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Finishing our basement, it has unfinished 8'8" ceiling.

There is a long room, 12'Wx20'L, and the ductwork cuts across it right through the center on the width. We had planned to make tray ceilings for the other rooms where it runs along a wall. But doesn't work for this room b/c the ducts are down the middle of a room. We thought about just bringing the whole ceiling down to match the ductwork, but then we have to move a sprinkler head which is expensive. Any ideas how to make our ductwork into a positive?
 

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You don't mention how deep the duct drops from the ceiling, but if it's centered...or close, you might make 2 sections of "tray" ceiling, one to either side. It might look better if you bring the ceiling out flat around the perimeter equal to the bottom of the dropped section. That would be a little more work, but not really difficult with a nailgun and some spare time. A coffered look would also be a possibility, perhaps making the center support deeper and the cross-members shallower... Maybe some concealed lighting in the recesses? Accent paint and some crown with a simple step-up all the way around? Probably this last would be the most elegant.
 

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Just thinking that if your house has fire sprinklers you probably need to have someone evaluate the effect of the tray ceilings in the other rooms. Things like ceiling fans, tray ceilings etc. affect the sprinkler head spray pattern so changes after the sprinkler system was designed and installed can make the system noncompliant with sprinkler codes.
 

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I will be building a new home starting in about a month.....i am wondering how you design and build a tray ceiling. I have been to my local lumber store to purchase books about tray ceiling designs but can't find anything...
 

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Tray ceilings are quite simple. You use the same angles common to roofs. If you're to be building a home conventionally you just raise the ceiling height for the room in which you want the tray. You can get trusses with the tray built in, but I'd request a raised ceiling and hand-frame the tray for better results. You'd probably get a lot of input on building them if you start a new thread as this kind of thing is fun to talk about for many of us carpentry guys.
 

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I would break the ceiling into four equal sections, divided along the duct work then perpendicular to the duct. Then tray each section.

Nice balanced (and zen) look. Use pot lights in / around each.
 

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Shouldn't be that much to drop a sprinkler head if it's not a commercial building where they have to shut down/drain the whole system (which is a separate entity from the regular plumbing system and regulated/inspected by the fire marshal). In a residential situation I would think it's a matter of shutting off the water, drain the lines, add a longer piece of pipe to the sprinkler head and turn the water back on?? Haven't actually run across residential sprinklers yet, though. I would leave as much of the ceiling as high as possible. Just box around the duct in the middle......
 
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