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How To Install Ceiling Tiles

Ceiling tile installation is one of those things which can easily seem daunting to the average DIY enthusiast, simply because it’s not normally included in the realm of common home and garden maintenance. However, you don’t necessarily need a warehouse of specialist tools or years of experience in order to tile your ceiling successfully.

There are two basic methods for installing ceiling tiles. One is to create a grid on the ceiling and then fasten the tiles to that, the other is to simply glue the tiles to your ceiling directly with a tailor made adhesive.

Here are the basics of what you need to know about the frame method:

Step one:

Calculate the alignment of your tiles thoroughly. Assuming that you were going to use 2’ square tiles, here is a basic formula to operate by:

  1. Measure the length of the room you’re planning to work on.
  2. Round that measurement down to the nearest even whole foot.
  3. Subtract the “nearest even whole foot” number from the room dimension.
  4. Add 24 inches to the sum you got from the previous three steps.
  5. Divide this final number by 2.
  6. Mark this measurement along the ceiling somehow (e.g. with pencil)
  7. The final result of all those sums is the size of the border tile for the direction which has been measured out.
  8. Repeat this step for the width of the room, making sure to mark the measurements on the ceiling again.
  9. Check the intersection points of your width and length measurement markings, and ensure that they create a square 90 degree corner.

Step two:

Install a wall bracket around the perimeter of the room. Here’s how to go about doing that:

  1. Position your wall brackets around the perimeter of the room, with the large flange facing upwards towards the ceiling. You can either fasting the brackets to the walls with drywall screws, or you can fasten them directly to the ceiling. (Whichever option you choose, screws should be positioned roughly 20 inches apart.)
  2. In the corners of the room where the wall brackets meet, you can simply cut the brackets down to size and create a “square joint” by overlapping the two. You can also miter cut the lower flange on the joint which is exposed, in order to create a tidier effect.

Step three:

Install the first row of top hangers directly to your joists (or the current ceiling). Install them following the length dimension of the room. Trim your top hangers so that the nearest notch to each end is aligned with the marks you created for your border tile dimensions, and so that the cut end is fitted into the wall bracket.

While fastening your top hangers, attach them to your ceiling joists with one screw per joist, alternating on different sides of the top hanger.

Step four:

Install cross T’s between your top hangers, ensuring proper spacing according to your original measurements.

Step five:

Continue the process of installing top hangers and cross T’s, until your ceiling grid has been fully assembled.

Step six:

Cut your ceiling tiles to fit the grid that you’ve created, and slide them into the wall bracket. (When using revealed edge tiles which have been trimmed down to size, you’ll need to re-create the notches which have been lost along any freshly cut edges, so that they sit properly in the bracket).

Step seven:

After installing your ceiling tiles into the grid, connect your runners to the top hangers in order to lock everything properly into place.

That’s all there is to it. Not so bad, huh?