Everything seemed to be going according to plan when Edward Karugaba, was constructing his three bedroom upcountry home in 2011. He had planned to have the project complete on a budget of approximately Shs50m.
However, during one of his impromptu visits to the site in Rukungiri, he realised that the house ceiling would be lower than expected. His builders had reached ring beam level and were almost roofing.
“The house was in a slanting area and the foundation had to be raised. After consulting the site engineer, we agreed that after casting the ring beam, four additional layers of bricks be added to provide space for a high ceiling before roofing. This came with a cost implication especially on materials and labour that I had not planned for,” Karugaba says.
Sam Kyeyune, a builder says during house construction, ceilings are some of the most challenging to construct especially when you are working on a tight budget.
Joseph Oryang, a construction engineer with Century Investors Limited explains that the height of a ceiling depends on a number of factors. One being what you intend to use a given room for and it’s size. You may also have to consider the number of people you might have in the room as well as house amenities.
With a high ceiling, you can have all the ceiling fans you want. Suspended lights can also be used in this case for decoration. And there is also
more air volume in the room. This is good for rooms that are usually occupied by many people because naturally, they will generate heat.
Joseph Kato, an interior designer at Kawa Interiors in Nakasero says, a high ceiling will accentuate the beauty between sofas and curtains because of the space between the ceiling and the wall.
However, high ceilings have a few disadvantages.
When the ceiling is high, it is difficult to replace bulbs especially if the bulb holder base is within the ceiling body.
When you are building apartments or residential flat, a high ceiling will lead to significant increase in the house construction budget. This is because you will have to add an extra meter, half a meter or a prescribed layer by the engineer on every floor to create space for a high ceiling.
“If you are building a 10-storeyed apartment or one with less floors, those will be 10 more meters and this means more money spent on materials. You will also have to increase on the number of columns, bricks and iron bars to make the columns stronger. ” Oryang says.
While it will be easier for you to access and replace blown bulbs with a low ceiling, it will instead kill the beauty of curtains however beautiful they may be because of limited space between the curtain box or rails and the ceiling.
“If you want to have a ceiling fan in the room and your ceiling is very low, when you jump or are a tall person, you might touch it. This can be recipe for disaster especially when the fan is on,” Oryang says.
Also, during dry seasons when temperatures are high, the house will be extremely hot.
If you have a low ceiling, there will be a challenge of limited air circulation. As a result, there will be high chances of people fainting or suffocating because of limited air supply. If you want to carry out indoor exercises such as rope skipping in your house, you will not do so if the ceiling is low because the rope will be hitting the ceiling.
Recommended height of ceilings
The recommended height of a ceiling during construction is determined by the purpose of the room. For a residential bungalow, Oryang recommends that it should be at least 2.7meters, which is approximately nine feet from the floor the house finishing including tiling, is complete. It would even be more comfortable if you built it at three metres, which is approximately 10 feet.
For residential flats or rental apartments, the recommended ceiling height is 2.7meters, although there will be flats whose ceiling height from the floor is 2.5meters. Any ceiling lower than 2.5meters is considered to be an unprofessional measurement.