Interior Finish Construction DesignWorks

What is often overlooked in a construction project?

Commercial interior finish ceilings

By Scott Hamele, DBIA President and founder of Construction DesignWorks, LLC and Nationwide Commercial Inspections, LLC

A commercial interior finish can be considered a success if the ceiling is creatively designed by the architect and installed properly by the commercial renovation contractor. Typically, the floor plan, flooring and wall finishes always take precedence during the design, with little importance given to the ceiling. The ceiling, in fact, becomes the last thought of the space. However, the ceiling is the interior finish people tend to notice first when they enter an office, retail shop or restaurant.

In architectural terms, the ceiling layout and design is called the Reflected Ceiling Plan (RCP). An RCP is a drawing, which demonstrates the components that are located in the ceiling of a room or space. It is referred to as a reflected ceiling plan since it is drawn to display a view of the ceiling as if it was reflected onto a mirror on the floor. The type of ceiling, lights, sprinkler heads, HVAC supply and return air registers are just some of the items found on an RCP.

Choose your ceiling types wisely as they can vary greatly in cost. The type of ceiling or combination of ceilings will greatly enhance the aesthetics of the space, hide unwanted mechanical equipment, dampen sound and change the effects of lighting.

Four types of ceilings for your next commercial interior finish

CDW interior finish

Open Ceiling

Whether it is a new or renovated space, an open ceiling (aka Naked Ceiling or exposed ceiling) offers great visual elements that an acoustical ceiling cannot. Open ceilings are typically found in industrial or contemporary designs. Most mechanical components are exposed.

CDW interior finish ceiling

Acoustical Ceiling

Installing Acoustical Ceiling Tile (ACT) in your space offers several advantages to an open ceiling. Contrary to belief, an ACT in most cases is less expense than an open ceiling. It offers better acoustics in the space. The ceiling tile and grid will hide the ugliness of electrical conduit, gas piping and mechanical equipment.

Gypsum Board

This type of ceiling is often expensive because of the framing and time to finish the surface. At a minimum, installing it in all restrooms for sound reduction, portions of hallways and perimeters of conference rooms is suggested. Incorporating a hard deck (aka gypsum board, drywall, hard lid) into a space by way of a large portion of the ceiling will require clouds or soffits to help break up the look of an average and often boring ceiling.


Installing a cloud or series of clouds in a space is a hybrid of both the open ceiling and ACT. The cloud can be constructed out of ACT, gypsum board, wood slats, metal or just about anything you can dream up. It is a way to cover up part of the exposed ceiling that offers a fantastic architectural design element and helps create separations in the different uses of the space.
interior finish CDW
The combination of all four types of ceilings by your designer, architect, general contractor and/or commercial renovation contractor will be an added bonus to your interior finish tenant construction project.

About Construction DesignWorks, LLC

Construction DesignWorks uses its hands-on approach and design expertise to create and develop a winning design-build team that is specialized for each customer. Their complete turnkey solutions align with the unique business needs of various types of real estate. Construction DesignWorks, LLC. is located at 6657 Woodland Drive in Shawnee, Kansas. If you are looking for a commercial construction contractor or for more information about interior design-build, call (913) 745-4727or visit their website