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Standard Basement Ceiling Height

Standard Basement Ceiling Height

Interior renovationsStandard Basement Ceiling Height

Are you planning on renovating or building a basement, and have some questions about ceiling heights? Keep reading to get just the information you are looking for!

What is the minimum basement ceiling height in Canada?

basement

Source: Canva

First off, note that there is no maximum ceiling height requirement for basements. As for the minimum heights established by current standards, these vary from one room to another.

In the kitchen, hallways, laundry room, and bathroom, the ceiling height should be at least 7 feet (83 inches). The same applies to the bedrooms, main living room and dining room (in the case of finished basements, meaning it has been converted into a living space).

However, as we mentioned in a previous article on the standard ceiling heights for a house, some parts of the basement can have a minimum height of six and a half feet (78 inches). The following rooms are included in this standard:

  • Hallways;

  • Secondary entryway;

  • Entire basement if it is unfinished;

  • Secondary living room;

  • Secondary dining/kitchen area.

Are you looking to transform your basement into living quarters? Check out our article Creating a Basement Apartment: What to Know!

Can you deviate from the typical height requirements?

In order to comply with Quebec's Construction Code (and the National Building Code of Canada), the current standards regarding finished basement ceiling heights (and ceiling heights in general) must be respected by builders as they were established to ensure both the comfort and safety of residents, whether that may be for a finished basement, ground floor, or upper levels. 

How low is too low for finished basement ceilings?

basement

Source: Canva

The impulse to lower the basement ceiling can be desirable for a number of reasons. In fact, some people appreciate the feeling of a more enclosed space. Nevertheless, note that anything below 7 feet for common areas and bedrooms is too low, and anything lower than 6.5 feet is too low for bathrooms and other areas. 

If that is the look and feel you are going for, you may want to install a stretch ceiling (PVC ceiling fabric). However, should you choose this route, note that this type of material should be installed according to a specific procedure: Stretch the fabric with a heat gun. Soundproofing panels (such as SONOpan) can be installed over the fabric for added soundproofing and/or thermal insulation. Note that this is an expensive option, and repairs will need to be made if the fabric tears. Nevertheless, it is easily removed and available in a variety of finishes, making it a worthwhile option.

It is also possible to opt for a suspended ceiling (drop ceiling). This type of ceiling has the advantage of being relatively easy and quick to install. Drop ceiling tiles are rather inexpensive and can be easily removed and replaced, allowing quick access to any plumbing or electrical systems hidden therein.

Unfortunately, the variety of tile models currently on the market does not allow for original design choices as is possible with PVC. Besides, a drop ceiling will limit the available height much more than a stretched ceiling would.

As a matter of fact, if you are using QuickHang hooks, it is not recommended to install a drop ceiling within 4 inches of a drywall ceiling, 3 inches from the joists, and 2.5 inches below the joists. Typically, there will be an inch of clearance between the ceiling and the material (or fabric).

Brief Mention About Sloped Ceilings

While sloped ceilings are not as common, knowing the standard height to be met could come in handy. As such, if one room has a sloped ceiling, it means that the ceiling must be 7 feet across 50% of the space.

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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