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I have drywall ceiling, I want drop ceiling. What do you think?

I have drywall ceiling, I want drop ceiling. What do you think?

Old 01-24-02, 12:05 PM
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Question I have drywall ceiling, I want drop ceiling. What do you think?

First some background:
We have a ~ 30' wide basement. Going from right to left, we have 8' where there is 7.5' from carpeted floor to ceiling. At 8' we have the ceiling come down about 10" to take care of heating vents. That probably goes for 3' or 4' and then it's back up to 7.5' ceilings. The ceilings currently are drywalled.

The 8' area from the right wall to the point where the ceiling drops is over our "entertainment area." I am going to be working on making this a home theater area. I'm going to be running wires, putting in at least 8 recessed lighting cans, etc.

Currently, the lighting on the 8' side consists of one piece of track lighting with 4 lights. This STINKS as it is in such a position as to reflect light off of the TV if the lights are pointing anywhere near down or towards the TV. Therefore, the lights have to be tilted back towards the rear wall. This basically blinds anyone sitting on the couch.

Since I know I'm going to have to virtually destroy the drywall above in this area (in order to cut several holes for the lighting cans, access holes to run wiring, etc) I thought rather than worry about patching the drywall, I might as well take it down for this section of the basement, put up all the lights, etc and replace the drywalled ceiling with a drop ceiling. I would only be doing this for the 8' wide section. The remainder of the basement ceiling would be drywalled. Because of the point where the ceiling lowers for the air duct, the drop ceiling would not be visable from any point in the basement except where the ceiling is visable from above.

The area that I want to cover with the drop ceiling is about 18' x 8'. I'm probably going to use 2' x 2' panels (hopefully a different color than beige or white or whatever).

Now for the questions:

1. Does what I'm doing make sense? I know that drop v drywall is mostly personal preference, but does my logic hold up?
2. 2' x 2' panels makes sense, right?
3. How far does the drop have to go? I don't want to lose a lot off the ceiling height. Can I have the drop 3" or 4" below the rafter or will it be a lot more?
4. I've done a lot of "fix it" stuff since we bought the house in August '01 (including tiling from scratch, some electrical work--very minor), is this a project that I should be afraid of, or should it run pretty smoothly (as much as any project should)?
5. Is it possible to get different colored ceiling tiles?
6. Is there anything else I should consider that I haven't already?
Old 01-24-02, 07:02 PM
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: massachusetts
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Installation of a dropped cieling is deffinately a Diy project for an advanced Diyer........I would consider it simpler than installing tile. Read the directions carefully and you'll be on your way. As far as does it make sense? I personally like drywall as it gives a more finished look. However as you said it's personal preference. As far as does it make sense for practical reasons. I say no...Here's why...Removal of the existing is going to take time and more time to clean the mess. I would suggest doing your best to run the wires through the ceiling utilizing the holes you will cut for the cans. If the ceiling is strapped then it should go smoothly without many extra acces holes. Drywall is easily patched. Plan 2: If you get into it and the ceiling turns up like swiss cheese then I would install the drop under the existing ceiling.....Per manufactuers directions the drop can sit 3" under the existing and you'll only lose 1/2 to 5/8" of an inch. It can be less however it takes a bit of planning to place the tiles up in the grid as you build. The tiles can then be placed in their appropriate slots.......and you may need to pull a cross T for removal or replacement of a panel. HD has available adjustable wire hanging kits. Subsitute a 3" deck screw for the 2" supplied and you'll have plenty of room to snug up the ceiling once the grid is assembled. You could also consider the type of ceiling which uses drop panels however the grid is fastened directly to the joists......which will keep your ceiling hieght to a maximum......Enlarge the holes in the drywall in the locations for the cans..
Old 01-25-02, 09:18 AM
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Kansas City Area
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Drop Ceiling vs Drywall

As stated earlier, it is a matter of preference. I personally like the utility of having a drop ceiling, but in your case I agree with StephenS. You already have a drywall ceiling in place, try to work around it. You can no doubt figure out which way and where the floor joists are, its pretty easy to fish wire through a 12x16" unobstructed cavity. With some planning you can position your can lights, run speaker wires, and other items through these areas.

Im my opinion patching a few small holes would be a lot less work than ripping down the drywall. Oh sure it would come down easily and you could hide where it met the walls because the drop ceiling would be 3 - 4" below that level, but the clean up of the mess, the additional work to hang (again a simple task), and finally the cost of the materials, all add up to a bad decision.

By-the-way, you can paint most ceiling tiles any color you want, just follow the mfgr suggestions. Again more work to add to this project. All that additonal time could be spent running the wires & then repairing the holes.

Good Luck.
Old 01-25-02, 11:10 AM
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Looking at an unfinished room in my basement, I see that I would have to make A LOT of holes in the drywall. The main beams are parallel to the room's short dimension. They're about a foot a part or maybe 18". So, I'd have to cut an access hole every 24"-36" in order to drill a small hole in each of the beams to run wire for the recessed lighting and wires.

I haven't completely made up my mind, but what I'm thinking of doing is doing one of the channel grid systems that connect directly to the supports and come down 1"-3". I'm thinking using one of the following ceiling tiles (which I'll paint according to the color scheme of the room):

This is going to be something that I don't start for a while--I haven't even got my theater chairs ordered yet. WAIT. I just realized that I didn't mention that this was going to be for a home theater area. So, really the "finished look" will be accomplished because I'm not going to use the everyday tiles that losers use The whole project is going to be a lot of work (and expensive) so that's why I'm resisting the "run and patch" suggestions. I AM going to be almost completely re-doing this small area of the basement.

That said, I REALLY appreciate the feedback and ideas that are being provided. I think about how cool the internet is in this respect--I would NEVER have the confidence to do any of this stuff if it wasn't for the input of you guys. I better stop now or I'll cry

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