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Basement Ceiling Options

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by thephotohound, Nov 26, 2007.

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  1. thephotohound

    thephotohound New Member

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    The basement in my house is another complete living level... almost fully above ground, and finished to the same level as the upstairs... or at least it was. I have practically gutted the entire level, and am currently deciding on ceilings. Previously, they were all drywalled with a textured plaster layer, but my wife hates that look (I could care less, but does it matter?). Since it was drywall before, the plumbing and wiring is all nicely tucked under the furring strips, so that's not an issue. I would like access to the wires and pipes in case of an emergency or upstairs remodel, so a drop ceiling is an option, but we both hate the look of the typical drop ceiling... too commercial looking. Replacing the drywall is also an option, but all of the mudding and sanding over your head is enough to drive a man insane... and to make matters worse, she won't let me texture it to hide the imperfections that will inevitably occur.

    Therefore, as I see it, I am left with three options:

    1. Wood planks - expensive, expensive, expensive... did I mention expensive?
    2. Wood panel - As bad as drywall when it comes to having to/wanting to gain access to pipes and wires down the road
    3. Acoustic tile - these 12x12 tiles staple right to furring strips with hidden nailing flanges... see here: Armstrong Ceiling Tiles

    #3 is currently the leader, but I'm open to ideas/comments/suggestions... anyone ever use this stuff or an alternative?

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  2. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    I guess I am going through just the opposite. I'm ripping out the acoustic tiles in the basement and putting in drywall. It is totally a matter of opinion / personal preference. But I associate drywall with 'real', 'on site', 'stick built' -or what ever else you want to call it- home construction. The suspended ceilings, dropped ceilings, acoustic tile, etc I usually associate with office buildings, basements, mobile homes, modular houses, etc. I have a walk-out basement and want it to feel like just another level to the house, not some dark dungeon of shoddy remodeling, paneling, cheap carpet and rejected furniture from the main house. (the way it was when I moved in)

    You have a good point about some of the options restricting access once they go up, but no more so than the main floor ceiling restricts access to second floor remodeling. I would caution you to examine closely how that acoustic tile goes up. Mine has interlocking ridges and is fairly fragile. I suppose you might be able to open up a hole if you needed to - maybe damage a tile or two in order to get it started. I'm hoping that anything that needs doing in the basement ceiling will last until I am long gone - at least from this house. And yes, all that overhead taping, muding and sanding has made me cry many times over! Even with the lightweight, dust control drywall mix!
  3. thephotohound

    thephotohound New Member

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    The two biggest pros to using drywall have to be the look and the cost. You really can't beat either. You have a point regarding the look and feel of finished drywall as opposed to dropped or tiled ceilings. Are you going to go smooth or textured?
  4. Shak

    Shak New Member

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    The grid and tiles in a drop ceiling are paintable. I've also seen wood pannels used in a drop ceiling that were quite attractive. There are a lot of tile choices other than what you can find at The Home Cheapo. It is the best choice if you want to maintain access to your electrical and plumbing systems. Drop ceilings are breathable, an important consideration in a basement.
  5. CountryGal

    CountryGal Feeling the Heat

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  6. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    I spray everything with a light 'knock down' texture. Something similar to:
    http://www.extremehowto.com/xh/article.asp?article_id=60312

    Spent a couple years going room by room and scraping down the 'popcorn' ceiling on the main floor, then giving it the knock down treatment, too. So now it is the basements turn. Given a little care with the taping/mudding/sanding, plus the slight imperfection hiding ability knock down texture and flat white ceiling paint, they come out looking pretty good - if I do say so myself.
  7. thephotohound

    thephotohound New Member

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    Corey -

    I like it. Great idea. For my own personal situation, this gives my wife the drywall ceiling she wants, but takes the pressure off of me a little by being able to hide some of the minor imperfections that are bound to happen. The "sound deadening" feature will help matters as well. Thanks!
  8. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

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    5/8" drywall will definitely knock down some sound. There is also sound deadening insulation if you're looking for more quiet - I seriously considered encasing the laundry room in the stuff, but it is quiet enough on its own.

    If you're looking for good drywall tips, http://www.drywallschool.com/protips.htm is a good spot to go - I figured most of the stuff out through trial and error over the years, but this guy has it all here in one spot. The biggest thing for me was thinning down the mud from it's original bucket consistency. Then you can lay it on pretty smooth and really cut down on the sanding. Combine that with the lightweight, dust control mud and the project almost becomes tolerable. I also started doing my inside corners one side per day and that really helps too.
  9. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    I once did a basement ceiling, where acsess was an issue, with 16 x 16" squares of 1/4" luan. Cut the squares on a table saw, stained them, and then hung them with the grain alternating direction. Used darker stained furring strips to cover the seams. Made a really beautiful ceiling that is fairly easy to take down if needed. The only thing I might do differently would be to experiment with the size of the individual pieces according to the size & shape of the room. Wouldn't look bad painted either.

    Peggy
  10. rmcfall

    rmcfall Feeling the Heat

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    Do you have any pictures of this? Did you use screws to attach both the furring strips and panels themselves?


  11. pegdot

    pegdot New Member

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    Sorry, I don't have any photos of it. I did this install in a house my sister used to own and was told that the ceiling attracted a lot of positive comments when the house was on the market.

    I opted to use colored finishing nails instead of screws simply for looks. Screws would surely be an option though.
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