Giovanni Valle is a licensed architect and LEED-accredited professional and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB). He is the author and managing editor of various digital publications, including BuilderSpace, Your Own Architect, and Interiors Place.
Are you tired of having a poorly insulated basement? Or maybe the acoustics in your living room are less than desired. Whatever your reason for wanting to install a false ceiling, you have a big decision on your hands. Which material will you use to install your false ceiling: PVC or POP?
If you’re looking to install a false ceiling in your home, a PVC false ceiling is a leading material you can choose. In comparison to a POP ceiling, the PVC ceiling panels or tiles are more durable, water-resistant, and affordable—making them the ideal choice for most homeowners.
With so many options to consider, you must have a full understanding of the pros and cons of each material before making your final decision.
What Makes a False Ceiling?
A false ceiling is a secondary ceiling that hangs down from the room’s original ceiling to bring the illusion of a lower ceiling. A false ceiling is typically mounted about eight inches below the room’s original ceiling with wooden or metal mounts.
Often, these are used to conceal wiring, plumbing, piping, and ductwork to create a more aesthetically-pleasing space or improve a home’s heating, cooling, and noise. However, false ceilings can be incorporated in a space simply for their cosmetic appearance if you’re hoping to achieve a dropped ceiling design.
No matter the size of your home, a false ceiling can be configured—but they’re best for rooms that already have slightly higher ceilings to avoid reducing headroom too much.
What Is a PVC False Ceiling?
Being one of the most popular choices for false ceilings, you’ve like seen a PVC false ceiling without even realizing it! PVC is an extremely durable, yet lightweight plastic material that is cut or trimmed into panels or tiles and used to create a drop ceiling.
These plastic panels are available in a variety of sizes and colors, making it very easy for you to piece together everything you need for your project.
What Is a POP False Ceiling?
Otherwise known as Plaster of Paris, a POP false ceiling is one of the most common types of false ceiling that you’ll find on the market because of how easy it is to install. POP false ceilings are created by using a mixture of POP powder and water that is applied to coat chicken net.
This net is then connected and suspended from a framing system to create a POP false ceiling— taking about a month before it’s complete!
What Are the Benefits of a False Ceiling?
Although not the most glamorous part of a room design, the ceiling plays a vital role in how well your home’s systems operate. Over the years false ceiling, also known as drop ceilings, has become much more common in homes—especially in basements. This is because there are numerous advantages, such as:
If you have a large room, chances are you’re dealing with a space that echos or makes it difficult to hear the person sitting directly across from you. By adding another layer to the ceiling, you’ll help improve the acoustics in the room.
This can be extremely helpful for homeowners who have rooms where the sound is extremely important—living rooms where everyone is constantly talking, home movie theater where your family enjoys movie nights, a music room where children practice their instruments, and more!
Lowers Loft Ceilings
Sometimes homeowners decide to install a false ceiling for cosmetic reasons. If their space is extremely open with high, lofty ceilings, it can make your furniture and decor look too small for the space! To avoid making their furniture look out of place or purchasing a new living room set, they’ll install a drop ceiling to bring the room to more normal proportions.
One of the biggest advantages of a false ceiling is the impact it can have on your home energy bills! If you live in a region of the country that is particularly hot in the summer or cold in the winter, you know how expensive your monthly energy bills can get.
A false ceiling works to help insulate the room because it creates a gap between the two layers—the false ceiling and the original ceiling. This gap between the ceilings traps air which insulates the room, helping to keep the room colder or warmer to meet your needs.
Hides Unsightly Wires
False ceilings are especially popular in finished basements because they make it very easy to hide unsightly wiring along your ceiling. You can hide the mess of wires above the false ceiling, and your room’s lighting can be directly integrated into your new drop ceiling (with the wires completely hidden and out of sight).
Advantages of PVC False Ceiling
Now that you know what a false ceiling is and the benefits, it’s time to look at the different materials you can use to create your drop ceiling. A common choice is PVC false ceiling which can be installed as panels or ceiling tiles, making it extremely versatile for your specific situation. Let’s dive right into the advantages of using a PVC false ceiling in your home.
When you’re making adjustments to your home, whether functional or cosmetic, you want them to be worth the cost. There’s nothing more frustrating than installing something and having it wear down faster than you anticipated, ultimately costing you more money in the long run.
With PVC ceiling, you won’t have to worry about that because it is extremely sturdy and durable. You can expect your PVC ceiling to stay in place with minimal damage, warping, or bending for years at a time.
Cost is important and affordability is key—but as a homeowner, you don’t want to compromise quality for the cost (especially with something that is going to be overhead!). Luckily, no compromises need to be made here! PVC false ceiling is an affordable option for most homeowners, making it very comparable to other materials like POP ceiling.
Whether you’re a DIYer or you are hiring a ceiling installer, you want to choose a false ceiling material that is easy to install and won’t leave you and your family out of commission for a while. A PVC false ceiling is very easy to install, so easy you likely do it with the help of your family or friends! Although the material is sturdy, they can easily be trimmed down to the size you need without difficulty and with minimal mess.
When working with materials above your head, they can get extremely heavy as your arms begin to get more and more tired. That’s a huge benefit of a PVC ceiling—they’re lightweight! This makes them easy to trim and cut, transport, and install on your own (should you choose to do so).
No homeowner wants to install something that is going to require endless maintenance over the years. How annoying! PVC false ceiling tiles or panels are low maintenance and don’t require any paint once installed. Keep them looking fresh by occasionally wiping them down with a damp cloth, but other than that they’ll look as good as the day they were installed!
Depending on where you place to install your false ceiling, water-resistance might be extremely important. For instance, if you are installing it on your front porch or in a sunroom, these are more susceptible to rain and dampness. No matter where you install your PVC false ceiling, you’ll never have to worry because it is made of material that is waterproof and is unlikely to grow mold or mildew.
While white panels are one of the most common choices of PVC ceiling material, PVC is available in a variety of sizes, designs, and colors—allowing you to fully customize the ceiling to your space!
Whether you prefer a sleek white or want to spice things up with metallic gold, the options are endless to create your ideal aesthetic. If you end up installing PVC ceiling and don’t love the color you chose, don’t fret! PVC ceiling is paintable and can be painted with any paint specifically made for plastic materials.
Disadvantages of PVC Ceiling Panels
Even with all of PVC’s advantages, there are always going to be a few disadvantages to uncover as well. Some cons include:
If you’re looking for a high-quality, visually-appealing ceiling that catches everyone’s attention, PVC false ceiling might not be for you. While it is attractive, it does have a plastic appearance which, to some, can look cheap. The panels or tiles also aren’t seamless, meaning that you will be able to see the joint lines between each piece.
Because PVC false ceiling is made of plastic, they are susceptible to extreme heat. They will be able to withstand heat from your home’s HVAC system, but if you install lights that give off excess heat, there is a chance that the PVC ceiling panels will get damaged or warped. PVC ceiling is non-flammable and won’t catch flame if a fire emerges, but they will be damaged in the process.
When PVC ceiling materials are made, chlorine is used in the manufacturing process. As a result, there might be small traces of chlorine gas released into the air over an extended period. However, this is typically minimal and not an issue. Because of this, it’s not a great option for kitchens in case a fire were to break out and melt the PVC material.
As with any false ceiling, it will reduce the headroom in your space. This can make your room appear much smaller than it is. False ceilings work best in rooms that already have higher than average ceilings to prevent reducing the headroom too much.
Advantages of a POP False Ceiling
Now, let’s take a look at another popular false ceiling material choice for homeowners. POP false ceiling has equally as many benefits, although different from the PVC ceiling. Some of the advantages of POP false ceilings include:
If you’re looking to create a visually appealing design in the ceiling, a POP false ceiling is going to be your best friend. Plaster of Paris can be applied to a room of any shape, is easily applied to corners of the room, and can be molded into any shape to create a pattern or design.
Does your vision include intricate elements like cornices or an etching effect? Whatever your design of choice, you’re likely able to achieve it with POP because of its flexibility!
Similar to PVC, installing a POP false ceiling is an affordable option for homeowners looking to improve their homes while following a tighter budget.
Unlike PVC panels or tiles, POP is fire resistant! This makes it the ideal choice if you’re adding a drop ceiling to your kitchen where heat is the most common. Similarly, it is also a great option for insulating heat. If your basement refuses to stay warm in the winter, consider installing a POP false ceiling to help insulate the space and keep the heat in the rooms where you need it most.
During the installation phase, POP is easily spread and leveled out. This often results in a beautifully installed false ceiling with a smooth surface. Not only is the smooth surface visually appealing, but makes it easy for homeowners who want to customize the room a bit more by painting the ceiling! The paint will go on smooth and be able to settle evenly because of POP’s smooth finish.
Pop is extremely lightweight and durable which makes it a great option for false ceilings. It is unlikely to crack, and if it does, the cracks in the POP ceiling are not easily visible to the naked eye.
Disadvantages of a POP False Ceiling
While there are many advantages to installing a POP false ceiling, you should also be aware of the disadvantages, which include:
Installing a POP false ceiling isn’t difficult per se, but it isn’t as simple as installing PVC ceiling panels. The POP ceiling is created by mixing powder and water, which can make a very messy and lengthy process—usually leaving a mess in its wake!
Not only does the ceiling take a lot of time to dry, but you’ll often have a lot of dust and debris to clean up following the installation. It is also more difficult for a novice installer to work with, especially with trying to achieve a specific design.
A major drawback of POP is that there is a lot of material that gets wasted from the installation process if more mixture is prepared than is needed. Not only is this frustrating, but it’s creating excess waste for you to dispose of!
If you’re a newbie to POP, you might find yourself with a mixture that was made with slightly incorporated portions of POP powder and water. If the mixture is prepared incorrectly, it could cause the ceiling to shrink or crack after it’s installed—a homeowner’s worst nightmare! To ensure your ceiling is durable, enlist the help of an experienced POP installer when preparing your mixture.
Unlike PVC, POP is not resistant to moisture which means it is not recommended for installation in a damp area. In fact, it will often absorb any moisture it comes in contact with! This will result in a ceiling that turns yellow or flaunts stains.
Depending on the size and shape of the room, a false ceiling might end up making the room appear much smaller than it is! False ceilings are typically recommended if your ceilings are lofted or an above-average height, otherwise you can find your room feeling cramped.
Where Can You Install PVC or POP False Ceiling?
You can incorporate a drop ceiling into nearly any space, but they are most commonly found in:
When transitioning an unfinished basement into a comfortable and cozy space, you need to find a way to hide the tangle of wires and unsightly pipes in the ceiling. A false ceiling in the basement can help to hide these elements while also working to insulate the space, making it much more comfortable year-round.
In recent years, drop ceilings in master bedrooms have become more common because of their visual appearance. You can add a sense of drama to the room by creating a pattern or design with the false ceiling—creating a completely unique space that you’ll enjoy snuggling up in each night.
The living room is the heart of the home. It’s where you throw gatherings like a book club, wine nights, children’s slumber parties, and more. For this reason, you want this room to be wow-worthy, and there’s no easier way to do that than by incorporating a dramatic false ceiling into the space. It’s also a great option if your living room has a lofted ceiling that makes the room far too large.
Enjoying the Benefits of a False Ceiling
Whichever material you choose for a false ceiling, you will soon enjoy the benefits of having unsightly things covered or a little extra sound proofing. Did you already make a false ceiling in your home? Did you choose PVC or POP – we’d love to hear why below in the comments!
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