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I'm wrapping up the design of my basement ceiling. Going with drywall to save an inch or so.

One problem area I have is right at the bottom step to the basement there is a heating pipe that cuts diagonally across the ceiling. If I were to add a soffit there, I'd drastically reduce the ceiling height for entering the basement.

Is it OK for me to cut an angled drywall piece against both sides of the pipe to essentially have the pipe in between two drywall pieces. The pipe is too close to the joists to fit the drywall above it. Unless I use 1/2 inch drywall and attach to joist. The rest of the basement ceiling will be 5/8 inch drywall.

Is it acceptable to create a soffit that's essential a 2 by 2 on each side? Width of pipe is probable 2 inches maxi so I'd have about a 6-7 inch wide soffit but only 2 inches deep. Trying to accomplish the minimal soffit size given it's at the bottom of a step and entrance to room.

The brown/black pipe is what's in question. I will be relocating the light and smoke alarm. ceiling pipe

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    With a water pipe I would not be concerned if the pipe touched the Sheetrock but a heating (steam pipe?) I would make the tray with the 2x2’s I would want access and non contact incase of leaks. – Ed Beal Nov 10 '20 at 0:03
  • @EdBeal is it fine to have a 2by2 on either side but not beneath it to preserve that extra 2 inches in ceiling height. the gap would be at most 10 inches if i left wiggle room. I'd attach sheet rock to the sides and bottom of the 2 parallel running 2 by 2s. – Technupe Nov 10 '20 at 0:59
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    Have you gotten quotes to have it moved by a plumber? For the work involved in drywalling the ceiling and trying to do a soffit to hide it just move the pipe to a better location. – Fresh Codemonger Nov 10 '20 at 6:03
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    I would move the pipe first, a diagonal soffit like that will look hideous – whatsisname Dec 10 '20 at 7:11
  • A photo with better context would be helpful. It's hard to offer the best solutions not knowing what part of the room I'm looking at. – isherwood Dec 10 '20 at 14:29
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I would have a 2x2 on either side and attach the Sheetrock to the 2x’s as long as it’s not in contact. I have limited steam experience but have enclosed the supply and return lines, I had asked the inspector on the first time I did this and he said it would be fine on that system I called it steam but it was really hot water it was 200f max. I would try to keep the span narrow 10-12” sounds great, I used 1/4 round on the sides it was more expensive than making a Sheetrock step but if it ever leaks the Sheetrock can be pulled any leak repaired then a new piece put up only having to tape the end seams and screws.

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