Jul 15,2016

Ahhh yes… that same nagging question that haunts so many D.I.Y. homeowners “How do I frame around all the duct-work overhead in the basement?

There’s a bunch of other stuff you have to frame around up there as well! You got your wires, your pipes, and the biggest obstacle of em all… those big ole lengths of duct-work. Hmmm…how does one frame around all this stuff that makes-up the ceiling-scape (that’s my word I own it so don’t try to steal it!)?

How to Frame around the duct-work in basementsThe best method for framing around the majority of these obstacles is called “Soffit Framing”. Soffits make it quick and painless to build around these major obstacles located overhead.

Soffits are a framing skeleton made from 2″ x 4″‘s that are quite easy to assemble and install. Soffits hide the major overhead obstacles like the duct-work, support beams, large drain lines, and other “bigger” items that fill the ceiling-scape.

I have several Soffit Framing Videos here on this site located above in the Basement Finishing Video Lessons drop-down menu. Watch these videos for a great crash course on what needs to be done when building your own soffits.


How to Frame around the duct-work in basementsSoffits are then covered with the drywall during the drywall phase of your project. The finished product is a smooth “stream-lined” lower section of drywall ceiling that is pleasing to the eye .

You can add recessed lighting to the soffits making them even more useful. Soffits can also be used to create a “tray ceiling” effect that really adds some great architectural value to the basement project!

How to Frame around the duct-work in basementsThe soffits are created by first framing the “soffit ladders” as we call them in the biz, and then attaching these ladder to the bottom of the floor joists.

It’s easy to keep the soffits straight across the ceiling when you “pop” a red chalk-line on the bottom of the floor joists and then just nail-up your soffit ladders directly along the chalk line!.

It’s recommended that you use a “air-framer” gun to attach the ladders to the floor joists.

How to Frame around the duct-work in basementsOnce the ladders are all installed to the bottom of the floor joists, you simply connect the bottom of the soffit ladders to either a wall or an opposing soffit ladder to complete the soffit framing.

We use 2″ x 4″‘s  we call “cross-member-framing” to complete the bottom of the soffit framing. You will want to make sure the sides of your soffit ladders are perfectly “plumb” before measuring the lengths of your “cross members” that will need to be cut between the soffit ladders or walls.

Well that’s pretty much it! I’m not one for over-complicating what needs to be done. Anyone can build soffits and install them, all it takes is a little bit of know-how and a few detailed basement finishing training videos from yours-truly.


And as always…I am here  to answer any questions about your basement finishing project, I’m just an email away if ya want to talk about it and I’ll respond the same day.

Posted in: Basement Finishing Articles, Basement Framing

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