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techos de madera registrables 01Today we are going to try to clarify an important issue about the visual performance of accessible wood ceilings, particularly those using concealed mounting systems.

Often, when ordering the installation of accessible wood ceilings, one has a mistaken idea of how it will look in the end. One may expect the ceiling to appear like a perfectly smooth, continuous surface with imperceptible joints, clean and without breaks, like a floor or a wall. The truth is that, although we can come very close to achieving it, we never fully do for two very clear reasons:

 

    • these are accessible installations (common in ceilings) and not continuous installations (as used in floors and walls), so they require a complete grid of panel joints that break the sense of unity to allow, by definition, the movement of the wood panels.
    • The characteristics of wood, as a building and decorative material, make it very susceptible to changes in temperature and humidity. These produce slight physical-mechanical movements (expansion, contraction and warping) that manifest themselves as slight buckling or warping that breaks up the uniformity of the surface.

 

We will now explain how accessible wood ceilings are installed and what options we have to conceal these small, but inevitable, visual alterations.

 

How are false accessible wood ceilings installed?

For the installation of accessible wood ceilings, standard suspension systems are used, such as T-15 Exposed Profile, T-24 Exposed Profile, T-15 Semi-Visible Profile, T-24 Semi-Visible Profile, Fineline Profile, T-15 Concealed Profile or T-24 Concealed Profile, among others. With these suspension systems, the panels simply rest on the profile without any type of clip, staple or tongue and groove system to hold them in place (such as those used for walls or floors). It is precisely these systems that make it possible to move a single ceiling panel without touching the others to gain access to the plenum. These are the ones that make an accessible ceiling accessible. However, by allowing the movement of the panels, they also make it possible for the panels to buckle or warp, due to the changes that temperature or humidity can cause in the wood.

 

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Does it happen with all systems?

In fact, yes, this is the case with all of the standard suspension systems mentioned above. However, with some of them this effect can be largely disguised.

We have to distinguish between exposed, semi-exposed or concealed mounting systems, depending on whether the profile supporting the panels is exposed or not.

In hidden profile systems, Hidden Profile T-15 or Hidden Profile T-24, the panels are supported on the profile, but the profile is not visible because the wood “surrounds” and hides it, so that from the ground we only see the continuous attached wood panels. In these cases, when some kind of physical-mechanical movement of expansion/contraction of the wood occurs, it is detectable by the small visual alteration that may occur between panels.

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On the other hand, with profiles that are partially or completely visible, such as Exposed Profile T-15, Exposed Profile T-24, Semi-Visible Profile T-15, Semi-Visible Profile T-24, Fineline Profile, the wood panels are not visually continuous to start with. The visible profile marks the separation between panels, breaks the sense of continuity and visually absorbs small alterations in ceiling planimetry. With these profiles, the physical-mechanical movements of expansion and contraction of the wood will still occur, but the possible visual effect will be completely concealed.

 

 

To sum up…

If you want a perfectly smooth, continuous wood ceiling, you will need to opt for a continuous ceiling with a tongue and groove mounting system, or with a clip or staple, but it will not be accessible.

On the other hand, if, for technical or practical reasons, you require an accessible ceiling, your expectations regarding its flatness and sense of continuity may have to change.

If you use hidden profiles, you will see and need to accept some buckling and warping caused by physical changes in the wood. If, however, you use visible, semi-visible or fineline profiles, these effects, which will also occur, will be concealed. Thus, this last option would be ideal when we want a false accessible wood ceiling with the greatest sense of continuity and a flat surface as close as possible to that offered by continuous ceilings.

 

 

 

If you liked this post about accessible wood ceilings, you may also be interested in:

 

- Tongue and groove system for installing acoustic panels on walls

- Acoustic panels for theatres: the new Espacio Escénico Ciudad de Maracena

- The importance of acoustics in restaurants and bars

- European wood acoustic panels; Is wood from European forests better?

 

 

 

 

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