Just Curious

The houses I inspect are typically under 20 years old and in virtually every case the ceiling height above the bathroom shower stall or tub is lower than the rest of the bathroom. Does anyone know why builders do that?

If there is a light installed they will do it so the can is not in the attic space. That would be the only reason to build it down.

And the new exhaust fan as it is easier to do then trying to seal it from the attic and hope there is no condensation. Inside the envelope is always better for can lights no matter if they are rated IC.

There is never a light above a tub/shower combo and about 50% of the time in a separate shower stall. Our attics are empty up here so having the can there is not a problem.

Someone has not gone to Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Timber Mart or any Home Renovation outlet.

Tub/shower and shower stall, both with dropped ceilings. I’m thinking maybe it’s to allow more blown-in insulation in those spaces to avoid condensation. Just guessing.

Shower stall.jpg

Tub-shower stall.jpg

For one thing in your picture it is to cut down on the cost of tile, the area to keep warm and install a pot light inside the envelope. No insulation is installed up in the area above because there would then be two layers of insulation and if no vapor control resides above the Can light you are asking for mold issues.

Value Engineering. Saves 10 square feet of tile @4.50 per sq/ft x 2 bathes average per home = $90.00 X how many houses they build per year

Doing framing inspections, the only time I see dropped ceiling like that is when they have a tile enclosure, so it seems Mark’s “value engineering” answer is most likely right. And, usually when it’s dropped, there’s no extra insulation or anything so it’s just wasted space essentially… maybe someone should come up with a hidden vault or safe or something like that to offer as extra value engineering or something like that.

I saw two tub/showers with dropped ceiling in one house. But there is no light fixture and no exhaust fan on the dropped ceiling. same material, drywall on both the dropped ceiling and the rest of ceiling. Don’t know why dropped ceiling??

Dropping a ceiling does not save a builder money…if anything it cost more money simply because you are using more framing material and labor to install the drop ceiling not to mention the cost of draft stopping and/or fire stopping materials. The drywall that you save is less $1.00 per square foot…more like 75 cents per s/f.

People think that builders do slabs because concrete is cheaper than a framed floor…in reality its a wash…both cost me around $2.00 p/sf., the savings is the height of the foundation which cost me around $6.00 - $8.00 p/sf.

Back to the question…when ceilings are dropped it is typically to accommodate something above the ceiling or for aesthetics.

I used to work for a GC who built commercial gyms. The architects would always show bulkheads the showers, just like this, because it would bring the light closer to the person to create a “better experience”.

2 story house