Originally Posted by mraub
My HT has been in the same configuration for a few years now and I'm itching to make some changes. The current ceiling is drywall with a knock-down finish. Over the years I have had various things mounted to the ceiling and though I have tried to patch holes when things have changed, the ceiling looks really bad. A recent minor water leak has inflicted more damage and it really needs replaced.
I'm guessing that the patch jobs are noticeable because of texture differences in the knockdown, they're mudded a bit thicker than the surrounding area/not feathered out far enough, or a combination of both. Maybe some slight color differences as well, depending on how they were painted.
Depending on how "bad" your ceiling is (pics, please
), it might be less expensive to hire an experienced drywall finisher to fix it rather than rip it out and install a drop ceiling. That's true even if you have to cut out a large water damaged segment and replace it.
The knockdown finish can be skim coated over for a smooth surface. Unless you're dealing with framing problems (crooked, uneven, or bowed floor joists, etc.), a professional should give you a *very* smooth, seamless surface. At minimum, you're looking at surface prep (especially sanding down the old patch jobs), three skim coats and any final sanding, and then painting with a coat of drywall primer and your topcoats. It'll look like an entirely new ceiling. And since the entire ceiling would be refinished, it'd be an excellent time to run any new wiring for additional Atmos speakers, a voice of god channel for DTS:X, etc. even if you don't think you'll use them. Any holes you make can be patched prior to the skim coating.
I think there are really main two benefits to a drop ceiling in a home theater: ease of access, and the ability to hide acoustic treatments (ceiling cloud, diffusers, etc.) inside the ceiling grid so that they're flush on the outside. You can use pieces of OC 703 wrapped in fabric as tiles in specific areas or buy ones already made, and the same goes for diffusers. You can also the area above the ceiling for some massive bass traps, with polyester tiles in front, at the expense of sound isolation (though you're already losing that just by having a drop ceiling).
The home theater in my parents' house has a drop ceiling. They made the choice years ago when I was a kid, mainly because of (1) a gas line running underneath the joists in the back, and (2) to preserve easier access to the breaker box that's located in the room behind a panel. A drop ceiling was easier, and to be fair, made recent remodeling/equipment updates I've been helping them with lately a *lot* easier. But the loss of sound isolation is definitely noticeable and really needs to be emphasized. I wish I'd been able to convince them to rip it out during the remodeling and install drywall, but that got a definite no. As if it'd take that
much more time...