My basement ceiling idea...


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Old 08-31-14, 08:34 AM
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My basement ceiling idea...

I've never seen this done, but I was wondering if I could get feedback from some of you on this idea.... I'm finishing out our basement, which like many has low ceilings of exposed joists. At the moment I'm in the mechanical phase (replumbing, ductwork, etc). But I've been brainstorming ideas for the ceiling. I was planning on doing some sort of drop ceiling mounted as high as possible, but then had another idea.
I am thinking about nailing 1x3s or 1x4s on the bottom of the joists (making a sort of upside down T). This would give me a lip in the joist cavity. I could then cut pieces of plywood (probably 5/8" x 8' or 10') that could be tucked up and into the cavity then laid on the lip of the 1x4. These would be a bit over a foot wide and I could dress it up by using some sort of trim. I'm guessing it would give the effect of looking like raised panel doors or similar. These panels would simply rest on the "T" of the 1x4 and could be popped out if access was required, since I have water shut-offs, vent dampers, etc in the ceiling.
So, has anyone ever seen anything like this done? I figure the advantage is that it may actually be cheaper than a dressier drop ceiling (which still looks like an office to me) and will allow the ceiling to be higher up than with a drop ceiling (probably only lowering the height around 3/4" from the joists).
Thoughts? I'd love to see pics if this has been done before.
 
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Old 08-31-14, 09:22 AM
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That should work but sounds pretty labor intensive An 8' long piece of plywood might be a little ambitious to get in and out of it's resting place. I have sprayed several basement ceilings with flat black paint, it doesn't hide any of the mechanicals but does make them less intrusive.
 
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Old 08-31-14, 09:33 AM
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That sounds like a good idea to me! I would suggest using some nice wood/plywood if you want a wood ceiling, or paint it up. If you paint it, make sure to do it as separate pieces and let the paint cure well. Also if you paint, you could just use sheetrock for your panels.

I would also install short 1x for where the ends of the plywood meet.
 
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Old 08-31-14, 03:31 PM
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They probably will be a bit awkward to get in/out, but I probably will never have to get back up there (fingers crossed)(
Def planning on painting, not staining and painting each piece before hanging. There's too much crap up there to just paint black (wife also over-ruled).
I don't think drywall as the panels would work since, without fasteners, over time it would sag. Also long skinny pieces of drywall will tend to break when you handle them. Additionally, I'm thinking about dressing up the plywood panels with smaller trim bits to give a raised panel look.
I'm thinking the end bits (the continuation of the 1x4 fram on the ends) will have to be part of the panel so it can actually come out. If the opening is narrower than the panel on all sides it would be very difficult to remove when necessary...

Has anyone seen something like this done?
 
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Old 08-31-14, 04:49 PM
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If you used 5/8" drywall it would not sag anymore then it would if it was screwed to the joists, especially when it is resting on the 1x4s. They also make a stronger 1/2" drywall for ceilings.

Google "wood suspended ceiling" and click on images. You will get a lot of ideas.
 
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Old 09-14-14, 06:28 PM
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I'm not actually as worried about sagging (bowing down between the joists over time) as I am breaking of a long, narrow strip when taking in/out. The suspended piece will be ~12-14" x 8-10'. So it will be awfully long/skinny. Even in 5/8" I'd expect it to be easy to break when moving.
 
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Old 09-15-14, 04:12 AM
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If you cut/orientate the plywood on 4' sections it will be less likely to bow - same reason you install plywood across the joists instead of running with them. IMO a 4' section would be easier to install/remove too.
 
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Old 09-15-14, 09:00 AM
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@OP: I like this idea and may do this to my basement. I have standard wall height & a grid ceiling which comes pretty close to the tops of the doors. 3/4" drop (the "Tees") beats my 3" drop. Also probably won't creak when someone walks on the floor above like my wire-suspended grid does. IMO a light 1/4" panel won't bow suspended across 14".

I did Google "suspended wood ceiling" and there are a lot of great looks. Most of the images are in commercial spaces but they can be scaled down.
 
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Old 09-20-14, 06:36 AM
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Interesting idea... you're basically making a suspended ceiling using the joists as the hangars.
In fact you have me now thinking about this for my own room.
some thoughts that came to me as I walked through it...
- I agree w/ others on 4' lengths. Will be SO much more strong and easy to work with. I have to wonder if lines 8' long and only 16" apart will look like stripes on your ceiling.
- Wood will be very expensive. If you use anything other than 3/4" high quality stuff, it will not be perfectly flat/straight and not set on the lips flush (e.g. warped). Plus that will not be cheap, >$1 sq ft plu a lot of scrap since 14" dosn't go into 48.
- Instead, I would either do 5/8 drywall (only $.25 /sq ft), or even better, you can buy 2x4 ceiling panel tiles for ~$.50 sq ft, and cut them to fir the width.
- Your typical 1x4 is rarely straight or looks nice. You'd have to buy high quality finish grade wood - also not cheap. Instead, get trim moulding, will be much cheaper by the linear foot, can find something that has a nice profile AND might even get it pre-primed.
- After you nail up the "grid", you could run a strip of colored tape intended for coloring drop ceiling grid lines to cover up the nails (e.g. avoid having to caulk 100 holes)
- Look carefully at what is up in the joists. If you have any A/C ducts or large pipes that are close to the bottom of the joist, those will make it a challenge to get the strips into place.

Good luck!
 
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Old 12-19-14, 05:43 PM
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I figured I'd follow up. I ultimately ended up going with regular drywall over the joists. As RatLabGuy noted, ducts and such might complicate matters. After I ended up rerouting all of the infrastructure through the ceiling, things were pretty cramped. I ended up firring my joists with 1"x3" and then just using drywall. The two places where I decided I really needed access (two shut-off valves) I am going to place those 6"x9" plastic access panels. I'm still curious how it would have turned out, but I think this will be a cleaner and less labor intensive way to go. Thanks to all for the feedback though! If anyone else does follow up on doing this, I'd really like to see how it turned out, so post some pics!
 
 

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