What are Stretch Ceilings?

Sep 29, 2023 | Benefits, Designs, Events, News

Easy Ceiling is proud to be the only stretch ceiling company who is a member of SPATA, the Swimming Pool and Allied Trades Association.

SPATA recently invited us to help them conduct a webinar to explain what stretch ceilings are to their members.

You can watch the webinar below. We have also added a transcript of the video after.



Chris Hayes, MD, SPATA MD:

“Welcome to this SPATA webinar. The topic today is on stretch ceiling membranes and I’m delighted that we’re joined by Easy Ceiling. Their SPATA members and we’ve got both Elena and Nick who are going to introduce themselves very shortly and we’re also going to mention about a factsheet that we’ve got for members that have been updated with the support of Elena and Nick. So over to you guys.”

Elena Likhodaeva, Director, Easy Ceiling:

“Hello everyone. I’m Elena. I’m the Managing Director of Easy Ceiling Technologies. I’m with you on our office in our factory site of Hailsham, East Sussex.

Nick Vowles, Sales & Marketing, Easy Ceiling:

“Hello everyone. I’m Nick Vowles and I’m responsible for Sales and Marketing at Easy Ceiling, coming to you from my Brighton office.

Webinar outline

So I’m going start off. Here’s an outline of what we are going to cover today. Firstly we’re going to explain what stretch ceilings are, for those of you who might not be aware. Then we’ll have a little look at the benefits of stretch ceilings including how they compare with other ceiling options. Delve into the energy efficiency of stretch ceilings because that’s what we think is a key usp and very relevant to today’s times. Have a quick look at some design options and then I’m going to handover to Elena who will go through a case study, Bangle Farm in Somerset.

What are stretch ceilings?

So first off. What are stretch ceilings? So essentially they are an elastic PVC canvas that’s stretched below an original ceiling and it is fitted to a room by an aluminium track so you can see in the first picture there a the top there is an aluminium track so that is how it is fitted below an original ceiling.

Two things of note they are incredibly light, weighing only 220 to 250 grams per square metre, and they are very very thin, 160 to 220 micrometres.

One thing to note is when you have a larger room, let’s say over 50 square metres, what we do, because a stretch ceiling is created in panels, what we do is, we use a double track fitting system. That’s the orange block you can see in the picture there. So that acts as an anchor like the aluminium track you saw in the previous picture and so it allows to create a stretch ceiling over a larger room.

Here is an example of how it works, you can see the panels being printed in the factory there on the left, and that’s how they look, the finished product in a swimming pool. As you can see they are printed in panels, the way they are installed, the naked eye would not see where the ceiling joins.

So let’s move on to looking at how they are actually installed and how they are stretched as it were. So this is our team on one of our sites in the past. So we use a gas cylinder to heat up the room, typically to 40 to 50 degrees celsius. That allows the canvas to be stretched, to be more malleable, so it can be fitted into place to the aluminium track, and then the room cools back down, and the canvas strengthens and tightens, because it is returning back to it’s pre-existing state before it was heated. Because it’s going back to that state and it’s now stretched it becomes incredibly strong.

So let’s have a little look at some of the benefits.

As you can see from the previous pictures, it’s really quick and easy to install stretch ceilings. They can be done rapidly. With a small room we like to say it can be done in as little as four hours. Because they use PVC elastic, they are water-resistant, and again because they are PVC elastic, they are very easy to clean, far easier than traditional plasterboard ceilings for example.

Because the material is incredibly strong and easy to maintain, they are long-lasting, more on that in a minute, they don’t corrode. Because they are made from PVC elastic they do not suffer from damp. The material itself is actually 100% recyclable and as you’ve seen they are very easy to install so they are also, if you want to change the design or colour, very easy to replace, so you just detach them from the aluminium track and put the new one up. It can be done in a day.

One thing that is often overlooked and also very important, I think, increasingly we find stretch ceilings are used for luxury pools where the ceiling itself, like the case study we’re going to show you later, the ceiling is multiple levels, it uses very state of the art lighting systems, so it’s shame if the ceiling, and this happens not with stretch ceilings but with other types of ceilings, do have bad acoustics. But stretch ceilings, because they are an elastic canvas, they absorb sound better than other ceiling types, so that means you get enhanced acoustics in your swimming pool through stretch ceilings.

There are virtually unlimited design options, again we’re going to a have a look at that in a minute or two. They are non-toxic and as I have said before one of the key usps of stretch ceilings, particularly in today’s times when everyone is looking to behave as sustainably as possible, they are energy efficient.

So let’s look into that in a bit more detail. What stretch ceilings do is they create a sealed air gap between the new ceiling and the original ceiling. And that itself acts as insulation. But because it creates a gap, you can also add additional insulation in that gap, to double the insulation properties of the room. In addition to that key benefit, because they are very light, very thin and very easy to produce and install, they are very low cost in terms of the whole process of manufacturing and supplying them. And there is minimal waste involved, so you can see how they are a more sustainable option than other types. Factor in they are 100% recyclable and lastly they last up to 30 years and we know this for sure because in addition to installing new ceilings we often find ourselves replacing ceilings and some of the ones we replace are older than 30 years and that’s using older materials and canvasses so who knows how long today’s stretch ceilings can last.

Comparison with other ceiling options

This is just a comparison we have done with other ceiling options. You can actually find this table on our website, easyceiling.co.uk, I think it is on the pricing page, and this is quite a useful table to share with clients when they are weighing up what ceiling choice to go for. So, working from left to right, you can see that they are quicker to install, and for commercial businesses that’s a very powerful point, take for example a commercial swimming pool, every day you are closed for a ceiling replacement you are losing money. So it is really in your interests to get the job done as quick as possible. They are very light, in terms of weight. As I have already said there are hardly any extra costs involved in the manufacture and install of stretch ceilings. They last a lot longer. They are really easy to maintain and keep clean. So there is minimal maintenance require. And unlike other ceiling options they are 100% recyclable.

Design options

Let’s now move on to looking at some of the design options. With our printed ceiling, so the first ceiling on the left, that’s a printed ceiling. So really you can print whatever you like on it. A lot of clients like the blue sky and cloudy print but it’s up to you. Some clients might want their company logo for example. There is a whole range of options available to you. But that’s a printed ceiling on the left. In the middle there you’ve kind of got the night version of the daytime version if you like. There you’ve got blue sky and fluffy clouds. In the evening you’ve got a twinkling starry night sky effect using RGB lighting you can either manually control the colour of the lights or have them automatically change every 10 minutes or so. It’s up to you. And on the right hand side, although you’ve got modern perimeter lighting being used there, this is the case study that Elena’s going to tell you about in a bit more detail, but what I wanted to point out here was you can also go for a more traditional white matt ceiling if that’s your preference. This one actually has both a white matt ceiling and a supermirror element to it, which we know from some of our clients in the past, they really like it. With supermirror you can virtually see yourself, one client said that when he is doing backstroke, he likes to look at himself in the ceiling so he can see when he needs to do his turn.

I am now going to pass over to Elena who’s going to go into that case study in a bit more detail.”

Case study: Bangle Farm

Elena Likhodaeva, Director, Easy Ceiling

“Thank you Nick. I would like to tell you about our Bangle Farm swimming pool project which is one of the typical designs for Easy Ceiling with a coffered ceiling over the swimming pool and bulkhead ceiling over the swimming pool walkway. This was a middle sized project, just over 100 square metres made in a combination of a classical white stretch ceiling membranes. We created a fabulous design with 32 downlights and colour changeable LED perimeter lighting.

On the next slide you will see the full structure which is required for such a type of stretch ceiling. Ceiling track sample A is attached to support timber frame along the perimeter of the bulkhead ceiling section. The bulkhead ceiling joins with the coffered ceiling via double track sample D. Bulkhead ceiling joins into the double track for the LED perimeter allowing the fit of 12 mm LED tape.

The stretch ceiling installation itself is carried out with special tools. The stretch ceiling is hung in several points and the room is heated up to 40 degree celsius to get the canvas to its maximum elasticity. Then the stretch ceiling is installed into the track in the corners and side to side at 300mm intervals. The temperature returns to normal and the ceiling strengthens into a stable position. All joints are covered by a plastic finish trim as required for wet premises such as swimming pools.

There are 32 down lights and perimeter strip lighting fitted into the ceiling and I am going to give you more technical details about how to integrate all downlights and the other fittings into the canvas because this is a very common question from our customers. The support platforms are attached to the original ceiling before the stretch ceiling installation. Once the ceiling canvas is installed, protective rings are glued to the canvas and the canvas is cut-out at the required diameter for the light fixture. When the stretch ceiling is ready for the downlight installation they are fitted into the support platform. With Bangle Farm we also set-up LED RGB strip lighting along the perimeter of the coffered ceiling, which was synchronised with the downlights and both made programmable by a smart home controller.

In the final picture that you will see in a second it is clear to see the bulkhead ceiling structure with a combination of stretch ceiling membranes and the beautiful lighting design we created for the customer with synchronised LED downlights and perimeter lighting. This project has been nominated for an EDF Energy Energy Efficiency Award.

Now I am going to refer you back to Chris, thank you for your attention.”

Chris Hayes, MD, SPATA MD:

“Elena thanks for going through that and Nick, thanks for setting the scene with all the information. Hopefully members watching this webinar will have not got a lot more background information if they haven’t used this type of product before and you will know who to contact. So on this slide you can see Elena’s details for the factory in Hailsham and we have also included SPATA’s details in case you want any more specific information.

We refer to a factsheet. This factsheet has been on the website for quite a while but we have recently updated it. I am very grateful yo Elena and Nick for all their feedback to make sure it is up to date. You will find that factsheet along with 100 others in the members hub on the SPATA website. Remember you will need your username and password to access them. Look forward to you reading this information and hopefully you will be wanting to use these types of ceiling membranes in your pool projects.

Once again, from the three of us, thanks very much indeed for watching and I hope you find stretch ceiling membranes of use in your projects.”

We hope you found this webinar interesting. If would like to find out even more about stretch ceilings please get in touch.

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