Wednesday, 8 January 2014

The Basement Ceiling

Its ceiling right? Or is it cieling? That's one of those words I have to think about every time I type it. There are no red squiggles under ceiling, so it must be right.

In any case, building on yesterday's post about the basement... One of my aggravations down there is that the drywall ceiling has sagged consistently to show exactly the outline of every sheet of drywall. I sit in my recliner and stare at the ceiling instead of watching hockey. Not only are the Leafs that bad, but the ceiling is a consistent annoyance.

It makes me cringe.

I wonder if the installer didn't use enough screws in the centre of the sheets. Maybe there is a lot of moisture that the sheets have absorbed and now the screws have let go and its only a matter of time until the whole thing comes down. Maybe nothing at all is wrong. Those waves drive me nuts.

I have always held that basements should have accessible ways to reach the utilities run in their ceilings. Whether that is by not having anything on the ceiling (exposed construction) or removable panels (drop ceiling) or sacrificial, replaceable coverings (wood or even flat drywall) I am not picky, but I don't want drywall with a stipple finish that I can't re-create after digging around in there to add a branch circuit or repair a leaky water line.

For reasons I don't understand, someone who owned this house before me saw things differently.

So going with the options above, here are some ideas of what the basement ceiling could end up looking like. I have a full 8ft height down there so any of these are do-able...

Coffered sections with drop ceiling panels:

I like this look a lot. Especially for in the bar area. A trick is that you can use laminate flooring in place of real wood to make the ceiling panels. Then you get real wood for the chases to hold everything in place. It looks rich, but the build isn't so bad as it might be. It can be tricky matching a stain on real wood to a print on the laminate, but if you embrace the suck and paint the frame a solid colour (White?) you can maintain the effect with the mismatch.

The exposed construction idea is least appealing to me, but here is how it looks:

Basically, you eliminate the ceiling altogether and just paint everything up there white. A couple days with a sprayer and the bulk of the work is done, but then its a lifetime of touching up all the crooks and nannies you missed. The look is really industrial to me, and not as warm as some of the other finishes. Also dust would collect on EVERYTHING up there. The appeal of this idea is that for access, you can't get much better. And the space still looks finished. Sortof. In our basement there are a lot of heating ducts that could be painted a contrasting colour for some effect, but really I think I'll just shelve this idea for now and move along to something else.

Wood ceilings look really good. In our last house we had pine paneling on the whole main floor ceiling and I L-O-V-E - loved it. It looked like this:

OK, well, you can sortof see it since that photo was of our brag wall at the old house (complete with drywall patches), but the natural pine ceiling was fantastic. Except for the cobwebs and the fact that you couldn't reach out from the loft above to dust it off. 

Maybe paint the planks for a look like this:

I wonder how that combo of coffered sections with the pine between would turn out given the 8ft ceiling height. Maybe a sort of cottagy-wainscot feel to it, or maybe a cramped hobbit-hole. Hmmm. I'm really up in the air on how this element will come together. 

<EDIT> I have to add in this beadboard ceiling that I just found. I like it a lot too - looks fancy without a lot of depth, and its clean and bright...

Here's another I found, incorporates wood, but with drywall panels.


Sometimes I feel like just a plain acoustic tile formed to look like a tin ceiling is all we need. Fast, simple, painless, but not so much style. Armstrong makes these:

How hard can that be to install? Swear for a week while I set up a steel grid and then just pop 'em in.

My biggest challenge with design down there is seeing the whole picture without just accepting what we already have. After all, what we have is functional. Maybe not ideal, but definitely functional.

I've started sketching the room, but just from a fixtures placement viewpoint. I don't know that I can really incorporate finishes and textures into a drawing. The engineer in me wants to take over the process and go with what fits and what's cost effective, and in design decisions, that rarely works out to create the most fulfilling room.

At ceiling height there will be at least one transverse bulkhead in the room, so that means I have the opportunity to use ceilings to define space. Maybe go with a different finish over the bar versus over the living space. Or maybe the same finish applied with different textures or colours. I'm not sure. Need to think about this some more.

One thing for sure... there will be no mirrored ceilings. No guarantees on disco balls just yet.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please take a minute to share your thoughts!