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 How to Install a Drop Ceiling

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Monday 17th of April 2017, 10:22 - 1
Step 1 - Design Your Drop Ceiling Grid

It starts with a game plan. Literally, measure and make a TO SCALE drawing of each room. Then layout your tile spacing and see how it looks. Like tiling a floor, you want to make sure your outer edge ceiling tiles aren't too small. Ideally they will be evenly placed along the perimeter.
There are several websites and videos online on how to lay out a room. I was super annoyed though that every video on the web assumes you have a simple square shaped room. If you do, you've got a huge advantage in figuring out how to install a drop ceiling. Both of my main rooms had cut ins, jut outs, and soffits. If that's the same for you, use the videos as a starting point, lay out your room and make tweaks one direction or the other to avoid small tiles near those obstructions.

Step 2 - Install the L-Channel

How to install a drop ceiling using these L channels - deep 100mm ceiling channel
Here's an nicely mitered L channel on an outside corner. While learning how to install a drop ceiling be sure to take the extra time to get these corners correct.
Now, time to get your hands dirty. Determine the drop you are going with and measure around the perimeter of the room down from the floor joists that amount. Mark the location of your wall studs and using self taping drywall screws, adhere the L-Channel to the wall.
Interior corners are simple - Either overlap the two pieces or butt them together. Exterior corners can similarly be butted together but to give them a sharper look, I overlapped them and cut one on a 45 degree angle to give the appearance of a mitered corner.

Step 3 - Install the T-Channel

The main T runs perpendicular to the floor joists. Place your first main piece of T-Channel spaced away from your wall suspended ceiling systems as determined in your grid layout.
These pieces of channel will be supported on either end by the L channel and will be supported in the middle by the eyelets and wire spaced approximately 2-4 feet apart. This amounts to about every other or every third joist.
Once you have the wire loosely run through the channel and the eyelets, next work to ensure the channel is level. One good strategy is to run a string taut from wall to wall in line with the L-Channel. Then pull the individual wires tight to bring the T-Channel in line with the string. Wrap the wire around itself to ensure it doesn't sag or come loose with the weight of the tile. Rinse and repeat this process with the T-Channel spaced 4 feet apart until all the channel is up.

Step 4 - Install the Cross Ts

Cross T installation is a snap. Sorry, bad pun. You need to snap in the 4 foot cross T's. Again if using 2x2 tiles, the 2 foot cross T's as well. It's easiest to do both at once for a smoother install. Start with full T's and once complete move to the edges. Measure and cut each T to size. Always cut a bevel on the wall end to avoid interference with the wall.
As you are going, drop in a couple full tiles to square up the grid. Definitely do this before cutting the edge tiles to ensure the grid is totally square.
Drop ceiling light cut out of suspended steel channel system.
After all the T's are installed, drop in all of the full tiles and move on to the edge pieces. Measure and cut these as well.
If you bought tiles with a reveal, the best way to get an accurate cut is to first cut the tile to size and set it into place. Then score the tile along the edge, remove the tile and cut the reveal. This can fairly accurately be done by hand and by eyeballing the depth of the cut. After 1 or 2 cuts, you'll get used to it.
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