The Benefits and Drawbacks of Open Ceilings
Do you like the aesthetic of an open ceiling in the office? Before you add it to your design wishlist, here are the benefits and drawbacks of open ceilings.
Although open ceilings have an array of benefits, affordability is not one of them. You may assume that open ceilings are inexpensive because they utilize fewer resources, labour, and time. However, this is not the case, and open office ceilings are generally more expensive, compared to suspended ceilings. Here is a quick overview of the benefits and cost of an open ceiling to help you determine which is best for your upcoming office renovation.
Benefits of Open Ceilings
Also known as exposed ceilings, open ceilings are gaining popularity in office designs. Here are the main advantages of this design feature:
- Open ceilings give an office more height and hence make it more spacious. As compared to the traditional closed ceiling that makes a space feel small and cramped, open ceilings add extra space to an office.
- They increase natural light in your office. Research shows that natural light makes employees healthier, more productive, and more engaged. Also, natural light enhances the value of a space by making it more appealing to employees and customers.
- Open ceilings allow design creativity. Distribution systems like piping fixtures and electrical installations can be used as decorative elements.
- Add character to an office.
Cost of Open Ceilings
1. Open but not Unfinished
You may assume that an open ceiling does not require many resources and new infrastructure like a suspended ceiling and hence is cheap. Nonetheless, it is not as simple as getting rid of the suspended ceiling tiles and calling it a day.
You have to make the existing infrastructure hiding in the dropped ceiling to be aesthetically appealing, which may need significant work. In many cases, the existing infrastructure is unsightly and unappealing. Old ductwork, for example, is blocky, dirty, and unattractive. You have to replace it with new ductwork that is more appealing and significantly expensive.
2. Making it Beautiful
The exposed ceiling and plumbing have to be painted to complement the rest of the space. Painting the ceiling is more labor-intensive than painting walls. Also, ensuring that the exposed ceiling aligns with the color scheme, décor, and brand choices of the rest of the workspace is no easy job; it requires a lot of skilled labor.
3. High Labor Costs
Did you know that the shortage of skilled labour in the construction industry affects the cost of ceiling work? In Canada, the construction sector has a 4.8% vacancy rate, which translates to around 51,400 unfilled positions. Although exposed ceilings may require fewer resources, much money is spent on labour costs. The casual look of an open ceiling is a result of massive electrical, mechanical, and plumbing work that requires expensive skilled labour.
4. Sound Considerations
Open ceilings are vulnerable to noise problems because they lack the sound-absorbing effects of dropped ceilings. Therefore, you must invest in acoustical treatments to absorb sound and keep noise levels down. Whether you decide to install acoustic panels or suspend baffles to absorb sound, acoustical treatments come at a cost.
5. Operational Cost
In addition to the initial costs for installing open ceilings, you must account for the maintenance costs of the ceilings. Open ceilings require frequent cleaning and painting. Also, energy costs are higher in open ceilings compared to suspended ceilings. Exposed ceilings increase HVAC costs because they are less effective in barring heat transfer.
Weighing the Benefits Vs. Cost
Open ceilings are a trendy design for workplaces that offer a hip look and casual feel. They create a space that is appealing and productive. The cost of open ceilings should not be the deal-breaker when you can achieve a chic office that’s beneficial for employees, customers, and visitors.
Nevertheless, exposed ceilings require meticulous planning due to the numerous expenses incurred.