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I am boxing in my utilities in my basement remodel and need a min. 8" drop extended out from the wall 54". My goal is to save head room since this is a 7'6" ceiling. The box will be finished with 1/2" sheet rock. My question is can I lay the 2x4's flat to the ceiling to pickup 1 1/2" or do I need to build with the 2x4's upright, which takes up an additional 3 1/2"?
Will the flat 2x4's (16" 0C) sag from the sheet rock weight? Thanks
 

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You can definitly lay them sideways. A lot of soffits are built out of 2x2's instead of 2x4's anyways. You can run wood down from a joist and connect it to those sideways layed 2x4's to stop sagging and stabalize it. I'm sure pro framers have a name for them, but I don't know what you call them.
 
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