Questions On Drop Ceiling For basement

To All, I am planning to refinish my basement which is about 1200 sq ft. I will be using a contractor and I have several questions concerning installing a drop ceiling that I would like feedback on from members of this group. Thanks for any help you can provide and let me know if there is anything else I should be aware of.
1) I prefer the 2'x2' ceiling panels and wondered if the cost for parts, labor, and installation is significantly higher for this size versus the larger 2'x4' panels ?
2) I like the Armstrong "Classic Fine Texture" panels which seem very expensive $6 each. I would like to know if there are similar products that are less expensive ?
3) I am concerned about sound traveling from the basement to upstairs. The Armstrong panel is supposedly rated high for sound proofing as well as mildew and sag-resistant resistant, which may be a good idea for the basement. Is it worth paying extra for these features or are the cheaper panels just as good for sound proofing?
4) I plan on getting bids for the whole basement remodeling job but; I was wondering if anyone has an idea on what the labor costs should be to install this type of ceiling in northern NJ ? My basement is approx. 1200 sq ft.
5) Are there any other manufacturers of Ceiling Panels other than Armstrong and USG ?
Thanks
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You drop ceiling will turn out to be almost invisible to sound. If sound control is an issue, don't try a drop ceiling- it won't work. See http://www.soundproofing.org/infopages/channel.htm for more info.
BJ Nash
On Thu, 11 Dec 2003 18:13:58 -0500, "Rob Broschard"

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I am not a contractor. I am just a DIYer who has installed drop-ceiling before.

You will need to buy one extra metal-frame for each pair of 2-2 panel. In my opinion, the extra material cost and labor cost is very little (assuming that you are installing it yourself).
One advantage of using 2x2 panel (vs the larger 2x4 panel) is that you don't need to allocate a lot of vertical space for the drop ceiling. If you use 2x4 panel, you will need more vertical space in order to squeeze the large 2x4 panel into the frame. This may not be an issue if your basement has plenty of head room.
2x4 panel probably will look better in a large basement. But I don't know what's the definition of a "large" basement. I use 2x2 panels in my 700-800 sqft basement, and I think they look good.

I don't know. My experience tells me that installing drop ceiling is very easy. Most of the time, you only need one person to do this. You only need two persons when you need to determine the exact location of the grid. This project doesn't need any hard labor, and it doesn't involve any chemical that may hurt your health. This is a perfect DIY project.
On the other hand, leveling the floor is definitely not a DIY project...
Hope you will have more responses to your questions.
Jay Chan
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The Armstrong ceiling tiles I saw at HD or Lowes a few years ago looked pretty junky compared to what I bought which was almost as heavy duty as sheetrock pieces. Imagine sheetrock that had vinyl or acrylic laminated to it. You don't want fiberglass finished tiles because it will yellow in a few years. The vinyl finish can be cleaned with a damp cloth and has not warped in the 6 years I've owned the house and I doubt it ever could. And like I said it is as heavy as sheetrock to knock out noise. I might be able to find the manufacturers name if you can't find something comparable. The Armstrond stuff I saw was a thin finish layer on top of a light fiberglass like material and would probably warp very quickly.

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