The variety of ceiling finishing materials knows no boundaries. If our parents chose only between whitewashing and wallpaper, then today we can use stretch ceilings, wall paneling, polystyrene plates, a mirror and even metal. The latter option requires more detailed consideration. The metal slatted ceiling allows you to realize bold design fantasies, create interesting lighting, and at the same time it is resistant to moisture, strong and durable. At first glance, this might seem like an ideal solution. Is it so? Let’s consider how to select and install an aluminum slatted ceiling, get acquainted with the main advantages, disadvantages and types of such a structure.
Metal is widely used in the design of ceilings, because it is a durable material that easily takes and retains the required shape. By painting, corrugating and perforating, it allows you to create very interesting ceilings. Modules of various shapes are made of metal: rails, panels, cassettes and grilles. All of them are mounted on a suspended structure. In apartments, mainly only slats are used – the rest of the options are used in public and office premises.
# 1. What is a metal slatted ceiling?
From the name it is easy to guess that the basis of such ceilings are metal slats. Their length usually ranges from 2 to 4 m, but some companies also produce slats up to 6 m in length. However, for a spacious living room, for example, this will not be enough, so some large manufacturers offer special connectors to the slats, which make the joint invisible, turning several slats into a monolithic element.
The width of the slats can be from 30 mm to 400 mm, but elements in the range of 50-200 mm are more common. Here the choice depends on personal preference, the desired effect and the characteristics of the room. If it is necessary to arrange a ceiling of a large area, then it is better to take wider slats and vice versa. The choice of thickness is also based on minimizing scrap.
As for the material of manufacture, the slats can be made of aluminum and steel. The second option is less practical and popular, so we will only talk about aluminum slatted ceilings.
A decorative coating is applied to aluminum:
- powder coating;
- polymer protective layer;
- anodized aluminum;
- laminate layer.
If we add that the slats can be smooth, matte, mirrored, perforated, imitate wood and take almost any shape, then they can be called a source of inspiration for a designer and a way to bring any interior idea to life.
# 2. Advantages and disadvantages
The aluminum slatted ceiling is not yet as popular, but it looks like its glory period is just around the corner. It is the ideal solution for furnishing a ceiling in a bathroom or kitchen, and with a certain approach it can be used in other rooms as well.
The main advantages of a metal rack ceiling:
- high durability, measured in decades;
- high strength;
- excellent moisture resistance, the ability to maintain an original appearance even in rooms with a constantly high level of humidity, therefore, such ceilings are often installed in bathrooms and kitchens;
- antistatic properties and easy care. Not only does the metal accumulate dust poorly, but it is also easy to clean. Sometimes it is enough to wash and wipe the surface with a disinfectant solution;
- the ability to hide communications between the slats and the surface of the main ceiling, so it will be possible to create any lighting system – the main thing is to think over everything in advance;
- there is no need to prepare and level the main surface for a long time;
- fire safety;
- light weight of the structure, so the additional load on the ceiling will be low. For the arrangement of the slatted ceiling, metal with a thickness of about 0.5 mm is used;
- simple installation, which can be done by hand. After installing such a structure, you will not need to take out mountains of dirt. Moreover, it is also very easy to disassemble the metal rack ceiling, no special tool is needed;
- huge scope for design solutions, and it’s not just the color and type of panel surface. A slatted ceiling can be multi-level, complemented by an interesting lighting system, and combine panels of different thicknesses and textures. By the way, the ability of a metal surface to reflect will not only create interesting visual effects, but also save energy.
Now about the cons:
- like all suspended structures, the slatted ceiling takes the height of the room. After its installation, the room will become 5-15 cm lower. If the ceilings are already low, then it is better to take a closer look at other finishes;
- when installing, the rails should be handled carefully, since they can deform from impact;
- installation of a multi-level structure requires certain skills, therefore, you may need the help of specialists;
- metal does not absorb sound, and with a large ceiling area it can create resonance, which is not very pleasant;
- cost. A slatted ceiling will cost a little more than the more common ceiling finishes, but it is still cheaper than stretch structures.
No. 3. Open and closed slatted ceilings
The fundamental difference in the design of an aluminum slatted ceiling is the presence of a gap between the individual slats:
open type assumes a small gap between the rails. Such ceilings are mounted in high rooms. Decorative inserts made of aluminum of a different color can be installed in the gaps, resulting in interesting visual effects. Designers do not recommend using more than three colors at once;
a closed type of ceiling is assembled according to the principle of a wooden lining, all panels are attached end-to-end to each other.
Both options look good, but the second is more strict and classic, and decorative inserts in an open structure allow you to create a unique ceiling.
No. 4. Metal slatted ceiling design
Reiki can be painted in any color or stylized for any material. The following options are most often used today:
matte white enamelled slats that are classics. They fit perfectly into any interior, do not attract attention, but at the same time they allow you to quickly and easily create a beautiful flat ceiling;
mirror slats, which can additionally be painted in gold, bronze, copper. Such material perfectly reflects light, therefore, with proper selection and arrangement of lamps, it will be possible to achieve interesting effects. Chrome slats will complement the high-tech interior;
- slats, laminated with natural wood veneer, allow you to create a ceiling that outwardly is almost indistinguishable from what is made with wooden lining. This is a good option for rooms decorated in a classic style.
No. 5. What else to consider when choosing?
When buying aluminum battens directly, pay attention to the following nuances:
- high-quality slats are supplied in a protective film, which significantly reduces the risk of deformation and damage during transportation;
- if you want to create the most durable and strong structure, then it is better to take rails with a keen thickness;
- poor soundproofing qualities can greatly spoil the impression of the entire system of slatted ceilings. If the structure will be mounted in a living room, then it is better to take the so-called. acoustic ceilings, i.e. slats on which soundproofing material is glued on the back.
Please note that the metal ceiling is airtight. If the rest of the finishing materials in the room also do not “breathe”, or powerful ventilation is required, then an exhaust duct can be arranged in the ceiling space, and several perforated slats can be used to allow air to come to it. An alternative option to ensure proper ventilation is to use an open design without decorative inserts.
Now for the manufacturers of slatted ceilings. If you need a solid guarantee of quality, it is better to take the products of foreign companies. We recommend the American manufacturer Ceiling Group USA Corporation, German Geipel and Dutch Luxalon. Recently, domestic manufacturers have also been offering products of good quality, besides, they are somewhat cheaper. The slatted ceilings of the Bard, Albes and Lumsvet companies should be noted.
No. 6. Features of mounting aluminum slatted ceilings
Installing a metal rack ceiling with your own hands is not very difficult, but it is better to take yourself an assistant and be very careful at all stages. Installation technology is as follows:
installation of a guide profile along the perimeter of the ceiling. With a marker on the walls, mark a line that corresponds to the level of the future suspension structure. The distance from the main ceiling to the slatted ceiling should be at least 5 cm and sufficient to hide all the necessary communications. When determining the level and drawing a line, it is best to use a laser level, but you can do everything with an ordinary water level, only you will have to tinker a little more. Now you should cut off a fragment of the corner profile, the length should correspond to the length of the wall. The procedure is repeated for all walls. The profiles are fastened along the marked line using screws and dowels, holes are prepared in the wall and profile beforehand, for which you can use a drill or perforator. The profile is fixed in steps of 50-60 cm;
installation of suspensions for stringers. The stringer is a supporting rail of the structure; it is to it that all ceiling slats will be attached. This is a U-shaped profile with tongues cut at the edges, which are used to fasten the rails. Stringers are made of steel and aluminum: the first option is suitable only for dry rooms, the second is universal. The stringers are fixed to the ceiling with adjustable hangers, thanks to which the position of the tire can be adjusted to obtain a perfectly horizontal surface. The hangers consist of a rod that is installed on the ceiling and a bracket to which the tires are attached. The stringers are mounted with a step of 1 m, the first tire is placed at a distance of 30-40 cm from the supporting profile. On the ceiling, it is better to mark the places where the tires will be installed. The hangers are fastened along the applied lines, taking into account the location of the fastening holes in the stringer. Suspension rods are installed on the ceiling using anchors, all suspensions must be at the same level – they are easily adjustable in height. It is better to control this stage of work using a laser level;
installation of tires is carried out using a screwdriver through a specially provided hole. It is very important to fix the stringers to the same level as the supporting profile;
installation of rails. The protective film is removed from the rails and elements of the required length are cut. Experts advise cutting fragments 3-5 cm shorter than the distance from wall to wall. The slats are inserted into the stringers and snapped into place along their entire length on the tire holders. The elements are installed sequentially, one after the other. If necessary, the tire height can be adjusted thanks to the suspension. The last strip may need to be cut. First, a line is marked on the element, and then the rail is bent and unbend along it until it breaks. On long slats, it is better to make transverse cuts. The cut rail is fastened with cut-off corner profiles or wooden spacers;
installing a skirting board that masks the gaps and makes the ceiling look complete.
If you plan to install spotlights in the ceiling, then draw a circle in the required place on the panel, and make radial cuts from the center to the outer line with metal scissors. The petals are bent inside the rail. If you do not feel confident that you can carry out the installation yourself, it is better to immediately contact the specialists and not spoil the expensive material. A correctly installed metal rack ceiling will delight you with its appearance for a very long time.