In older buildings that have seen multiple renovations over time, it is not uncommon for a dropped ceiling to have been installed in one renovation and then subsequently removed in another, its installation having been an inexpensive fix to prolong the time between major renovations.
In earthquake prone areas (e.g., California) diagonal wire stays are often required by building codes in order to ensure the ceiling grid won't sway laterally during an earthquake, which can lead to partial or total collapse of the ceiling grid on the occupants below during a severe tremor. Compression posts may also be added to keep the ceiling from bouncing vertically during an earthquake.
Acoustic balance and control was another early objective of dropped ceilings. A noisy room can overstimulate occupants, while a too quiet interior may seem dull and uninviting.
Drop out ceiling tiles can add to the aesthetic appeal of a ceiling since the fire sprinklers are hidden by the tiles. Commonly made from vinyl or expanded polystyrene, drop out ceiling tiles are available in multiple sizes and finishes from a variety of manufacturers.
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