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False ceiling... Why?

2918 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  jpelzer
I was cutting some holes in my ceiling today to install recess lighting. During prep, I noticed that the beams were running perpendicular to the direction I expected them to. I cut my first hole, and began fishing over to an existing fixture... Lo and behold, I could fish perpendicular to the beams the entire 5 feet, no drilling!

I began investigating, and found that my 8' ceiling is actually dropped down 6" from the original ceiling, attached to 2x6's that based on their color are about 20 years old. The 2x6s that I can see are not flush with the original ceiling, instead dropping down about a half inch, providing the gap that is making my life easy for fishing. I haven't yet found any point where they are actually attached, but I've only looked through a few holes, out about 9" in all directions.

So, the question is, why is the ceiling dropped like this? I mean, if they just wanted to put rock over old bad plaster (though the plaster where I can see is in very good shape), why fir down so far? Why take 6" instead of just 1"?

Adding to the mystery, the ceiling in the dining room (off the LR) is 8'3", and the kitchen (off both the DR and LR) is 7'9". I'd noticed the kitchen height before, but I actually figured they'd dropped the whole ceiling to work around a beam there... Hmmm, that gives me an idea for a reason... Maybe they took the entryway and LR and took out a load-bearing wall, put in a beam, dropped the whole ceiling to hide it? I think I'd rather have the 6" everywhere else. I'll have to find a good way to probe for that.

Any other ideas for a reason?
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Yeah, I originally thought it was for the A/C. The house is 1920's, A/C is around 1980, so it matched. But looking at the ducts in the LR, they actually look like they were extended down an additional 6", so they go up a full 12" before they turn. The bad plaster hypothesis seems plausible, though it don't see why they didn't just shim with 1x2's in that case.

I'm going to tear out the kitchen/DR ceilings when I take down the wall between them (since they're not the same height right now anyway) and find out if my guess for the kitchen is correct. If yes, then I bet I'm correct in the LR too. I'm tempted to break out the rotozip and check for the beam, but the LR ceiling is totally intact right now, and I'm not in a mudding mood. It will stay a mystery for a while.
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