How to install suspended ceiling grid

So, you are thinking you might attempt this installation on your own.  It doesn’t look or seem impossible, so why not?  and, well, frankly it is not that hard, just need to pay attention to the details to ensure that you are getting the measurements correct.  There are many small components that go into the installation, let’s go over those first.

You will need:

T-Channel-These are mini looking T bars that go parallel to your floor.  They snap to the main T channels.  These can run 2′ or 4′ in length and go lengthwise with the panels.  They are what the panels rest in when installed.

L-Channel is the shape of an “L” and is what starts you off.  These are put around the perimeter of the room, thus, giving it that “drop” name.  They will be placed at the proper height you want your ceiling to be. 

T cross T’s are the T’s that cut the 4′ T-channel for 2′ panel installations.  If you are using 4′ panels then you will not need these. 

Drop Ceiling Tiles

Drop ceiling tiles are the most expensive part of the components.  These come in all kinds of different designs and styles depending on the final look.  They also come in 2″ or 4″ in length.  Some show the grid, however, others do not as much.  These are the kinds of things that you should consider when looking at purchasing your tiles. 

The tiles can also help with noise reduction as well as act as insulation.  Choosing the correct tiles is important to get the look you are going for.  Should you require more insulative properties you can choose that type of ceiling tile.  There are tiles that mimic that of the old tin ceilings and tiles that are just basic white panels.  What will look good in your room is really up to you.  But, this is an area that will need a little more thought than that of the grid making system. 

Drop ceiling tiles come in two designs as well.  The one design will allow you to see the grid while the other drops just below it to sort of hiding the grid.  This again has to do with what look you like personally.  It really is a personal preference. 

Wire and wiring handing eyelets are the next components that you will need.  These will be screwed into the existing ceiling.  If this is a basement then the to the floor joists above.  These are going to hold the wire that holds the suspension frame.  These will also be put into the T frames through a hole that is provided.

Tin Snips are going to be needed to make cuts. 

Eyelet drill adapter which is an adapter for your power screw gun for the eyelets.  This little device will save you a lot of time and frustration.

You will need several utility knife blades.  The materials that the ceiling tiles are made from dull blades rather quickly.  Cutting the tiles with a dull blade leaves a rough and unfinished edge.  So, pick up several knife blades and have them on hand.

The First Step-Design

To start, make a to-scale drawing of your space and layout your tiles.  This is similar to laying a tile floor in that you want to start in the center and work your way out to ensure the edges are not too small or look funny when complete.  You do not start at one side and work your way to the other without a plan first.  There are many online tutorials about this and you can find more information and online help for this.  However, most of the help talks about rooms that are perfectly square, which is not helpful if you have jut outs and soffit but they are a good starting point.  Lay the room out with these included ensuring that your ceiling won’t have any super small cutouts that make it look funny. 

Installing the L Channels

Now is the time to start the installation.  First, you will need to measure all the way around the room the determined height of your ceiling.  Ensure that you are level and cut the corners at a 45 degree to give it the proper finished look.  This can be done in a couple of ways.  If you are good at cutting and want to miter the corners and have them set up next to each other, then do that.  However, if you are not comfortable yet with your cuts you can have them overlap and cut them to have this same look.   When installing a drop ceiling it is important to take the time to get these corners looking perfect. 

Install the T Channel

This is the piece that runs perpendicular to the floor and is supported at each end with the L Channel.  This is where you will begin to install the eyelets and wire, which is spaced about 2′-4′ apart.  Ensure that you have this level.  Rinse and repeat this process until all the T channel is up.

Install Cross Ts

The installation of cross Ts is very easy.  These simply snap into the main T Channel.  You will need to put in additional cross Ts should you be using 2′ panels and not 4 foot. 

As you do this, use a couple of tiles and drop them in, to ensure you have your grid square.  Doing this while you go can save you a lot of wasted time and headaches later. 

If you have a revealing grid-style tile you can easily cut it by eyeballing it.  First, put the tile into the grid and score it slightly by the grid,  then cut the tile just a little bit over so that it has enough on the grid to hold it into place. 

Remember go slow and ensure your accuracy.  This is important so that you don’t get to the finish line and have the last row of tile not fit.  Taking your time and researching how to do everything online will allow you to attempt this on your own.

For all your ceiling solutions we recommend Armstrong Commercial Ceilings South Australia

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