Everything You Should Know About Bulkhead Ceiling Designs

Posted on 19th October 2021

image of grg ceiling bulkhead

We often work with architects and contractors to create and install manufactured bulkhead ceiling designs that they have planned into a variety of interior space types. However, not every customer coming to us will be aware of bulkhead ceilings, what they provide for a room in a property, or what can be achieved with their installation.

Below, we have provided expert information on this, as well as on the materials we will use to manufacture and install durable, practical, and elegant bulkhead ceiling designs as needed. Read on to learn more, or contact us right away if you are ready to discuss what you need for your own work project.


What is a Bulkhead Ceiling?

GRP Mould atrium bulkhead

A bulkhead ceiling is a section of ceiling in an interior space that has been dropped (suspended) and boxed-in or enclosed. It is possible to find them installed in both commercial and high-end residential properties, though they may also be fitted as part of a home renovation project in smaller domestic properties. 

Small-scale projects will normally see bulkheads fitted above kitchen cabinets, but may also be found in other areas, such as bathrooms and basements.


What is the Purpose of a Bulkhead Ceiling?

Typically, the purpose of a bulkhead ceiling will be to conceal important but unsightly elements that would otherwise mar or spoil the aesthetic that an architect or interior designer has had in mind for a space. These unattractive elements include:

  • Air circulation, conditioning units, and related features
  • Heating units
  • Lighting and electrical wiring
  • Pipes and plumbing 
  • Speaker systems
  • Smoke detectors and other fire safety equipment

In some cases, a bulkhead ceiling may also act as an acoustic ceiling, meaning that customers, employees, and visitors to your planned space will have a more pleasant auditory experience.


What are the Different Types of Bulkhead Ceiling?

Bulkhead ceilings can be moulded and adjusted to the shape of a framed room, resulting in a range of types available for installation in the interior of a property. These may be included for practical or purely decorative purposes. 

Customisations that are normally available for bulkhead ceilings include:

  • “U” and “L” shapes that define the transition between rooms or section off larger spaces
  • “Dropdown” types, which may either be box-shaped or dome-shaped and are most often utilised for the installation of aesthetically pleasing lighting
  • “Vault” or “Barrel” types, which are usually installed for the purpose of hiding electrical wiring
  • “Double Step” or “Light Trough” types, which are more unique in function in that they add height, and emphasise and accentuate areas of particular interest in open-plan spaces


Our Materials for Bulkhead Ceiling Construction

grg bulkheads

While bulkhead ceilings may be manufactured in a range of material types, from plasterboard and drywall to stainless steel, our own bulkhead installations will be made from high-quality glass-reinforced gypsum (GRG). This is a modern type of fibrous plaster made from a combination of gypsum casting plaster and glassfibre matting.

This lightweight but durable material is perfectly suited for the design and installation of bulkhead ceilings, as the lighter material allows for a faster, more efficient, and more cost-effective fit. The easy manipulation and moulding of the material during the manufacturing process also ensures that a range of shapes, designs, and other bespoke ideas can be integrated into the plans envisioned by an architect or an interior designer. The result of this is a ceiling that will enhance, define, and highlight the aesthetic appeal of particular features within an interior location, whether round features are required to complement the undulations of curved walls or even if a sloped ceiling design is needed to assist in the illusion of created space.

At Design and Visual Concepts, our team has also developed professional methods of merging GRG sections with other materials, including plasterboard ceiling systems. 

To learn more about what we can produce, please see our page on bespoke GRG ceiling panels, or get in touch to speak with a member of staff about your own project’s specifications today.


Achieving Ideas for Bulkheads, Light Troughs, and Suspended Ceilings

We are more than capable of achieving a wide variety of ceiling design ideas by casting the requested pieces in custom-made moulds that are specifically prepared and manufactured for the work project in mind. Carrying out this work ensures that any pieces made for you will be crafted to the specifications you have set for your plans, meaning they will be as accurate as possible once manufactured and installed.

Here, we have set out lists of the most common mouldings and features utilised by our customers for their architectural enterprises in terms of ceiling designs:

  • Applications, which include interior design ceiling features, signature sculptural pieces, modular feature ceiling tiles, ceiling panels, feature boxes, and troughs to accommodate lighting
  • Shapes: curved domes, spheres, coves that radii on plan, concave or convex forms that are curved in two directions (meaning their side and profile plan), conical elements, boxes, and flat panels
  • Surface finishes: smooth and coarse surfaces made through a combination of model making and acid etching. A variety of geometric repeating patterns may also be requested on a large or small scale as necessary


For More Information on Specialist Bulkhead Ceiling Construction

grp bulkhead

If you are interested in having a bulkhead ceiling fitted to achieve the architectural elements and aesthetically pleasing features that meet the expectations and visions of the architect or the interior designer, please contact our offices today. We will be fully prepared to discuss the specifications you have for your project, before helping you to place your order for an expertly manufactured piece that we will then be glad to install ourselves.

As a UK-based manufacturer of exceptional GRG pieces, you will always be guaranteed a fast, easy delivery, with no delays in shipping and no unnecessary paperwork that could slow down the process in the lead up to your deadline. Instead, you will find the quick, professional team you need to see your ideal ceiling design complete entirely on budget and on schedule.

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