Lots of good dialogue and opinions here. I've done both and I have to say the drywall option is the best looking...and it doen't feel/look so much like a basement. As far as access; I used simple metal airvents-like a cold air return for critical access points. Painted to match the ceiling they look very natural and unobtrusive. I also take photos with key dimensions written in bold marker and keep them on file in case I ever have to get into something, I'm not punching out good drywall to find the turn-off or HVAC shunt valve.
Yes, unfortunately, dropped ceilings don't cut it here in Atlanta. I would suggest getting a digital camera and taking a zillion pictures. Doesn't cost anything and you can burn a CD with the images. Also I ran fishing line up and down the joists in case I had to pull wires. Using heating grills for access is a great idea!
No sense beating the horse more but drywall is really the way to go. Pipes run in ceilings between the first and second floor all the time. You'll appreciate the value of the drywall personally and when you sell the house. I also like the idea of using vents for access.
- 15 Old House Features We Shouldn't Abandon
- 17 Tiny Bathrooms We Love
- 16 Designs for a Low-Cost DIY Coffee Table
- Insanely Easy 60-Minute Home Improvements
- 12 Sheds You Could Live (or Work) In
- Assembly Required: 15 DIY Kit Homes
- 30 Things Every Adult Should Know How to Do
- 10 Surprisingly Simple Woodworking Projects
- See the Most Highly Anticipated Colors for 2015
- 9 Ways to Make Your TV Look at Home
- 9 Totally Amazing Mobile Home Makeovers
- 10 Unexpected Spots for Accent Colors
- 10 Fantastic Furniture Makeovers
- Worth It: 8 Renovations That Pay You Back
- 9 Closet Storage Tips from a Pro Organizer
- 7 Seriously Surprising Spots for a Fireplace
- Laundry Room Ideas to Knock Your Socks Off
- 12 Tiny Gardens to Grow on a Tabletop
- Supersize Your Small Bathroom with 8 Tips
- Kitchen Envy: 10 Rooms We Love