LESLIE: Jim in North Carolina is on the line with an HVAC question. What can we do for you today?
JIM: Finishing my basement and looking for some pointers in framing out the HVAC vent runs. I have a vent that goes across the ceiling, perpendicular to the joists, comes to a T and the vents run parallel to the joists for a ways. And just trying to figure out how to frame that and box it in and especially with keeping in the fire-blocking pulls (ph) in mind. So didn’t know if you guys have any pointers on that or not.
TOM: So, you’re talking about return ducts here?
JIM: No, it’s not a return duct. It’s actually a feed duct, you know, a vent. It’s …
TOM: So the trunk line runs perpendicular to the floor joists and then what you’re asking is how do you turn those in between those floor joists, run them to the exterior wall and then up into the room itself?
JIM: Well, no. It’s more like these vents are already run. And I had an HVAC contractor actually come in and they ran flexible vents. I’m trying to frame it in so you can sheetrock it and everything.
TOM: Oh, OK. Well, that’s different.
TOM: So you just want to conceal these. You can build a frame around them. I’ve done that with 5/4×3 bridging material – it’s like a half size of a 2×4 – and constructed a wood frame, attached drywall to it and then spackled it and finished it traditionally. But I will say it’s an awful lot of work. And that’s why in basements, I much prefer drop ceilings these days, for two reasons. First of all, they go in quicker and they’re finished. And secondly, you’ll always have access to the pipes, the wires and the ducts if you need them, if it’s a dropped ceiling.
So, you could frame it in if you want and you would do that with a lighter building material, like five-quarter material. But it is a lot of work. That’s kind of your option.
JIM: OK. I’m finding out it’s a lot of work (inaudible at 0:08:16).
TOM: Yeah. It is.
TOM: It’s like an endless amount of small pieces of drywall and then it’s just way more spackle than you need to make it look right. And so that’s why – I used to do it that way and then I got smarter in my old age and started using dropped ceilings. And I’m a lot happier as a result. And the dropped ceilings today, if you haven’t looked at them recently, they are beautiful. And they can look like tin ceilings and they can look like traditional wood ceilings. There’s lots of options.
So check them out and make the best decision for you, Jim, OK? Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.