Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Topped Out

There were several reasons why I ended up redoing the ceiling in my office remodel project. Originally there was wood paneling in the room and the false ceiling had been attached over it and then later drywall on top of that. It essentially made both the ceiling and the walls built in place and you couldn't remove one without the other. I wanted to remove the ceiling for a couple reasons. One, I wanted to push it back up to the bottom of the floor joists and gain about six inches in height back. Two, I wanted to install more and better lighting. Three, I had a return duct that didn't return any air due to house changes by previous occupants. By removing it, I gained about two feet of higher ceiling part of the room. If I redid the ceiling, the drywall was now to short and I could have patched it in up to the new ceiling height but because I wanted to redo the electrical, I tore everything out and started from scratch.

For the ceiling, I went with the CeilingMax system which I have used before and like. It attached directly to the bottom of the floor joists to give you maximum amount of headroom but still allows you to remove panels like a suspended ceiling to access wiring and plumbing both of which I have above. My kitchen is above this room and it is a future project so I know I will need to access this space sometime in the future. You start by screwing plastic tracks to the underneath side of the floor joists and adding t-tracks in-between to space them correctly and help hold the ceiling tiles in place.

Once you get a few ceiling tiles in place, there is another piece that clips up into the first piece that retains everything in place. It goes up fairly fast (it took me about 10 hours of labor to do the entire job and looks just like a suspended ceiling would. As you can see below, it looks plenty nice for an office and future spare bedroom. The ceiling lights are now installed so no more hitting my head on dangling bulbs and best of all, the provide an even light through the entire room for much less wattage than the three can lights I had before that acted more like three flashlights trying to light the room.

I need to finalize my cabinet plans now and get the wood. I would like to build them down here in this room where it is nice and warm but I just don't want to suffer through anymore dust and messes trying to use my office so I will probably build them in the garage where it is nice and cold right now. I have built lots of furniture but never cabinets so this will be a new process for me and I will probably document my steps along the way in case others might want to try it. Since I am building the cabinets and a bookcase, I'm now flirting with just ordering the hardware for a Murphy bed and building my own cabinet for it as well. That way I can stain everything to match color wise. I found some plans online and I am going to have to review them to see if it is something I want to tackle or not. Like the cabinets though, I save several grand by doing it myself if I include my labor for free. That is a pretty good motivator.


karl o'melay said...

Wow, a murphy bed? That would be awesome. That ceiling looks great. Boy, that was fast. I can't wait to see your documentation of the cabinet building process.

I flirted with building cabinets but, alas, I have no proper shop. All my power tools consist of 18v milwaukee hand tools. I had to sell my table saw in the move to CA. I really miss having a table saw. Once I rebuild my garage I'll have a place to get some work done from for a while until it is finished out as an in-law unit.

Keep up the great work,


Ed said...

Karl - Although I have a table saw, it is too small to be functional in building cabinets. Thus far, I have only used my skilsaw and two cordless drills in building them. I cut a strip from one piece of plywood to act as my straightedge and rip my pieces using that and my skilsaw on top of a pair of sawhorses with some sacrificial 2 by material underneath to keep the blade away from them. It works quite well that way especially when it is just myself and large sheets of 3/4" plywood.

Kelly said...

The ceiling and lighting look very good. I think your decision to raise it was totally logical and for the best.

I'm not a carpenter in any sense of the word, so it's easy for me to say this (without being able to back it up)... but I would think you'd have no trouble making your own Murphy bed as long as you've found dimesions and basic instructions. I still think that's such a neat idea! There's an old apartment building in my town that I've heard has Murphy beds in all the units. I'd love to see one.

Ed said...

Kelly - I'm not sure why Murphy beds aren't more popular. If I had to hazard a guess, I would say that we American's buy such large homes these days that we have entire bedrooms devoted to guests who may only stay one night a year. In my case, I've gone almost four years without needing another bedroom but that will change for a few weeks this summer. It probably won't happen again for quite awhile so a Murphy bed really makes a lot of sense. I did order the kit and it arrived yesterday though I haven't looked at it. I need to open it up so I can go pick out the wood needed to build the bed and get started.