It is hard to imagine a ceiling without any lighting, right? There are many reasons why architects and interior designers are using ceiling surfaces to install additional lighting.
During the course of my career as a contractor in NYC, I have seen and worked on some apartments, where there was NO overhead lighting in some rooms. Let me assure you, those are the gloomiest and most uninviting interiors you can imagine. Residents had to compensate with standing lamps etc., but nothing can really substitute the quality of overhead lighting, it is essential for comfortable and functional interiors.
For this reason, ceiling product and lighting manufacturers design their products for specific applications in mind and take into account each other’s product specifications. For example: a 2’x2’ suspended ceiling grid ceiling will require a 2’x2 light fixture, which would fit into that ceiling grid, just like a piece of the ceiling tile would fit there.
It is usually the construction budget that determines the level of design quality and material selections. Low budget = minimum quality. Popcorn ceilings were used as a low budget ceiling finish with some acoustic properties. Prior to the 1980’s manufacturers were also using cheap asbestos fibers as a filler and aggregate in the popcorn ceiling paint. The low budget popcorn ceiling construction would correlate with poor lighting.
A few decades later, popcorn ceilings have gone out of style. At the same time, what used to be a cheap property has started becoming valuable. This aging real estate requires renovation and upgrade. As a result, apartment owners and homeowners around the United States are finding themselves researching options for getting rid of old popcorn ceiling, as well as having to update the lighting. (These two issues often come in a package).
When we started installing stretch fabric system to cover popcorn ceiling, we also faced having to upgrade overhead lighting, as per our customer’s requirements. It appeared that the most effective way to deal with these ceiling issues was to develop a complete system: stretch ceiling with integrated lighting.
We are now sourcing lighting products and have developed our own accessories, which solve problems for customers and integrate well with stretch ceiling systems. Homeowners have a wide array of modern LED lighting to choose from as well as freedom to use their lighting of choice in any location. This is especially useful for the apartment owners with concrete ceilings painted with textured paint and NO existing overhead lighting.
A few words should be said about the difference in Stretch Fabric vs. PVC ceilings in regards to the lighting installations:
When Stretch Fabric Ceiling is cut or punctured (by accident or deliberately such as during cutting a round opening for a recess light), the fabric will remain tight and the cut will not continue to rip or tear. Installers can cut openings for lights, vents or other accessories anywhere in the ceiling and the material will not rip or tear.
When PVC Stretch Ceiling is cut or punctured, it continues to rip beyond the intended opening. To compensate for this shortcoming of the PVC stretch material, installers have to first attach a plastic guard (trim), directly to the stretch ceiling membrane. This plastic trim has to follow the perimeter of the intended opening without any interruptions. When the trim is securely attached, the installer can cut the opening inside of the trim and the PVC stretch ceiling membrane will not continue to rip beyond the protected area.
What kind of lighting is possible with stretch ceilings?
Recess lights (aka pot lights)
Pendant lights (chandeliers, etc.)
Perimeter (crown molding) lighting.
Multi-level ceiling with soffit lighting.
Starry sky ceiling.
Luminescent (backlit) ceiling… This is a huge subject of its own, I promise to dedicate a whole article to backlit ceilings in the future.
Are you thinking about upgrading your ceiling and lighting? Need some support?
Click here to contact to further discuss us or request a sample.