Jun 23,2014

Drop Ceilings or Drywall Ceilings (the age-old question) which right for you?What do I think about drop ceilings?  I’m not a fan! Most drop ceilings look tacky and outdated to me.

I personally can’t think of any professional reason why anyone would want to have one of these ceilings installed in they’re brand new finished basement space (just my opinion:-)

The Top 10 reasons why my basement remodel company prefers drywall ceilings over drop ceilings or “suspended ceilings” are:

10.) They sag after time (after all the entire ceiling is “hanging’ on wires.)

9.) You lose no less than 3″ to 4″ of ceiling height once installed.

8.) Ceiling “tiles” or “panels” get discontinued and you can’t replace broken tiles any longer.

7.) Drop ceiling tiles chip easily and flake easily when “bumped” even lightly

6.) “Grid-work” or metal skeleton that you install will become rusty and dirty over time (ugly.)

5.) Recessed light fixtures do not work well in these ceilings (to much weight) making the tiles sag.

4.) you can’t paint them like drywall ceilings if you want to change the ceiling color or just “freshen” up   the look of the ceiling every so often

3.) The surface of these Tiles breaks-down over-time and ends up as dust all over your furniture.

2.) Crown molding and other types of trim look ridiculous when applied to drop ceilings.

And the # 1 Reason Drop Ceilings Suck is…(Drum Roll PLEASE!)

1.) They make your basement “look like a basement”!

I could go on about my dislike of drop ceilings, but I think you get my point. But I still get the same old questions about drop ceilings at least once a week. The most frequently asked question that my clients ask me about drop ceilings revolves around “accessibility”.

How to easily access basement drywall ceilings

A lot of folks believe that they must “always” be able to access what is above the head in the basement(pipes, wires, duct work, etc.). And these clients are partially correct in assuming this to be true. Some things in the basement ceiling do need to remain accessible, but not everything.

Here’s a list of what needs to be accessible to the client after the drywall ceilings are installed:

  1. water shutoffs (interior and exterior lines)
  2. gas shutoffs, certain types of gas fittings
  3. ice maker water line shutoff
  4. doorbell transformer (should be relocated to storage area or some other unfinished area)
  5. some ductwork “damper” handles (very rarely)
  6. any electrical junction box that can not be easily moved

Aside from these 6 items, everything else in the basement ceiling is considered a non-accessible item, and therefore can and should be covered by a drywall ceiling (in my opinion). All of the other electrical wiring, water lines, sewage drainage lines, insulation, floor joists, duct-work, etc. in the ceiling are non-accessible items and never need to seen or touched or heard from again.

Drop Ceilings or Drywall Ceilings (the age-old question) which right for you?All 6 types of accessible items that we possibly need to “get-to” in the future for whatever reason, will remain accessible through the use of access panels. That’s right. Access panels. We simply install paintable plastic access panels wherever we need to gain access in the new drywall ceiling areas.

These access panels are very thin, open easily, can be painted the color of the new drywall ceiling, and they give us total access to what a lot of folks fear they will lose access-to if they drywall the ceilings instead of using “drop ceilings.

A lot of contractors will use “scare-tactics” when selling basement remodeling jobs. They do this by telling the clients that they can not use drywall ceilings because they will never be able to access the items that we just discussed ever again.Well now you know that this is just not true. Anyone can have drywall ceilings in the basement…..Anyone.

I have been remodeling basements since 1992. I have finished hundreds of basements over these years and have never had 1 call-back related to a client not being able to access something that we covered-up with a drywall ceiling. The reason for this perfect track record with regard to accessibility is simply because we use access panels wherever they are needed in the drywall ceilings….Period.

Now you know the truth about Drywall vs. Drop ceilings, and you can now make up your own mind which will work best for you.


Drop Ceilings or Drywall Ceilings (the age-old question) which right for you?

Still a Drop Ceiling enthusiast? Need some drop ceiling love? Go here.

Good luck with your basement ceiling projects. I’m always here if you have any questions about your basement project!

Drop Ceilings or Drywall Ceilings (the age-old question) which right for you?

Drop Ceilings or Drywall Ceilings (the age-old question) which right for you?

Posted in: Basement Ceilings, Basement Finishing Articles

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