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Cost to Lower Ceiling

If you're considering lowering a ceiling, perhaps to allow for a loft conversion or soundproofing purposes, the first thing you will need to do is measure the room. The average cost to lower ceilings ranges from around £20 to £30 per square metre in the UK, so the dimensions will be the main cost driver in your project budget.

Our next advice would be to look for three or more quotes to ensure you get a good idea about the going rate. Quotes will depend on the contractor's location, the materials you require, and the complexity of the task - among several other factors!

Let's explore some of the primary considerations when working out the cost to lower ceiling panels.

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What Affects the Average Cost to Lower Ceilings?

As we've mentioned, the size of the room is going to be the most significant factor. It's wise to get out your measuring tape to ensure you're providing accurate dimensions when requesting quotations.

There are so many ways to lower a ceiling, and so the subsequent determinants will be around the extent of structural work required.

A mezzanine ceiling or suspended ceiling is a much simpler construction since it won't require the support beams to be lowered. If that is necessary, you're looking at removing brickwork internally to re-bed the beams, as well as potentially repositioning windows, which is a significant renovation project!

Many people reduce the cost by opting for one of the more straightforward options, creating a suspended ceiling that hides piping, panels, cables and beams to give a more contemporary finish.

If you are looking to allow for greater headroom in your attic to facilitate a loft conversion, again, it all depends on the property and how substantial the construction work will be - you'd be looking anywhere from £8,000 plus per room.

Insulation also factors in since some ceilings will require insulation. Upper floor rooms beneath the attic will need to be protected from heat escaping through the roof, and the cost of insulation panels is around £25 per square metre and £30 per square metre for spray foam if the loft isn't already well insulated.

We'll demonstrate a breakdown of a typical quote shortly, but you need to figure in the number of days of labour, too, since this will account for around half of the cost.

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What Other Factors Impact The Cost of Lowering a Ceiling?

The other things to include in your budget are:

  • Plastering - you'll need to ensure your new ceiling has a smooth finish ready for painting and will usually need plastering in both the room upstairs and downstairs, depending on what you're going to use those spaces for.
  • Redecorating - paint, filler, trims and sealant, as well as labour costs if you're hiring a decorator to carry out the work.
  • Electrical wiring - lighting fixtures, switches, plugs and cabling will be required to ensure your new space is safe to use. If you're installing a suspended ceiling, that work might be limited to lighting. You can request an Electrician Call Out price estimate through our quotation service.

Other costs will depend very much on why you are lowering the ceiling. If you're repurposing an attic space, you might need to look at costs to Install a Hive System to ensure your extended living space is adequately heated, or perhaps renovation and decorative works, where you might want to understand the cost of kitchen rewiring, kitchen wrapping costs and the cost to move a radiator.

Breaking Down a Cost Quotation to Lower a Ceiling

Your main expenses in lowering a ceiling will be labour and materials, making up the bulk of a quotation.

It's always worth asking for a breakdown if your quote is inclusive, ensuring that everything is covered, and checking the prices for each material or component.

In some cases, you can opt to carry out minor works yourself to keep to your budget, such as repainting or replacing trims - although it's always wise to use a professional if you don't have the skill or experience to feel confident in the quality of work.

Here's how a typical quote might look:

  • Labour charges per person per day, depending on how long the work is expected to take. This accounts for around 54% of the cost, and the average price in the UK is £130 a day.
  • Materials - that might include ceiling panels, trims, plaster, electrical components, piping, insulation, vents and anything else required for your project. Materials and parts usually make up the next 44% of the value.
  • Additional costs account for the final 2% of the charges and include waste disposal, call-out fees, site consultations and buildings regulation inspections where required.

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cost to lower ceiling

What are the Pros and Cons of Lowering a Ceiling?

When considering the cost to lower ceiling panels, it's worth weighing up what you want to achieve from the work, as well as any potential downsides.

Pros include:

  • Disguising unsightly pipes and ductwork under dropped ceilings. Be sure to take a look at house repiping costs and outside tap fitting costs if you are looking at redoing pipework.
  • Improved soundproofing and noise insulation.
  • Contemporary finishes and aesthetic appeal.
  • Increases headspace in the room above.
  • Improves the warmth and comfort in very high rooms to avoid draughts.

Cons include:

  • The need to cover costs to remove a suspended ceiling if you decide to change your property use in the future.
  • Lower headroom in the room below, which can make small spaces feel more cramped.
  • The potential loss of natural light if you need to remove windows or replace them with smaller installations.

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FAQs - What is the Cost to Lower Ceilings?

Let's answer some of the most common questions about lowering a ceiling in your property!

How Long Does it Take to Lower a Ceiling?

It depends - installing a suspended ceiling can take just two or three days, whereas a full structural project to reduce the physical ceiling height will usually take two weeks.

Can I Lower a Ceiling in My Property Myself?

Possibly, if you have the skills and experience, although this isn't a minor DIY job, so you will almost certainly need some assistance. If your project involves structural work or repositioning beams, it is vital you use a professional to ensure the work meets Building Regulations.

Do I Need Planning Permission to Lower a Ceiling?

Not usually for a drop ceiling installation, although if you are converting a loft space to develop more bedrooms or with dormer windows, you may need permission.

Does My Suspended Ceiling Need Insulation?

Potentially, if the room above isn't well insulated or there is a risk of heat loss through the ceiling panels.

What is a Drop Ceiling Made Of?

There are a few different options - depending on the aesthetic you wish to go for, the period of your home, and the room's purpose.

The most common materials are to use gypsum boards, but you might opt for acoustic panels, fibreglass, starch boards or recycled paperboards.

See more information on planning permissions for ceiling and flooring projects from Planning Portal, along with guidance from the government on nationally described space standards.

References:

  • https://www.greatyarmouthceilings.co.uk/ceilings/how-much-does-a-suspended-ceiling-cost/
  • https://www.plameco.co.uk/productinformation/lowering-the-ceiling
  • https://www.absolutelofts.com/lowering-ceilings-to-acheive-a-loft-conversion/
  • https://www.mybuilder.com/pricing-guides/insulation-costs/roof-insulation-costs#:~:text=The%20average%20cost%20of%20insulation,%C2%A3400%20to%20%C2%A3500.
  • https://www.therenopros.ca/what-are-the-pros-and-cons-of-a-dropped-ceiling/
  • https://www.ceilingtilesuk.co.uk/what-are-suspended-ceiling-tiles-made-from/#:~:text=Ceiling%20tiles%20are%20made%20from,and%20performance%20of%20the%20tile.