Drywall ceiling in basement of new home or 2'x4' Grid

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brett Loomis, Aug 14, 2001.

  1. Brett Loomis

    Brett Loomis Stunt Coordinator

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    I will be finishing my basement and adding a HT room. I've received quotes for Drywall/Sheetrock ceiling as well as the suspended/drop ceiling using 2'x 4' USG/Armstrong tiles.
    It appears that the drywall gives the most headroom and lower cost. But my basement is 7'10" to the joists and 7' to I-beams and HVAC Ductwork.
    Any suggestions or recommendations on which route will provide better acoustics? I am concerned about accessibility once drywall is installed BUT I like the added headroom of drywwall. Anyone had good or bad experiences either way. I also want to mimimize sound transmission through the floor.
    Thanks,
    Brett
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  2. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    I'm actually kind of suprised that a drywall ceiling quoted higher than a suspended ceiling.....I figured they'd be close.
    How much of a difference was there?
    OK....on to your question.
    I faced the same decision last year when I finished my basement. I finally wound up going with a suspended ceiling since I was doing the work myself. I've attempted to drywall a ceiling before and the results weren't too good.
    There are alot of considerations with this. First is price, but you've already gotten that covered. Another thing to think about when you look at price is that a suspended ceiling isn't that difficult to do yourself.
    If you can pop a straight chalk line on the wall and don't mind taking on projects yourself.....it's really alot easier that I thought it would be at first consideration.
    My basement room is about 15 x 40 and me and my dad (neither one of us had ever fooled with this before) were able to finish in about half a day....it's something you should read up on anyhow. It'll save a buttload of $$.
    As far as headroom goes....true, your drywall will give you a few more inches of clearance, but you're still going to have to allow for the ductwork and plumbing and whatever else is up there with either choice. The problem is that you have to allow 3 or 4 inches minimum for tile clearance when putting them in.
    What I did when planning the ceiling is I did a good bit of rerouting on my ductwork. That kept me from having to run my ceiling at 7' like you said. I had about the same clearance...acutally probalby closer to 8' to the joists and I wound up being able to run my ceiling at about 7'7" or 7'8". I only lost about 4 or 5 inches of headroom by making sure all of my ductwork was run between joists instead of across them.
    As far as sound goes.....that will go either way. The drywall will do a pretty good job of keeping the sound from being a huge problem upstairs, but will probably have less desirable sound in the HT.
    The drop ceiling will do a pretty good job of absorbing the sound and cutting down on ceiling reflections in the room, but it does a pretty crappy job of insulating the sound from the rest of the house.
    Granted there are probably treatments you could add to the sheetrock to cut down on the reflections, but that just adds to the cost of the job.
    I tried to do a good a job as possible by insulating the crap out of the upstairs floor (between joists) before putting the ceiling up, and it does an alright job. Bass is a big problem though.
    My HT is directly below my living room, and if we have company and some are downstairs and some up, I have to turn my sub off (SVS) to make conversation upstairs possible. The mids and highs don't make it too far out of the room, so that's not as big a deal.
    So overall, you've got goods and bads about both choices, so it's really a difficult decision to make.
    Oh....another plus to the suspended route is being able to add things into the ceiling after it's complete. I knew I wanted to put in some can lights eventually, and had I gone the sheetrock route, there would've really been no way to do it after the ceiling was put in.
    With the drop ceiling, it was an easy job.
    Email me if you have any specific questions or want to see the finished result.
     
  3. Kerry Hackney

    Kerry Hackney Stunt Coordinator

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    I did my basement with the 2X2 grids. I figured that sooner or later I would need to get to the mechanical systems which include water lines, gas, electrical, CATV, phone and hvac. You can always "box" around the lowest obstruction and keep the rest as high as you can get it. If you take your time and are careful you only need a couple of inches to get the tiles in. Using the recommended clearences makes it much easier. I have some that actually touch the hvac ducts. I put the grid just close enough to allow a tile to be slid over and drop in. You can't do the whole cieling that close but you can work around smaller obstruction.
    As for sound deadning... I put fiberglass bats between the joists above the drop cieling. In my house the only thing that intrudes above is bass. Most of it comes up the stairs through the door.. YMMV
     
  4. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    Yeah....good point. I forgot about framing around unmoveable obstructions.
    I've got two of those, both being ductwork that couldn't be moved between joists. As long as they don't protrude too fare from the ceiling, they're really not that noticable. Most people that see my HT don't even notice that, and one runs about 17 feet down one wall.
     
  5. Brian_J

    Brian_J Second Unit

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    FYI, typical cost for a suspended ceiling would be $1.50/SF depending on quality of tiles used (and size of the job). It is always cheaper to go with acoustical ceilings than a framed drywall ceiling. I thus dont understand the quote you got.
    Brian
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    Zed's Dead Baby...
    [Edited last by Brian_J on August 15, 2001 at 04:50 PM]
     
  6. Peter Scott

    Peter Scott Auditioning

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    I went with drywall. It provides a much better and more professional looking finish that mirrors the other rooms in the house. At 7'10" I'd be doing the same thing. It is easy to drywall around hvac etc. and you will appreciate the extra headroom especially with the 7' clearance on the ducting.
    I don't think that access to the joists is much of an argument. I've had this home for nine years and have yet to see the need for access other than the water cutoffs where I've made access panels. If you're worried about future cable runs, run pvc piping along the joists before you drywall them in to allow for the future.
    Acoustically, my theater room is excellent. I attribute much of this to the ceiling having the different obstructions (hvac and beams) which were drywalled around. I would worry about hvac with suspended ceiling as it can rattle when playing music or movies loud. My wife and I crank the sound to deafening levels and hear no vibration at all other than the popcorn bowl on the coffee table [​IMG]
    I did the drywall and framing myself but had a drywaller friend of mine come in to do the finish work. I'm very pleased with the result.
    My two cents. good luck in whichever way you choose.
     
  7. Brett Loomis

    Brett Loomis Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks all for the replies. My quote for drywall was much cheaper thean the 2 X 4 suspended tiles. The reason Iw as given was that the suspended tiles I chose were called "Glacier" or "Frost" by USG and just the tiles were Approx. $1.05/sq. ft. not including framing supports or install labor. I did pick out the nicest tiles I could find because I am not a big fam of the office type with a million "pencil holes" in them.
    My basement is approximately 1,000 sq. ft...Can anyone provide a rough estimate on which route should be more and an approximate cost per sq. ft. (materials + labor). The consensus on 3 quotes is that drywall is cheaper than suspended tiles. I am leaning towards Drywall for added height and appearance reasons (matches rest of house).
    Thanks again, Brett
     
  8. Mike OConnell

    Mike OConnell Second Unit

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    Mike
    I had the same decision to make about one year ago and the quotes on drywall were all cheaper than suspended. Experienced installers can doi a drywall ceiling much faster than a suspended.
    I went with 2x2 grids with what was the most expensive USG tile that Home Depot sold off the shelf.
    The duct work was frames and drywalled and the "flat" part of the ceiling was suspended.
    I have had reason three times so far to get above the ceiling and my neighbor had to tear out part of his drywall ceiling to access a plumbing problem....
    I highly recommend a suspended ceiling in a basement, but the 2x2 look much better than the 2x4 style (IMHO).
    Good Luck,
    Mike
     
  9. ace peterson

    ace peterson Second Unit

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    I went with the drywall ceiling in my HT. It is no question cheaper than suspended ceilings. But it has it drawbacks, too. I haven't heard anyone here complaining of lifting those sheets up and having to hold them there while your buddy tries to get them screwed in. I also haven't heard anyone complaining about the mudwork involved or sanding all that mud. *Heh, am I complaining?*
    It really does look good once it is done and painted. We used a roll-on texture product to give the ceiling a "popcorn" style. This stuff covers up any bad mud jobs or goof-up areas you might have had. I think it is definately a do-it-yourself job if you have a friend or two that is willing to help you. Drywall is like $3 something for a 4x8' sheet, a 5 gal. bucket of joint compound is only $8-9, and a few rolls of drywall tape, screws, texture is pretty cheap, & paint.
    I can't speak for acoustics yet because the HT isn't finished. But from others here, it sounds just as good or better than anything else.
    I put a pvc tube the the ceiling to allow for cables to span the room, but I'm afraid I should have put in another one. I think I'll need it. Too late now. *ahh*
    Ace
     
  10. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    I need to come shopping in Iowa if drywall is only $3 a sheet!
    You're lucky to get it for $8 or $9 a sheet around here.
     
  11. Brett Loomis

    Brett Loomis Stunt Coordinator

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    Mike Oconnel/All--Thanks for the all tips....I agree with the point that 2 x 2 tiles look much better than 2 x 4 tiles....Mine was a typo above....2 x 4's remind me too much of an office environment. And GOD knows that I don't want anything reminding me of work in my HT/Listening room.
    Drywall in Michigan is around $4 for 1/2" 4x8 sheet and 5/8" is around $5 per sheet if I recall. I'll check and post prices just for S & G's
    With my luck, I'll finish everything in drywall and then have a series of plumbing, duct work and floor squeak problems requiring access......I think I am answering my own question.
     
  12. ace peterson

    ace peterson Second Unit

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    Seriously, 1/2" drywall is about $3.69 per sheet. I can't believe it would be so much in Georgia. That's amazing.
    Ace
     
  13. Kevin Potts

    Kevin Potts Second Unit

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  14. Brian_J

    Brian_J Second Unit

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    Remember that we are talking about a basement and the ceiling is usually not ready to have drywall screwed to it. You have to frame/fur-out and usually a number of soffits must be framed to get around the ducts, plumbing, etc. Suspended ceilings are simply suspended from the floor joists below the lowest pipe, duct or whatever, making for a fairly easy install. If the ceiling is ready for sheetrock then yes, you could have a very inexpensive sheetrock ceiling, which is superior to acoustical in most respects.
    Brian
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    Zed's Dead Baby...
    [Edited last by Brian_J on August 19, 2001 at 12:39 PM]
     
  15. Brian_J

    Brian_J Second Unit

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  16. Kevin Potts

    Kevin Potts Second Unit

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    Brian,
    You do bring up a good point about having to frame around water lines, ductwork, etc. If that is the case then it would definitely be more expensive to drywall the lid as opposed to hanging tile. I'm assuming that since the quotes Brent received for the drywall work were substantially lower than hanging acoustic tile, it would be a fairly simple job to hang the drywall.
    It has been my experience that roughly half of the new houses that are being built have basement ceilings that are ready for drywall. However, this depends a lot on what kind of floor trusses were used during construction. Homes utilizing engineered floor trusses are more apt to have plumbing and electrical lines run above the bottom of the joist.
    ------------------
    [​IMG] "See the world on the wings of rock and roll"
     
  17. Mike OConnell

    Mike OConnell Second Unit

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    Mike
    My basement ceiling is actually a combination of drywall and suspended. The ductwork and a support beam were "boxed-out" with drywall and then the remaining ceiling had a suspended ceiling hung.
    The bottom of the suspended ceiling is approximately 3" from the bottom of the joists and the floor-to-ceiling ranges from 7'-6" to 7'-8". (The concrete floor actually did slope to the drain!).
    A link to my home theater pictures is:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/bbs/...ent/28828.html
    Good Luck,
    Mike
     

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