We want to put up a basement ceiling. Our basement is only 8′ with the floor joist as the ceiling now. We do have some ductwork that is under the floor joists. Does anyone have ideas?

I assume the duct work cannot be buried… AT SOME POINT, it crosses the floor / ceiling joists. GIVEN THAT, it really becomes aesthetics as much as anything else. Since you cannot HIDE it, you will have to either minimize its appearance OR you could heighten its appearance. Make it a focal point, or a stand out feature of the room – paint it a contrasting color… whatever.

If it is VERY small and just a minor intrusion below the joist level, you could box it in – make it look like a ceiling beam. Without putting my own eyes on the project, it is hard to go beyond general ideas. BEST advice, take a chair and a cup of coffee and sit there and THINK about it and brainstorm.

The ceiling itself is easy… either drywall or accoustic tiles. Tiles are EASIER for a DIYer. Nail furring strips ( 1 x 2 ) cross ways to the floor ceiling joist, probably 12″ centers, and staple up the ceiling tiles to the furring strips. Drywall (sheet rock) is HEAVY, **AND** you have to consider the difficulty of getting 4foot x 8foot pieces DOWN to the basement.

Another option would be a WOOD ceiling – like v-rustic or something like that. Go to a home center (Lowes, Home Depot or whatever) and EITHER wander about looking or go to their project desk and ask for advice. ALSO they both have a GREAT selection of books that you can look over to get ideas.

When I did mine, I insulated under the floor( to hold in heat better) and covered the ceiling with drywall. Screwing the drywall to the floor joists. Sometimes with duct work you may have to leave exposed, depending on where it is located.

The eight feet clearance will be no problem provided the joists are straight enough to provide a smooth flat ceiling. You apply wall board or sheetrock directly to the bottom of the joists. I’d use sheetrock screws for this and let them counter sink just below the surface. The duct work is no problem if it can be re-positioned up between the joists. Otherwise you’ll have to create a chase or boxed in area below ceiling height to house the ductwork. This will be a head knocker if it hangs too low. Re-position it or change it out for low profile flat duct then box it in and sheetrock around it and over it. Don’t cut the joists out as that is the main support for your floor above.

Another solution for basement ceilings if headroom is a factor is to fasten (nail/screw) quarter round to the inside bottom of each joist space and put drop in ceiling tiles in the space. Cross braces, wiring, pipes and ductwork you will have to work around of course but if it’s easy why do it (that seemed to be the mantra with me)?