What Ceilings to Put in When a Basement Ceiling Is Low


Low basement ceilings create a cramped feeling in the lower level space, but you have options for finishing the ceiling to turn it into a finished area. The commonly used drop ceiling isn't ideal if you have low ceilings, as they hang below the ducts, taking away height from the ceilings. Consider the other ceiling options to find one that works with your basement project.


  • Drywall is a relatively thin material used to finish ceilings in most main-level rooms. You can also use this material in the basement to keep most of the height in the room. A drywall finish gives you a smooth basement ceiling that you are able to paint to customize the look. Drywall also allows you to build soffits around the ducts and plumbing, so only those areas of the ceiling are lower.


  • Ceiling tiles that don't require a low-hanging grid offer another option in the basement. The ceiling tiles offer different materials, patterns and styles to allow for a customized ceiling. Removable tile pieces are available so you can still reach the plumbing, wiring and other components that run along the basement ceiling.


  • Wood planks give you a finished look in the basement without taking away much height because the planks are usually less than one inch thick. Tongue-and-groove planks connect together along the edges as they are installed on the basement ceiling. You can either paint or stain the wooden plank ceiling depending on how you want it to look. A similar option is to install sheets of paneling on the ceiling. Paneling often resembles individual planks or beadboard but comes in larger sheets so it is easier to install.


  • If you want an inexpensive covering the basement ceiling, paint is an option. Paint all parts of the ceiling, including ducts and other components that run along it. This helps everything blend together to create a unified look. A light paint color makes the space feel larger to combat the low ceilings. Paint is the only option that allows you to keep all of the available head space in the basement since there are no components that hang down.

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