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I recently removed the drywall ceiling from my basement with the intention to leave it as an exposed ceiling. Would I be correct in understanding that the metal ceiling joists (highlighted in blue in the pictures) are for drywall support only, and not structural? I believe that the iron girders are the structural support. Would like to remove the metal joists for more space.

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To be more accurate, it would appear that these are metal furring channels, not joists.

The blue highlighted joists are the ones I am hoping to remove.

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    Concrete floor above? You'll need to do something to protect the beams (and possibly the floor) from fire (which the sheetrock was doing) - While it's somewhat difficult to get them to burn, steel beams weaken and collapse in fires faster than wood ones do, if not protected. – Ecnerwal May 11 '15 at 0:17
  • It's a wood floor above, but could certainly have been laid over concrete. Uncertain. Being a small space built during the housing boom in NYC, the construction is a bit strange. I think there's only a few inches between that ceiling and the top floor - what would you recommend for fireproofing? – to5am May 11 '15 at 0:43
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    I have to be brutally blunt here. If you don't know how to handle this, or what the codes are you SHOULD NOT be doing this kind of work. ESPECIALLY in NYC. NYC has all kinds of specific local codes and licensing requirements. Messing with structure and fire separation is something that should be left to a pro that knows what they are doing. – Speedy Petey May 11 '15 at 2:07
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    That sort of metal underfloor is typically seen when there's concrete poured on top of it. If "your basement" is part of a multiple-occupancy building (which the construction and and location imply as a distinct possibility) you may be in a world of expensive trouble if you don't sort this out to applicable code ASAP. Lacking any intimate familiarity with NYC codes, I can't make a recommendation for "what else might work" other than putting it back exactly the way it was, using the same materials and details. i.e. that appears to have been a double layer probably 5/8 type X drywall. – Ecnerwal May 11 '15 at 16:15

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