The new-old house (last Friday) is lovely, sound in many ways, but has fiber board ceilings and walls throughout. It is old, and has become spongy. The attached photo is of one panel that I removed to see what was going on underneath. It pretty much tore apart with my gloved hands. This particular panel was compromised because there was a gravity vent up to the upstairs bathroom which generated moisture over the years and had caused the panel to sag notably. At the very least, that one panel was going to need to be replaced.
But, I would dearly like to do something nicer than fiber board, and something more up to date.
Many years ago, at a house I grew up in, my father had installed gypsum panels in between the floor joists using trim as tiny casements. The bottom of the joists were exposed. The panels floated. It looked quite nice, and allowed one easy access to any of the wiring/plumbing that traveled in the floor cavity, as the panels were not attached, and sat in place, kinda like a dropped ceiling.
My ceilings are lower that I want, so if I can gain any extra head room, that'd be a benefit.
Is the idea of pulling down all of the fiber board and trim, then installing recessed panels in between the floor joists problematic? Maine building code issues? Fire retardant paint on the floor joists? Just a numb-skull Oh-hell-no DIY mistake?
If that isn't a possibility, is there anything I can do besides hang drywall on the strapping? (It would look marginally better than what is there currently, but wouldn't give me any more head room.)
This is pretty much the entire first floor, so I need to have a clear idea on a ceiling solution. What is currently installed was sufficient 75 years ago, but needs to be replaced.
Thanks in advance.