The bathroom ceiling — which should be at least at a height of 80 inches according to specifications from the National Kitchen and Bath Association — is still always prone to frequent water splashes. Therefore, you must choose a bathroom ceiling material that is resistant to damage from moisture. Although a number of materials can be used for the ceiling during your next bathroom renovation, there are some best types for this category of home improvement projects. And today, we will try to guide you through the same. So here we go!
Best Bathroom Ceiling Material Options
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Drywall and Greenboard
You can go for regular drywall in ceilings above the non-shower or tub areas of your bathroom. However, for the space where the shower is located, it is recommended to pick moisture-resistant drywall or green board. Greenboard, as the name suggests, comes with a face paper — usually green in color — which offers extra protection from water damage. Although you may spend a few additional dollars for this type of bathroom ceiling material than you pay for the conventional drywall, its installation and finishing costs are almost similar.
Photo by: H. Michael Miley on Flickr
Cementboard is the perfect bathroom ceiling material for the wet segments which you wish to cover with tiles. Tiles provide great water-resisting properties, but they are not waterproof. Water vapor can seep via tile cracks and caulk breaches — causing moisture to reach the backing substrate. When you install cement board as a backer material, it won’t get damaged by moisture. As an additional step, you can cover the framing behind the board with a moisture barrier, such as plastic sheeting.
Glass is quite a sophisticated option for bathroom ceilings when you wish to lend an aqua touch to your showering space. Moreover, it is ideal for low-height bathrooms and spaces with no or fewer windows. Just decorate it with some nature-inspired prints and you are all set!
Another popular option among homeowners while choosing a bathroom ceiling material is tiling. Tiles come at an affordable cost, appear aesthetic, and are easy to install. You can also choose from a wide variety of tiles such as ceramic, porcelain, granite, or marble.
However, if you use tiles, remember to install a strong, water-resistant base behind the tiled surface. Some options include polyethylene membranes such as KERDI — that prevent moisture from entering your ceiling through the cracks between tiles and stones. Another alternative is to trowel thin-set mortar or plaster over the tiles when setting them. You can also go for a green board as a base beneath your tiles. A tile backer is really important to ensure that your lower ceiling is not subjected to sagging, mold growth, and other water-related damages.
Acrylic — a fiber material made from resin — is another preferred bathroom ceiling material among homeowners. Available in a wide range of shades and designs, it is also found in different sizes and thicknesses. You can choose acrylic sheets in transparent, patterned, or solid colors according to your bathroom design and support them with L-shaped aluminum strips. Hanging LED lights or panel lights from your transparent ceiling really gives a striking look to the entire area.
Since acrylic sheets are light, you can remove them during maintenance work for fixing lights or a geyser.
Aluminum Composite Panels (ACP)
ACP comprises a thermoplastic polyethylene core. Two aluminum sheets hold this polyethylene core in between – thereby, forming a very lightweight, flat, smooth, rigid, and strong sheet. You can find ACP sheets in plain, metallic, and marble textures. It is also available in a gamut of size variants. ACP is a very good choice if your bathroom is prone to dampness.
Gypsum — a readymade sheet made up of POP (Plaster Of Paris) — also comes in many sizes. This inexpensive bathroom ceiling material is perfect for bathrooms in homes located in hotter regions.
Painting Your Bathroom Ceiling
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Once you choose your bathroom ceiling material, you might need to consider another aspect. One of the biggest issues in bathrooms is the damage to their ceilings, caused by rising water vapor that condenses as water droplets on the surface. Therefore, if your ceiling is made of drywall, one of the major steps to take is to cover it with a layer of paint. In a bathroom, we would recommend to always go for semi-gloss or satin paint. Semi-gloss paint is a shiny variant that ensures maximum moisture resistance. However, since it offers a bit of a glare, some imperfections on the ceiling may be visible. If this is the case, you can go for the satin variety.
Consider the Moldings for Moisture
Solid wood molding works fine for the non-shower and tub areas in your bathroom. However, you can think about alternative materials that offer maximum moisture resistance to the entire area. Plastic or PVC moldings — which appear similar to ordinary wood molding — can be cut, installed and painted using the same techniques like that for wooden variants.
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Note: It is highly recommended never to use medium-density fiberboard (MDF) molding or similar composite materials in bathrooms. After painting, they look good. But, if they are somehow exposed due to a tiny crack or damage, they will absorb moisture pretty fast — causing swelling and deterioration.
Whichever bathroom ceiling material you use, always remember to keep your space well ventilated. Good ventilation is the key to ensure that your ceiling lasts long. If your bathroom layout doesn’t have adequate ventilation options, install a good-quality vent fan — according to the size of the room. This will ensure controlled humidity levels and protect your ceiling in the long run.