Ceilings for restaurant and cafe kitchens
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January 8, 2024

Ceilings for restaurant and cafe kitchens


The installation of metal ceilings in restaurant and cafe kitchens must comply with specific normative documents and requirements to ensure the safety and comfort of both staff and visitors. The main normative documents regulating the installation of metal ceilings in restaurant and cafe kitchens are listed below:

  • DBN V.2.6-98:2013 Metal Structures. Basic Design Provisions. This document outlines the requirements for the design of metal structures, including requirements for ceiling constructions.
  • DBN V.2.2-16:2017 “Construction of Swimming Pools and Fountains.” This document provides general requirements for the design and construction of sports and recreational facilities, including ceiling requirements.
  • Sanitary Norms and Rules SNiP 2.04.05-91 Equipment for Cafes, Bars, and Restaurants. Sanitary Requirements. This document contains sanitary requirements for equipment in cafes, bars, and restaurants, including requirements for ceiling materials.

Even in a private house or apartment, when designing the kitchen, it is important to consider the unique microclimate in this space. What can be said about kitchens in cafes, restaurants, and other food service establishments?

One of the problems that needs to be addressed during the design stage is the ceiling finishes in kitchens and food preparation areas. Ceiling finishes are affected by factors such as high temperature and humidity, primarily limiting the range of materials and technologies that can be used to address this task.

In our overview, we will analyze the main requirements for such ceilings (including those regulated by current legislation) and provide several finishing options for cafes and restaurants with enclosed (in a separate room) or open kitchens.


To understand the challenges of choosing a ceiling for kitchens in food service establishments, it is necessary to analyze the most important factors influencing the finishing. These include:

  • High temperatures (especially above grills, ovens, and cooking surfaces).
  • High background humidity.
  • Periodic exposure to steam and water droplets on the ceiling surface.
  • The need to maintain sanitary conditions.
  • The need for ceiling equipment installation – exhaust systems, ventilation ducts, lighting fixtures.

Based on this, almost universally (excluding spaces with minimal height), designers opt for suspended ceilings instead of finishing solid structures. This allows for the installation of finishing on a framework with the flexibility to accommodate any necessary utilities.


Requirements for finishing food preparation areas and similar spaces (including kitchens in cafes and restaurants) are detailed in regulations. There are several key documents in this regard:

  • DBN V.2.2-25:2009. Buildings and Structures. Catering Enterprises (Restaurant Establishments).
  • SanPiN 42-123-5777-91. Sanitary Rules for Public Catering Establishments.
  • DBN V.1.1.7-201. Fire Safety of Construction Objects.

These three regulations can serve as a basis for forming requirements for finishing such spaces in general and for ceiling design in kitchens in particular.

  • The minimum height from the floor to the ceiling (in its lower part, if the structure implies multiple levels) should range from 2 to 2.5 meters. This should be taken into account when installing a suspended ceiling in a space with limited height.
  • Only non-flammable materials that do not burn and do not support combustion can be used for ceiling finishes. This requirement imposes significant limitations on the choice of materials for decorating kitchen ceilings.
  • In kitchens, serving areas, and above bar counters, ceilings should be made of moisture-resistant materials.
  • To maintain proper hygiene in food preparation areas, regular wet cleaning using cleaning and disinfecting agents is necessary. Accordingly, ceiling constructions should be resistant to such cleaning procedures.

Note! The use of porous materials in ceiling finishes is undesirable, as it significantly complicates the effective cleaning of the surface from grease and other organic contaminants.

  • The ceiling structure should allow the placement of utilities – either concealed, attached to the load-bearing ceiling, or open. This also applies to recessed lighting fixtures.
  • The color scheme of the ceiling should be as favorable as possible to enhance the efficiency and reduce fatigue for the staff. Typically, ceilings in restaurant and cafe kitchens are finished with panels painted in a matte white or light-gray color. Such a color solution does not decrease the level of illumination and eliminates glare.

Overall, the situation is quite typical: when designing ceiling finishes, a balance must be found between room design, functionality, financial capabilities, and regulatory requirements. How to achieve this balance will be discussed in the next section.


Main Requirements for the Installation of Metal Ceilings in Restaurant and Cafe Kitchens:

  • Materials: Metal ceilings must be made of materials that meet sanitary requirements and do not have a harmful impact on human health. Metal plates with paint or lacquer coating are a popular choice for kitchen ceilings.
  • Construction: Metal ceilings must be designed to support the weight of lights and other equipment that will be installed on them. The construction of metal ceilings should be robust and resistant to the effects of humidity and heat, which are integral parts of kitchen operations.
  • Ventilation: Metal ceilings must be designed considering the need for ventilation in the kitchen. They should have a dedicated space for the installation of ventilation ducts, ensuring proper air circulation and reducing the negative impact of moisture and heat on walls and ceilings.
  • Hygiene: Metal ceilings must be easy to clean from dust, grease, and contaminants typically found in kitchens. They should have a smooth surface without crevices and recesses that can collect dirt. Metal ceilings should not accumulate condensation, mold, fungus, or other contaminants to ensure hygiene.
  • Fire Safety: Metal ceilings must meet fire safety requirements. They should be equipped with special fire suppression systems and have access for fire protection.


In practice, the solution that involves abandoning the installation of a suspended ceiling in favor of finishing the solid structure is rarely implemented when the room has insufficient height. In this case, the ceiling is leveled with plaster, then puttied and either painted or whitewashed.

This solution cannot be considered optimal since all utilities have to be exposed. Additionally, during active cooking, whitewash or paint will become heavily soiled, and cleaning them without damage will be challenging. The only way out is periodic cosmetic repairs.


In other cases, the ceiling in a cafe or restaurant kitchen is finished with a suspended structure. Wood is rarely used for cladding:

  • Firstly, it is expensive.
  • Secondly, wooden panels for ceiling finishing need to be treated not only with fire-retardant impregnations but also with compounds protecting against moisture.

That is why wooden finishing is a choice made for design purposes only, for instance, in restaurants with traditional cuisine, “hunting lodges,” cabins, etc.

Plastic panels cannot be used for ceiling cladding in the kitchen due to their high flammability. The use of fiberboard panels (such as “Armstrong“) or drywall cladding is also impractical since porous materials do not have sufficient moisture resistance and accumulate dirt.


The optimal solution is the installation of a suspended ceiling structure based on metal panels. Panels from the “MehBud” factory, made of aluminum or galvanized steel and coated with a protective-decorative polymer composition, can be an excellent choice:

  • The strength of such constructions is sufficient to prevent ceiling deformations.
  • Metal cladding has absolute fire resistance, i.e., it fully complies with fire safety requirements.
  • The polymer coating provides the ceiling with maximum moisture resistance and protection against corrosion.
  • The ceiling can be painted in any color. However, light shades with a matte texture (i.e., without glare) are optimal for kitchens.


When it comes to metal ceilings, the following types are commonly installed in cafe and restaurant kitchens:

  • Rack structures: Suitable for small kitchens that can be finished with narrow metal bars. A rack ceiling looks neat, lasts a long time, and withstands wet cleaning with cleaning agents effectively.
  • Cassette or panel ceiling: A universal solution for kitchens with a sufficiently large area. Large cassettes are excellent for ceiling finishing, forming a smooth surface. The minimal number of joints makes it easier to maintain the ceiling’s sanitary condition.

The use of cubic shaped ceilings and “Grillato” systems in kitchens is limited, mainly because in such structures, airborne grease can penetrate the ceiling space. Therefore, they are applied:

  • When the kitchen is part of a unified space visible from the dining area and requires specific design.
  • When there is efficient ventilation that immediately removes polluted air.

In general, both cubic ceilings and “Grillato” ceilings are well-suited for spaces with high humidity and temperature.


Another important aspect when choosing ceiling finishes for the kitchen is the need for additional equipment installation:

  • Efficient lighting is crucial for food preparation. The use of metal suspended ceilings (cassette and rack types) facilitates the installation of integrated lighting. This can include hidden directional spotlights or standard-sized LED panels illuminating a large area.
  • This also applies to ventilation. Instead of ceiling cassettes or rack segments, air intake grilles can be installed. In this case, the ventilation unit is placed outside the kitchen, and hot, dirty air is removed from the room through a system of ducts, which is more convenient and safer.

In the assortment of ceiling structures from the “MehBud” factory, you will easily find a sufficient number of options for ceiling finishes in cafes, restaurants, canteens, or other food service establishments. The installation of metal cassettes, panels, or ceiling racks will ensure that the interior finish fully complies with the requirements of current regulations.

About the author:

Маркетолог предприятия “Мехбуд”. Квалифицированный эксперт по общению с клиентами и партнерами. Всегда готова к общению и сотрудничеству.

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