How can I value manage timber slat ceilings?

The final cost for a timber slat installation can be influenced greatly by a few design or aesthetic decisions. Here we share our timber slat ideas to keep your project on budget and in keeping with design.

One of the first things you need to consider when you are value managing a timber slat ceiling is the option of potentially rotating the timber. Some timber slat ceilings are a ‘slat style; which is where the ceiling is composed of slats that are laid flat.

‘Blade style’, however, is where the slats are laid on edge, with their width being narrower than their height. Blade style typically involves significantly more timber per square metre.

SUPAWOOD has two products that clearly show the difference between these slat layouts. As seen below, the option 1 profile is classified as ‘slat style’, while Profile 4 is a typical blade style layout.


If you take Profile 4 and simply rotate the slats to the flat style (Profile 1), you get more square metres from your timber, and hence it works out cheaper per square metre. Likewise, by simply adjusting gap spacing and making the slats further apart, the less timber you need per square metre, and therefore the cheaper it becomes. Each of these options can be simply implemented without a major impact on the design and feel of your new timber slat interior.

Another option to value manage is look at the materials used. In terms of expense, solid hardwoods are typically on the high end of the cost, and softwoods such as western red cedar or pine will be cheaper.

We also have our SUPAFINISH concept veneer, as displayed in the project image below. As you can see, in a completed project, the concept veneers have a very realistic timber colour and grain. This proves that the use of a cheaper veneer option is a positive choice in terms of value managing for a slat ceiling, which can potentially have a lot of surface area, depending on the timber ceiling product and layout.

To keep and maintain that perception of linearity, while minimising cost, an option is to use the SUPALINE Groove panel, where the panel actually has a negligible thickness, but it just creates the perception of thickness because of the blackness of the MDF, that is shown in the grooves of the panel. This panel is not individual slats, rather a complete MDF panel that is machined and grooved out to create a slat effect look. SUPALINE Groove is available in both acoustic and non-acoustic options.

Ministry & Learning Centre, Morling College, Macquarie Park NSW
Ministry & Learning Centre, Morling College, Macquarie Park NSW

Another consideration is the service integrations of the ceiling. The flatter slat style panels are much easier to cut services into than the blade style profiles.

When you have a blade style profile, you should seriously consider looking at an option of specifying services that will fit in between the slats – such as linear diffusers and linear lights. Not only does this look much better, but it also greatly minimises insulation costs, as there is no need to have the slatted panels cut.

For cutting services from blade style ceilings, we would recommend having a pre-made zone created when the panels are manufactured in the factory. This involves having some of the slats cut short in certain points, and inserting a service plate, or service box. This supports the overall completed look of the feature, in giving the slatted ceiling a much nicer, more professionally finished off appearance, as opposed to exposed cut edges to the slatted panels.

service box diagram
service plate diagram

It is to be pointed out that while adding these service boxes in the factory manufacture stage is certainly doable, it does add extra cost.

Alternatively - as mentioned - using services such as linear lights or diffusers, and fitting them in the gaps of the slats, will involve minimal or no onsite cutting of the slats, hence it will be a cheaper option.

We look forward to helping you further – reach out if you have any further questions!

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