My basement has a drop ceiling in a semi-finished part of it and we've removed many of the panels in the process of updating the house's wiring. With most of the panels off and clear view of how discolored and dusty they've become, we're thinking to remove the drop ceiling entirely and trash what's unusable or donate the panels and frame that are in tact.

Before we do so, I want to check what reasons there might be for keeping the drop ceiling and putting it all back together replacing damaged panels? I haven't been able to find a list like that though so I turn here.

We don't like the aesthetic or the materials, and we can use the extra couple inches of height we get. The joists showing above the drop ceiling are beautiful old beams, and we like seeing the utilities and guts of the house, making it easier to do maintenance as well. On the other hand, the house is drafty and on the 1st above ground floor, the wood floor is quite cold. Also very little sound insulation, and I know removing the drop ceiling won't help with that. Lastly, we'll probably rent the place out eventually, not sure if that has any influence on reasons to have drop ceiling or not.

Anything I'm missing? What should one consider before dropping a drop ceiling?

  • 1
    It's perfectly common for people to remove the drop ceiling and leave the frame as a decorative element. Often accompanied with painting everything above the frame flat black for contrast. Can look fairly nice. Mar 30, 2019 at 18:14

2 Answers 2


I think you understand the pros and cons, as you have listed them very well. However, if you’re considering renting the basement space out in the future, your number one complaint will be sound control: in both directions.

Removing the existing ceiling and exposing the joists, wires, etc. is a personal preference , but will allow you to add/move lights, add sound control, etc. in the future when you know more about what spaces are going to be used in the rental.

We just did this for a client, but painted the ceiling white. I think black on a low ceiling could feel “weighty”.

  • Agreed on color - a dark colored ceiling will make the room feel smaller, while a bright/light color will help it feel bigger. Up to the OP to decide if that's an issue or not, though.
    – FreeMan
    Jul 29, 2021 at 16:56

Be sure to check building codes for basement tenant situations. From ceiling night minimums to fire escapes, to fireproofing your have a lot of things to consider to be safe.

As for drop ceiling tiles make sure they are new enough to not include asbestos. I believe the really old ones contained asbestos so be sure to do some research before disturbing them or even getting a professional opinion if not sure.

As a landlord we have added livable sq ft by finishing off the basements. Doing it right the first time saves som much money in headaches and adds more rentable sq ft. Good luck!

  • 1
    As long as you don't bust the tiles when removing them, I don't see how asbestos would really be an issue. Jul 29, 2021 at 15:51
  • I’m not an asbestos expert, but from what I’ve read, disturbing it could make it airborne and harmful, not just breaking it up. I just wanted to raise awareness as to what may be lurking so you’re staying safe. Good luck!
    – NRd
    Jul 30, 2021 at 16:21

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