Drop In Decorative Ceiling Tiles: Grids are DIY Friendly
I’ve mentioned how convenient drop in Decorative Ceiling Tile systems can be on this blog in previous posts, but what about the actual grid systems needed to support the tiles — are they something the average DIYer can handle? The answer is yes — in fact if you are handy at all, you should be able to install the ceiling grid for a small room in less than a day and may not even break a sweat while doing so.
The grid system consists of several components available through Decorative Ceiling Tiles in 80 different finishes that can either match or contrast with your tiles. The first step is to establish a height for your new ceiling — it should be at least 3 inches lower than your existing ceiling or ceiling joists, but 5-6 inches can make it easier to drop your tiles into place.
Once the height is determined, a laser level can be used to establish that line around the outer perimeter of the room or you can do it manually with a tape measure and pencil. The initial pieces of grid to be installed are the edge moldings that can be simply nailed or screwed into the perimeter walls. If you need to cut any trim to length, tin snips work pretty well for the task, but be careful of the sharp edges you create.
Decorative ceiling tiles are available in several sizes, but in many cases they’re roughly 24 inch squares — use a pencil and ruler to lay out your room on paper prior to going any further. Keeping in mind the tile size — establish a layout that has your perimeter tiles about the same sizes on opposite sides of the room, but at the same time try to avoid having any extremely small pieces of tile.
Using your design, install the next grid trim component which should be the main beams or tee trim as they’re sometimes called. These run perpendicular to your ceiling joists — even if the framing is covered by another material. The main beams are spaced according to your tile widths so if you’re using 24 inch tiles, install your initial beam and measure over 24 inches for the next trim piece as shown on your drawing. The outer edges of the main beams rest on the edge moldings and the rest of the trim is supported by wire hangars attached securely to the bottoms of the ceiling joists and then twisted through an existing hole in the trim. Height can be established with the laser level or by using a measuring tape.
The last step is placing the cross tees in place. These form the other sides of your tiles so if the tiles are 24 inch squares, the cross tees should form 2 foot squares when added to the main beams. Each cross tee will need to be cut to length as they butt into the main beams — check that each opening is square before cutting the next piece. The cross tees are also held in place with wire hangars.
Once the cross tees are secure, you’re now ready to start dropping your decorative ceiling tiles into place — it’s usually easier to start at the perimeter and work your way into the center.