Recessed Modular Light Fitting Calculator

25 Feb

Luminaire Calculator

Calculator for light fittings


Quick and easy way to work out the number of light fittings required for a ceiling, just enter a few details and the calculator will do the rest.


MF Ceiling Grid Calculator

24 Feb

MF Ceiling Grid Calculator

MF Ceiling Grid Calculator


Quick and easy way to work out the materials required for an MF grid system, just enter a few details and the calculator will do the rest.

Ceiling Perimeter Trims

16 Sep

Suspended Ceiling Perimeters

Standard Suspended Ceiling Wall Trim

There are many different ways of finishing suspended ceilings at the perimeter edge. The most common of these and also the lowest cost is a standard angle trim. As long as the walls are straight and flat standard angle trim is fine. (see diagram below)

Perimeter Angle Trim

Shadow Edge Suspended Ceiling Wall Trim

Another way is to use shadow edge trim, which is visually superior than the standard trim, but if the corners of the room are not 90 degree angles then it is very difficult to get right. Also like the standard angle trim the walls need to be straight and flat otherwise you end up with gaps between the wall and trim. (see diagram below)

Perimeter Shadow Trim

Standard Suspended Ceiling Wall Trim with Timber Shadow Batten

The best way to finish the perimeter of ceilings is to use a shadow batten and this is especially true if the walls are not straight and flat. Although you still need an angle trim the overall effect once complete makes the ceiling look like it is floating.
Unlike the perimeter trims above, shadow batten also is superb on non-plastered brickwork because the timber batten takes up all small undulations in the wall. (see diagram below)

Shadow Batten

How to install a suspended ceiling yourself

19 Aug

How to install a suspended ceiling yourself.

Suspended Ceiling Light Fittings

5 Jun

ceiling lights

There are a huge selection of light fittings available for suspended ceilings from spot lights and pendant fittings to recessed modular lighting. Therefore this is intended as a basic guide to the most common type of office lighting, which is the recessed modular light fitting.

Recessed modular lights are available 600x600mm and 1200x600mm and can have either two, three or four fluorescent T5 or T8 tubes or can be LED type fittings. LED flat panel recessed lights tend to be more expensive than the traditional fluorescent tube lights but are more energy efficient. If your building requires many light fittings then this could offer a significant saving in the long term.

LED Light Fitting

LED Modular Recessed Light Fitting

LED recessed lights usually come with their own diffuser or louvres built-in to the light unit but with fluorescent luminaires there are a selection of different louvres available.

Prismatic Louvre

Prismatic Diffuser

Starting at the budget end is the prismatic diffuser. This is made from 2.5mm thick polystyrene and although very low priced they do degrade visually and physically after a number of years.

Eggcrate Louvre

Eggcrate Louvre

Next we have the Opal Eggcrate Louvre. Whilst these polystyrene and acrylic louvres are designed to give maximum lighting output through the 15 x 15 x 8mm cell configuration they are far more commonly used to aid air flow in the rest of the ceiling in lieu of under light fittings.

Cat 2 Louvre

Cat 2 Louvre

Low Brightness Louvre

Low Brightness Louvre

Low brightness louvres and Cat 2 louvres are more expensive than the other louvres but are more visually attractive and are also superb at diffusing the light. The disadvantage of this type of louvre is that it can let heat from the room escape into the ceiling void. The solution would be to fit a smoke and fire hood.

Fire Hood Canopy

Fire Hood Canopy

Suspended ceilings that are fire rated also require smoke and fire hoods or fire canopies to maintain the integrity of the ceiling.

The above only skims the surface when it comes to ceiling lighting, for a more in-depth view regarding suspended ceiling lighting I would suggest speaking to an electrician or lighting expert.

If you would like a general idea of how many lights you may require, then try the Light Fitting Calculator


Acoustic Ceilings and Wall Panels

30 May

Acoustically poor environments can suffer from long reverb times which can make it difficult to understand speech. An example would be large sports halls or train stations but it can also affect smaller rooms too. Schools and Hospitals with long corridors are another classic example.

So what is reverb, well if you stand and make a noise, not only will some of the sound travel straight to your ears (direct sound), but some of it will also radiate out and bounce back at you from surrounding objects (reflected sound). Because most rooms have numerous sound-reflecting surfaces, like walls, ceilings, floors and furniture the sound will hit these surfaces and bounce back at you at a different time as the direct sound. If lots of reflected sounds arrive at the listener they may be unable to distinguish between them. The proper term is reverberation although some people like to call it echo.

There are a few different solutions to cure the problem with varying cost implications.

Starting with the simplest method of carpeting the area with a thick carpet, although this is not always possible in high traffic areas where a concrete, laminated or vinyl floor is required or maybe there is already a carpet fitted.

Ecophon Advantage

Ecophon Advantage 600x600mm ceiling.

The next solution would be to install a suspended ceiling with acoustic tiles. Some tiles are far better than others at absorbing sound so you need to be looking for ceiling tiles with a NRC (Noise Reduction Coefficient) rating of 0.75 or better. Typical examples would be Ecophon ceiling tiles which are made from glass fibres or Rockfon tiles which are made from rock fibres.

Whilst a suspended ceiling is probably one of the best and low cost ways to reduce the reverberation time, again it is not always possible, for instance in a sports hall where stray balls may hit the ceiling.

There may even be a suspended ceiling already fitted and it is still not reducing the reverberation enough due to the shape of the room, for example a room where the ceiling is very high. In this scenario the next best solution would be to fit acoustic wall panels.

Ecophon Wall Panels

Ecophon Texona Wall Panels

Ecophon are the leaders in this area and produce a range of wall panels suitable for almost any room, including high impact areas and in a range of colours. They also have an excellent article on their website which has a couple of recordings you can listen too so you can hear what a difference acoustics can make to an area. Just type in “Speech Clarity” in to the search bar on their website.

Which type of suspended ceiling?

6 Mar

There are a wide range of suspended ceilings available to choose from these days and there’s sure to be one to suit your requirements. Whether its for your home or office, this guide is to help you narrow down your choice of options.

Exposed Suspended Ceilings (Lay-in)

These are the most common type of drop ceilings available. There are a huge range of tiles available with different face patterns, acoustic properties and fire ratings. The grid system itself can be a 15mm or 24mm wide tee system and the most widely used sizes are 600x600mm or 1200x600mm. There are also a choice of edge details, square edge sometimes called butt edge or tegular edge. (see edge details)

Square edge detail

Square edge detail

Tegular edge detail

Tegular edge detail

One of the advantages of this type of design is that it facilitates a very quick and fast installation. Another advantage is that it permits easy access, so maintenance can be carried out in the void and the tiles themselves can also be easily be replaced should there be any damage.

Concealed Suspended Ceilings

These used to be very popular but due to access problems they seem to be out of favour these days. The original concealed edge detail made it almost impossible to replace the odd water damaged/broken tiles.

Concealed edge detail

Concealed edge detail

There are some types of concealed ceilings that do allow easy access by using an edge detail like this one shown below:-

Suspended ceiling concealed edge detail.

Concealed edge detail

Ecophon are one of the manufacturers who make this type of ceiling.

Plank Ceilings

There are a few different types of plank ceiling, some are specifically designed for spanning across corridors to allow easy access to services whilst others like Luxalon are superb for fantastic looking wide open spaces or reception areas.

Luxalon ceiling

Luxalon ceiling

MF Plasterboard Ceilings (Drywall ceilings)

Plasterboard ceilings are very good when it comes to blocking sound and usually have very high fire ratings. The disadvantage of MF ceilings is the cost which is more than the others because they have to be skimmed/taped and filled and also decorated after fitting. This also has the downside of an increased fitting time.

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