jute backing.
Mineral fiber and fiberglass panels are available in a very wide range of textures and performance standards. They can provide high acoustic performance, high light reflectance, and durability. Metal panels are available in a wide range of colors, perforations, and pattern options. They can provide ceiling to wall transitions with linear metal. They are tamper-resistant, to secure ceilings with non-accessible plenum areas; they also offer durability, humidity resistance, and low maintenance. Veneered panels offer a warm, natural look. They are available in a wide range of hardwood veneers, with the option of perforations, channels or slots for improved acoustic absorbency. Translucent ceiling panels can provide dramatic lighting effects, and are particularly suited to hotels, bars, and other places of entertainment. Jute based ceiling panels are outstandingly sustainable, with 45% rapidly renewable material; the natural Jute fiber grows from seed to harvest in 90 days.
The most popular sizes for ceiling panels are 12 inches by 12 inches, or 2ft by 2ft. Plank shaped panels 2ft by 4ft are also available.
In addition to traditional flat ceilings, manufacturers now offer a wide variety of free-form ceilings, known as canopies, clouds, and baffles. These are suspended below the main ceiling and can be used to improve sound absorbency, and to provide dramatic visual effects. They are increasingly used in large public spaces such as airports and shopping malls.
LEADING USA MANUFACTURERS
The leading manufacturers selected by Abacus Construction Index, which are listed below, have comprehensive websites, with information on all aspects, including online catalogs, colours and materials, installation, and care and maintenance.
The companies described below include installers and manufacturers. They offer a very wide range, with a variety of textures and designs. Special acoustically absorbent panels are available; also specialist ceiling panels for medical facilities and clean rooms.
Armstrong. Armstrong is a leading maker of ceilings, flooring, and cabinets, including drop ceilings. Based in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Armstrong World Industries has sales of over $3 billion, operates 37 plants in nine countries, and employs more than 11,000 worldwide. Ceilings typically require a drop of at least 3 inches from the current ceiling. They are a way to lower or level an existing ceiling, and provide easy access to fixtures above the ceiling. They also provide opportunity for recessed lighting. Armstrong manufactures a wide range of mineral fiber ceiling tiles. They are available in patterned, smooth, and textured designs, and in a variety of colors including copper finish metal. The origins of Armstrong lie in a tiny two-man cork cutting shop in Pittsburgh, set up by Scottish-Irish immigrant Thomas Armstrong in 1860. Armstrong was a brand name pioneer, stamping 'Armstrong' on each cork as early as 1864. Soon he was tucking a written guarantee into the burlap sacks of cork shipped from his big new factory on a Pittsburgh river bank.
CertainTeed. CertainTeed, a subsidiary of Saint Gobain of France, is headquartered in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. It has around 9,000 employees, and 70 manufacturing plants throughout the USA. It is a leading US manufacturer of building products, including drop ceilings. Its wider product range includes residential and commercial roofing, vinyl and fiber cement siding, vinyl and composite decking, railing and fencing, vinyl windows, insulation, pipe, and foundations. Its ceiling panels are available in a wide range of patterns, suitable for residential and commercial applications. The CertainTeed range of suspension systems includes: 15/16" Classic Environmental Stab Abstract Ceiling; 15/16" Classic Stab Abstract Ceiling; 15/16" Classic Hook Abstract Ceiling; and 9/16" Elite Narrow Stab Abstract Ceiling.
USG. USG, based in Chicago, has been a manufacturer of building materials for more than 100 years. It has more than 12,000 employees, working in more than 30 countries worldwide. USG was the inventor of wallboard, and of the mineral wool ceiling tile. Through its subsidiary L&W Supply, it is one of the largest distributors of drywall and related building products in the USA. USG manufactures a wide range of drop ceilings. The USG website has an online selector, offering eight types: Performance Selector, Texture Selector, Perimeter Options Selector, Grids & Edges Selector, Standard Color Program, Advantage Color Program, Metal Finishes, and Metal Perforations. There is a section of the website giving technical advice on dealing with problems with Mold and Moisture.
OTHER RELATED PRODUCTS
Publisher: Abacus Construction Index is a professionally edited directory of recommended construction websites, published by Extonet Ltd. It is financed only by Google advertising; no payment is received from included websites.