POP False ceilings
In modern houses, aesthetic and appealing look cannot be achieved in plain and simple ceilings. To give a customised look to ceilings, a technique is used which in local market is referred to as false ceilings. It is made using POP (Plaster of Paris) plates that are also called POP tiles. These tiles are mostly made in a standard size of 2 ft. x 2 ft. in small open air factories that can be easily found in surrounding of major societies of all cities. This technique is not only used to give customised look to the ceilings, victorian style ceiling or wall borders, ceiling medallions of any desired designs can be made using special mouldings and POP mixture.
POP tiles are made from powder that is obtained by crushing gypsum stone. Gypsum powder is mixed with water content ratio of .5 i-e 50% water and mixed until it turns into a form of paste. The paste is then poured into specially made mouldings of desired design along with a mesh of polythene threads that is used to hold the mixture together. Mixture is trowelled until it gets a smooth surface. Paste hardens within 15 to 20 minutes and is removed from moulding and placed in sunshine for drying. Drying period depends upon the season, in winters it usually takes 3 days to dry whereas in summers it dries in a day. A day or two old tiles are best to use because it start loosing its strength, as it gets old. In another method, these tiles are also made using coconut husk fiber instead of polythene threads to hold the mixture together, however such tiles are expensive due to the higher cost of coconut husk fiber and can only be made on pre-orders.
During house construction finishing works, contracts for false ceilings are usually turnkey, i-e labor & material both are to be provided by concerned contractor. This is more convenient and recommended method as POP material purchase can turn out to be a tough job. In either case, one need to have a slight idea about the quality of material being used as briefly described below.
Quality check at site
- Tiles are freshly dried and not more than maximum 10 days old. As mentioned earlier that the POP tiles loose their strength with time if not utilised.
- Check the hardness of tiles with nails, it should be hard enough to only get a scratch on its surface. Soft tiles indicate low-grade material and there is a possibility that less gypsum powder and more water content ratio is used during mixing. This is a typical method used by some manufactures to get more tiles using less gypsum powder.
- Depth of tile should be at least 16 mm, or in local language 5 sootar. And the depth should be uniform throughout the tile, i-e from all corners and the centre.
- Hardware used for fixing POP tiles should be of best quality. Wires used to suspend POP tiles from ceilings should be of pure copper in gauge 21. Steel wires are used by some contractors to save costs if they are working on turnkey contracts. Steel wires get rusty with time and become too weak to bear the load of POP tiles.
- Copper hooks should be used to suspend steel wires from ceilings instead of steel screws.
- Hessian and coconut husk fiber should be used with POP mixture on rough side to cover the joints of POP tiles.