I have an idea for my basement ceiling and was wondering if anyone has
done something similar. I want access to the wires, pipes etc in the
basement ceiling and do not want to use the typical t-bar ceiling.
I was thinking about making ten I-Beams about 4 or 5 inches in height
out of wood and installing then to my floor joists. They would be
spaced about 24" apart. I then plan to rest a piece of drywall (about
26" wide) on the top edge of the bottom plate of each I-Beam. The
drywall would be suspended and easily removable. The bottom plate of
the I-Beam is then stained to match the fireplace mantle, wet bar, and
built in book shelfs. I will need about ten I-Beams at 12 feet in
length (think of these as Main-T's) and I will then place shorter
wooden I-Beams as cross T's.
Anyone see an issue with this method? My only concern is the sagging
of the drywall. If it is spaced no more than 24" apart, do you think
it will sag?
So...wooden I-beams like below with drywall resting on the lower plate
of each I-Beam. That's it.
_|_ _______________ _|_
If you are worried about sagging (I would be) you could put some 1 x 2
furring strips, standing on edge, on the back of the drywall to keep
Another concern is how easily drywall chips and gouges, I would be
concerned that it would be easily damaged as you remove/insert it. I
realize that you won't be doing it very often, but once you chip a
corner, you might have trouble repairing it and hiding the repair.
Good idea to add the furring strips. As you noted, the edges are a
concern. The pieces of drywall will not be removed often
(hopefully). I thought about adding some type of tape (Tuck Tape
maybe) to the cut edges to prevent any gypsum from falling. Of
course, the tuck tape will be covered by the edge of the I-Beam.
Ever install foam board, vapor barrier or tyvek? Tuck tape is used as
a sealant here in Canada. It creates a water and air tight seal
As for access, all my wires for sound and video projection run along
the ceiling also.
Oh, ok, that's a north-of-the-border one...it's usually "Tyvek tape"
here even for 3M or somebody else's variety...
I don't know, I can't get excited over slab sheetrock in lieu of other
panels as being any step forward but suit yourself...it'll be a pita
when it does come time to get to whatever it is that needs access methinks.
You could build the frame like you've outlined (but a lot less stout, to
boot) and use standard ceiling panels that are a whole lot lighter,
better sound isolation and less likely to break and/or chip and shed
sheetrock dust all over if you're goal is simply not have the t-bar.
Never saw a suspended drywall ceiling. All my cables are in a trough
blending well with finished basement wall and ceiling(9 feet high).
If major access is needed for some reason, that'll be after my life.
When I retired I had this house custom built to my spec. future proof
re: Replacing an entire ceiling is inexpensive
Material wise, perhaps, but labor has a price - even if you are doing
Free DIY labor has other costs, such as time away from family and
friends or activities you enjoy. It's a quality of life issue.
It could even have monetary costs if you could be making money during
the time you're replacing the ceiling.
I like doing it myself, but when I stayed home to remodel the bathroom
while the rest of the family went skiing, there was indeed a cost - a
cost that has no payback period.
Rather than using drywall, have you considered using plywood and
staining it a contrasting color to the exposed I-beams? Might add an
interesting effect to your ceiling at only a slight increase in cost IMHO
you know, I just got a great idea. I have an old drop ceiling in my
basement and I wish someone had brought this up before I bought a whole
package of replacement tiles. I should have bought some plywood instead
and stained and varnished them for a nicer effect. plywood cut to size
of standard ceiling tile. I think it might make a nice effect.
I have also seen drop in tiles that look like an old pressed tin
ceiling, the only difference is you still use the standard T-bar grid.
That's another option, although I expect those to be expensive.
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
24" wide pieces will definitely sag. When USG indicates an allowable
span of 24" that is with a fully attached piece of drywall, attached
to more than two joists, and run perpendicularly to the joists.
If you have a few runs that need accessibility, can't you just install
faux beams to cover them? That sounds like the look you're going for
and would be simpler. If it is at all possible, you should have the
wiring running in one or two chases across the ceiling.
One of my acquaintances at work did pretty much what you are talking
about. He used the wood beams but hung 2x8 ft acoustical panels. The
panels were a cloth covered cellulose material. The one thing I didnt
like about it was he made the rails that the panels set on too thick.
I think he used 1/2 plywood and this looks a little bulky to me 1/4
would have looked a lot better. Probably could think of some others
that would look even better still.
The thing that would worry me is if the drywall (or other relatively
heavy material) is just resting on the ledges you have created, there
is a chance you could bump it with something and it comes falling
down. A 2x4' ceiling tile is one thing to fall on your head, a big
piece of drywall is quite another.
In the basement of my last house I made T-bar out of oak then used
ceiling tiles. Looked very good. I'm sure my ex wife appreciates all
the work I did.
I wouldn't use drywall in place of tiles, looks cheap. You can buy a
1/2" low sag drywall made for ceilings if you insist. I used that
stuff in my new house, it works.
As for the guy that said he wouldn't worry about access to the
ceiling, I used to love the looks on peoples faces when I told them
the drywall ceiling's gotta go. I don't know what people are
thinking. There is know way of knowing what the future is hiding.
Sooner or later someone is going to want access into the ceiling.
re: Sooner or later someone is going to want access into the
I had the same thought when I added a bathroom in my basement. It is
the only section where the ceiling is drywalled. Other than pipes and
wires, the only 2 items that might require access are the gas shutoff
and the water pressure reducer.
When I drywalled the ceiling I made the conscious decision to put in a
small access panel for the gas valve, but buried the PRV. "If I need
to get to it, I'll deal with it then."
10 years later, when I had to replace the PRV, I cut a hole, replaced
the part and added an access panel in case I ever have to replace it
again. It was the exact same amount of work as if I have installed the
access panel when I built the bathroom, but I didn't want to take the
time to do it based on the *chance* that I would need to replace the
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