Whatever material you use on bathroom ceilings you can be sure that it will be subjected to a lot of demands over its lifetime.
Bathrooms are humid and warm – the ideal environment for mould to take root. The moisture levels can cause havoc with some traditional materials which in turn leads to constant maintenance.
There have been many materials used on bathroom ceilings over the years – we will have a look at them and evaluate any benefits or shortfalls.
They possess many qualities that are ideally suited to the steamy conditions found in these rooms. Their properties include:
- easy to install
- many different finishes and designs
- condensation does not readily form on them
- they are 100% waterproof
There are several different designs available. Some emulate the more traditional materials.
So if you want a ceiling that looks like wood (but with none of the downsides) there are products available. Some panels look just like painted plaster if you are looking for a flat, matt-white effect.
There are also ceiling panels that make a feature of your roof – something that is more difficult to achieve with old-fashioned materials.
Amazon also has a good selection of ceiling panels available. As an associate, we make a small commission on any qualifying purchases.
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Wooden Bathroom Ceilings
Wooden bathroom ceilings are not as popular these days as they once were.
Pine tongue and groove cladding was the most common material used for this purpose. It was easier to install than a plastered ceiling and could be fitted straight to the joists if necessary.
But wood does not cope well with the high levels of moisture present in bathrooms. If there are knots in the wood these need to be sealed to prevent resin from leaking out. Mould spots can form on the surface and can lead to the timber rotting if too much moisture penetrates the wood itself.
One solution is to paint or varnish the surface to seal the wood and shield it from the high levels of moisture. But this needs to be repeated if the paint starts to crack or peel – something all too common in bathroom settings.
The actual look of a wooden bathroom ceiling has also gone out of fashion. If left in its natural state the ceiling would be darker than a white plastered ceiling. And if painted white it would mean more maintenance to keep it looking pristine. They have consequently fallen out of favour.
Painted Plaster Ceilings
Painted plaster ceilings are the most common type found in UK homes.
They look bright and light which is perfect for smaller bathrooms. White ceilings enhance the feeling of space and will make a small room feel bigger. We have an article with small bathroom design tips here.
This type of ceiling is usually installed when the house is being built. The plaster is applied over a substrate. The substrate is made from timber laths with older properties, In more modern homes, plasterboard is used as the substrate.
Most bathrooms use standard emulsion to cover the plaster surface. While this does protect the plaster somewhat, it is not totally waterproof and can harbour mould growth. Specialist bathroom paints are available. These are specifically formulated for use on bathroom ceilings and are resistant to mould growth.
Ceilings that have been covered with a texturing compound are very similar in construction to the plastered ceiling described above, In fact, in many houses, the texturing compound will be applied over a ceiling that is already plastered.
The textured finish is better at hiding the joints on plasterboard than plain plaster and many decorative effects can be incorporated into the surface.
Again, this material has gone out of fashion somewhat. But beware if you are thinking of removing this type of finish. Asbestos was used in the compounds of many of these materials so removing them is not as straightforward as it should be.
The surface is slightly harder to paint than a flat, plastered ceiling. Plus it still has all the shortcomings that those painted plaster bathrooms possess.
Yet another material that has fallen out of fashion.
These tiles were very light and easy to handle but they were also very fragile. The tiles were available in different sizes and some were embossed with a pattern – cracked ice being the favourite.
They were painted with standard emulsion paint to seal the surface (although they were not really porous). This could create the same problems as the other ceiling materials mentioned previously.