Hey yall! I’m so excited to share all about the solution I discovered for the basement ceiling. Remember how I mentioned last week that we were working on turning a section of our basement into a small home gym and storage area? Well, we faced a major challenge: the exposed ceiling. We weighed our options, going back and forth between the idea of painting the ceiling (although that meant a ton of messy work) or opting for a drop ceiling (which would lower the height we wanted to maintain), but we came across the perfect solution: Armstrong Ceilings Easy Elegance Woodgrain White Planks, along with Easy Up Tracks.
Not only are they a practical solution, but they are also gorgeous! The beautiful white finish instantly brightened up our basement and gave it a fresh, clean, and modern look. It’s really like night and day!
Now, let’s talk about the benefits:
These planks come with a range of features and benefits. They’re not only durable but also resistant to moisture, which is crucial for basement environments, and the planks can be installed in various settings, making them suitable for not only basements but also other areas of your home, such as kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms, or offices, and they can even be installed directly to walls.
Armstrong has a great selection of ceiling solutions. You can easily find the perfect product for your ceiling project by answering a few simple questions using their ceiling selector tool. It’s a convenient way to get personalized recommendations tailored to your specific needs. You can also order samples. I knew I wanted a plank look, so I requested a few options, but ultimately chose the Easy Elegance Woodgrain White.
While there was definitely a learning curve, once we got the hang of it, we were on a roll–but I’d definitely recommend 2 people for installation. It took us a bout a week to complete because we worked on it at our leisure, but had we attempted to finish it at once, we could have definitely had it complete in a day. While the planks can be installed directly to a ceiling with adhesive, The Easy Up track system simplifies the installation process by securely attaching the ceiling planks to exposed joists, ensuring a stable and durable result. The planks are tongue-and-groove which allows for an easy and seamless installation while ensuring a tight fit between planks.
Tools we used:
- Saw (Miter saw or circular saw)
- Furring strips (we used 2x/3’s to allow clearance for plumbing lines)
- #6 2” drywall screws to install tracks
- Screw gun
- Brad nailer
- Ceiling trim
- Measuring tape
- Utility knife
- Safety glasses
- Armstrong Ceilings Easy Elegance WoodGrain White Ceiling Planks
- Easy Up Tracks and clips
Prep the ceiling:
The first thing we did was install “furring strips”(we actually used 2×3’s) directly to the joists. This helped to ensure that the tracks would be installed level and also helped to make sure the tracks would clear any obstructions like plumbing pipes and electrical wires. Where pipes were located on the joists, we just skipped over them and installed small pieces or blocks of furring strips around them.
Next we snapped a chalk line, starting 2” from the wall, and then 24” apart to mark where to place the tracks.
Installing the tracks:
Installing the tracks was really simple. We just screwed the track at every joist, checking that they are level. If there were areas that were unlevel, we just loosened the screw and stuck a shim underneath the track until it was level.
Because there’s a huge beam in our basement, it caused us to do two separate installations—we weren’t sticklers on this on the first ceiling, but noticed what a huge difference it makes in terms of ease of installation to ensure that the tracks are level. Rather than cutting the tracks, we overlapped the tracks side by side to fit the width of the room.
Cutting the Planks
I used my miter saw to cut the planks.
In areas where there were bump outs, or corners, I used my jig saw to get a precise cut. They can also be cut with a utility knife if necessary. PVC is incredibly messy to cut, but the finished look is worth it.
Installing the First Row of Planks
When installing the first row, you have to leave a ¾” gap to allow for expansion. The instructions do say to screw the first row in place, but we realized this after the fact and instead just used a spacer at the edge of the wall, and a clip to hold the first row of planks in place. It worked out perfectly fine for us.
The first plank we used was a full plank. The last plank in that row needed to be cut, however there wasn’t much waste because we just used the cut end to start the next row, which kept our pattern pretty regular and our cuts almost uniform.
For the next rows, we just inserted the tongue of the new plank into the groove of the previous one at a slight angle. Pressed the plank upward to lock it in place, and then gave it a light tap to ensure a tight fit, lastly we just insert the clip into the planks groove to hold them in place.
Once all the planks were installed, I used a small pvc colonial style molding to finish the edges. Using PVC molding worked well to coordinate with the planks, so I didn’t have to worry about painting.
I am so thrilled with how this ceiling turned out, it has totally elevated this space. There’s still a bit to do down here like caulk, paint, build my storage shelves and desk and add the rest of the gym equipment and accessories. Stay tuned friends!