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Replacing drop ceiling 2X2 with seamless look

Replacing drop ceiling 2X2 with seamless look


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Old 06-18-22, 07:41 AM
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Replacing drop ceiling 2X2 with seamless look

I have a dingy drop ceiling with 2X2 that appears to be at least 15-20 years old. The squares have the small dots in them and have an off white dingy/dirty look that seems to match the grid system. It's not feasible to replace with sheetrock given the amount of electrical and water hard lines. I thought of a few different options:

1) Replace drop ceiling with brand new white tiles and paint existing grid white
2) Replace drop ceiling with armstrong PVC ceiling that have a smooth/sheetrock appearance
3) Replace drop ceiling with tongue/groove tiles

For #3, would that make access to the above utilities harder? I could not easily 'drop' a the tiles that are 'screwed' into the grid system. Would I use access panels?
 
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Old 06-18-22, 09:36 AM
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Removing the old tiles and painting the grid would be the easiest. I see it done all the time in commercial spaces with good results. You can then install pretty much whatever you like for tiles as long as the grid is supported correctly. You could just use a 2x2 tile, Drywall panels, or even make up some wood panels for a different look.

"Removable" tongue and groove ceiling systems still make the area above the ceiling accessible, but often you must disassemble the ceiling to do so. It all depends on how accessible you want it.
 
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Old 06-18-22, 03:23 PM
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Tongue and groove would mimic sheetrock appearance and just look better overall, correct? And, if it's a pain to remove, can't I just cut into it for an access panel?
 
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Old 06-18-22, 03:32 PM
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I'm all for covering a basement ceiling but something can be said for later access. I go to customers houses where the basement ceiling is covered. Doesn't matter if it's sheetrock or splined tile or tongue and groove.... to me.... all those finishes make for an un-openable ceiling. As an electrical contractor I wouldn't be messing with any type of ceiling like that. The customer would be out of luck.

It's one thing to open that ceiling.... quite another to close it back up.
 
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Old 06-18-22, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by PJmax
I'm all for covering a basement ceiling but something can be said for later access. I go to customers houses where the basement ceiling is covered. Doesn't matter if it's sheetrock or splined tile or tongue and groove.... to me.... all those finishes make for an un-openable ceiling. As an electrical contractor I wouldn't be messing with any type of ceiling like that. The customer would be out of luck.

It's one thing to open that ceiling.... quite another to close it back up.


Good to hear from you my good man.

I assume you would prefer drop down for full access. In 4 years, I've only needed to get access to 4 places for sprinklers but anything can happen. Aside from just replacing tiles within the existing (or new) drop ceiling system, what else could I do for a more seamless sheetrock like finish?

 
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Old 06-19-22, 02:31 AM
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The squares have the small dots in them and have an off white dingy/dirty look that seems to match the grid system.
a low cost option would be to paint the tiles/grid. I've done so numerous times in the past with good results. You want to thin the paint a little so it seeps into the pinholes.
 
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Old 06-19-22, 06:41 AM
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A tile without holes has a cleaner look than the ones that do. Also, a revealed tile (one that hangs below the grid) looks nicer than one that is even with the grid.

Sadly the home stores have very few tile choices available. You may want to go to a ceiling supplier for better choices.
 
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Old 06-19-22, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand
A tile without holes has a cleaner look than the ones that do. Also, a revealed tile (one that hangs below the grid) looks nicer than one that is even with the grid.

Sadly the home stores have very few tile choices available. You may want to go to a ceiling supplier for better choices.
Wouldn't the ones completely flush with the grid look more like sheetrock (best for me)? I am even debating 2X4 to have 'less' grid. Agreed on the lack of holes. I also don't need to have the cheapest/easier route. I am just looking for options (which I am getting). I am leaning towards all new tiles that are completely white/flat. Textured tiles look kinda nice but I only have 8' ceilings and I think cleaner would be better.
 
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Old 06-19-22, 07:18 PM
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A lot will be personal preference. Most newer drop ceilings I have been seeing have been using Armstrong 1911 tiles. They have a nice sand finish with about 1/4" reveal and look nice to me.
 
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Old 06-19-22, 07:29 PM
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https://www.armstrongceilings.com/co...rect_term=1911 This??

Yes, personal preference but why wouldn't flat smooth be more desirable? Given height is a concern, should I concern surface mount and access panels?
 
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Old 06-20-22, 02:08 AM
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The height loss is minimal. IMO with the tiles dropping slightly below the grid it looks nicer. It draws less attention to the grid.
 
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Old 06-20-22, 06:10 AM
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The look is personal, go to the Armstrong website and look for options, it's only limited by your budget.

https://www.armstrongceilings.com/residential/en-us/

And as far as the concern about drywalling a ceiling due to access.

How many times have you ever had to open a wall/ ceiling in the house to get to something? Not saying it doesn't happen but I would not allow that to be the deciding factor!
 
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Old 06-20-22, 03:02 PM
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And Drywall is very patchable or if you need to get into the ceiling you an install an access panel at that time.
 
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Old 06-20-22, 07:13 PM
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Originally Posted by marksr
the height loss is minimal. IMO with the tiles dropping slightly below the grid it looks nicer. It draws less attention to the grid.
Are you referring to tongue/groove mounted directly to the existing grid? I can't go against the ceiling joists due to the electrical/water/etc.

If so, I woud need to use access panels for the various spots I will need access to such as sprinklers/water/etc.

Originally Posted by Marq1
The look is personal, go to the Armstrong website and look for options, it's only limited by your budget.

https://www.armstrongceilings.com/residential/en-us/

And as far as the concern about drywalling a ceiling due to access.

How many times have you ever had to open a wall/ ceiling in the house to get to something? Not saying it doesn't happen but I would not allow that to be the deciding factor!
I prefer drywall but it's not worth the cost to reroute a ton of electrical/water lines. I also have an existing grid system (2X2) that I can re-use. I am looking for a clean look. My local contractor brought over a 2X2 that he said was made of sheet rock with a PVC (I believe) face but it was a bit gray. He recommend a slightly more expensive WHITE PVC tile. We discussed flush mount to the existing grid system and he could add access panels. However, he mentioned that's typically 'board' type style and not 2X2 but that would HIDE the grid.

Originally Posted by tightcoat
And Drywall is very patchable or if you need to get into the ceiling you an install an access panel at that time.
No drywall due to existing water/electrical.
 
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Old 07-06-22, 06:13 AM
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I am slowly narrowing this down. Are gridstone gypsum panel a typical cheap 2X2? They are offwhite and boss wants a white/sheetrock like appearance. PVC is WHITE and only a bit more $$$ so that would work too.
 
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Old 07-14-22, 07:13 PM
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Anyone?
 
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Old 07-14-22, 07:36 PM
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I would recommend going to a store/distributor and seeing them in person before deciding on a tile. You could also just buy drywall and cut your own panels and paint them a color of your choice. (as I mentioned in my post #2)
 
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Old 07-14-22, 07:47 PM
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I guess that's my best choice. I was leaning towards PVC but read has less noise reduction and increase costs vs other tiles. What are the cheap typical tiles made of? Plaster of Paris? Mineral Fiber? I like the weight/structure of the Gypsum mentioned above but I'd have to paint them which is an increased cost.
 
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Old 07-15-22, 03:35 PM
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Most tiles are made of some type of fiber material that is lightweight, not including the gypsum panels. I have seen other ones that are made of fiberglass but they seem cheaply constructed.
 
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Old 07-15-22, 07:02 PM
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Gypsum is MUCH heavier than my existing 'fiber'. Is weight a sign of quality?
 
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Old 07-16-22, 01:46 AM
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I've always thought that drywall was too heavy to be a good candidate for drop ceiling panels. I doubt weight has anything to do with the quality.
 
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Old 07-16-22, 06:01 AM
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Gypsum is MUCH heavier than my existing 'fiber'. Is weight a sign of quality?
No. They are just different materials.
 
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Old 07-16-22, 09:50 AM
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Is there a hierarchy of materials that are better than others? Or just go by style/color/price? I like the Gypsum as it feels like it will hold up better but the tile is not the white I am looking for which will require me to paint all of the tiles.
 
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Old 07-16-22, 10:35 AM
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In my experience the higher the price the fancier and more durable the tile ends up being.

Gypsum panels I have seen have a white vinyl coating on them for easy cleaning as they are mostly installed in commercial kitchens, not the off-white as you describe.
 
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Old 07-16-22, 10:43 AM
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I like the heft but cost/effort to paint isn't ideal. I'll look for something white from Armstrong. The website doesn't detail the 'weight' so it's a guessing game.
 
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Old 07-17-22, 01:33 PM
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I’ve just had a thought. They make vinyl coated gypsum board. It is used a lot in the mobile home industry. You might find a color and pattern you like and it is Only 1/4” or 3/8” thick which would lighten the load on the grid and you.
One more thing, if you go with 1/2” gypsum board you won’t really get 4 pieces from an 8’ long sheet because you will or probably will cut the tapered edges off.
 
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Old 07-17-22, 06:27 PM
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Originally Posted by tightcoat
I’ve just had a thought. They make vinyl coated gypsum board. It is used a lot in the mobile home industry. You might find a color and pattern you like and it is Only 1/4” or 3/8” thick which would lighten the load on the grid and you.
One more thing, if you go with 1/2” gypsum board you won’t really get 4 pieces from an 8’ long sheet because you will or probably will cut the tapered edges off.

My contractor dropped off a 1/2" Gypsum 2X2 and I really liked it. It was heavy and just felt like a better product than fiber tiles I have seen in the past. The only issue is off white/chalk color that I would need to paint. I just need to find a white one with the same appearance and that will work well for me. Thanks.

 
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Old 07-18-22, 11:05 AM
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Seems to me like painting a sheet of drywall before it is cut into the 2' square pieces would be pretty simple and would go fast. And if you cut off the tapered edges you only have to paint the middle two feet.
Yes you can buy 2' square pieces at the big box stores but they would have to be painted individually. Just lay them out on the driveway and roll them.

 
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Old 07-18-22, 11:16 AM
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I thought of that but I didn't see anyone recommending it so I thought it was a silly idea. Is it because miner fiber tiles are white and less expensive? Why would anyone want gypsum tiles if they can just go the paint/cut sheetrock route?
 
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Old 07-18-22, 11:48 AM
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Maybe I am confused. SheetRock is gypsum board, one of many brands and some might be whiter than others. There is paper on either side but the inside is gypsum, not much different from plaster in composition. I think the only way to get a sheetrock look as you mentioned in the original post is with gypsum drywall. If the track is the same color and sheen as the panels it will not be too distracting, IMO. Now there are such things as gypsum medallions and moldings and the like and I suppose there could be 2' square cast gypsum panels. I would think these would be quite expensive, though possibly more decorative than a flat piece of gypsum drywall. Gypsum drywall is easy to cut and trim and possibly more durable than other tile but then how much abuse does a ceiling get? And if the weight of the 1/2" panels seems too great then go with 3/8". It might not be much cheaper but would be lighter and easier to handle once it is cut. It will be a little harder to handle 4' X 8' sheets of 3/8", however.
How large is your ceiling? How is the track suspended? I think it would be a simple matter to add some supports while the panels are absent if you want more weight carrying capacity.
Sounds like decision time. Let us know what you do and how it turns out.

 
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Old 07-18-22, 01:27 PM
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I think it's just a terminology issue or me not explaining it properly. It's 3 different spaces with some existing sheet rock and then an existing 2X2 suspended ceiling. There are 3 spaces with some ceiling tiles: 22X8,12X14, and 12X12. I see several gypsum products with a vinyl-ish face that has a painted appearance. This dry-wall look gives me, IMHO, the closest to dry wall I can get. I spoke with Gridstone regarding their product and they made it clear it is not acoustic tile like my existing miner fiber so I started to question my approach rather than going with a typical white mineral fiber that that is probably much cheaper. I also have not read any one recommending cutting painted sheetrock into 2X2 so I thought I am way off basis with my idea.
 
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Old 07-18-22, 03:48 PM
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I have been suggesting drywall panels since post #3 (Drywall, sheetrock, and gypsum are all the same thing)
Because of the tapered edges on a sheet of drywall, you will only get 4 pieces out of a 4x8 sheet of drywall. That means you will waste about half of a sheet so it might not make sense to go that route, although I haven't priced it out. If you have any smaller grid openings than 2x2 it may make better sense. Also, remember that 2x2 tiles are not 2x2. They are about 23.75" x 23.75"

You could also get precut 2x4 drywall tiles and cut them in half.
 
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Old 07-18-22, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand
I have been suggesting drywall panels since post #3 (Drywall, sheetrock, and gypsum are all the same thing)
Because of the tapered edges on a sheet of drywall, you will only get 4 pieces out of a 4x8 sheet of drywall. That means you will waste about half of a sheet so it might not make sense to go that route, although I haven't priced it out. If you have any smaller grid openings than 2x2 it may make better sense. Also, remember that 2x2 tiles are not 2x2. They are about 23.75" x 23.75"

You could also get precut 2x4 drywall tiles and cut them in half.
Yes. I am trying to understand why this doesn't seem to be more recommended by the contractors and reading I have done. My other concern is the lack of noise reduction that Gridstone Gypsum technical support mentioned. That doesn't make sense to me given it is the same as sheet rock?
 

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Old 07-19-22, 10:57 AM
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In an earlier post #26, I think I said this: One more thing, if you go with 1/2” gypsum board you won’t really get 4 pieces from an 8’ long sheet because you will or probably will cut the tapered edges off.
Of course I meant 8 pieces. But if you remove the tapered edges you will get only 4 per sheet.
I think you have seen all the advice we have to offer. What did you do? How do you like it?
 
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Old 07-19-22, 05:33 PM
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Sheetrock has very little noise reduction. Ever been in a room with no carpet or furnishings? There is a lot of echoes.
 
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Old 07-19-22, 06:26 PM
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Thanks for all the advice. I think I am between a pre-fabricated gypsum 2X2 vs. sheet rock that's cut and painted vs new white mineral fiber. Mineral fiber is a cheaper product and I don't have to reinforce the existing grid which will also save monies. It depends if I can find a mineral fiber that has a smooth white appearance.
 
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Old 08-28-22, 07:11 PM
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I re-read this thread and I see the confusion. I am (was) debating Goldbond Gypsum Gold BondŽ GridstoneŽ Gypsum Ceiling Panels (goldbondbuilding.com) which has a white vinyl colored side that mimics white paint. Unfortunately, I did not realize basic sheetrock is also gypsum). When I put a sample 2X2 tile up in the existing grid, the vinyl has an off-white gray color and not a more bright white color that the boss wants for the sheetrock/ceiling type look. Instead of looking for 2X2 tiles, I THINK I am going to go with 1/4" sheetrock and just paint it. This should be much lighter than the Goldbond product and require less support. I am just not sure how to get any sort of reveal and might have to settle with a lay-in appearance. Should I be worried about any sagging?
 
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Old 08-29-22, 03:10 AM
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It would worry me. 1/4" drywall is typically used to either laminate over an existing wall or to bend around a curve and then it's normally 2 pieces thick.
 
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Old 08-29-22, 06:37 AM
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The standard size is 1/2" right? There appears to be a 3/8" size but not sure how much weight loss it will give me.
 
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Old 08-29-22, 06:41 AM
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I don't know about the weight other than 3/8" is lighter ..... I've become a little partial to it as I've gotten older.
 
 

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