Many homes, especially those built during the ’70s, have a drop ceiling, which is created by a lattice of metal cross pieces that supports acoustical tile. However, today’s homeowners often do not like the drop ceiling look and feel it dates the home.
One option is to renovate the ceiling and re-paint it for a more modern look. However, removing the drop ceiling altogether will add height to the room, making your kitchen feel more spacious and airy. Before you begin a project to remove a drop ceiling, you should investigate to determine why there is a drop ceiling in the first place. That will give you an idea of the kind of work you will need to do once the panels are gone.
Reasons for Drop Ceiling: Homeowners install a drop ceiling for many different reasons. Sometimes it covers up for worn, aging, or discolored plaster on the ceiling. Sometimes it conceals the ductwork, pipes, and electrical wires running below the floor joists. Some drop ceilings are designed to lower a high ceiling to conserve energy costs. Drop ceilings were particularly popular in the ’70s, so many homes simply have them because they were fashionable.
Fixing the Ceiling: Many drop ceilings were installed over plaster that was damaged or failing. Taking out the drop ceiling will damage the plaster further. So, once the drop ceiling is gone, you will need to restore the plaster. You should expect to remove the plaster and lath down to the studs. Then you can update electrical wires and plumbing and install new drywall. If you have plumbing or ducts that are below the level of the joists, you will need to re-route them so they are above the joists; then you can install drywall that is level with the joists.
Leaving it Open: If the drop ceiling was constructed to hide ducts and wiring, those will be exposed once you remove the panels. One option is to create an industrial look by leaving the ducts and pipes exposed and perhaps painting them in the same color as the ceiling. Lighting fixtures should be large and in keeping with the industrial look.
Decorating the Ceiling: If your home is an older building, the original ceiling might have been stamped tin or covered with decorate plaster molding. You can re-create the effect of tin on the ceiling with decals or stencils in a regular pattern. You can reinstall decorative molding with a medallion around the ceiling fixture, although you may want to use simple wood molding rather than plaster.
Have you removed a drop ceiling? How did it work?