Ceilings Don't Have to be, and Probably Shouldn't be, All Flat

A ceiling is an overhead interior surface that bounds the upper limit of a room. It is generally not a structural element, but a finished surface concealing the underside of the floor or roof structure above.

Cathedral Ceiling

A cathedral ceiling is any tall ceiling area similar to those in a church.
Dropped Ceiling
A dropped ceiling is one in which the finished surface is constructed anywhere from a few inches to several feet below the structure above it. This may be done for aesthetic purposes, such as achieving a desirable ceiling height; or practical purposes such as providing a space for HVAC or piping. An inverse of this would be a raised floor.

Concave Ceiling

A concave or barrel shaped ceiling is curved or rounded, usually for visual or acoustical value, while a coffered ceiling is divided into a grid of recessed square or octagonal panels, also called a lacunar ceiling.

Vaulted Ceiling

A vaulted ceiling is a ceiling that angles upward on one or both sides to create volume in the room.

Cove Ceiling

A cove ceiling uses a curved plaster transition between wall and ceiling; it is named for cove molding, a molding with a concave curve.

Ceilings have frequently been decorated with fresco painting, mosaic tiles and other surface treatments. While hard to execute (at least in place) a decorated ceiling has the advantage that it is largely protected from damage by fingers and dust. In the past, however, this was more than compensated for by the damage from smoke from candles or a fireplace. Many historic buildings have celebrated ceilings. Perhaps the most famous is the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo.

Popcorn ceiling

Popcorn ceiling is a term for a spray-on or paint-on ceiling treatment often used in the 1960s and 1970s in American residential construction. Its bright white "cottage cheese" texture, often with small bits of gold-colored glitter attached, was good at covering poor workmanship in the attachment and taping of the drywall. It was also cheaper than painting as it could be quickly and easily applied in new construction. It was often the standard for bedroom and residential hallways ceilings, while kitchen and living rooms ceilings would normally be textured in smoother skip-trowel or orange peel texture.

When asbestos was banned in the late 1970s, popcorn ceilings fell out of favor, as they usually contained asbestos and people realized that they had none of the acoustic qualities that contracting companies claimed. Fashions changed to more natural and hand made finishes. Popcorn ceiling became unattractive when it got dirty, and was hard to paint or patch. Nowadays, homeowners have the option of covering popcorn ceilings with styrofoam decorative ceiling tiles which adhere with ceramic tile adhesive.

See also

  • Tin ceiling
  • Stretch ceiling
  • Dropped ceiling
  • Coffered ceiling
  • Luminous ceiling
  • Camp ceiling
  • Beam ceiling
  • Hollow-core slab
  • Hammerbeam roof
  • Moulding (decorative)

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