How do I Choose the Best Basement Ceiling Tiles?

Maggie Worth

Suspended or drop ceilings are a popular choice among homeowners completing a basement remodeling project. In these ceilings, an aluminum grid is attached to the ceiling joists via wire hangers, and ceiling tiles are placed into the spaces of the grid. Ceiling tiles come in a variety of sizes, materials, and price points. As with most home-improvement items, the best basement ceiling tiles are those that most effectively meet your particular needs. The size of your room, your budget, and the appearance of the tiles will all be main considerations when choosing tiles.

Acoustic panels can help reduce noise between floors.
Acoustic panels can help reduce noise between floors.

Price is often the most important factor when considering basement ceiling tiles. Composite tiles are some of the most commonly-used because they are both easy to work with and relatively inexpensive. Some types of plastic tile are also quite affordable. Specialty tiles, such as embossed plastic or embossed tin, are attractive and available, but will put a much larger dent in your remodel budget.

Drop ceilings are common in basements because they can easily hide wiring or pipes, or a central air system.
Drop ceilings are common in basements because they can easily hide wiring or pipes, or a central air system.

If your budget allows, and you have a specific look in mind, you may want to investigate the pricier tiles for the sake of appearance. Home improvement websites can give you an idea of the options available to you, and may also provide you with information about tile manufacturers. Once you've found a specialty tile that you like, consider visiting consumer rating sites to find out what other users have encountered when buying and installing the tiles. If you want to minimize your expense, but are less than thrilled with the standard off-white color of most composite tiles, look for paintable tiles so you can choose your own color.

The size of your room will also impact your selection of basement ceiling tiles. Most tiles come in standard sizes, with 2 feet by 2 feet (.610 m by .610 m) and 2 feet by 4 feet (.610 m by 1.219 m) being the most common. Small rooms, like bathrooms, may look odd if you use the larger size and may require you to cut down a number of the tiles. Using small tiles in a large room will increase the number of grid pieces you will need and, therefore, will increase your budget. Furthermore, a smaller room means fewer tiles and may allow you to purchase the specialty tiles you really want.

Additional considerations include durability and soundproofing. Acoustic tiles reduce the ability of sound to travel from the basement to the rest of the house. This might be desirable if you plan to play loud music or otherwise make a lot of noise in the basement. Tiles may also be washable, paintable, water-resistant, or flame-retardant. Ultimately, you will want to consider all factors together in order to choose the best basement ceiling tiles for your home or office.

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