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Old 01-20-2010, 08:50 AM   #1
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Drywall or Drop Ceiling


Assuming we're not talking about "fancy" drop ceiling panels, which will likely cost more for me to install, drywall or a drop ceiling.

With a drop ceiling, you've got the the grid, some specialty tools, and the ceiling panels.

With drywall, you've got the drywall, mud, screws, paint, a few specialty tools, and rental of a hydrolic panel lifter.

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Old 01-20-2010, 09:50 AM   #2
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Drywall or Drop Ceiling


Drywall is a cleaner look. Although drop ceiling come in handy if you need access to plumbing, electrical, ect. And there is tons of designs for drop ceilings.

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Old 01-20-2010, 10:19 AM   #3
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Drywall or Drop Ceiling


In the long run, the drop ceiling will start to look old, but the drywall will always look good.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:44 AM   #4
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Drywall or Drop Ceiling


I know they have gotten nicer and if you disguise them with paint (and hope you never have to replace a tile), drop ceilings can be alright. To me they just look commercial or industrial. They sure are nice for getting at things though. If this is a basement, definitely scribble down a diagram of where plumbling and electrical is if you plan to ever need to get drywall out of the way to get to it.

Personally, I think there is a bit more to framing and drywalling a ceiling than there is to hanging a suspended ceiling. Make sure you are not underestimating things. Hanging 4x8 sheets over your head, even with a jack, is not the time to realize you are in way over your head! Hire a pro if you are not sure. I know it is hard to get them out for small jobs but they will come if you are patient.
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Old 01-20-2010, 11:46 AM   #5
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Drywall or Drop Ceiling


For sections of the basement where I feel like I need access to plumbing, I plan to use a drop ceiling (strangely enough, that will basically be the bathroom).

However, for the main "playroom" area, there is little I would ever need to access above the ceiling in the future.
So the first inclination is drop-ceiling just because I believe it's an easier DIY job than drywall.
However, since cost is a huge factor right now, I could see going to drywall just because it's cheaper (if indeed it is).

So again, in the short run, is drywall cheaper?
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:00 PM   #6
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Drywall or Drop Ceiling


Quote:
Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
For sections of the basement where I feel like I need access to plumbing, I plan to use a drop ceiling (strangely enough, that will basically be the bathroom).

However, for the main "playroom" area, there is little I would ever need to access above the ceiling in the future.
So the first inclination is drop-ceiling just because I believe it's an easier DIY job than drywall.
However, since cost is a huge factor right now, I could see going to drywall just because it's cheaper (if indeed it is).

So again, in the short run, is drywall cheaper?
No. The material may be "Lower-Priced". (in Dry Wall). But getting it up there is a much bigger hassle and more expensive and less accessible (when you need to get inside for electrical or plumbing connections) than installing a grid and tiling it up! But, as is the unanimous opinion, Dry wall is classier.!
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:05 PM   #7
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Drywall or Drop Ceiling


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So again, in the short run, is drywall cheaper?
Cannot answer that for you. I think Armstrong and I suppose others make some nice DIY kits for drop ceilings these days. You need to hit a building supply dealer, not a box store, and do some shopping. They will give you a square foot cost and there will be cards on the bulletin board if you want to call a few pros for estimates or I suspect opinions?

Have you handled drywall sheets before? I would have to look up the weight of a 4x8/1/2 inch sheet (minumum you will probably need for a ceiling that might have to pass inspection?) but it is much more than 2x4 suspended cellulose ceiling tile I can assure you.

Looked it up. Only 54 pounds but try to manage the center point of it if you are not accustomed.

Last edited by user1007; 01-20-2010 at 12:09 PM. Reason: Looked up weight of drywall
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Old 01-20-2010, 12:26 PM   #8
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Drywall or Drop Ceiling


I have never hung drywall before... but then I've never hung a drop ceiling either.

Of course, when I set out to install an irrigation system, I hadn't done that before either.

Generally speaking, I'm pretty handy and learning and figuring out how to deal with physical and mechanical things.

Now I have done some serious drywall repair. I had a corner where the corner bead was floated in the wall (not nailed to anything) and the entire corner cracked to heck. Ripped all the mud and drywall at the corner, nailed up the corner bead, and refinished the corner. Once it was painted, you couldn't tell a repair was ever done.

Now when I went to do some repairs on a ceiling, I found that I had difficulty trying to properly feather mud when the area under repair was wider than the width of the puddy knife.

Yes, the drywall will be heavy as I need 5/8th thick for a ceiling from what my building inspector indicated. I've also heard that the bigger the sheets I can get the better because of fewer joints. I just finished sistering up and otherwise reinforcing a bouncy floor. If I can figure out how to do that, I think I can figure out how to hang drywall.

My only consern is when it comes to final mudding and finishing. I don't know if I've learned the neuonces needed to get the job to look professional. I also know that I've heard things like a DIY taking their time can do a better job laying floor tile than a contractor can under time pressure, but that a professional drywall hanger/finisher under time pressure can do a better job than a DIY with all the time in the world.

Then again, this is basically for a play room.

Access to electrical and plumbing isn't much of an issue. The only mechanical that runs through the playroom is the tubing for the A/C unit (and since we just got a new A/C & furnace installed last month, and it was an upsize from what we had, there won't be any need to access that for a long time... if ever). The only other mechanical in this area is a gas line feeding gas logs... but that I can get my HVAC guy to move for my to run between joists (rather than diagonal to them) for not much.

But as sdsester points out, I need to determine NOW if I'm going to be getting in over my head rather than in the middle of trying to handle a large sheet of 5/8" drywall overhead.
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:52 PM   #9
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Drywall or Drop Ceiling


70-74 pounds for a 4x8 sheet of 5/8.

Make sure you have wide enough knives for this work if you decide to move forward as a DIY project. Use real paper tape, not the mesh stuff.

Be sure you do your drywall layout before you start climbing around the ceiling! Get a nice drywall square and a tool for cutting out for your fixtures.
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Old 01-20-2010, 04:31 PM   #10
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70-74 pounds for a 4x8 sheet of 5/8.

Make sure you have wide enough knives for this work if you decide to move forward as a DIY project. Use real paper tape, not the mesh stuff.

Be sure you do your drywall layout before you start climbing around the ceiling! Get a nice drywall square and a tool for cutting out for your fixtures.
So if I try to use 4x12 sheets, they are going to weigh over 100 pounds. But if you're using a hydrolic lifter, what does that matter (other than needing help getting the sheet on the lifter).

The room is 19x14.5, so four 12' sheets and four 8' sheets would do the job great. I can stagger the joints by just swapping which side the 12' sheet is on, and I can even save a few pounds on the 12' sheet by cutting it to 11'.

So other than needing another person to load the hydrolic lifter (I can swing that 4 times) is there any reason I should NOT use 12' long sheets?
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:07 PM   #11
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Drywall or Drop Ceiling


I would use drywall where possible if for no other reason that it looks less "commercial". Definitely use 12's to keep butt joints to minimum. I install both drywall and acoustical ceilings. Cost may be a "wash" by the time you figure the painting of the drywall. Material for a drop is definitely more. If you go with a drop in the bath area, be sure to use a tile that is suitable for damp areas to avoid sagging. And I'd go with a 2'x2' rather than 4'x4' as it looks better (especially in a small area) and is less prone to sag...
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Old 02-04-2010, 01:37 PM   #12
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Drywall or Drop Ceiling


The cost angle has convinced me to try drywall for the main room. But the bathroom has so much exposed plumbing from the master bath above, it would seem foolish to cover it all up.

Thanks for the suggestion on the ceiling tile. I have figured on 4x4, but hadn't considered other sizes. Is 2x2 even relatively available? Or do most people just cut 4x4 (or even 4x8) to size? For that matter, could you possibliy even just do 1x1 and substitute the type of tiles you normally mount to the ceiling (or does that get into building codes and not using materials according to manufacturers instructions)?

Then again, since the 1x1 tiles interlock, could you use 4 of them at a time in a 2x2 grid? It might be a crazy idea, hadn't though it through... just sort of thinking out loud.
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Old 02-04-2010, 02:07 PM   #13
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Drywall or Drop Ceiling


Standard ceiling tile for drop ceilings is either 2'x2' or 2'x4'. There is no 1'x1' (more commonly called 12"x12") available for a "lay-in" type ceiling. The 12"x12" has a groove around it and slides over the grid (which ends up hidden) and the pieces in between have "splines" inserted to hold them to each other together. That type of ceiling is pretty much like a drywall ceiling where you can't just take a section/piece out at random. What plumbing are you concerned about having access to?? If it's just the pipes, there's no more need for concern than the plumbing that runs between the first and second floor of a 2 story house. You don't see drop ceilings there. If there is a shutoff or cleanout that you may need to access, frame around it and put up an access panel or just a return air grill that you can remove and use drywall...
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Old 02-04-2010, 02:21 PM   #14
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I knew the 12"x12" had something of a tounge-n-groove makeup. That's why I though it might be possible to "build" a 2'x2' panel with 4 12"x12" with the tounges cut off on the outside edges. The tounge-n-groove would then support the panels in the middle of a 2'x2' section.

My building inspector suggested drop ceiling for some reason, and I wonder if a part of the reason might be more than just access to any plumbing above the ceiling. The plumbing intrudes into the space below the floor joists. It would seem that I would have to either build soffits around all the plumbing (in this case a fair percentage of the ceiling space) our I would in effect have to find a way to logically extend the floor joists below the level of the pipes for a flat ceiling.

Soffits may have to play into the plans anyway because when I go to frame the walls, some of the Walls that Can't Go To the Ceiling. While THAT issue is along the main basement wall, there is still other pipes and traps that stick out more in the main part of the space. I've considered the idea of getting a bunch of 45 elbows that would allow me to modify the down drops and shift all of the drain work to be away from the wall. But I know from experience (just doing a lawn sprinkler) that moving the pipes is a lot more difficult than it sounds.
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Old 02-04-2010, 02:27 PM   #15
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Standard ceiling tile for drop ceilings is either 2'x2' or 2'x4'. ...
... well duh... I knew that. Just getting my dimensions out of whack (4x8 plywood for spacers on the uneven joists for drywall... 2x4 panels for drop ceiling... My thinking is only off by a factor of 2).

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