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   Articles | How-Tos | Ask the Expert   

How to Install Ceiling Tile for a Suspended Ceiling

Recommended tools:
—Chalk line
—Masons string
—Metal snips
—Line level
—Tape measure

A suspended ceiling is fairly easy to install. The tiles rest in a lightweight, grid-like frame that is made up of three components: wall angles (L-shaped metal strip which are fastened to the wall); runners (which run wall-to-wall the length of the room and are the primary support for the ceiling's weight); and cross-tees (which are perpendicular to, and snap into the runners).

Steps for installation

Determine the ceiling height making sure to allow at least 4" from live ductwork, pipes and electrical (Figs. 1 and 2).

Mark the height of the ceiling in one corner and partially drive in a nail at that point. Stretch a chalk line to the next corner making sure it is level. Snap a chalkline. Continue to snap a chalkline around the room making sure the chalkline is level.

Nail the wall angles to the walls resting them on the chalk line (Fig. 3).

Special consideration must be taken at the inside and outside corners. At inside corners, cut the wall angles at 90º and overlap; at outside corners, cut a mitered 45º angle (Fig. 4).

Snap a chalkline across the ceiling where each runner will be located (Fig. 5).

Determine where the cross-tees will be located. At those points, partially drive in nails and from those nails, tie a taut masons line. This marks the level of runners and cross-tee location (Fig. 6).

Above where the runner and cross-tee lines intersect, install screw eyes into joists. Fasten a piece of wire (18-gauge)—twisted at the top to secure—and allow wire to hang approximately 5" down from the mason's string (Fig. 7).

Hang the runners—resting the ends of the runners on the wall angles—and run the suspended wire through the runners making certain the runners rest on the cross-tee strings.

The cross-tees fit into slots in the runners. Hang the cross-tees. If they're cut to fit edges at the walls, rest the cross-tee on the wall angle. To lay in the ceiling panels, begin in one corner of the room and install tiles one row at a time. Make sure the tiles rest firmly on the framework. (Fig. 8).

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

Fig. 5

Fig. 6

Fig. 7

Fig. 8


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