What is the minimum drop people have been able to get away with using a 2x2
grid suspended ceiling? Also, has anyone used the CeilingMax "snap in" grid
ceiling? Any comments on teh pros/cons?
The local Menards sell a product that requires no clearance.
It's called CeilingMax; info is available at the manufacturer's
site, http://www.ceilingmax.com . The stuff was kind of pricey,
but it does solve the problem.
I saw the CeilingMax system at Menard's, too, and it caught my eye
because I've always hated the old-fashioned drop ceilings. They all look
like shit, IMO. Basically, you attach the plastic runners directly to
the bottom of your wood floor joists (that is, in basement applications,
which is where most everyone installs drop ceilings), and put in your
usual ceiling panels. Compared to the aluminum track stuff commonly
used, it's WAY pricy, but you don't lose any head room like you do with
the old-fashioned drop ceilings, and the results look WAY better, and
you don't have to do the pain in the ass string-level thing and cut and
string a kazillion little wires to support the whole ball of wax. Money
well spent if you have it, IMO.
The only difficulty I can think of is for people with a ton of copper
water-heat piping running thru their basement -- where the pipe runs
just off the boiler in a double-deck several inches below the joists,
like mine does in some substantial sections -- who want to use this
system. Of course, you can run 2x4 or 2x2 furring on which you can
attach the CeilingMax rails, but by then you've kinda defeated the whole
original principle, methinks. But even there, you wouldn't have to screw
with those pesky wires and slicing your fingers cutting aluminum rails
and all that annoying crap.
I used the CeilingMax system in a small basement bathroom and hall
area. I wanted a finished ceiling but needed to allow access to
plumbing and electrical stuff...the usual problem.
Since I had some pipes that ran along the bottom of the ceiling
joists, I had to use 2x2 furring strips screwed to the bottoms of the
joists and attached the ceilingMax strips to those. I spent a fair
amount of time shimming the furring strips so they were all flat and
in the same plane, since the ceiling joists were a little wavy. The
directions could have been better, but with a little head-scratching I
got it all to work out and am very happy with how it looks. I used 2x2
tiles since it was a small space and the 2x4 tiles would have looked
out of proportion. Even better would have been the tiles embossed to
look like 4 1x1 tiles, but the local big box didn't stock them and I
didn't want to wait for a special order.
Other than getting the strips mounted flat and level as I mentioned,
the only slightly tricky part was cutting the partial tiles around the
edge. You can't just cut them flush, because they have to drop into
the grid. (at least the style tiles I used) So you have to cut a
rabbet in the edge so there is a ledge for the tile to rest on. But
after a little practice, I was able to do this pretty quickly with an
ordinary utility knife. I took the time to touch up the cut edges
with some paint, but afterwards realized you can't really see the
edges because they are too close to the wall. All in all, it did the
job and looks nice. I will say that while you can remove it as
advertised when needed, it's not the kind of thing you want to do
frequently, since it takes some fussing. But as a way to allow access
for the occasional repair, it's ideal.
Feel free to email if you have any other questions.
(you know what to leave out)
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