Basement Ceiling

katefJanuary 26, 2009

We are getting ready to finish a currently unfinished basement. We have tall ceilings to work with which is nice. We do not want the traditional drop ceiling because it looks cheezy and we don't really want to dry wall either. Anyone ever use the wood laminate (maple, natural finish) ceiling planks by Armstrong? Comments/Suggestions? Also, are we making a mistake by NOT putting in a drop ceiling and therefore losing access to heating/cooling runs, pipes, wires etc.

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I personally resist drop ceilings for reasons you state. Ours is drywall but I really like one of our friends basement who installed tongue & groove oak. Stained it, and it really creates a warm atmosphere. I'm sure laminate would look nice too.

As to access, there's always a risk. But, the same applies to elsewhere in your home. Electrical code requires access to junction boxes. You may want to install access panels to heat-run dampers. And, you may wish to design some access points for future needs like to run wiring for a sound system. In my case, I dropped the drywall 1.5" by using 2 x 4's and have been able to run cables. I also left some empty conduits for future electrical needs.

Good luck designing and building yours.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 6:03PM
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I'm no style expert, but it's interesting how tastes change. I like wall paneling, but many people don't nowadays.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2009 at 11:03PM
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I know that a drop ceiling isn't the most attractive option, although there are "better" looking tiles available, but access to mechanicals is essential. I've seen plenty of fixed basement ceilings that had to be ripped up to find a leak or make a repair. Fixed ceilings can also can complicate future projects including something as simple as running coax or a phone line.

I'd strongly urge you to go with a drop ceiling. Nobody spends that much time looking at the ceiling anyway. :-)

    Bookmark   January 28, 2009 at 5:21PM
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You can get a not cheesy looking dropped ceiling. We have one and the access have been invaluable. We've needed to run speaker wires, get to eletrcial connects, pipes etc. I've seen what happens when people have to start ripping up a finished ceiling. Not pretty. I wouldn't dream of a drywalled ceiling in a basement.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2009 at 1:00PM
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Check out the link below - vinyl ceiling tiles. I am considering these since they look a lot nicer than the traditional drop ceiling tiles. Check out the gallery and see how nice these look painted. I believe Armstrong and other big name brands have similar products.

The problem with the wood panels is that they are screwed in place and expensive.

I am probably going to use a hybrid approach. I will box out ducts and make some false boxes to create a coffered look and drywall around these boxes. I will then use the vinyl ceiling tiles in the center. I just saw this in a coffee shop and it looked nice. The drywalled sections were made to look like beams or support structures and the ceiling looked like old world tin - but it was a dropped celing with vinyl tiles that were painted.

Good luck.

Here is a link that might be useful: Vinyl Ceiling Tiles

    Bookmark   January 30, 2009 at 9:56AM
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I grew up in a house with a plastered basement ceiling with some well placed access panels. There has never been a problem with access because it was planned out. IMO suspended ceilings say "basement". Some of the Armstrong systems that are really nice looking cost more than a drywall ceiling--I priced these out for a client.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2009 at 5:04PM
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Hey, here is a gallery with lots of pictures of remodeled ceilings using drop (suspended) ceiling tiles. They look pretty darn good!

Here is a link that might be useful: Basement Ceiling Photo Gallery

    Bookmark   May 31, 2009 at 8:16PM
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drop ceiling! we moved into a house with a fixed ceiling and we had to punch holes in it to find leaks, electrical wires etc so i would go with a good quality drop ceiling because you never know!

    Bookmark   June 24, 2009 at 2:26PM
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You might check-out - they have a large selection of vinyl tiles in lots of colors, even some that look like wood but are water-proof. You can even get the grid to match, or covers to change the look of existing grid. They can look very elegant and are more durable than some of the lighter weight plastic tiles available elsewhere online.

Here is a link that might be useful: Basement Ceiling Tiltes

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 2:26PM
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Do not be afraid of drywall on the is easy, very easy to patch if you every need to. Your basement will look like a regular room too, not the basement look.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2009 at 6:30PM
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Unless you built your home and took photos of all the electrical and plumbing, you have no way of knowing what is up there when you need to get access to it. And that presumes any problem will occur only in a designated "access panel."

    Bookmark   July 18, 2009 at 12:38AM
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The drywall access issue is over rated, go for it. I had all my basements covered in drywall my whole life, and not once did I have to tear it apart to find something. People just worry about that fear which is not real. With some common sense and some test holes, you can easily locate or remedy an issue. And wires run throughout your whole house, and who knows were they go...yes, we don't.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2009 at 4:28PM
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I have seen the photos of the basement ceiling posted here and they are so beautiful. Hope to see your finished basement soon.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 7:44AM
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Isn't vinyl as a moisture impermeable material a problem for basements that may get humidity?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2009 at 9:10PM
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In response to Jarofstars31:

Using a drop ceiling and drop ceiling tiles( in regards to the tiles people are discussing) do not necessarily create an impermeable design. With ceilume Ceiling Tiles the tiles are a lightweight vinyl that rest in the grid and are by no means air tight.

I may be misunderstanding your question, maybe you could elaborate a little bit more on what exactly it is that you are asking?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 2:56PM
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