What a ceiling!
Updated: Nov 30, 2018
I at least had the foresight when we started to realize that I wanted nothing to do with a drywall ceiling. I can deal with sanding a wall, but drywall dust in my eyes? NOPE. We didn't want a drop ceiling since we only have about 7.5 of height in the room, so we had to do some research about what kind of ceiling to put in the room. Before we even got to the ceiling part, we knew we wanted to put in some insulation. The nice thing about having no insulation between the basement and ground floor is that if you're playing music downstairs, you can hear it very clearly on the ground floor. It's like having one of those fancy sound systems where the music follows you from room to room, but for free! The downside is that your basement doesn't retain any warmth and if you have a TV and sound system down there (which we will), you could end up disturbing the entire house. For the insulation, we decided to go with Owens Corning UltraBatt mineral wool insulation. This is what home depot sells these days in store. You can still get Roxul/Rockwool insulation from them, but you have to special order it, and this is actually half the cost for a similar product. Neither Mr. Handy nor I have a truck so when we have to do these big pickups from home depot we end up taking both our vehicles and tetrising everything in. One harrowing drive back from the store later, we had our insulation.
This stuff went in pretty quickly, considering we were having to install in over our heads. It's not fun or clean work, though. It's not as bad as fiberglass, but if you're installing mineral wool insulation you want to be sure to wear pants, long sleeves, gloves, goggles, a respirator, and literally anything else that will help cover your skin because the little particles will still irritate your skin. Once we had the insulation up, we could get back to focusing on the pretty things!
Back to the ceiling. I did a lot of googling and youtube watching, and saw techniques that looked interesting, but it's really scary when you've invested a year of time into a project and you aren't sure what the best option is. A failed experiment could ruin the whole room. So even though we had a couple of options that seemed like they might work, we settled on the one with the least chance of failure for us and went with an Armstrong woodhaven plank ceiling system. They're not paying me (I wish they were, though, because this stuff isn't cheap!), but this system went up pretty quick and with any of the mishaps were just from us being tired. This system is a tongue and groove plank system that uses clips to hold the planks to either furring strips on the ceiling, drywall, or existing drop ceiling tracks. You don't have to sand it or paint it -- you just put it up and leave gaps on the side where you cover the edges with trim later. Lowes doesn't carry it in the store, but you can special order it from them. In store they carry a cheaper Armstrong ceiling plank that's not as sturdy at a much lower cost, but we wanted to make sure we had something durable. While we were installing it was really easy just to cut holes for our low-profile LED lights and also installed a new nest wired smoke and carbon monoxide detector.
You guys. We have a ceiling!