The Commercial Inspector | Maintaining Your Drop Ceilings

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The Commercial Inspector

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Maintaining Your Drop Ceilings

 September 1, 2021 |  Management, Maintenance, Inspection |  interior maintenance, building renovation, office space, retail space, hotelrestaurant, apartment

False or drop ceilings are very common in commercial buildings like offices and hotels. What makes this style of ceiling so appealing is its versatility--they’re both attractive and useful. However, drop ceilings also require continual maintenance to stay looking perfect and remain efficient. If you have false ceilings in your building, here’s what you need to know about them.

The Purpose of False Ceilings
False ceilings (often called drop, suspended, or grid ceilings) do more work than you may realize. While the common style is your typical fiberboard grid pattern, for a few dollars more you can have a beautiful eye-catching design of wood or plastic. They help conceal otherwise messy wiring and ductwork that runs across your ceiling to give it a cleaner appearance. Drop ceilings also help with soundproofing loud ductwork which can be distracting in an office setting. They’re even energy efficient as they direct airflow better than an unfinished style ceiling, keep heating and cooling costs low, and are better at containing fires.

Water Can Cause Sagging
While there are definite advantages to having a false ceiling compared to an open concept, there are things you need to remember when maintaining them. First, water is a major culprit when it comes to damage in false ceilings. A small amount from a leaky pipe, high humidity, or intrusion after a heavy rainstorm can promote mold growth on tiles, posing a severe health hazard. Unless you can see the mold growing through, you might not even know it’s there. On the other hand, a large amount of absorption at once or over time leads to sagging. Sections of ceiling will then begin breaking apart and falling down, causing even more damage to equipment below or injuring people. Water damaged tiles should be replaced as soon as possible.

Tiles and Grime
When installed correctly, false ceilings can last years at a time. That being said, all that time leads to dirt collecting on the panels. This can cause an unappealing look to your ceiling as well as cause air quality issues for your tenants. Loose dirt swirling around your HVAC in your building can irritate people’s allergies and make it harder to breathe. If you or your tenants notice multiple spots with dust buildup, it’s time to clean. You can do the process yourself, but hiring out to a cleaning company will most likely be faster.

Supports Loosening
Another problem that can pop up later in your false ceiling’s life is the screws holding certain sections loosening up. This is especially prone in instances of poor construction. The weight and strain of holding up the ceiling means it’s only a matter of time before things fall down. Areas that experience lots of shifting, such as earthquakes, could also cause the screws and rods to become loose. A telltale sign that your ceiling is in danger of collapse is a loud “crack” or drooping similar to a moisture problem. The best thing you can do is to close off the area where the ceiling is loose and have a professional repair it immediately.

Call NPI for Your Commercial Needs
National Property Inspections can assist you with all your commercial needs. From multi-family properties to special purpose facilities, our trained inspectors have the knowledge to guide you. Contact your local inspector and schedule an inspection today!

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