How to Finish a Basement Ceiling


Many people choose to finish their basement ceiling when adding another room or living space to the bottom floor. Finished basement ceilings create a better atmosphere than when bare rafters, plumbing, and electrical wires are visible.

Finishing basement ceilings can drastically lower the height of a room. Some people find that drop ceilings do not work very well in a basement setting; however, by using drywall with furring strips, you will only have an inch from the ceiling height.

Get Needed Permits

Check with your local zoning office to learn the code requirements. Some towns have specific requirements as to the height of a finished basement ceiling as well as the distance between the material and air ducts, plumbing, and electrical wires. Display the permits in an area where code enforcers can see them.

Measure Basement for Materials Needed

It is important to have all of your materials on hand when you start the project. You do not want to run out of drywall, compound, or even ceiling tiles in the middle of the project. Measure the width and length of the entire basement ceiling and multiply these two numbers to determine the square footage. Add at least 10% in case there were mistakes in measuring, or you make mistakes at installing.

Prepare Surface

Before you start to apply any of the materials for the basement ceiling you should clean it of any cobwebs, dust, and anything else that may be between the joists. There is also the option of spraying a coat of latex paint on the plumbing, air ducts, electrical boxes, and any other systems in the ceiling.

Install Furring Strips

Start at one corner of the room and install the furring strips along the joists. These strips should span between the joists for use as both a spacer and a way to attach the drywall. Use the air nailer to attach the strips to the joists. Check the level of the strip as you move along. You may need to use some wood shims to keep the ceiling level.

Hang First Piece of Drywall

It is always best to start in a corner and move along the ceiling until you are finished. To hang the first piece, apply some construction adhesive to the furring strips. Lift the drywall with the edge in the corner. Hold it up with a drywall hanger and press the board into the adhesive. Drive screws into the drywall to secure it to the joists. Continue hanging drywall in this same fashion until it’s all completed. Cut pieces to size with the utility knife.

Apply Tape and Compound

Apply the drywall tape and compound to all of the seams and screw holes. Sand it smooth once it is dry.

Install Ceiling Tiles

To finish your basement ceiling, install some ceiling tiles onto the surface of the drywall. Use the construction adhesive and apply it to the back of each tile. Press it onto the drywall and hold it for a few seconds.