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Do You Have a Question About Your Ceiling?

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Help! Contractors Don’t Know What To Do
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We are having a contractor install a Rec room ceiling for us in our new house and we have been at odds with them about what to do around a large steel beam that runs the length of the room. They want to box it out in aluminum sheets that the siding contractor used for the soffits outside and we think it should be built out of the ceiling grid material to maintain consistency throughout the basement. Are we wrong?
By: Colleen

Colleen, you’re not wrong. This is a common problem with contractors who “Say” they professionally install suspended ceilings. Most can install flat and level ceilings, however, difficult areas like yours tend to be points of contention between contractors and homeowners. There are two options for you. Build a wood stud soffit around the beam and drywall it. Or build a custom suspended ceiling drop that will look fabulous in your basement. Take your contractors to our Showroom tab and click on Ceiling Drops. You can view what a custom ceiling drop should look like. If they need to know how to build it, take them to our How-To page. There are videos there where I teach the viewer, step-by-step how to build basic and advanced ceiling drops. Thanks for the question! –Tim

I have a steam pipe in the basement room where I want to install a non-suspended PVC grid. What is the melting point of the grid (CeilingMAX)? It's 163 degrees
By: rfisch99
Posted on: 5/20/2020
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Fastener Question
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I am installing a suspended ceiling in my basement and was wondering what type of fastener to use for installing the wall angle.
By: Steve

Steve, you didn’t mention what type of surface you are installing on to so I’ll cover a couple. For wood joists, you can use a 1” nail or a 1 ¼” drywall screw. Fasten on every joist. For block I would use a 1” hardened nail or ¾” nail and fasten into the mortar joint. You could also use a hammer drill and anchor but that will take you quite a while to install. Please view our video on Wall Angle Installation for additional details. –Tim

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Ceiling Wire Question
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Tim, I bought a roll of the suspended ceiling wire at Menards and was told to only use one strand per fastener. Is this right? It doesn’t seem like it would be strong enough.
By: Kurt

Kurt, the individual who told you that was incorrect. First off, I don’t like using roll wire for suspended ceilings because there is a spring effect in the wire when unrolling. It’s hard to eliminate this when installing the grid and can cause problems with the grid sagging or raising in spots. This is why we supply straight tie wire for residential and commercial applications. You should use two strands of standard tie wire and make sure the fastener is correctly seated. DO NOT use drywall screws into the wood joist for a wire fastener. If you have more questions, check out our video Wires & Fasteners Installation on our How-to page. Thanks! –Tim

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2x2 OR 2x4?
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I was wondering what you thought was better for a basement 2x2 or 2x4 grid?
By: William

William, the only way to answer this is that it’s really up you. A couple of advantages of 2x4 are that the overall cost is slightly less than 2x2, but it’s minimal. You are only saving about .15 – .20 cents per square foot. They do make 2x4 panels that look like 2x2 but they are more difficult to cut and install. Advantages for the 2x2 are that the standard 2x2 panels tend to sag less than 2x4 panels and they also are easier to handle which makes them easier to install. You can get either panel in the same style or pattern. –Tim

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How Much Does A Drop Ceiling Cost?
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Tim, Can you tell me how much a drop ceiling should cost if I have it installed? My room is about 850 sq ft. and we want to use a basic panel like in your “Showroom” but we want the Tegular tile in 2x2. Thanks.
By: Peter

Peter, I think you gave me enough information to give you a cost spread. I will assume that your ceiling will be flat and level with no ceiling drops. Basic ceiling tiles range from $.40 to $.70 cents a square foot. The Tegular tile that you chose is probably going to be in the $.70 range. Standard grid typically costs about $.85 cents a square foot. The variance will be in the labor. It depends on a couple of factors. (1) where your located in the country and (2) how much square footage you have.

A typical labor cost for a project under 1000 sq ft would be about $.80 to $1.00 sq ft. So if we add this up $.70 + $.85 + $1.00 = $2.55 x 850 sq ft = $2167 Total installed cost. This is approximate. Ceiling drops would be an extra cost. Hope this helps. –Tim

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How Do I Level The Ceiling Frame?
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Can you help me? I have been trying to level the frame and I’ve tried all sorts of ways including measuring off the floor but it still looks like its wavy. Is there a trick to it?
By: Neil

Neil, You mentioned measuring off the floor so I will assume you don’t have a laser and don’t want to purchase one. I cover this part of the installation in my Installing Ceiling Grid-Basic video. Don’t measure off the floor as most floors are uneven. The best way to level without a laser is to use a string line. Refer to the video for details. Thanks!  –Tim

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Help! Ceiling Tiles Don’t Fit!
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Tim, I can’t get my ceiling tiles to fit in the false ceiling. I’ve tried everything and when I get one to fit then the ones in the next row won’t. Do you know what’s going on? I never thought it would be this difficult.
By: Melvin T

Mel, did you watch our Installing Ceiling Grid video? You have a classic “Out of Square” problem. If you started installing and kept going you’re in trouble. You need to start back at the 1st two mains again and re-square at that point. The remaining grid may have to be torn down if you’re out of square too much. If you find that after squaring the first two mains, the next main can be cut back to achieve square, then do that and you’ve lucked out. If the next main comes off the wall when you square it, then you will either have to disassemble that run, as well as the remaining grid and start over or try to add onto the end of that main to extend it. A word of caution…It won’t look good if you extend it and it won’t be easy…Good luck. –Tim

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Wanting To Change Ceiling Tiles
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Tim, my wife and I already have a ceiling in our basement and we just want to change the ceiling tiles. We found a couple of companies on-line that sell vinyl ceiling tiles. They seem like a good buy and they have lots of different designs to them. Just wanted to get your thoughts. Thanks
By: Rick

Rick, Vinyl ceiling tiles have advantages and disadvantages. You can view our Free video on Vinyl vs Metal on our How-to page to see what those are. Advantages are (1) They install very quickly (2) There’s no dust while installing (3) they are cheap to ship and (4) they are sag resistant. There are a couple of issues worth mentioning though. I have said in the past that I do not recommend vinyl grid or tiles for several reasons. (1) The grid takes much longer to install (2) Installing vinyl tiles removes all sound absorption characteristics of the room. In other words it will sound like you’re in a cave. (3) They are more expensive then most fiber based acoustical ceiling tiles. (4) Vinyl grid or tiles cannot support loads like ceiling fans, light fixtures and even insulation installed above the tiles. There are better choices out there. You might want to do a little more investigating before you buy. –Tim

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Is Installing a Ceiling in my Basement Possible?
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Hi Tim, My husband and I want to install a ceiling in the basement of our Bungalow but the height of the basement is only 6’ 11” to the floor joists. Can we still install a suspended ceiling without losing too much headroom? We were told the drop ceiling has to be at least 6” below the floor joists.
By: Beth

Beth, Bungalows were popular after WWII and at the time, basement ceiling heights weren’t important. The short answer is yes you can install a suspended ceiling, provided that there are not too many mechanicals hanging down below the joists. You should be able to use a standard grid system and install it about 3” lower than the joists. In areas where there are mechanicals, you would want to build a ceiling drop. Go to our How-To Ceiling Installation page and view Building Suspended Ceiling Drops Basic or Advanced.  I would also recommend a “Hook” type system, not a “Stab” type for tight clearances like yours. You can view our free video on  The Basics of Suspended Ceilings for more information on these two types of systems. With these combinations, you should be able to maintain a ceiling height of around 6’7” – 6’8”. Good Luck! –Tim

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Possible Vinyl Grid In Condo
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Tim, I am contemplating a new Rec Room Ceiling in my condo. I went to a home store recently to look at my options. I found a vinyl grid that you screw to the floor joists so that I can have extra clearance. Are you familiar with this ceiling grid and do you recommend it?
By: Barney

Barney, thanks for contacting Strictly Ceilings. Yes, we are familiar with the vinyl grid system that you are describing. However, we have not recommended vinyl grid systems in the past due to the many disadvantages of vinyl. If you haven’t seen my video on Vinyl vs Metal Grid Systems on our How-To page then you should consider watching it before you make your final decision. The system you are describing has its place in the market but only if you absolutely have to have that extra 1” of clearance. Most metal systems can be installed to within 2” of the joists and are generally less expensive as well. Thanks for the question. –Tim

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Budget Tile Recommendation for Basement
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Tim- What would you recommend for a ceiling tile in a basement? We are on a tight budget.
By: Christine

Christine-  It really depends on the look you want for your basement. If your main concern is functionality, then I would recommend the Armstrong Fissured tile which a great economical choice.  If you want a slightly more refined look, take a look at the Armstrong Fine Fissured ceiling tile which is not only economical but is also humidity resistant.   You can view both of these tiles, as well as additional economical ceiling tile choices in our online Showroom.  

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