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we are remodeling basement by replacing drop ceiling with drywall. The floor above is supported by 16 ft 4x6 beams at 48 inch oc.

I see the below 2 options. Any inputs will help.

  1. Run a 48 inch(2x6) blocking between the beams using joist hangers and attach 2 pairs of 8 ft 2x6 to create a 16 inch oc frames to hang the drywall ( again with joist hangers). The new 16 feet length can be plumb with the beams for a flat drywall surface.

  2. Attach 2x4 furring strips on the 4 inch side perpendicular to the beams with 16 inch oc (2 inch ceiling height will be lost). I see that it may be possible to use 1x3 furring strips as well. Can 48 inch span for 1x3 handle 5/8 drywall?

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I think the best choice would be 2x3 strapping, here is my rationale.

It would be very expensive to run ceiling joists between the beams, parallel to the beams, so let's rule that out off the bat. You will want to run something perpendicular to the beams.

You could install blocking between the beams - bottom edge of the blocking even with the bottom edge of the beams - or strapping under the beams.

The 2x6 blocking considered in the question is overkill. Since this blocking only needs to support the weight of the drywall, you could go with something much smaller, and you'd only need to toe nail it, joist hangers not necessary. I think you'd want 2x3 blocking spaced 16" OC, and you'd probably put the 3" face down, so you have more surface to screw into at the joints.

Strapping is usually done with 1x3's spaced 16" OC, but that's normally across 16" or 24" joist spans. I think you'd want to bump up to 2x3 strapping to avoid sagging. There is an added bonus with thicker strapping: you get a decent amount of space between the drywall and the beams. Properly protected, you can run pipes and wires perpendicular to the beams in this space - a big advantage when finishing a basement.

So with strapping instead of blocking, you

  • lose a little ceiling height
  • gain some wiring / plumbing space
  • save a lot of time installing

To me, strapping wins.

  • Yes strapping seems to be the best option. Looks like not many lumber stores stock 2x3 16ft lumber. 2x4 lumber is available. The cost difference is not big. Do you see any problem with using 2x4 (with 4" face down), like additional weight etc? The room is 16x16. I want to avoid butt joining 2 8 fters. – Diyer Jan 8 at 17:18
  • I don't see any difference other than the weight, the difference between 2x3's and 2x4's comes to something like 60 pounds - should not matter. However I think handling 16'ers is much MUCH harder than 8'ers, I'd be butting two 8'ers for sure. The 4" beams will make it easy. – batsplatsterson Jan 8 at 17:46

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