The pros and cons of PVC ceilings

Johannes van Graan Johannes van Graan
自地自建案 南台灣透天建築, 艾莉森 空間設計 艾莉森 空間設計 Kitchen units Wood Wood effect
Loading admin actions …

Let’s talk about one of the most popular and most controversial types of ceilings on the market today: polyvinyl chloride ceilings, or PVC ceilings. Mostly a manufactured plastic, PVC is present in various elements, from toys and tools to some construction materials (as professional contractors will undoubtedly tell you). And now, thanks to PVC ceiling installation, it is now more present in our homes than ever before.

Even though a PVC ceiling presents many different advantages that set it apart from other ceiling materials, it doesn’t come without its fair share of drawbacks. Thus, if you were wondering about bringing this type of ceiling or roof into your home, yet haven’t read up on it (as you should), leave it up to us to inform you…   

1. Where does PVC come from?

Developed in Europe in the 1970s, PVC cladding was first used for decorative interior wall finishes, thanks to it sporting unique properties compared to other options at the time. Today, for easy installation, PVC panels usually have a hollow core and are quite lightweight with a smooth surface. 

2. The pros of PVC ceilings

Fewer additives: Compared to other plastic types and ceiling materials, heavily plasticised PVC, which is used in most cases, contains very few additives and additional ingredients that might make it dangerous. This is a far cry from the days when asbestos was present in just about all ceiling boards.  

Budget-friendly: The manufacturing and installing of PVC ceiling boards is not costly. As they are mass produced, they are available through various channels and from lots of different distributors. And seeing as they are available in a multitude of colours, you should have no trouble finding the ideal PVC ceiling to complement your interiors, regardless of style or design. 

Durability: PVC ceilings are quite durable and sturdy. And while they are not the most attractive option on the market, they are ideal for when you require a long-lasting material with very little maintenance. 

Humidity resistant: In addition, PVC ceilings are also known for being anti-fungal, resistant to corrosion, not requiring painting, easy to clean, termite proof, and waterproof.

3. The cons of PVC ceilings

  1. Release of chlorine: The biggest drawback of PVC ceilings is the fact that this material makes use of chlorine, which is a dangerous gas in its natural state. Obviously PVC pipes and ceiling materials don’t contain vast amounts of free chlorine, but it’s not impossible for the chlorine to break down so that minute traces of it can be released into the air. 
  2. Not very visually attractive: As already said, PVC is not the most visually pleasing option. 

4. How to install a PVC ceiling

Want to flex your DIY muscles and install your PVC ceiling boards yourself? It’s definitely possible, as long as you adhere to the provided steps. 

Before the installation:

• Check that the same shade and batch is used in one area

• Check it for any possible irregularities or damages

• Remember that PVC ceilings and cornices can’t be exposed to direct sunshine, as the product has no UV stabilisers. 

To install:

  • Remember that the maximum brandering space is 500mm (ceiling brandering refers to small timber members being used to support a fixed ceiling; the brandering is normally attached to the truss bottom chord’s underside). 
  • Line the brandering up, level or horizontal.
  • PVC ceiling panels can be screwed onto wood or steel brandering.
  • When screwing your PVC ceiling panel onto the brandering, ensure you use the correct type of screw (TS16 or SSDS16 PVCSA-approved screw). The panels need to lay in the same direction as the main trusses.
  • Ensure proper spacing between the walls when installing the ceilings. This is to help with expansion and contraction during cold and warm conditions. 
  • Check that the screw head is fastened properly. It must also sit flush with the ceiling panel’s groove. 
  • Clip the second panel with the tongue into the first panel’s groove. 
  • With the palm of your hand, knock each panel gently on the side to secure close fitment. Do this with every panel before carrying on with the next.
  • To fit the last panel, cut it lengthwise using a carpet knife.
  • Using the PVC cornice, finalise the installation.
  • After the fitment is complete, dust the PVC ceiling with a cloth to remove all dust and debris.  

5. The right professionals for PVC ceilings

Not sure you’re ready to try and install your PVC ceiling yourself? Then rely on the professionals experienced enough to handle this sort of task: Kgodisho Solutions and Projects.

Kgodisho Solutions and Projects, a construction company from Pretoria, has been known to Gauteng clients for a number of years now. Accredited with the NHBRC, this firm has a range of services that makes them one of the most popular experts in the Johannesburg, Pretoria and Midrand area, including:

• Home renovations

• Extensions

• Building and painting

• Kitchen designs

• Bathroom designs

• Built-in cupboards

• Paving and decking

• Plastering and tiling

• Roof designs and repairs, and numerous others. 

Be sure to keep them in mind the next time you need to upgrade and beautify one of the most important (and expensive) assets in your life: your house.

Bonus PVC facts: Very flexible

Ever wondered how you’re going to tile a curvy ceiling? Believe it or not, many tiles do have some flexibility to them, including both polystyrene and PVC ceiling boards that can easily be applied to round, barrel-type ceilings and surfaces. Sure, they can be rounded ever so slightly to fit in with the ceiling’s shape, but remember that trying to bend them further could risk breaking them. 

When scoping out ceiling tiles for your next design project, make sure to ask the supplier about the type of tiles / ceiling you have in mind. 

Bonus PVC facts: An easier option

Numerous different kinds of materials have been tested for ceilings over the years. Mineral fibre, although quite popular in its heyday, has seen a decline in reputation as it has been known to sag and stain very quickly. But this actually aided in the popularity of polystyrene and PVC ceiling installations, for they are both endlessly easier to work with than mineral fibre (although polystyrene is the more delicate of the two options).

Proceeding with your dream home construction, let’s take stock of The pros and cons of a flat-roof house

Need help with your home project?
Get in touch!

Highlights from our magazine