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Suspended Ceiling Prices & Cost 2022

Having a tough time figuring out exactly how much you should be paying for a suspended ceiling?

Suspended ceilings are often called a ‘dropped’ or ‘false’ ceilings. They are an additional ceiling installed below the actual one.

Offices and commercial structures often opt for suspended ceilings as can easily conceal flaws on the actual ceiling. They are also usually cheaper than ordinary, mortar and beam-based ceilings.

They usually comprise of a metal track grid suspended from the ceiling via wires. Tiles are then added between the metal grid which creates the suspended ceiling.

Average Suspended Ceiling Cost

We surveyed 42 different companies for a supply and fit on a 40 / m² ceiling. Prices include VAT.

RangesSupply of Tiles OnlySupply & Fit - 40 m² area
National Average£6.71 / m²£26.63 / m²
Typical Range£22 - £35 / m²
Low End - High End£16 - £55.50 / m²

These prices would include quality ceiling tiles and grid, a levelled installation rubbish cleared from site. 

In larger areas, the typical range of prices can reduce to about £15 – £18 / m².

Factors Affecting the Cost

Although the costs stated above give a broad estimate of the kinds of prices you can expect to pay, the actual price is dependent on a number of different factors.

Site and Building Access

If the work is undertaken in busier areas, parking is often more expensive. Parking prices in London are particularly high and contractors factor these into their quotes.

What floor the suspended ceiling needs to be installed in also has a bearing on cost – ground floors are the cheapest.

One Area or Multiple Areas?

If there are multiple smaller areas, this involves more cutting and more perimeter trim is required. This can increase a contractors quote by £4+ / m².

Ceiling Tiles Specification

There are many different types of tiles available. These can arrange from your standard budget options to tiles with higher fire resistance. The tile that needs to be used is also affected by what needs to be fixed together and the particular use of the room.

Light Systems

Various lighting options exist for suspended ceilings. Lighting systems that are integrated across a number of suspended ceilings will cost a little extra than the standard rectangular fittings.

Ceiling Height

The higher the ceiling, the longer it takes to install. This increases the labour costs involved and therefore, the cost of fitting.

Location

Certain areas will be more expensive. Areas in the south tend to have higher living costs and overheads compared to the north. Particularly in London, expect to pay 10-20% in labour costs on top of the average prices.

Suspended Ceilings Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Relatively straightforward to install
  • Damaged tiles can be repaired easily
  • Hides ducts and wiring as well as damaged parts of the ceiling
  • Wiring and ducts can be accessed without any difficulty in case of maintenance
  • Usually more economical than mortar and beam-based ceilings

Cons

  • Your ceiling height is lowered
  • Tiles could need replacing within a few years. They often deteriorate faster than traditional ceilings

What is the Purpose of Suspended Ceilings?

Suspended ceilings fulfil a number of practical and aesthetic purposes. 

Whilst they’re usually fitted in offices and industrial buildings to obscure light fittings, lower the ceiling where it is impractically high or increase insulation or fire safety, suspended ceilings are becoming more popular in homes for similar reasons. 

Obscure Fittings

In many buildings, light fittings and other electrics or plumbing often run in the void of a cavity or joisted ceiling, but this is not always the case.

In offices and industrial fittings, the ceilings may not be constructed from thick brick and mortar and may not have a cavity. Here, it’s necessary to obscure various fittings using suspended ceilings. 

Lower the Ceiling

High ceilings might be seen as a selling point in some homes, but what if they’re impractically high? The higher the ceiling is, the more air there is in the room to heat, driving up heating bills. 

Warm air rises and in homes or buildings with very high ceilings, heating demands can be exceptionally high. Lowering the ceiling vastly improves the thermal performance of the room. 

Boost Insulation 

Suspended ceilings do not need to lower the ceiling by much to boost insulation and significantly improve heat retention. Not only are suspended tiles designed with insulation in mind, but they also create a buffering air pocket between the room and its old ceiling. 

Suspended ceilings increase energy efficiency and provide a solution for hard-to-heat rooms with high ceilings. 

Boost Acoustic Insulation and Soundproofing

In addition to boosting heat insulation, suspended ceilings create an acoustic barrier between floors. This can be critical in offices and may even be required to create a quiet and compliant work area. 

Fire Safety and Hygiene

Fire-safe ceilings may be required for some commercial buildings. Fire-rated suspended ceiling tiles provide a cost-effective way to boost the fire safety profile of a building. 

Additionally, suspended ceiling tiles are hygienic and moisture resistant, which may be required for some commercial building bathrooms, food preparation areas, etc. 

Improved Access

Accessing various fittings, plumbing, ventilation systems, etc, is very straightforward in the case of suspended ceilings. In offices and commercial buildings, this enables quick maintenance work and the easy fitting of new lights, sprinklers, vents, etc. 

Suspended ceilings also simplify the process of fitting new electrical appliances that involve running wires through the ceiling. 

Aesthetics

For homeowners, fitting a suspended ceiling provides a non-traditional means to change the aesthetic of the room. 

Suspended ceiling tiles come in all sorts of designs and can be integrated with modern lighting systems, speakers and air-con units. Suspended ceilings are popular in high-end modern homes. 

Improve Lighting

Lighting rooms with high ceilings is notoriously difficult, often resulting in dark and dreary rooms. Lowering the ceilings lowers the light fittings which results in a much brighter, warmer and more open space. 

Suspended Ceilings for Homeowners

Suspended ceilings are commonly fitted in commercial buildings and you’ll see them in many schools, hospitals, offices and retail units. 

In recent years, interest in suspended ceilings for homeowners has grown. All of the aforementioned benefits apply to houses as well as commercial buildings and they look superb in modern homes. 

Suspended ceilings for homeowners: 

  • Provide an effective means to hide exposed joists, old plumbing systems, wires and electrical fittings. 
  • Boost insulation and soundproofing. 
  • Provide a unique design that can be integrated with high-end or creative lighting systems. 
  • Easy to clean, maintain and change. 
  • Conceal everything from air-con units to speakers and even sprinklers.

Types of Ceiling Tiles

There are several types of suspended ceiling tiles ranging from budget options designed for straightforward large-scale commercial integrations to specialised suspended ceiling tiles aimed at homeowners. 

Plasterboard

Plasterboard is one of the cheaper types of suspended ceiling tiles. Gypsum plasterboard is robust with decent insulative qualities and is usually covered in a wipe-clean surface that is ideal for high-moisture exposure. 

  • Amongst the cheapest options
  • Decent insulation qualities 
  • Vast range of finishes available 

Mineral Fibre Tiles

Mineral fibre tiles can be made from a wide range of synthetic, natural and recycled materials. They’re generally excellent at absorbing sound and have solid insulative properties.

They also tend to be amongst the more cost-effective suspended ceiling tile options. 

  • Superb insulative qualities
  • Amongst the cheapest options 
  • Can be quite heavy 

Fire-Rated

Some commercial buildings are officially fire-rated in order to adhere to Building Regulations and various fire safety laws. These tiles are designed to shield dangerous electricals and protect the frame of the building and ceiling joists for long enough to prevent collapse before the building is safely evacuated. 

  • Required for some commercial buildings 
  • Come with fire ratings suitable for different use cases
  • Still available in a wide variety of colours and styles 

Metal 

Metal ceiling tiles are amongst the most visually striking and are a popular choice for homeowners. Mostly made from aluminium, metal ceiling tiles look superb and are highly durable and low-maintenance. They often have to be paired with separate insulation sheets to improve their thermal and acoustic performance. Usually the most expensive option. 

  • High-end option with light reflective qualities 
  • Durable and hard-wearing 
  • Needs separate insulation 

Plastic

Suspended ceiling tiles also come in a range of different plastics that boast different colours, textures, finishes, etc. Plastic ceiling tiles are often fairly cheap and are exceptionally durable, hygienic and moisture-resistant. 

  • Flexible and often lower-cost option
  • Lots of styles available 
  • Durable and lightweight 

Exposed Grid vs Concealed Grid vs Bandraster

There are 3 main different suspended ceiling tile fitting systems; exposed grid, concealed grid and bandraster. 

  • Exposed grid: Exposed grid suspended ceiling systems involve fixing tiles to a metal grid that is exposed. This is very common in all manner of commercial buildings. Exposed grid systems are easy to maintain and if access above the ceiling is required, you only need to remove the relevant single tiles. 
  • Concealed grid: Concealed grid systems utilised grooved tiles that partially negate the need for a thick grid. Compared to an exposed grid, a concealed grid is more or less just a cosmetic difference. 
  • Bandraster: Bandraster systems typically use longer rectangular tiles fitted to rails. This is a more customisable, modular system but is also easy to maintain and provides excellent access to the void. 

Get Prices On Suspended Ceilings Near You

We’ve done our best to give you a good idea of what you can expect to pay for a suspended ceiling.

However, our guides are not a substitute for a fixed written quote specifically for you.

We work with all the best suspended ceiling experts ready to price your job. Get free, no-obligation quotes in your local area and compare prices using the form below.

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About the Author

Alex Johnson is a qualified quantity surveyor and writer with a passion for conducting original research and uncovering the true cost of jobs. His cost data has been referenced by EDF Energy and the Scottish Government.

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