Extending Ceiling Life

Aug. 1, 2007
Options include to clean, restore, or replace

Facilities professionals take note: Following are tips on determining whether to clean or restore unattractive ceilings in your building. 

Why should I clean my ceiling?
Cleaning gives a positive image to your business and makes a positive impression on customers and employees. It's also cost effective; brings tile to an almost-new condition; restores fire ratings, acoustic value, and light reflectivity; and doesn't interrupt business or make a mess.

How often should I clean my ceiling?
The frequency of cleaning depends on your business and what contaminants are present inside the building. Anywhere from once every 3 months to once every 3 years is adequate.

When should I think about restoring my ceiling instead of cleaning it?
Ceiling restoration is normally performed when cleaning doesn't provide the desired results (or when you want to tint your ceiling a different color). Typically, ceilings with a lot of water stains (or that have become discolored due to their age) are candidates for ceiling restoration.

What are the cost savings when comparing ceiling restoration and new tile replacement?
In most situations, ceiling restoration is approximately one-half the dollar cost of ceiling replacement.

Are there any other factors (in terms of savings) to consider when comparing ceiling restoration to new tile replacement?
There are four significant additional savings that are generally recognized:

  1. Installation time, particularly in occupied spaces, is one-third of that required for new tile replacement.
  2. Ceiling tile restoration reduces solid waste disposal.
  3. A restored tile has a surface finish that will hold its color longer and provide better light dispersion than any other alternative, increasing the life expectancy of the ceiling.
  4. There is a reduction in energy costs due to increased light reflectance.

Can ceilings be restored in occupied spaces that contain furnishings, equipment, or (in the case of retail stores) merchandise on racks?
This type of situation represents the greatest market for ceiling restoration. Under these conditions, work is typically done during off-peak hours. The limited available time often makes tile replacement impractical (but ideal) for restoration.

Is ceiling restoration appropriate when there is a need to change the ceiling color?
The standard white coating can be tinted to match a pastel color by any paint store. Any other color is usually available on a special-order basis.

What if the only problem is an occasional water stain? Does the whole ceiling have to be treated or can the stained area be touched up?
No, the whole ceiling does not have to be treated. There are acoustical tile restorers available in aerosol which, when tinted to the same color as a new tile, provide a quick, one-step solution to water stains.

Information provided in this column was excerpted from the website of Trafford, PA-based Preserve A Ceiling (www.preserveaceiling.com).

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