How to frame for smooth ceiling?

I am finishing a basement and had planned on drop ceiling, but now I am considering smooth if I can either frame out the ceiling myself or have someone do it for a reasonable cost.
I have a 9ft ceiling, and need to frame out at around 7.5-8ft to get below the ductworks/pipes etc. Some of it will be tray in the larger rooms.
I framed the walls in my basement, so I am assuming doing the ceiling is similar? But since it is over your head, there are probably special considerations.
Any guides or photos on how to frame this out? I tried to google but did not have a lot of luck.
1) general code requirements? 2) size of boards, 2x4? 3) any maximum lengths or spacing between spans (ie can you span a 16ft board across the room or should it be 8ft nailed to support then run another 8ft)? 4) how to hang/secure to joists? 5) can boards be nailed on ends or should I use hangers?
Framing a wall was not that difficult but a ceiling is pretty important to get it right. Thanks for any help.
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The USG web site has information on framing with steel studs and installing Sheetrock. Their handbook is the bible of the drywall industry, and it's all available online.
R
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USG makes a grid system for hanging drywall. The components are just like a suspended ceiling grid, but a bit wider and designed to screw drywall.
Go here and scroll down to USG drywall suspension ceiling system: http://www.usg.com/resources/handbooks/ViewSection.do?bookId=1&chapterNum=1&sectionNum=7
These materials may not be available at the Borg stores, but any commercial drywall house will have it. You will need to know how to install a square grid, but it is more forgiving than a lay-in ceiling.
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Why does it have to be 5/8? We do 1/2 all the time upstairs in new construction!
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Don't forget that you can't close off access to mechanicals. All electrical junction boxes must remain accessible, and you will also need access to all water and gas shutoffs.
In addition, even if you still keep it legal by putting in access doors to the required mechanicals, think about any future upgrades that you may want to do, such as adding an outlet in the living room, adding a new bathroom where you will need to run plumbing, etc. You might turn a trivial job into a major problem if you drywall the ceiling. If I ever ceilinged-in my basement, it would be a nightmare for me to fix a lot of things that are easily accessible right now.
Ken
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Yeah, I know and agree. If I did smooth ceiling it would cost more money and a lot more time as I have already done most of the electrical in the ceiling. I would have to redo it all, and rerun lines that are terminated in the metal boxes in the joists (I had run a whip from the metal box with the intention of connecting to whatever was put in the drop ceiling). On top of this, I would need to leave access ports for gas cutoff to fireplace and water lines. As a home theater nut, I would also want to leave the space open for new technology/wiring.
BUT, even with that said, smooth ceiling is definitely more attractive, and can make a basement look more polished (and attractive to buyers).
I am just trying to figure out how difficult it is to do the framing for drywall ceiling. If I do wood or metal, then I have to wait and get it installed before I can place the electrical boxes for inspection. (I assume they would have to be in place in the framing).
BTW, how do you secure a light fixture box to a metal grid if it is made for drywall? Is it a special kind of box?
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