Basement ceiling woes


Hi,
A friend is at her wits end about replacing a ceiling in her basement. It is of the type where they put wood strips across the joists, and then staples a 1ft square interlock style tile to it. It seems no one does the 1ft square anymore. She tried to do some sort of a replacement on it, and although her intentions were good, she really didn't do a good job. SO, I want to help her out.
There is no way I can do a drop ceiling, since the overhead clearance is bad to begin with (I'm 6ft 4in and barely make it, then when I get to the steel beam I have to duck or it'll be disasterous). So do I just rip all the tiles down, rip out the wood strips (Oh, and of course for some reason they aren't spaced apart consistently.. some are 12" apart, some 16", others who knows!) and start from scratch? Is there a track based system that doesn't need 3 inches between the joists and the frame to be able to pull the panels out...
Honestly, I'm not really good with carpentry. I don't even do it on my OWN house. So it would need to be something FAIRLY dummy proof. Maybe there is an option I haven't thought of? (I suggested putting contact paper on the ceiling and that didn't go over well. ;) )
CC's to the email address appreciated.
Thanks, Tuc
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Please consider also that such tiles can be very flammable (DAMHIKT), and the insurance company would probably very much like to see them go.
J
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See DIY at http://www.diyonline.com/servlet/GIB_BaseT/diylib_article.html?session.docidI2 .
There is a product out there from at least one vendor, probably more, that will do what you are looking for. Channels mounted right across joists, and the panels snap in from below.
Other option is rip it all down, and shoot ceiling area and mechanicals with black paint- give basement that loft look.
Personally, I prefer unfinished basements- I like seeing the bones of the place, and you ain't worried about messing up finish surfaces with projects.
aem sends...
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Tuc wrote:

Drywall. Takes less than 1" of space, and a flat non-textured drywall surface is relatively simple to repair if/when someone needs access to the mechanicals.
Map out the ducting, electrical, and water first and have the owner take pictures so that they know where things are later.
Chris
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