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mike dub 02-17-2013 03:20 PM

Newb DIY'er -basement drop ceiling question
Hi all,

We're finishing three rooms in our basement. A lil background on the project so far: I painted the foundation walls with Dryloc, per county code. My great-with-carpentry father in law and I framed the foundation walls (interior walls were already framed), and I soffitted the HVAC vents. County has inspected the job so far. I've installed foundation wall / between studs insulation, per county code. Luckily this basement is super 'dry'.

After drywall, I'm planning to install an Armstrong suspended ceiling. Way too much utility stuff in the 'ceiling' of the basement. The elbows of a couple original 45 year old copper water pipes leaked recently. A mess on the basement floor- but luckily it's just slab/concrete floor at this point. Had just those sections of pipe replaced with PVC. So I could see it happening again in other parts of the water pipes and making a mess of a drywall ceiling. Luckily my drop ceiling will hang just above the all-hallowed 7 foot mark floor-to-ceiling.

So a statement then a question: a Stanley DIY basement book I have says the wall rail (perimeter hang rail for a suspended ceiling) on which the runners and side runners rest "can be drilled or nailed to the studs". Which I think would mean that the rails come pre-drilled for 15 1/2" on-center. But some of my studs don't fall at 15 1/2 ... due to window wells, water shutoff and other stuff on the walls that caused studs to space closer than 15.

So question is: can I drill holes in the wall rail anywhere I want- in order to screw it into the wall studs where they fall? I checked the FAQ section on Armstrong's site and didn't see this question answered. I think drilling aluminum rails is possible, but I just don't want to pinch the rails or mess them up while drilling my own holes. Is there a special drill bit I'd need? I have bits that can drill metals, but aluminum might require a light-action bit?

Just wondering how 'flexible' the rail kits are - as I will need to install wall / ceiling rails slightly off center.

While I'm at it- is it good to rent a laser level to set a good chalk line all the way around the room? One of our rooms is 12 by 24 feet. Decent sized. Wondering if leveling is an issue with that sized (and shaped) room.

Thanks for your thoughts. Mike in NC

oh'mike 02-17-2013 04:25 PM

The l shaped wall sections are not pre drilled---they are so thin that drilling the holes your self can be done easily using a sharp drill bit----I use a small crown staple gun and that punches right through it---

If the floors above are reasonably level--you could simply measure down from a floor joist to get the elevation---
a laser level is handy---but often takes more time to set up than it saves if you aren't used to them---

I use a water level on occasion---

joecaption 02-17-2013 04:25 PM

I use a punch like this one. Easer then a a drill and does not leave a burr.
Going to need one any way to bunch holes for the wires.

A self leveling lazer level would make things a whole lot faster and easyer.
Should be able to do a whole room in about 1/2 hour.

mike dub 02-18-2013 07:37 AM

Thanks, gentleman! This is great info. Have a good one,

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