Suspended ceilings are cheaper than drywall

Drywall

Modern interior work today often works with drywall. Gone are the days when bricks, mortar or concrete had to be laboriously, lengthily and wet processed in order to produce non-load-bearing room boundaries or cladding of components. Partition walls, structural fire protection, suspended ceilings or improved room acoustics - this can be done quickly, comfortably and dry with drywall - and on top of that, more flexible and almost always cheaper. Dry construction offers future-oriented concepts for new construction, renovation and upgrading. With the highest quality, space and resources are saved and the utility is increased.

What exactly is drywall?

In drywall construction, industrially manufactured components or semi-finished products for the interior design of real estate are brought together. No water-containing or soaking building materials such as concrete, clay, mortar or plaster are required, which saves a considerable amount of time and money. This can be very beneficial for the overall construction progress. However, coatings such as paint or plaster can also be applied. The components are connected to one another by screws or other mechanical fastenings.

The term drywall is only used in non-load-bearing construction; Dry construction is clearly differentiated from masonry, concrete or earth building; even the drywall is not drywall. Plastering or stucco work is not part of drywall construction, just like woodwork (carpentry, carpentry or joinery). Subsequently applied surfaces such as paint, wallpaper or decorative plaster are part of the painting trade.

Due to the predominantly lighter building materials compared to concrete or bricks, dry construction is also considered a lightweight construction. Because the elements used are neither poured nor bricked, but assembled, dry construction is also part of the assembly method. Although drywall is not solid, due to the materials used, all building physics requirements can be met just as well and in some cases better than with solid construction if it is properly installed. This applies to heat protection, cold protection, noise protection, fire protection, moisture protection, radiation protection and also to impact protection.

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Typical drywall

So which tasks can drywall do best? The wide range of options may surprise some:

Mounting walls

It is quick, clean and comparatively easy to erect walls using the dry construction method. They can be straight, curved, or curved. The most common uses include room-dividing partition walls for apartments and corridors or sanitary facilities, for example for loft conversions or complete renovations. There are both fixed and movable walls.

The materials are very diverse and depend on the needs and plans of the builder: plasterboard and gypsum fiber boards are among the more well-known, as are wood, wood-based materials, metal and plastic, but mineral fiber and cement boards are often used.

The drywall initially requires a support structure. For this purpose, the frame profiles are fixed to the floor and ceiling with glue and dowels and then the edge and center struts (CW profiles) are installed. The paneling is screwed onto the metal posts. If the stud wall has two shells, power and other installation lines can be laid in the cavity. If the wall separates warm and cold areas, the space in between can also be filled with insulating material. The connections to the wall, floor and ceiling must be taken into account particularly with regard to their density.

Any gaps between the panels are closed with joint filler. Joints to other components can be sealed with sealant from the cartridge that can be painted over. If necessary, sockets, doors, windows or passages, for example for air conditioning, are also installed. The thicker the building boards, the greater the effects on thermal insulation and soundproofing. However, the gaps have a greater impact: the wider they are, the more filling or insulating material can be introduced and the greater the insulating effect.

Installation walls

The installation walls are a separate area. They are primarily used to accommodate technical building services, including supply and disposal lines across floors, in sanitary rooms and kitchens. Installation walls are particularly necessary where these pipe systems and elements are retrofitted in a complex manner and with larger cross-sections. The installation walls carry, support and conceal them. Sound emissions are also dampened by suitable insulation.

As double stud walls, they are room-high and as a front-wall installation they can also be half-height and thus serve as storage space in the bathroom, for example. A variant of the pre-wall installation are mounting blocks as installation modules. These are prefabricated elements made of polyester foam concrete that already contain all supply and disposal connections as well as built-in cisterns and are attached to the wall behind them with structure-borne noise insulation.

These drywall walls can be primed and then can withstand a decorative layer: wallpaper, plaster, tiles or a coat of paint.

Suspended ceilings

The term "suspended ceilings" means lightweight ceilings that are hung under the actual raw ceiling and hide it. The construction consists of metal or wood, which is clad with plasterboard, plastic, chipboard or acoustic panels.

Lightweight panels made of expanded glass are also ideal. This building material is particularly environmentally friendly because it consists of recycled waste glass from the container. The panels weigh only five kilograms per square meter and are therefore much lighter than cement or plasterboard - this is a huge advantage, especially when working above your head. Sheet steel parts are usually used as hangers, and occasionally ropes.

There are numerous arguments for the suspended ceiling: In rooms that are too high, suspended ceilings improve the ambience and the structure of the room. This can also be used to set up thermal insulation for the part of the property above it. Impact sound and other noise are also dampened by a suitable ceiling. Noises generated in the room itself can also be reduced by appropriate sound-absorbing or room-acoustic coverings.

A classic solution is to hide technical devices, lines and devices in the space created: ventilation ducts, cables, heating pipes, data, telecommunications and other supply lines and installations. Even large-format recessed luminaires are flush with the ceiling surface. With suspended ceilings, otherwise hardly feasible lighting and design concepts can be implemented.

Suspended ceilings solve several problems at once, especially in apartments in old buildings. The old building fabric is usually insufficiently thermally insulated and the sound insulation is inadequate. If the rooms are three or more meters high, this can also lead to an increased need for heating. If sound and thermal insulation are integrated into the suspended ceiling during renovation, the sense of well-being increases significantly and heating costs decrease.

Suspended ceilings thus act as acoustic ceilings, air-conditioned ceilings, ventilation ceilings and / or as light ceilings. However, if this would hide valuable historical, aesthetic or architectural elements, the advantages and disadvantages should be weighed against each other.

How do you install such a suspended ceiling? First of all, the existing raw ceiling must be prepared for the new ceiling to be suspended. For this purpose, a substructure is mounted on the ceiling to which the suspended ceiling is attached. Usually these are metal rods that are attached at a suitable distance from one another. Profile strips form the load-bearing elements on the walls. The panels are hung from this stable overall structure. If the ceiling is to be insulated, the appropriate material for sound or heat insulation is introduced beforehand. A precisely fitting installation is important here in order to guarantee the function. This is followed by the preparation for the electrical installation and finally the assembly of the cover plates. Plasterboard, mineral fiber and similar boards should still be filled and painted or wallpapered. Acoustic panels are installed directly without any post-treatment.

The assembly of a suspended ceiling is quite demanding and long overhead work is unusual and health-demanding for many craftsmen and DIY enthusiasts. If in doubt, it is better to hire a specialist company.

Drying subfloor

Laying dry subfloors is also part of drywall construction. For this purpose, an uneven floor, as it often occurs in old buildings, should first be leveled out. The same applies if the floor is inclined. A leveling fill made of dried aerated concrete granulate is used for this. This is a mineral product of low density and does not need to be compressed.

How do you start? First of all, all loose parts should be attached or removed and the floor should be checked for its resilience. Only solid, stable floors are suitable for compensation. At the flattest point, the dry screed should still be at least an inch thick. If the old floor is made of wooden boards, for example, a trickle protection should be laid beforehand, otherwise the dry fill will penetrate between the boards and into the cavities underneath.

The screed elements and the floor covering are laid over the smoothed leveling fill. These panels, which are up to 1500 millimeters long, are a good alternative to wet screed and can also be laid by experienced do-it-yourselfers. The fill, screed and covering determine the new floor height. You determine the highest point in the floor, add the new floor height and add another meter - and you have a convenient reference point that applies to the entire room.

With a cross line laser you can now mark out and check all dimensions during construction. An edge insulation strip separates the fill and screed from the wall and ensures that the transmission of footfall sound is reduced. Caution: the dry bed is dusty; you should wear respiratory protection from the hardware store while working.

The screed panels consist of two layers that are not connected to each other everywhere; this makes it easier to separate them, work on them and create tight, joint-free transitions. They are sawn to fit, carefully laid over the fill, glued together at the stepped transitions and also screwed.

Almost anything that the owner could wish for can then be laid as a floor covering.

Facing shells

Facing shells are all non-load-bearing structural elements that serve as facings. This includes both the above-mentioned assembly walls and suspended ceilings in interiors, but also cladding for external walls. These can be effective in terms of building physics, for example for insulation purposes, or serve to improve the appearance. Since they ‘only‘ affect the outermost shell and do not change anything in the building fabric or the interior, cladding is a quick, inexpensive design tool for architects and property owners.

Facing shells in the outdoor area can consist of a wide variety of materials, including solid masonry (no drywall), but also metal, glass, stone or slate panels and wood, and even new developments such as photovoltaic elements. As a rule, a cladding will accommodate building elements that match the surroundings in terms of color, structure or even traditionally and thus enhance the building. On the other hand, you can also design a completely new facade that has hardly anything to do with the old one and thus fit a building into a historical environment, for example, or transform a rather dreary building into an externally attractive property.

First, a bracket is mounted on the outer wall. In the simplest case, this is a wooden cladding with nailable building boards, for larger loads a mounting frame made of sheet steel profiles, plus the substructure and, if necessary, the insulation. The spacing and strength of the struts are tailored to the material to be installed. The cover plates are then attached. Depending on the wallet, artistic design and architectural possibilities, there are hardly any limits to the landlord.

Disguises

Dry construction also includes other free-standing or attached cladding of components in interiors. This also includes casings: cladding of pipes, steel girders, wooden girders, pipes and ventilation for the purpose of soundproofing and fire protection, but also with damp-proof panels. Likewise, ceiling aprons, i.e. load-bearing connections in the ceiling void, and bulkheads for the purpose of fire protection.

Wall dry plaster

Plaster can be applied quickly and evenly to a solid substrate by using dry wall plaster. This consists of large plasterboard or gypsum fiber boards, which are attached with tie-on ties. Attachment binders are fresh plaster strips or lumps of plaster that have previously been distributed on the back of the panels.

The subsurface should be firm, dry, not frozen, free from shrinkage and secured against rising damp and precipitation. Everything that interferes with the primer should be removed before installation: mortar residues, peeling or trickling areas, as well as waxes or formwork oils adhering to concrete. Depending on the absorbency of the substrate, it must be pre-treated with a safety primer.

The panels are now manually pressed against the wall and aligned. Where it is not possible to fix the dry plasterboards perfectly with tie-on binders, they can also be installed on doweled wooden battens or on top floor profiles. The entire system should be protected against moisture. So if the outside wall of a building is provided with it from the inside, it may be necessary to install an additional vapor barrier. It is advisable to seek the advice of a professional before starting construction.

Floor systems

Ultimately, drywall is also used in flooring systems. These are system or complete solutions for wooden houses or for complete renovations. They are attached to wooden beams or solid floors and consist of a top layer over a covering of dry screed.

In addition, underfloor heating and various insulation, fleece and adhesive layers can be built into it. The end covering, for example needle felt, laminate, tiles or solid wood parquet, also determines whether a decoupling layer for footfall sound is required. Depending on the construction requirements, the total height measures at least nine millimeters and extends up to around 60 millimeters.

Room-in-room systems

The room-in-room system allows for very astonishing and very practical solutions. These are self-supporting, freely set-up rooms that can also be connected to existing components. Due to their light construction, they are quick and easy to assemble, economical and flexible in terms of height, length, function and design.

They usually consist of a wall and ceiling support system made of profile rails, which are provided with hard plasterboard inside and outside and insulated inside with mineral wool. The modern systems meet all requirements for fire protection, noise protection and static loads.

Typical areas of application are sanitary cells, soundproof cabins, meeting rooms, foremen's offices, encapsulation of noise-generating industrial machines or as escape tunnels. But they can also be used in numerous ways in the private sector, for example in lofts, where they can create pleasant living, lounge, office or storage space in no time at all.