Home Advice Suspended Ceilings vs. Drywall Ceilings: What’s the Difference?

Suspended Ceilings vs. Drywall Ceilings: What’s the Difference?

Suspended Ceilings vs. Drywall Ceilings: What's the Difference?
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels

If you are looking to remodel a room in your home or even your whole property, the ceiling is an important consideration. The two most popular ceiling styles when it comes to home renovation are drywall and suspended. Each type of ceiling has its pros and cons as well as aesthetic appeal. Which leads us to the question – suspended ceilings vs. drywall ceilings: what’s the difference? 

What is a drywall ceiling?

 The most common material for ceilings, drywall, is also known as plasterboard or gypsum board. A panel made from gypsum (calcium sulfate dihydrate) is sandwiched between two lining paper layers. Each panel is typically sized 1200mm and comes in different thicknesses, with 12mm best suited for most ceilings. A drywall ceiling has a smooth look with no features for a simple yet effective ceiling design when fitted. It is possible to fit a drywall ceiling as a project, but you do need good DIY skills as well as an extra pair of hands as each panel can weigh up to 60 pounds. And the panels need to be skillfully finished, so there are no rough edges or screw heads on show.  

What is a suspended ceiling? 


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Suspended ceilings are just as the name suggests, suspended ceilings are a ceiling that is suspended or dropped from an existing ceiling. Installed via a suspended grid panel into which ceiling tiles are fixed, suspended ceilings are relatively easy to put up, and they also come in DIY project kits. As the ceiling is suspended, it can also cover anything you want to be hidden, such as pipework, ducts, and wiring, and any broken or damaged tiles can be easily removed and replaced. However, installing a suspended ceiling does mean you will lose some of your original ceiling height. And with a minimum recommended drop height of 6 feet 8 inches, a suspended ceiling is not suitable for all homes. 

What are the differences? 

There are some key differences between drywall and suspended ceiling, which you need to take into consideration if you are looking to upgrade the ceilings in your home: 

Drywall ceiling  

  • A drywall ceiling comes in panels and can be used instead of full ceiling plaster.
  • The panels are affixed flush to your existing ceiling joists to create a flat and simple surface
  • Each drywall panel weighs around 60 pounds, so it needs two people to lift into place
  • You will need to cut out holes for ceiling lights and vents
  • Once hung, a drywall ceiling will require finishing – including sanding, painting, and filling to create the smooth ceiling look

 Suspended ceiling 

  • A suspended ceiling can be used to hide unsightly wiring or pipework as well as provide easy access
  • With a choice of suspended ceiling kits, a dropped ceiling can be installed by a competent DIY’er
  • Available in a range of panel styles and colors, a dropped ceiling can add a modern twist to any room. The ceiling panels can also be replaced without having to dismantle the ceiling frame
  • There is a minimum height requirement for a dropped ceiling, so they are not suitable for all rooms 

Which to choose 

The type of ceiling you choose depends on your home, particularly your existing ceiling height and what style you want to achieve. For a straightforward, clean and traditional look, drywall ceilings work well but will usually require a professional tradesman to come in and do the fit. A suspended ceiling is becoming a popular and cost-effective choice and creates a modern effect that is also practical as the tiles can be easily replaced when worn. However, there is a minimum height if you are looking to install a dropped ceiling, so it’s essential you check that your room is tall enough to house the suspended look. 

Featured Photo by Max Vakhtbovych from Pexels