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How do you pick the “right” ceilings for your home? Well it all comes down to making the most sensible and informed decisions regarding your climate, your aesthetic tastes, the amount of maintenance you’re willing to commit to, and the standard you can afford. There are a surprising number of different types of ceilings to choose from, each with its own advantages, uses, and shortcomings. Let’s look at each type in detail shall we?

Stretch ceilings

A stretch ceiling typically consists of a piece of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) material ‘stretched’ across an area, and held in place by an aluminium frame called a ‘perimeter profile’. The perimeter profile can be curved and shaped as required, and the PVC can be coloured or painted to suit just about any taste.

As a result, stretched ceilings offer a great deal of freedom in terms of shape, colour and lighting. The PVC can be finished with high or low gloss paint, or printed/painted with images or patterns.

For this reason, stretched ceilings are popular in shops and displays. It can disguise the poor condition of an existing ceiling, conceal wires, pipes or ducting can be installed in home theatre or music rooms to soundproof them or improve their acoustics though it can prove to be quite costly.

 Hollow core slab ceilings

A hollow-core slab ceiling is made from precast, pre-stressed concrete slabs which have tubeshaped tunnels running through them. The surface of a hollow-core slab ceiling can be finished by polishing or painting the concrete, or by spraying it with a soundproofing material.

Hollow-core slab ceilings are often used in multistory apartment buildings as a cost-effective method of creating floors and ceilings over large spaces. As long as the interior voids are correctly aligned, they can be used to carry wires for lighting, heating and communication.

Although a hollow-core slab weighs far less than a solid concrete slab, it is still a considerably heavier arrangement than the typical timber and plasterboard installation. Generally speaking, if you’re planning on installing a concrete slab ceiling, the rest of the house should be designed and reinforced accordingly. With inadequate reinforcement, the walls are likely to buckle, and at best you can expect the weight to crack plasterboard interior walls fairly rapidly.

Some advantages of hollow core slab ceilings is that it is a cheap option for large spaces & the hollow interior can be used for heating, wiring, and communication cables but it does have the potential to amplify and transmit noise and neither does it incorporate well into a timber framed house.

 Beam ceilings

A beam ceiling is one which features exposed joists and beams. They are normally made from timber, but other materials or a combination of materials can also be used. Beam ceilings create visual interest and bring individual flair to your home.

It can also increase the re-sale value of your home but the materials and workmanship must be of a high standard and cost.

 Coffered ceilings

A coffered (or lacuna) ceiling is a decorative ceiling style, formed out of recessed panels framed by beams. A squareshaped pattern is used in most coffered ceilings; however other geometric patterns can be created.

They are mostly used to add a personal touch to ceiling design, add value to a home, and to improve a room’s acoustics. Installing a coffered ceiling is naturally going to be more expensive than installing a simple plasterboard ceiling, however the result is infinitely more interesting and impressive.

 Gypsum ceilings

In the past, the labor-intensive installation of plaster walls and ceilings was the only available option but since the advent of gypsum board, homeowners can now cheaply and quickly replace their old interior surfaces. Gypsum board is the most commonly used product for walls and ceilings in newly constructed homes.

Gypsum is a common mineral found in sedimentary rocks on every continent. Its use goes back thousands of years to the great pyramids of Egypt. But in modern times, it is used to make wallboard and plaster products for both residential and commercial buildings. Gypsum is often white or clear, but it can also appear in shades of gray, brown, yellow, pink or red when it contains impurities.

It generally comes in sheets 4 feet by 8 feet. There are other sizes as well, such as 4 feet by 12 or even 16 feet.

 Pros of Gypsum ceilings

For a minimal investment in shillings and time, you can totally transform any space with gypsum ceilings. Don’t settle for a boring white soft board ceiling!

Although experienced professionals will deliver the best quality, it is possible for homeowners to install and finish gypsum themselves. The drywall process requires less labour and drying time. Gypsum can be fastened to either metal or wood studs.

The drywall panels are cut to size and attached to the ceilings using drywall screws. The joints, or lines where two separate drywall panels meet, are then filled with drywall compound and covered with drywall tape. After drying, the tape is coated repeatedly until it is hidden. Tool marks or ridges are sanded smooth. Finally, a coat of primer paint is applied to ensure a uniform surface for final painting.

Gypsum is not flammable. In its natural state, gypsum contains the water of crystallization bound in the form of hydrates. When exposed to heat or fire, this water is vapourized, retarding heat transfer. Therefore, a fire in one room that is separated from an adjacent room by a fire-resistance rated drywall assembly will not cause this adjacent room to get any warmer than the boiling point (100°C) until the water in the gypsum is gone.

 Disadvantages of using Gypsum

It is susceptible to moisture damage. For areas that have high moisture content, such as bathrooms or dank basements, you will need to use a chemically treated gypsum wallboard that is moisture resistant.

Gypsum does not absorb sound very well, so other types of material may be preferable if soundproofing is a concern.

 Freedom of choice

Homeowners today have many options when it comes to their ceilings. Ceilings that suit you and your needs will make a huge contribution to your comfort and quality of life. Whether you’re looking for a contemporary industrial look or something more old-world, it’s worth investigating what kinds of ceilings will suit your taste and budget.


The writer is Senior Marketing Consultant, Laxcon Hardware & Spares Ltd. Laxcon offer

specialized products and services in roofing among other building and construction segments.

Edition 04

Make moving a pleasant experience



By Jeniffer MBOGORI

The thought of moving is enough to bring strain to someone’s mind. Whether one is moving house or office, the process of organizing and facilitating a move is not an easy task and can be a strenuous one.

There are quite a number of things to consider when contemplating a move. Obviously, everyone remembers the important things like paying outstanding bills, redirecting mail and taking the last electricity meter readings, but the nitty-gritty in relocating is what matters.

Are you one of the people who wait until the last minute to look for the nearest lorry and help hands to move your home or office? Do you start worrying about packaging and you do not even know where to begin? Really, are you just totally confused about the whole moving process?

 Pleasant experience

This is where Armstrong Movers & Storage, a company incorporated in 2008, comes in. The company ensures that your move is a pleasant experience as it specializes in the relocation of household and office removals for the middle and upper class in the East African region.

The company is steadily plunging into the international freighting of goods which at the moment rests mostly with international firms.

According to the Managing Director, Mr. Joseph Ndichu, Armstrong Movers & Storage have created a niche service in the market by providing personalized and friendly services that are professional and surpass expectations of clients.

“Relocation should be well-planned,” quips Ndichu, while noting that Armstrong Movers carefully plan and execute your move from them first phone call to the final drop off. Armstrong Movers & Storage are known for their specialized packaging materials that are designed to absorb shock, protect delicate items and offer all round protection for each and every item one is moving from the home or office.

 Cost fundamentals

Prior to making a move, a major concern for every home owner or office occupier is always the costs one will incur when planning and executing the move. Well, there is no cause for worry because at Armstrong Movers & Storage, budgets are negotiable and cost is never a hindrance to the peace of mind when moving.

Before embarking on any task, the friendly staff will take time to enlighten clients on what is involved in the moving process. While walking a client through the process, the staff members will ensure they get acquainted with the locations involved in the moving process. After booking services in advance, time is allocated to the client, a no-cost, no-obligation consultation for your residential moving needs survey is undertaken, and only then is a quote created to match the job description.

A plus for clients moving out or into the country is the large warehouse facility located very close to the airport. Knowing very well the high cost of warehouse facilities at the airport and the limited durations of time for storage, it is a welcoming relief to note that you can store your items for as long as you like at the Armstrong warehouse located just a few metres from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

 Spacious facility

With the long traffic jams we are experiencing in the city, it is easy to miss a flight, so when this occurs (we hope it doesn’t happen), one can store luggage at the spacious facility. International travel can prove a challenge to anyone, thus we provide full-service global mobility management by arranging sea or air transportation, packing, and the preparation of shipping documents for our clients, thus ensuring smooth transition from one location to the other.

Armstrong Movers & Storage delivers total logistics solutions to our clients, combining an efficient fleet service along with supply chain management of all your transportation needs.

Our performance tracking provides ongoing system analysis for our customers, reducing overall costs and enhancing function throughout their enterprise. Armstrong is always on call and available to handle fluctuations in demand as well as emergency shipments, enabling you to operate at peak efficiency while delivering exceptional value and unparalleled service to your customers.

In addition to home and office relocation services, other services offered include international relocation, packing and crating services, moving supplies and equipment and data storage solutions.

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Edition 04

Breathe easy: Hotpoint introduces ultra-modern air con



Hotpoint Appliances Ltd has newly introduced into the market, the TITAN range of air conditioners under its Room Air Conditioners division.

 The TITAN AC comes with a built-in AVS (Voltage Stabilizer) though that is just one of its numerous advantages, says Rabinder Kanani, one of Hotpoint’s Sales Managers. The TITAN comes with other premium advantages such as virus and allergy filters, powerful three way airflow, quiet operation, greater airflow swing action, modern design, faster cooling achieved by powerful compressor and a function for economical consumption of energy.

The firm’s Commercial Air Conditioners division equally introduced the LG MULTI V III commercial Air conditioner this year. “This inverter unit is your premium solution for all commercial air conditioning needs. MULTI V Inverter system offers one of the world’s largest capacity units, essential for high-rise buildings,” Ms Magon says. “We are proud to say the system will ensure the highest level of customer satisfaction. Multiple indoor units are connected to a single outdoor unit thereby creating an efficient system that offers outstanding energy saving of up to 35 per cent.”

Simple, easy installation, and connection to different types of indoor units, makes it easy to design and set up. With air conditioning, your environment is also assured of optimum conditions regardless of season or space with the ability of a single outdoor unit simultaneously handling heating and cooling via synchronous operation.

Products and solutions

Hotpoint provides a host of products and solutions for its customers. In the business area, there are residential and commercial products, air conditioning and heating products as well as accessories such as solar energy and LED lighting and solutions.

LG’s residential air conditioners have been leading the global industry since the year 2000 in terms of market share, trendsetting and performance. They are unique in that they offer both heating and cooling modes.

The products’ health-conscious features are one of the key distinctive elements. Hotpoint for instance, have the world’s first anti-dengue mosquito technology and the Dual Action Virus Protector, which kills 99.9 percent of H1N1 viruses in 24 hours of constant operation. Features like these are upgrading the firm’s consumers’ lives and helping them stay in healthier environment.

 The commercial horizon

LG air conditioners have been designed to achieve maximum energy savings. By sensing body heat, the Eco Eye sends out the optimized direct or indirect airflow, thereby making big savings in energy consumption. Also, the Inverter technology reduces energy use by up to 60 percent compared with non-inverter units.

The new flagship Multi V III, LG’s new VRF system, enables world’s highest energy efficiency. It is also the most compact-sized air conditioner in its class, occupying up to 30 percent less space than others drawn from competition. The firm’s – and the world’s – first continuous heating system can generate heating without interruption (on a contrary to conventional type with 7 to 8 minute’s interruption per an hour operation) which consequently results in energy efficiency.

 Good conditions

All of their grilles and diffusers are manufactured in our modern Sri Lankan factory and thanks to LG’s 34 years in the air movement sector and competitive pricing structure, the firm may be well placed to offer value and quality.

Hotpoint’s range of products create optimal living and working conditions by enabling their customers to control their environment including temperature, humidity and air quality to make them more comfortable. Their products are safe to operate and easy to manage. Hotpoint provides clients with reliable and cost effective solutions.

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Edition 04

General manager with a difference



For Ghulam Samdani, the journey to become Ole Sereni Hotel’s general manager has evidently been one long but inspirational path of success.

From a humble background of a restaurant intern in 1994 for six months, Ghulam has kept his pulse in the hospitality industry and has since then served in four continents – Europe, America, Asia and Africa.

His first steps as a hotelier saw him rise through the ranks in Switzerlands four leading city hotels before proceeding to the US where he became an assistant restaurant manager at Wellesley Country Club for almost an year. Boylston Palace tapped him for a restaurant manager’s job and opportunity that gave him yet another step of becoming the director of food and beverage at Holiday Inn in the US.

Holder of a Hotel & Restaurant Managementdegree and masters in Organizational Behaviour at Johnson & Wales University in the US, Ghulam’s nudge to acquire more experience saw him polish and rise through various ranks in the hotel industry. Among them was being the event manager at Eagle Pond Lodge in USA for nearly three years before scooping a more challenging general manager’s job at Sarovar Premiere Hotel in Kerela, India. This awesome responsibility had Ghulam manage the entire food and beverage operations of domestic and international airport of “Trivandrum”, which is leased to the hotel owners.

Humbled, assertive and jovial, Ghulam who been at the helm of Ole Sereni Hotel since August 2010 is affirmative that besides the wonderful aesthetics that hotels should have it is service delivery in hotels that renders the business worthwhile results. He further notes that effective hotel management is the pillar that contributes to the most profitable business to the hotel and the economy as a whole.

In 2005, Ghulam initiated Foreign Internship Program with German based Hospitality Institutes.

His effort to initiate a corporate social responsibilty programme led him initiate a foundation branded SMILES, which offers a helping hand to the mentally and physically challenged persons. Numerous fundraising activities have been conducted since inception of the initiative in 2006.

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