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jgrohol 03-31-2011 02:21 PM

Basement - drop ceiling
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I am in the process of redoing a room in my basement behind my garage. I am sealing the concrete foundation and then will insulate accordingly. I am then going to frame out walls and insulate them. This room is going to be my home gym so I am going to be installing a gym grade rubber floor. All of that is straight forward, however I'm a bit lost on the ceiling. From floor to bottom of joist is 93". As you can see in the pictures, I have two air ducts. One along the wall feeds three vents to the floor above and one for this room. The duct in the middle of the room is the cold air return.

I wanted to do a drop ceiling because I have pipes and wiring that I may need access to. Plus You never know when I'll need to run new coax or power to the rooms above. The issue is if I put the drop ceiling in, it may be too low to make that room a gym consider standing/running on our treadmill requires almost about 90" of clearance.

I plan on putting in two lights into the drop ceiling as well.

What is the minimum drop for a drop ceiling? Any other options I may have? Maybe a two level drop ceiling?

CplDevilDog 03-31-2011 02:27 PM

I would box around the HVAC and panel them. Then hold your ceiling grid low enough to cover all of your other mechanicals.

jgrohol 03-31-2011 02:31 PM

How low can I put the grid and get lights in there? What kind of lights would I use?

Also, box around the HVAC with what?

hyunelan2 03-31-2011 02:37 PM


Originally Posted by jgrohol (Post 620755)

Also, box around the HVAC with what?

Wood and drywall. Frame out the HVAC ducting so that it will hang down under the height of the drop ceiling.

For lights, if you can't get enough clearance, you could do wall sconces. With a recessed can fixture, it should fit within the joist height, so it would be able to fit with however high you go on the drop.

I had a friend who had a similar issue with the ceiling. Instead of doing any ceiling, he simply sprayed everything black. The ductwork, joists, conduit - all of it in flat black. It doesn't have the finished appearance of a family room, but looks right at home as a sports bar (which is what he uses it for). That might work out alright for your home gym. (Plus his taxes didn't go up because it is not a "finished" space without a ceiling).

jgrohol 03-31-2011 02:53 PM

Ahh... that may be a good idea. Since this room had a "finished" ceiling before and now won't, will my taxes go down? ha ha ha.

If I do wall sconces to fit in the joist spacing, then what is my lowest drop for the ceiling? I'd still need to tilt the tiles in when the grid is done.

Also, what kind of insulation would I use to wrap those ducts before I box them in?

hyunelan2 03-31-2011 04:05 PM

Sorry, I was talking about 2 differnet kinds of lighting:

Wall sconce:

For recessed ceiling heights, they make shallow fixtures that are less than 6" tall. What is the depth of your joists?
Non-IC example:


Originally Posted by jgrohol (Post 620774)
will my taxes go down? ha ha ha.

HA, good luck with that.

jgrohol 03-31-2011 05:02 PM

I have true 2x's for joists. I have 9" height on them.

One of the other things I have to figure out is how many lights. I want the room lit up very well. If I had room I'd put in some fluorescent troffer lights.

Rory Read 03-31-2011 08:09 PM

High Ceilings and Wall Board
In basement remodels, I am often asked to tear out drop ceilings, both the ceiling tile/panel type and instances where the entire ceiling has been lowered to make room for low hanging plumbing, wiring and mechanicals.

Usually the stuff we take out is old and tired, so a new ceiling is always going to look better in comparison.

Still, everybody appreciates a higher ceiling, and everybody says the new wall board ceiling looks better than the old ceiling tiles.

It is true that you would keep better access with a ceiling tile system, but is that worth it? You probably wouldn't settle for one any where else in your house.

You shouldn't have any problem fitting common recessed lights in your 2x8 floor joist system.

My vote is to soffit around the ducts, make the room as tall as possible and put in a permanent ceiling.

jgrohol 03-31-2011 09:25 PM

Man I have to say I love this site so far. So much info.

I've pondered back and forth between drop and finshed ceiling. This house was built in the 50's. We're doing a room by room slow upgrade to the house. I'm afraid if I do a perm ceiling now I won't get to upgrade the plumbing later, etc. There are about 5-6 hot/cold water pipers running in this ceiling. Also, the central air returns and the ducts are from a central air system put in some time ago. We may be upgrading that soon too.

Maybe I'll just leave the ceiling open for the time being until I get the rest of the mechanics redone? That's always an option. Just like hyunelan2 said and paint it all black.

The ducts I have in that room I'd like to insulate. Should I just use duct wrap and metal tape?

hyunelan2 03-31-2011 09:45 PM

If you have major renovation you need access to do, any ceiling is going to be a pain and be in the way, drop or drywall. If you only have small things you will need to access, a few removable or hinged panels in a drywall ceiling would help. When I started on my basement last fall, there was no way I was going to put in a permanent ceiling - I wanted access. Guess what the wife wanted? Guess what I did? I am SOOOO glad I put in a permanent ceiling - it looks so much more finished and the extra headroom is great [ the one room I have finished so far].

jgrohol 03-31-2011 10:08 PM

If you look at the one pic I've attached, you'll see there's one vent in the duct to heat that room. If I soffit around that duct, how would I go about "extending" that vent to the side of the soffit and such?

jgrohol 04-01-2011 12:39 PM

I can still use 2x2s for the box framing around the ducts?

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