- Description of structures
- Aesthetics and decorative value
- Appearance or practicality
- In terms of the installation process
- Care and maintainability
Today we will focus on two ceiling designs – the undisputed leaders in bathroom furnishings. Rack or tension: are they really equal in practicality and decorative meaning, or are there differences, without which a high-quality bathroom repair cannot be done – read in today’s review.
Description of structures
The device of a stretch ceiling is familiar to many due to its simplicity. It consists of two parts: a baguette profile, fixed to the walls along the perimeter of the room, and a canvas or film, stretched inside. The main feature of the tensioning system lies in its factory production; at the same place, a minimum of installation work is carried out.
The structure of a slatted ceiling is more complex and at the same time more interesting. The system of fastening profiles looks very familiar, something similar is used when assembling the frame for sheathing with plastic clapboard. The guiding U-profile, however, has an additional decorative function, framing the ceiling around the perimeter and providing a tight, beautiful abutment of the ceiling to the walls. And instead of the usual rack-mount profiles, special stringers are used, on which shoulder straps (strips) are fixed by snapping into the slots.
Aesthetics and decorative value
The differences in the device are due to the difference in appearance. This is perhaps the most important component of any ceiling system: if we are still ready to put up with the cost or complexity of installation, then flaws in design and appearance immediately push the type of ceiling in question to the end of the list.
Fortunately, both types of finishes we are considering can be safely attributed to highly aesthetic, they are just different and should be combined with the general style concept of the bathroom interior. Stretch ceilings are good because they allow you to withstand the spirit of minimalism, which is so popular these days. This is especially true for small bathrooms, where a ceiling with any pronounced pattern will attract too much attention..
Glossy vinyl canvases have a very interesting visual effect: being reflected in the mirror coating, the walls get their logical continuation, therefore, it is customary to perform corner adjoining in the middle of the upper row of tiles. An excellent alternative to mirrored ceilings, in addition, there is always the opportunity to select high-quality colors from a wide palette for a complete combination or diversify the mirror surface with a light pattern.
Matte fabric ceilings are a timeless classic, such a finish remains completely invisible and allows you to focus on more interesting and unique things – well-laid tiles, plumbing and decorative installations.
In terms of appearance, slatted ceilings are the exact opposite of stretch ceilings. Longitudinal stripes, at first glance, do not harmonize too much with the “checkered” look of the tile, although it depends more on the tile format. However, upon closer examination, this type of ceiling fits well into “sterile” interiors and becomes a stylish accessory that looks really rich.
The color scheme is also varied, and the strict directionality of the stripes helps to visually correct rooms with not very attractive geometry, for example, very elongated ones. Rack ceilings, unlike stretch ceilings, are distinguished by a more free choice of shape. On their basis, you can make both multi-tier structures with radius edges and wavy planes, for which special types of panels and mounting profiles are intended..
Appearance or practicality
The second most important aspect after the appearance is how the ceiling will behave in high humidity conditions and how easy it is to maintain. The most tricky in this regard is the vinyl gloss: drops of condensate formed constantly spoil the specularity, especially if the ceiling is noticeably understated. In this case, special cleaning agents cannot be dispensed with: solution for stretch ceilings and brushes, without them washing the sagging canvas can be another task.
Fabric coverings are surprisingly simple to care for and clean. The anti-static cloth does not collect dust and does not fog up due to its high vapor permeability. All small contaminants, such as salt streaks from splashes, “hide” against the background of a slight visual noise generated by the micro-texture. The fabric of the canvas is impregnated with polymers that prevent rotting and mold formation.
Rack ceilings behave in many ways similar to glossy ones. Metallized polished inserts lose some of their attractiveness if traces of dried drops appear on them. However, let’s be fair: this is far from the same as in the case of a mirror-like surface, and the surface fogs up somewhat less due to the presence of gas exchange with the area under the rough ceiling. By the way, due to vapor permeability, the exhaust duct can be placed hidden, the same applies to fabric stretch ceilings.
In terms of the installation process
For the end consumer, stretch film ceilings will be the most problem-free. Experts will independently measure, make a canvas and carry out installation in a couple of hours. You can’t do this work yourself, because you need a heat gun. You can save money by installing the locking profiles yourself, but how significant such savings will be, given the small area of the bathroom?
Fabric ceilings can be installed completely independently, starting from fastening the baguette profile and ending with stretching the canvas itself. All that is required from a special tool is a rounded spatula, with which the fabric is tucked into the groove, and a pair of clean gloves.
Rack ceilings are the most difficult to install, but at the same time, the process of assembling them is quite exciting. It all starts with fixing the starting guide profile around the perimeter of the room in a common horizontal plane. The easiest way to make markings is to use a laser level, but in the absence of one, a regular water level will do. Before fixing in the central flange of the profile, it is necessary to make perforations with a step of 40-50 cm, while drilling is better from the outside so that the remaining burrs do not interfere with a snug fit to the wall.
After fixing the guide profiles, the supporting stringers are mounted and the strips are assembled, then inter-lath decorative profiles are inserted between them. The main difficulties come down to trimming the extreme strips and making grooves for installing spotlights. However, the material of the panels is quite malleable and to work with it you only need a segment knife and metal shears.
Care and maintainability
Although the bathroom cannot be called a room full of domestic activity, damage to the ceiling can occur even here. The most expensive in terms of repairs is undoubtedly the film stretch ceiling. In case of damage to the film with little blood, it will not be possible to do: you will have to change the entire canvas, which is quite expensive.
However, the fabric canvas also changes entirely, only its cost is much lower. In addition, there is a problem to pull out the remnants of the fabric from the lock of the mounting profile, but with the strapped fabric it is quite possible.
Unlike the lining, the slatted ceiling does not have to be completely disassembled if one or more panels are damaged. The rail is simply drilled in several places and breaks down, a new one is inserted instead of it and the interpanel profiles are put back in place.
In terms of care, both types of ceiling finishes we have considered are very unpretentious: they do not absorb dirt, do not form a breeding ground for mold and are not subject to decay or corrosion. They should be washed either with clean water or with compounds that do not form a soapy film to which dust adheres. Naturally, there is no question of any painting and other “new things”: the materials retain their appearance for several decades.