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Drop a ceiling (joists) 3" to clear gas & water pipes?


speede541's Avatar
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04-06-09, 08:03 PM   #1  
Drop a ceiling (joists) 3" to clear gas & water pipes?

Howdy!

I'm searching for the most efficient way to accommodate gas & water lines our plumber ran underneath the joists.

We've got a 15x15' room with a 9' ceiling. It's currently all open with the joists completely exposed. The gas and water lines run along two sides of the room.

Our contractor wants to build a small soffit around these two edges to conceal the pipes. Our architect hates the idea aesthetically, and wants us to drop the ceiling (the gas line is 2-1/8" OD). The contractor is saying that dropping the ceiling is going to cost money, although he's on the hook for the soffit (the plumber is his sub, and he approved the routing).

Anyway...

I just want to avoid the whole matter at cheaply as possible, and I'm equipped to handle the matter myself if need be.

What I'd like to do is run 2x4s or even 2x3s on edge underneath the existing 2x10 joists, nailing them diagonally, and maybe scabbing them with scrap 2x4 or 1x6.

It seems I could knock this out with about $40 in material and half-a-day's labor.

Any engineering or code questions I should be aware of in doing this? Running the two-bys on edge has me a little concerned. I could beef them up with a few well-placed screws, if need be, or if it's really an issue, I could run double-the-lumber on edge, in two layers, for better nailing, at roughly double the material cost.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

 
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04-06-09, 08:39 PM   #2  
I think I'd opt for using framing that is as small as possible, but will still cover the pipes. (Like take 2x6's and rip them down to 2 1/4".) First you'd put up a perimeter around the room of 2x3's that you ripped, they would be nailed to the walls. Then you'd run 2x3's across the full length of the room right underneath the current joists. Get yourself a 5lb box of #10x4" torx screws and screw the 2x3's to the joists at least every 24". You should really be concerned about attaching these 2x3's well, (not toenailing, and not just screwing here and there) because the weight of all that drywall is going to be hanging from them.

Getting the right length of 2x6 will enable you to have the fewest pieces to handle and it will greatly save on time and labor. I'm suggesting ripping 2x6's because they will be 16' long (you can cut them to the exact length that way) and will probably turn out to be a lot straighter than the 2x3's you'll find at the local big box.

Course if they have nice 2x3's it would make sense to just get a bunch of 8's and avoid all the ripping! But you'd need to screw them very well (maybe on 19.2" centers instead) , and it wouldn't hurt to stagger your joints every other row.

 
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04-06-09, 08:50 PM   #3  
Brilliant! I definitely like the idea of the 2x6s. Though I have a local lumber yard that may have long 2x3s, so I'll have to do a price comparison.

Our contractor is using a bunch of flat plate brackets nailed everywhere to tie new walls to old work. Do you think this would work as an alternative to screws, as a time saver, without compromising strength?

 
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04-06-09, 08:56 PM   #4  
No, the brackets would be a bad idea for this application.

 
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04-07-09, 05:12 PM   #5  
You can also use a product known around here as Chicago grid. This is like standard ceiling grid that gets drywall attached to it. The drywall contractor should be able to do the entire job and I believe it will be cheaper than dropping the ceiling with framing.

Bill

 
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04-07-09, 08:06 PM   #6  
Our general doesn't like the idea of screwing 2x3s under the existing joists. He wants to sister the joists (gah!).

Can anybody point to something that would reassure him?

(I checked out the Chicago Grid; I can't find prices but don't see how this can be cheaper than $40 in lumber. Any links to pricing?)

 
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04-07-09, 09:01 PM   #7  
Posted By: speede541 Can anybody point to something that would reassure him?
Sure. If he's concerned about the weight of the drywall, ask him what he's attaching the drywall to the ceiling with. Um... screws? nails?

So what's the difference? If 5/8" drywall isn't going to pull off of a 1 5/8" screw or nail (that's going into 1" of wood), how could a 2 1/4" wide board pull off of a 4" screw (that's going into 1 3/4" of wood) when it's practically the same amount of weight you're dealing with?

I think you should tell him to go get some coffee and donuts and do it yourself. And it's going to cost you a lot more than $40 in material I'm afraid. Your drywall contractor should be able to get you a price for this "Chicago grid". Never heard of it, but it sounds good to me if the contractor and/or architect want to fight about how to drop the ceiling.

 
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04-07-09, 09:58 PM   #8  
"Screw" common sense! Ha... I'll run that one by him.

7 2x6s @ $34 + ~80 screws is all I need -- I think -- which is in the ballpark.

Thanks for pointing me in the right direction, XSleeper!

 
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04-08-09, 04:13 AM   #9  
If I remember correctly it was in the low $2 range per square foot including hanging the rock and finishing.

Bill

 
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