I received a question from a reader this week that I thought was well worth sharing.
We are remodeling our basement this winter and my husband says we should keep the suspended ceiling even though I think it looks terrible. He says it makes it easier to get into our wiring and plumbing. Is there anything we can do maintain the accessibility but make it a little more stylish?
Dear Sue, I’m so glad you asked this question because suspended or drop ceilings make a lot of sense for basements and office spaces. A suspended ceiling consists of a simple grid of lightweight tiles or panels, and they are popular because they are simple to install and allow easy access to internal wires and pipes. There are other benefits too: suspended ceilings are great for absorbing acoustics, they are more moisture and fire resistant than drywall ceilings, and they are naturally insulating which gives them a tick in terms of energy efficiency.
For all these reasons, suspended ceilings are a popular choice and your husband is right for wanting to keep them. However, I agree with you - those mineral fiber panels aren’t the nicest to look at. Luckily, manufacturers have recently been thinking the same thing and there are now tons of options to create a really great looking ceiling to match your remodeling project.
One of my favorite options is pressed tin tiles, which were popular in the early 1900’s and can still be found in townhouses and brownstones in urban areas like New York City. They are making a huge comeback in modern design too. Tin plated tiles come in a range of patterns and finishes and the detailing adds a lot of flare to a room, even if you choose a white finish. Personally, I love the warmth of a copper look.
The faux wood is another popular choice, which comes in a ton of stains and colors. I like a dark walnut or cherry for a den or home office, while a lighter color would look great in a kitchen or darker basement.
Lastly, let’s not forget about vinyl. Vinyl tiles allow you to get interesting textures above your head and some of the 3-D and built in crown molding options can give a room a classy upgrade without forgoing durability. They are very easy to clean and are stain and water resistant if you’re looking for a solution in a leak prone area.
I hope these ideas answer your question Sue and best of luck with your basement makeover!
Bob O’Donnell is the owner of O’Donnell Bros. Inc., a Bristol-based home improvement company established in 1975. Email your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Ask the Pro.” All questions may be considered for publication. To contact Bob for your remodeling needs, call O’Donnell Bros. Inc. at (860) 589-5155 or visit http://www.odonnellbros.com. Advice is for guidance only.