.Which ceiling is better: stretch or plasterboard?

Both stretch canvases and plasterboard ceilings have become a real boon for old-built houses when you need to hide large differences in plane on a weak and loose floor. They have proven themselves excellently in apartments in new buildings, where hundreds of meters of engineering communications are laid out under the top. But which of the suspension and tensioning systems is more practical, profitable and more durable? In general, the central match of today will be held under the banner “Stretch vs Plasterboard” .

Resistance to mechanical damage
This is perhaps one of the most burning questions. PVC canvas or stretch ceiling fabric seem to be very flimsy due to the very small thickness of the material. However, the first impression, as usual, is wrong. It is enough just to take a flap of the canvas in your hands and try to tear it – nothing will come of it. Maximum, it will turn out to stretch it a little.

The film installed on site without critical damage can easily withstand tens of kilograms relative to the distributed load. For example, it will carry out several buckets of water when flooded or plaster that has fallen from the ceiling. Nothing will happen to the canvas if you “shoot” a sparkling wine cork at it or hit it hard with any blunt object.

The stretch ceiling is not afraid of house shrinkage, mild earthquakes or any other movements and vibrations. This is true for buildings located near the railway, including. The ceiling does not crack and is not subject to visible deformation due to its elasticity.

The stretch ceiling can be burned through, cut through or punctured. But the experience of millions of users shows that the likelihood of such an outcome is very small. People have been using such ceilings for decades without any accidents.

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In the end, in the event of an “accident”, you can order only a replacement of the film – it will cost quite inexpensively, and the process of tightening itself will take up to half an hour. There are methods of local repair, but more on that below.

The ceiling, lined with plasterboard plates, does not seem to be cut or pricked. But the finish coat of wallpaper and paint will most likely need to be repaired. In the end, a 9 mm thick gypsum board ceiling plate can also be punched, especially where it does not rest on the profile.

Cracks can be considered the real scourge of the plasterboard ceiling. As a rule, they occur at the end joints of the sheets. The reasons for their appearance are installation and finishing errors, low-quality materials. The ceiling can also collapse from vibrations, movements during shrinkage of supporting structures.


It is noteworthy that it is almost never possible to completely correct the situation. Neither re-puttying the problem joint, nor the use of non-woven / fiberglass can help contain drywall cracking. You just have to put up with annoying cracks.

Yes, drywall can be locally putty and repainted. But cracks cannot be removed so easily – an expensive and time-consuming alteration of the entire structure will be required.

It is also possible to paint a stretch fabric or PVC film in a handicraft way (that is, on site). But this can be done exclusively by spraying / airbrushing and using paintwork materials that have at least some adhesion to the corresponding polymer material. And this must be checked by a trial “painting” on a piece of canvas.

There is, by the way, a special paint that is designed for PVC windows and various types of skins …

Small cuts on the stretch ceiling are successfully “masked” by ventilation grilles, and an additional spotlight can be installed on the damaged area.


Temperature limits
A PVC stretch ceiling normally serves in rooms such as a kitchen or boiler room, where the temperature can sometimes rise, let’s say, above average. People pull PVC even over wood-burning stoves with a hob and also have no problems.

In unheated rooms, the stretch ceiling “dubs” a little in winter and is, as it were, more prone to mechanical damage. However, the people quite actively mount them on cold balconies, in garages and gazebos … They even “hem” roof overhangs on the street with tension canvases. There are special frost-resistant types of canvas, which are called stretch.

The plasterboard ceiling does not melt or burn through, although the wallpaper on it can be damaged. It does not soften and does not “float”. But the gypsum board does not like frost and sudden changes in temperature, as it is prone to swelling and cracking.

Air permeability and vapor permeability
Plasterboard ceilings, in principle, “breathe” well, including the ability to absorb “excess” moisture and gradually release it. But if this cladding is primed several times, pasted over with wallpaper with outer polymer layers or painted with a film-forming latex-type paint, then you can forget about the air permeability of drywall.

Standard PVC stretch ceilings do not allow air and steam to pass through. This could be useful in a private house or on the top floor of an apartment building to provide natural ventilation through the attic floor. When there are neighbors from above, which also generate steam, the importance of the vapor and air permeability of the ceiling is somewhat exaggerated.

At the same time, with many types of fabrics, things are completely different. There are also perforated solutions for PVC ceilings – the holes can be both in the canvases and in the wall profiles.


Moisture resistance
According to this criterion, there is no alternative to PVC stretch ceiling. Polymer cloth is absolutely not afraid of water, it can be used without restrictions in bathrooms, swimming pools, showers. And, most importantly, such a ceiling is not afraid of flooding. It not only does not turn yellow from dirty water and does not bloom from mold, but is able to easily withstand tens of liters of water on itself.

After the flood, the water is drained, the stretch ceiling harpoon is removed from the starting profile, the interceiling space is dried, and the same canvas is safely put in place after reheating.

Drywall is irreparably damaged by water. In the best case, it is necessary to replace the gypsum board plates, but with such dismantling, it is often necessary to repair the frame to one degree or another (basically, they correct the plane, remove irregularities on the profiles from old self-tapping screws, add suspensions).

Base load
The stretch ceiling weighs practically nothing and is attached only to the walls with rare exceptions. Therefore, it can be safely used in old houses, where the floors are too weak and unstable.

Plasterboard sheathing, together with finishing layers, still creates a certain load on the floor, it is transmitted to the base through the suspensions. Most importantly, gypsum plasterboard ceilings do not like vibrations and movements.


Installation features: complexity / quality, speed
A plasterboard ceiling of 15-20 m² is assembled in about a day by a couple of experienced craftsmen. But it still needs to be plastered, and also painted or pasted over with wallpaper – this will take at least three days. In total, it turns out at least four days, but in reality about a week.

Wallpaper Erismann Fusion 60114-17, 1.06 mx 10.05 m

[on a non-woven base, covering-vinyl, drawing-monophonic]
The same room is tightened with a tension cloth in about 2-3 hours. Moreover, this work is carried out on a turnkey basis. For example, installers come to the facility with a full set of materials and consumables, install chandeliers and lamps, fix the cornice, finish the adjoining of the ceiling to the walls, and so on.

The process of installing a stretch ceiling is also not easy. However, the technology has much less pitfalls than filing with gypsum plasterboards and high-quality puttying. In other words, the human factor is minimized here and there are much fewer mistakes.

Good construction vacuum cleaners and tools with dust removal systems are great help to drywall installers, but at the stage of sealing joints and filling the entire plane, it is impossible to completely get rid of dust. In any case, there will be a lot of dust.

Do not forget that working with putty is a wet process that will require appropriate temperature conditions and preparatory operations. The room where the plasterboard ceiling is putty will have to be completely vacated “for repair”.


Tension technologies in this regard are incommensurably cleaner than gypsum ceilings. Firstly, the master uses orders of magnitude fewer attachment points, that is, the puncher is used much less. Secondly, the stretch is immediately ready for use: the ceiling does not need to be putty, sanded, primed, painted.

In most cases, the stretch ceiling can be installed without even taking the furniture out of the room. This can be done when the walls are finished and the floors are finished with clean flooring.

Environmental friendliness
By this criterion, there are practically no complaints about plasterboard ceilings. GKL plates do not emit anything, do not glow, have good vapor permeability. The main thing is to take a responsible approach to the choice of finishing.

Stretch ceilings are criticized for the fact that PVC canvases do not allow air to pass through, for foreign smell, emission of volatile substances and for God knows what else … Practice shows that foul-smelling canvases are extremely rare.

Give preference to contractors installing certified stretch ceilings. Be aware that there are PVC stretch fabrics that are approved for installation even in children’s and medical institutions.

The impermeability of the stretch ceiling to air and water vapor, in principle, can exacerbate the problem of poor ventilation in the room. But even these barriers are solved by using fabric canvases or installing ventilation grilles with ventilation ducts in the ceiling.

Taking care of a stretch ceiling is no more difficult than a ceiling made of gypsum plasterboard (perhaps we all know how to take care of wallpaper and painting). What’s more, it can be wiped clean and washed as needed using a soft microfiber cloth. Stubborn stains can be removed from PVC cloths with a glass cleaner or special cleaning agents.

It is a little more difficult to maintain lacquered / glossy ceilings, as washing on a shiny surface can leave unpleasant stains like on a mirror. Therefore, for a bathroom or shower, a glossy canvas is not the best choice.

Both drywall and stretch ceiling can be easily called a designer. These are complete systems with a large number of components. In each case, the foreman selects his own set of components at the facility, depending on the technical conditions and the wishes of the customer. It is rather difficult to announce the price per square meter without visiting the facility. But a comparison of the average cost of a plasterboard and a stretch ceiling can still be made.

Practice shows that a white matte PVC ceiling costs about 650-1000 rubles per square meter for the customer, while a turnkey plasterboard ceiling will cost the customer about 2000-3000 rubles per square meter.

Stretch ceilings have long ceased to be a luxury item and are the most profitable solution. This is largely due to high competition among companies, as well as an increase in the production of components for stretch ceilings directly in Russia.