A suspended ceiling is a secondary ceiling, hung below the main (structural) ceiling. They may also be referred to as a drop ceiling or T-BAR ceiling, and are a staple of modern construction and architecture. The area above the dropped ceiling is called the plenum space, as it is sometimes used for HVAC air return. The plenum space is also very commonly used to conceal piping, wiring, and/or ductwork.
A typical dropped ceiling consists of a grid-work of metal channels in the shape of an upside-down "T", suspended on wires from the overhead structure. These channels snap together in a regularly spaced pattern – typically a 2×2 or 2×4 foot grid in N.America, or 600×600 mm grid in Europe. Each cell is filled with lightweight "tiles" or "panels" which simply drop into the grid. Tiles can be selected with a variety of materials, including wood, metal, plastic, or mineral fibres, and can come in almost any color. Light fixtures, HVAC air grilles, and other fixtures are available which can fit the same space as a tile for easy installation. Most tile material is easily cut to allow fixtures in other shapes, such as incandescent lights, speakers, and fire sprinkler heads.
The suspended ceiling was originally developed to conceal the underside of the floor above and to offer acoustic balance and control in a room. The acoustic performance of suspended ceilings has improved dramatically over the years, with enhanced sound absorption and attenuation. This is sometimes achieved by adding insulation known as Sound Attenuation Batts (SABs), more commonly referred to as "sound batts", above the panels to help deaden sounds and keep adjacent rooms quieter.
Choosing a ceiling product for your basement always causes a dilemma; which of the two basic products to use – suspended or drywall? Drywall is often the choice for most people since they like the polished look, it is very easy to install, it is elegant and simple.
Many people think that suspended ceilings look dated and too “office like” but they should be given some consideration before being dismissed as an option completely.
You may be limited to drywall or suspended ceiling depending on the height of your basement. Depending on how old your home is and what the construction style was at the time, will dictate your limitations. If your home is older, your basement height may be limited as it was built to be an utility area and not a lounge or living space. If your home is newer, your basement should be deep enough to give you more options.
If you have on older home, the drywall ceiling will maximize headroom and create more space however if there is any wiring in the space, it cannot be permanently covered with the drywall as it is dangerous. If you do not want to spend more money updating junction boxes to install a drywall ceiling, a suspended system is the choice for you! Plumbing and electrical will be easily accessible with a suspended ceiling. As well, should you have a leak or any type of damage to the basement ceiling, the suspended panels are easily replaceable.
To conclude, a suspended ceiling is a great solution for your basement and there are many styles and designs of tiles to choose from to make your basement look elegant and modern.