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So I have a 1980 Wick Panelized home with an unfinished basement that we are completely remodeling. We want to finish the main room but the walls are currently on 7'8". My husband is 6'4". It's a walk out with a steal beam through the main room. What are our options???? Once we get the HVAC soffits in and drywall there could be spots as low at 6'8". That's only 4" headroom. :( I need some incredibly savvy solution!! Please help.
 

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Hi rerin and welcome to the forum.
One, you could exchange him for a shorter husband. If that is not an option, then leave the ceiling open and just paint everything up there. Sounds crazy, but when one finishes a basement they shouldn't get too carried away (IMO).

First, most basements were never built to be finished. The necessary steps to eliminate moisture vapor passing through the concrete is very expensive and must be done at the time of construction. Once built you are left with managing that moisture to avoid that old basement smell.

Here's some reading: http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/all-about-basements

And here are some pictures of painted ceiling joists so you can keep hubby and keep him from hitting the ceiling.
https://www.google.com/search?q=pai...X&ved=0ahUKEwj77tqPnYDQAhUn54MKHVqlCpQQ7AkIMA

Bud
 
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Usual main duct can eat up a lot of room. I think you can change the duct size as long as you don't change how much air it lets through. If you have 10x6 duct, that is 60 square inches opening. If you replace that duct with similar size duct but thinner and still allows side outlets, then you can gain some inches. I insulated my duct with 1" xps also. When you frame the duct, you don't need frame/nailer on the duct bottom face. 1/2" drywall can span 16" at least. Frame the duct sides and put the drywall to the frame.
 

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Depending on your location, your building code may have a minimum ceiling height for a finished space. There are some allowances for ducts and things provided they don't exceed a certain percentage of the total floor area.
 

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If that is not an option, then leave the ceiling open and just paint everything up there.
+1 to that.
I've done this to a handful of basement ceilings (flat black). You'd be surprised on how well it cleans things up.
 

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The previous owners here sprayed ducts with texture and painted. Looks pretty good. They covered the joists bays with canvas, stapled. Also looks decent.
 

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Paint on a shiny metal duct may not stay stuck, esp with condensation. It does better on galvanized metal. Canvas is not fire resistant. Also the combustion appliance, such as water heater, boiler, furnace, must have fire block material over it as a ceiling. 5/8 drywall is one material. Sheet metal in combo with thinner drywall may work. Ask your town.
 

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Paint on a shiny metal duct may not stay stuck, esp with condensation. It does better on galvanized metal. Canvas is not fire resistant.
I dunno, the paint on my ducts has been firmly in place for almost 15 years now. About 50 feet of supply and return in rectangular and tubular variety.

As for canvas, yes some canvas is not fire resistant. Some is, and is marketed as such.
 

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We did a $250,000 basement finish years ago. By the time it came to the exercise room, the owners wanted to save some cash, so we sprayed the joists and mechanicals with a medium gray paint, which we judged was about the same color as dirt and dust. We lit up the space with tiny spots that directed the light onto the floor and equipment, away from the ceiling. At the end of the job, that was one of their favorite features.
 
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