The “pressed tin” ceiling tiles of the nineteenth century are still made and used today by the W. F. Norman Company in Nevada, Missouri. The tiles are panels made of pressed sheet steel that can be painted or plated with other metals. The company also makes moldings, cornices, siding, and roofing of galvanized steel and copper.
The most common ceilings used in commercial applications are suspended ceilings. Various types of ceiling tiles are supported by a grid of painted steel channels hung with wires from the structure above. This metal grid supports a variety of types of ceiling tiles. Among the options for ceiling tiles are those made of metal. Metal ceiling tiles are used in areas that require soil resistance and the need to clean by washing and scrubbing. Another reason to use metal ceiling panels is the high sound absorption achieved when perforated metal is backed with an acoustical batting material. The panels may also be decorative, designed to mimic nineteenth-century pressed tin; they may have a three-dimensional coffered form, or they may be made of open mesh. Other metal panels made of steel and mounted in suspension systems include linear planks of powder-coated steel. Integrated ceiling tiles allow the designer to incorporate lighting, air vents, and other utilities into a suspended metal-tiled ceiling.
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Another form of metal ceiling is exposed steel structure: open web steel joists and corrugated metal decking. Metal ductwork may be exposed as well. Exposed structure and ductwork may be left in its existing metal state or painted. Exposed structure does not have the acoustical properties of a suspended acoustical tile ceiling. Therefore, the companies that make metal ceiling grids have developed options for the designer that use their suspension systems for clouds, islands, or canopies, including curved, rectangular, or square forms. The systems are suspended in the grid to form floating areas of acoustic absorption. Light fixtures and
The ores from which metals are made are the source of tools and weapons that defined the advancement of human civilization. As humans advanced, the mining and production of products made of metal became more sophisticated. The Industrial Revolution was partially a result of the ability to use metal to construct factories and to build a system for transporting goods. Metals are now a major component of building construction, and are used in the hybrid construction material called reinforced concrete. Metals are used to construct interior partitions and for the hidden and well as visible components of mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems.
Because of their smooth, reflective aesthetic appearance, and their comparative rarity, precious metals have also been a symbol of wealth and have been used since ancient times to make decorative objects and objects of personal adornment. Metals today add a level of perfection to interior products because of the precision of industrial production, but they are also appreciated for their natural characteristics, including the patina that occurs over time.