Installing a basement ceiling has many benefits, such as making another room of your home livable. After you install the ceiling, you can use your basement as a family room, bedroom or small apartment to rent to college students or outsiders. There are many popular basement ceiling options, and what you choose depends on the amount of money you’re willing to spend, your ability to install the ceiling (or hire someone to do it) and the access you’ll want to wiring and other things behind the ceiling when you’re done. Here are 4 basement ceiling options that you’ll find in many homes today:
1. Suspended Ceiling or Drop Ceiling
These require a metal frame and ceiling tiles that hang from the ceiling joints. This may be the easiest ceiling to put up, because the metal frame is lightweight. Simply arrange the tiles in the metal grid (on the frame) and you’ve got a ceiling ready to go. You’ll also be able to install plumbing at a later date, or run electrical wiring. Use a suspended ceiling either as a temporary solution to making the basement available for immediate use, or keep it for the long run. They’re faster to install than the other options below. It’s also convenient to get to ventilation systems, wires and anything else. All you would need to do is remove a section of the tiles where you want to gain access.
- The ceiling tiles serve as a good insulator. This will make your home theater system sound better and will remove that echo or boomy sound that you sometimes get in homes with tall, hard-surfaced ceilings.
- Easy access to pipes, wiring and ventilation. This is a key feature that makes it easy to install a new entertainment system, computer cables, fix a leaky pipe, etc. You will not need to rip open any drywall which is more costly and requires additional labor
- Installation is easier than a drywall ceiling
- You will lose 3-5 inches of ceiling height. Drop ceilings require more vertical room for installation so if your basement room is lacking height in the first place this may not even be an option for you.
- Most people just don’t like the way they look
2. Stretch Ceiling
This is a more expensive option than the suspended ceiling, but makes for a great looking basement. You can install it flat or “stretch” it into a 3D formation. It’s made of a polyvinyl chloride membrane, and you install it by stretching it and clipping it into the perimeter that acts as a frame. The suspended panels look like 3D or curved panels (depending on how you install them) and are available in many colors. If you enjoy a freestanding, artistic look, then give a stretch ceiling a try.
3. Drywall Ceiling or Kalcote
If you want to paint the ceiling to match the basement decor, consider installing a drywall ceiling. The only downfall with using drywall for your basement ceiling is that you limit access to plumbing, wires and anything else behind it. If you want to be able to do your own plumbing or electrical work, or at least be able to examine and troubleshoot simple problems, then a drywall ceiling is not right for you. Drywall is also very difficult to install, and you may need to hire a professional basement remodeling contractor for help, which is additional expense.
- Arguably a more professional look and easier to match to the style of the existing rooms in your home
- Ideal if you don’t have much vertical space to work with. Doesn’t require as much room above as its drop ceiling counterpart
- The materials (drywall) are less expensive
- Labor and installation is more intensive
- Does not provide easy access to wiring, pipes or ventilation
4. Acoustic Ceiling Tiles
If your primary concern is controlling the noise coming to and from your basement, you should install acoustic ceiling tiles. These are popular for blocking noise coming through a ceiling. Installing acoustic ceiling tiles is just like suspended ceilings. The tiles go into a grid that you already have, or purchase. Like a suspended ceiling, you can remove the tiles to gain access behind the drop ceiling.
Once you decide on the type of basement ceiling you want, you’ll be able to design a basement that meets your needs. You don’t have to stick to white or off-white ceiling colors, either. Experiment with the colors offered by the manufacturer, or paint unique colors to match your room decor.