Saturday, January 25, 2014

Suspended ceilings aren't sexy.

I've been on a ceiling kick lately.  I've repainted all but two rooms in this house since we moved in, but I haven't touched a ceiling.  If they ever do get done, it will be by a pro as I have absolutely no interest in killing my neck.  Though, I did ask for opinions on planked ceilings on my Facebook page recently - I think it would look fab in my living room. (**quietly begging for you to follow!**)

Yes, I've completely neglected every fifth wall.  Until now.

Last weekend, on a complete whim, I decided to tackle a project I've been wanting to do for a while. You see, we recently replaced our old wood stove with this little beauty.

Our old stove was way oversized for our home so it heated us OUT of the house (we almost always had a window cracked.) It wasn't efficient at all, and burped out smoke pretty regularly.  Every now and then, you'd open the damper, do everything right, and in an instant, the whole basement would be filled with smoke.  That smoke left a nasty layer of soot all over everything, including the tiles in the suspended ceiling in the neighboring laundry/mud room.  I spent so much time redoing that room last year, but hadn't yet decided on what to do with the ceiling.  

I would have loved to have hung a regular drywall ceiling, but with the water pipes and such, the suspended ceiling really did make sense as we've already had to access the pipes a few times to find the source of small leaks (which turned out not to be the pipes at all, but that I had filled the bathtub just a bit too much sending water out the overflow holes that are in the drain pull - oops.)  I wanted some nice, flat tiles but those had to be ordered, or some "pretty" tiles (as pretty as ceiling tiles can be), but then you have to figure out how to deal with the edges, and with more edges than full tiles, that just didn't appeal to me. So, after much research, I threw all of the research out the window and just bought what they had in stock at Home Depot. 

So back to the soot... here's a shot just to show how bad the old tiles had gotten...

Pretty gross, right?  Now you understand why this has been nagging away at my head.  I thought of painting the existing tiles, but that just seemed silly for a project that was fairly inexpensive at $149 for the three cases I needed.  Before I share some "after" shots - I should throw a couple of suggestions out there just in case you're thinking of ever doing this.

This is a messy, messy job.  Any of the pieces that needed to be cut, I took outside.  Even then, getting them to fit into the grid that wasn't quite square still left a dusty, nasty mess behind.  I was happy I bought an extra case because I also wasn't aware that these things are as delicate as tissue paper.  

You should probably also take the time to clear out the room before you start so that you don't have to take your rug to the dry cleaner and rewash several loads of laundry that you didn't take out of the room first. And I should point out that you can only see the bigger pieces in this picture.  There's a fine, white dust all over everything.  Oh yeah, I probably should have worn goggles and a mask too.

It really didn't take that long to finish, and cutting the pieces down was super easy with a sharp utility knife.  I numbered all the pieces as I took them down and just laid the ones that needed cut down on top of the new ones to get the cuts right.  Then, I started to just put them back up in order.  That didn't really work out all that well, though.  I often needed to maneuver around the light fixtures, the wires that hung the grid system and such, so there was quite a bit of removing what had just been placed to fit the next piece in which resulted in some damaged edges that got touched up with craft paint. Yep, you read that right.  

In the end, though, it's so worth it.  My laundry room is now 100% complete, except for all of the laundry that refuses to end.  Seriously, there are only two of us.

I'm also considering ordering these little guys to try to give an even more finished look and because even after cleaning, the metal grid itself looks pretty grungy against those new bright tiles. I'm going to sleep on this one for a few more nights since the grid is not at all square and I think it might all be more frustration and money than it's really worth.  And no, I'm not taking all of those tiles back down to paint it.

Do you have a great solution for a suspended ceiling?  Let me know down there in the comments!!

Shared at DIY Showoff


  1. Looks great! No wonder you have an aching back!

    1. My back actually felt GREAT that day - likely due to the moving around required to finish this!

  2. So much better! I would have no idea what to do with a suspended ceiling!

    1. It's just so bright in there now! Tough feat for a basement laundry room!


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