I helped a friend of mine finish his basement but he was not sure what type of ceiling he wanted to put in. There are several options like traditional drywall, tongue and groove boards, acoustic ceiling tiles and drop ceiling, so we analyzed each option.
A drywall ceiling required that we relocate most pipes and ducts into the joist cavities, or out to the perimeter of the room. Then we would have to place a wood frame to box in around anything that was still hanging below the line of the ceiling joists. Then we would have to place wooden furring strips where extra strength was be needed. It is necessary to use the furring and the framed boxes in order to provide a solid backing for the finished ceiling treatment. Drywall seemed like a good choice because of the low cost of the material but we weren’t to thrilled about taping and sanding it later.
Acoustic ceiling tiles was another option, the tiles are easy to cut and their small size makes them very easy to handle. They are installed by stapling them to the furring strips but again we had to move pipes and ducts in order to provide suitable framing for a nice flat ceiling.
We then entertained the idea of using T1-11 tongue and groove boards, again we would need to move pipes and ducts and the cost was a bit high. After some thought the look of this product just wasn’t what he wanted.
We then looked into the standard drop ceiling, it is one of the easiest solutions to covering basement joists but again the thought of hanging and cutting rails did not appeal to him and again the look of this type of ceiling reminded him of an old office building. It seemed that the cost was a factor as well.
And then one day shopping with his family he saw what a store did with their ceiling and that was basically nothing. He asked the owner what they did and he said they basically cleaned the pipes and duct work, primered them and then used an airless sprayer to paint everything one color. It was perfect, we would not have to move any thing, no framing was necessary and to beat all it allowed for more head room.
The one concern we had was that maybe some electrical or gas lines might not be able to be painted, so if you have doubts call a professional or inspector and ask before you paint. I will say that after the project was complete not only did this industry style ceiling cost less it really looked good. Good luck with your project.