You might be surprised to hear that we decided to go with office ceilings for the majority of the ceilings in the container house project. Most people would not even consider this option in their home, but we did, and this post explains why.
The Hunt for the Perfect Ceiling Board
From the day we began putting together a concept for the container house project, we did not consider standard ceilings as our go-to choice. We have always known we would not be using standard rhinoboard ceilings. As per our previous article on installing PVC ceilings, they are a bit of a nuisance to install. Why use that option when there are so many other interesting options out there?
You might also wonder why we didn’t just use the PVC ceilings as we obviously like them very much.
Our main concern was insulation. If we were to use the thin PVC ceilings we would have also have had to spend additional funds on an insulation product to fit between the top of each shipping container and the PVC ceiling. (In a laundry, the temperature of the room is not as much of a concern).
In the end we settled on a polystyrene ceiling board known as Isolam because:
- It is 40mm thick, providing good insulation (thicker panels are also available)
- Lightweight and easy to install
- Wide enough to span the full width of the container
- Fire retardant (for our safety)
- Mould resistant (for our health)
- Available in a couple of different finishes
Installing the Isolam Ceiling Boards
The Isolam boards are quite big at 1.2m x 4.8m. However, the suppliers of Isolam boards can cut them down to more manageable sizes. We bought boards measuring 1.2m x 2.4m, but ended up cutting them in half again, so that they measured 0.6m x 2.4m. A shipping container is 2.35m wide, so the width of the board is perfect for spanning the width of the container with very little waste. We decided to cut them to this size so that we could put in a T-piece every 600mm as we were concerned the boards might droop after a few years hanging suspended.
When we completed the interior cladding of the South container, we kept the top of the cladding at the same level exactly where we wanted to place the ceiling. This way, the ceiling had something on which to sit. In an office, one would install angles against the walls on which the ceiling panels would sit.
We also added cornice, because this is a living space. Therefore, our end result is a ceiling that borrows from both types of ceiling (office and domestic). We have the insulating properties and ease of installation from office ceilings, and we have an aesthetically pleasing look from the domestic side.
What about Gusts of Wind?
A big problem with office ceilings is that they tend to flap up and down with gusts of wind. If you have ever experienced this, you are sure to know just how annoying this can be, and it’s not something you want happening in your home. In our case, as the cornices are glued to the boards with paintable acrylic sealant, they will not be able to move. Therefore, the ceiling is not easily removed as with office ceilings. However, we are not intending to have to remove the ceiling at any time in the near future. This is a home and therefore unlikely to need rewiring as an office might.
We are pleased with the end result and will be using this technique in the North and East containers.
Would you use office ceilings in your house?