So I recently refinished my basement. In the process, I replaced the entire drop ceiling with new tiles. I finished that a couple of months ago.

I recall the distinct smell of the dust that these tiles create when handled or when I would drill holes in them. I am now occasionally smelling that same dust in my basement. Some days its there, others its not.

Nothing is disturbing the tiles (no, there aren't animals in the ceiling) and I haven't been moving them around for any reason. They are just sitting there.

What could cause the tiles to emit dust and create that smell? How do I get rid of it?

  • 2
    ventilate and clean the basement until the remaining dust is gone. Apr 28, 2017 at 14:13
  • @ratchetfreak: I did that. I removed all the carpet and old ceiling, then I installed the new ceiling, then cleaned the entire basement again, painted the walls, cleaned, installed floor, cleaned. It's clean. As I mentioned, the smell is not constant - it's occasional.
    – rothloup
    Apr 28, 2017 at 14:16
  • It will dissipate in short order.
    – Jack
    Apr 28, 2017 at 14:31
  • 1
    Have you moved in down there and start using the place as normal? The one thing to consider is that the ceiling is a lot of area so you have a lot of material up in place that will take a while for it all to mellow out so to speak. Once you start using it after a time other smells will be introduced and it should negate the ceiling tile smell I would imagine.
    – Jack
    Apr 28, 2017 at 15:25
  • 2
    The ceiling tiles will loose their smell over time until you will hardly notice them. When I finished my basement it took many months to get rid of the smell. You have to keep venting the area to reduce the smell. That smell is from the tiles " out-gassing". which slowly reduces over time.
    – d.george
    Apr 29, 2017 at 11:25

1 Answer 1


Just as new homes and new cars smell new for years, your basement will smell new until enough activity and ventilation have occurred. I lined part of my basement workshop with OSB two years ago and I still smell it when I walk down there.

I suggest time and air. Worst-case scenario you replace the tiles, but I doubt it'll come to that.

  • Any idea what is being 'outgassed' from these tiles which causes the smell?
    – cr0
    Jan 12, 2018 at 17:10
  • Sorry, no. I'm not much of a chemist.
    – isherwood
    Jan 15, 2018 at 14:44

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