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I need to drywall my basement ceiling. There are gas and water pipelines below the joists as shown in the picture.

How to install drywall just below the pipes? Please help with a solution for drywall. Drop ceiling is too low and can't be raised and I don't want to raise it.

enter image description here

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    Why???? You already have a suspended ceiling, precisely because that is an easy way to have a ceiling in this situation. What are you trying to achieve ? One way or another you have to suspend a ceiling. Jan 4 at 23:39
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    So, raise the grid up to "just below the pipes" and buy new, clean panels in some up-to-date pattern/look if the panels are "old and dirty" - or learn for yourself through painful experience why the drop ceiling is a very good idea here.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jan 5 at 1:34
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    If there are any electric junction boxes above the suspended ceiling, drywall permanently hiding them would be a violation. They have to remain accessible without tools. Something like an access panel held with screws is still no good, since a screwdriver would be needed for access.
    – MTA
    Jan 5 at 2:36
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    @MTA, I would like to see the official reference to needing to be accessible without tools such as a typical screwdriver. By your definition, if needing to use a screwdriver for access is a violation, then probably 99% of the junction boxes, breaker panels, outlets, and light switches are in violation, since a screwdriver is needed to remove the covers for access.
    – Milwrdfan
    Jan 5 at 4:31
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    @Milwrdfan The "accessible without tools" question has already been beat to death. Here's Harper's take on it: diy.stackexchange.com/a/257083/79373
    – MTA
    Jan 5 at 5:04

2 Answers 2

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Attach furring strips that are taller than the pipes and run perpendicular to the joists. Then attach the drywall to the furring strips.

But as others have commented, a basement with a drop tile ceiling with at least a few inches of clear space above it is worth its weight in gold when it comes time to do any kind of mechanical, electrical, or plumbing upgrade or renovation.

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  • Is it ok to use 2x4 as furing strip ? Jan 5 at 6:45
  • I would need atleast 4 inches thick furing Jan 5 at 6:55
  • Drop ceiling may indeed be easier in that case. An alternative approach -- which I may need to consider since my basement does not have a lot of headroom -- is to assemble the ceiling using pieces with cut-outs so those pipes and wires continue to be exposed.
    – keshlam
    Jan 5 at 13:47
  • @ShivakiranNeelagiri Yes, the furring can be whatever thickness is required. With some work all of the 1.25" and smaller pipes and wires that are fixed below the floor joists could be relocated so that they cross within the thin web portion of the floor joists, eliminating much of the need for furring. The remaining places such as drain pipes and air ducts where the necessary drop-down is deeper can be framed around with wood and/or sheet metal and then drywalled.
    – Greg Hill
    Jan 5 at 13:47
  • @GregHill note the sidearm ducts blocking the web portion of the I-joists before you go too far down the path of trying to relocate the pipes and wires up there. One is visible at the very top of the picture. Even without that problem, it's easy when built and a pain to change later. With that detail it's not really possible.
    – Ecnerwal
    Jan 5 at 18:18
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I agree that raising the drop ceiling in the area outside the duct is the right move here. However, if you insist on hanging drywall, you have a few options.

Suspend furring strips. You wouldn't use a full-height strip attached directly to the joist. You'd use slats mounted to the joist sides to attach to the furring strip sides. Something like this:

 ____ _
|____| |
  || | |
  || | |
  || | |
 _||_| |    
|____| |
     | |
   __| |
  |  | |
  |  | |
  |__|_|

The horizontal members must be up to the task of carrying drywall for the span between supports. Be sure to use an approved attachment method to the joists. Keep all fasteners in shear (horizontal), and use enough of adequate size for the load.

Or look for a commercial solution. There are systems similar to suspended ceiling track designed to carry drywall. You install them and screw the drywall to the channel rails.

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  • Because getting wood furring level is going to be so much easier than adjusting the drop ceiling... (Yes, this is sarcasm, the OP is obviously looking for the hardest way possible to do this job. I'm just taking one more stab at pointing that out.)
    – FreeMan
    Jan 5 at 19:50

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