Ceiling in a Can offers a low-cost solution to low-cost housing

Cape Town entrepreneur Dave Pons has created Ceiling in a Can, DIY ceilings for low-cost housing.
Dave Pons' ceiling comes in two cans.
Dave Pons' ceiling comes in two cans.

Ceiling in a Can, created by Dave Pons, provides an insulated, waterproof ceiling for informal settlements which are often drenched in water during winter, and scorching hot during summer.

The product, launched at the Better Living Challenge showcase in 2014, is a do-it-yourself insulating ceiling that comes in two canned polymers – the base and the activator.

Users layer the mixed polymers onto newspaper on the floor of their home before lifting the expanded ceiling and attaching it to the roof.

“It bubbles and expands to 15 times and after 20 minutes it dries as a solid sheet. The corners are then freed with a kitchen knife and starting at the doorway, the ceiling is lifted into position and secured to the rafters with variable length chipboard screws. The paper can be removed and the ceiling painted,” explains Pons.

Pons’ product was designed with South Africa’s millions of shack dwellers in mind. Without immediate access to electricity and proper sanitation, the plight of these residents is often forgotten.

Those living in informal settlements are forced to contend with leaking ceilings, very little protection from the cold or heat, and the proximity of other structures coupled with the frequent use of candle light make the structures especially vulnerable to fires.

Pons’ product aims to provide an innovative form of protection:

“The result is an insulating ceiling that is fire retardant, waterproof, light weight (no supporting frame required), and half the cost of the opposition product.”