Drop ceiling options, sound insulation, etc.

I am finishing a basement level apartment in a 3-unit building and I need to decide how to finish the ceiling. All of the plumbing, gas lines, etc. for all 3 units are either between the ceiling joists or run across and are attached to the ceiling joists. One option would be to sheetrock the ceiling by adding sister joists to the existing joists and attaching the sheetrock to the sister joists. The other option would be to install a drop ceiling about 4 or 5 inches below the existing ceiling joists.
Although I don't really like the look of a drop ceiling, I am thinking that a drop ceiling may be the best option. One reason is that I think that a drop ceiling may provide a better sound barrier between the basement level apartment and the first floor apartment. If I do a drop ceiling, I think that 2'x2' panels would look best, but I don't know yet if they have any special types or styles that would look better and less institutional.
Any ideas or suggestions regarding the drop ceiling idea would be appreciated.
I am thinking of adding some type of insulation on top of the drop ceiling panels as an additional sound barrier if that would help. Would the insulation help with the sound and, if so, is there any type of insulation that would be best for doing this and for sound reduction? Since the bathroom would have high moisture and humidity, I assume that it would be better to not use a drop ceiling there and to sheetrock that ceiling instead.
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I think you are smart for considering a dropped ceiling. We just built a new home will a partially finished basement. Most of the basement is sheet-rocked except the bath ceiling, When we planned the plumbing routing it occurred to me that if we didn't sheet-rock the bath ceiling, we would have access to all but two plumbing lines (one outside hose bib and part of the gas line). All other plumbing is in the unfinished area of the basement. I, like you, am not in love with the appearance of a dropped ceiling but the increased maintainability is well worth it.
Now I have to figure out how to hang the #%^@& thing! :^}
RonB
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wrote:

I think you are smart for considering a dropped ceiling. We just built a new home will a partially finished basement. Most of the basement is sheet-rocked except the bath ceiling,
RonB
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Thanks. Have you given thought to what type of drop ceiling tiles you will be using in the bath ceiling? I am concerned about the tiles absorbing moisture and humidity and the metal rails rusting over time. For that reason, I am thinking of doing the opposite of what you did by using a drop ceiling everywhere except the bath ceiling.
Also, I am looking into SAB's (Sound Absorbing Batts), but I have to see if they sell them at Home Depot or Lowe's etc., and how much they cost.
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They make vinyl faced gyp ceiling tile. It is used in most commercial kitchens. There are also solid PVC ceiling tile in many patterns.
You might like the look of Teglar tile in an accent colored grid.
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DanG
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I would do a drop ceiling for long term access to pipes and wires. If you really want drywall, they make a grid that looks very similar to drop ceiling grid that is made for hanging drywall. You hang the grid just like a drop ceiling, the pieces are just a bit wider. It would be very easy to run long batt insulation on the grid before drywalling.
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DanG
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Thanks. I went to Home Depot today and I saw these Armstrong 1201 Prestige 2x2 ceiling tiles: http://www.armstrong.com/resclgam/na/ceilings/en/us/prod_detail.asp?itemIdD650.0 .
They definitely look good to me -- at least not like typical ceiling tiles. They are 2x2, but each 2x2 contains four 1x1 recessed square-pattern tiles.
The price was $8.68 per 2x2 tile, or $2.17 per square foot. And, the tiles seem solid so they won't sag etc.
I think I am probably going to go with these tiles and the whole plan of using a drop ceiling throughout.
DanG wrote:

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Umm... Yeah...
Drop ceiling in a rental unit... ROFL...
What will your local code/fire inspector say about that ?
All units must be separated by fire rated compartment walls/ceilings adding a unit in the basement "because it is there" doesn't seem to be a valid reason... It requires much more thought and a process to make sure you have a legally rentable unit when you are finished...
Do you have building permits for this "work" ?
Is your property zoned for an additional unit ?
Is the finished ceiling clearance 7' or more to the surface of the finished floor ?
Egress windows in each room and more than one door in/out of the unit ?
Also, rock wool fire insulation will do miraculous wonders in sound dampening... Much more sound proof than a drop in ceiling tile...
I would go back to the drawing board and make sure you will be able to end up with a habitable space when you are done with your work...
~~ Evan
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Evan wrote:

I probably shouldn't even bother responding given the baseless assumptions, attitude, and tone of your post, -- but I will.
This is an existing, fully approved, annually inspected, basement level apartment that is being completely redone. The before-rehab version of this unit had a low drop ceiling and an older drop ceiling above that and open ceiling joists above that, and the second means of egress was an approved egress window of the correct dimensions and correct distance above the floor etc. We did a complete tear-out of the old unit down to the bare walls and ceiling joists, then raised all of the gas pipes and plumbing in the ceiling to be able to create an 8-foot-plus ceiling in the new unit. The second means of egress was relocated to a better location and is now a 32"x80" door instead of the former approved egress window. I could go on, -- but I won't.
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Right...
Your question was not of a caliber one would expect from someone who does construction in the proper manner...
Since you know so much, then how to you get the proper fire rating on the ceiling ? SHEETROCK, not a drop ceiling...
Sounds like you do need that inspector double checking on you...
Your other question about how to sheetrock over old walls that were formerly lath and plaster is a winner too -- you have to fir out the studs by cutting and fitting pieces of wood to make the surface as level as it can be...
But then again, by your claimed experiences you would already know that and not have to ask...
~~ Evan
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RogerT wrote:

I just learned about another option called a "Chicago Grid"(?) on another forum. It's a metal frame system like a drop ceiling metal frame (only stronger), and the sheetrock gets screwed onto the framing from underneath, and then the seams are taped.
Here is a link to the company that makes the metal grid system:
http://products.construction.com/manufacturer/chicago-metallic-corp-nst2215/products/spanfast-drywall-ceiling-grid-nst32093-p .
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