This is the third installment of our series providing instructions for the installation of drop-in decorative ceiling tiles in your home. If you happened to miss the first two installments, section one can be found here and section two here. We’ve already prepped the existing ceiling and room for our project and marked the new ceiling height around the perimeter of the room. The next step is to determine the actual grid layout which can be done initially on a piece of graph paper sold at most office supply stores and even some groceries.
Draw the outer perimeter of your room on the graph paper using each square on the sheet as a form of measurement. If the room is small, you may be able to have 1/2 inch of paper equal one foot of actual size — a larger room might require that you use 1/4 inch of paper to equal a foot. Once you have drawn the room outline, mark the center of the room on the paper based on your prior mark on the ceiling and using the scale your paper room has been drawn to.
Decorative drop ceiling tiles are normally two foot squares so that is how your grid support system will be installed. The grid system will consist of three parts: wall angle, main Tees, and support Tees that will be connected together to support the tiles. The entire system will be supported by a series of wires connected to the existing ceiling.
Layout Your Drop-in Decorative Ceiling Tiles on Paper First
The lines on your paper that designate the outline of your room are where wall angle will be installed. If you add up the linear footage, this should give you a fairly accurate idea of how much angle is needed for your project. Don’t forget to add a little extra for waste. Now draw a line across the paper from one side of the room to the other intersecting your center mark — this designates your first main Tee run. Using your scale measure every two feet on the paper parallel to your main Tee line and make a mark until reaching the edge of the room and do the same in the opposite direction.
These will be your main Tees and ideally where you reach the edge of each side will result in a section larger than 6 inches. If this doesn’t happen, you may want to shift the Tees in one direction or the other so the last pieces of decorative ceiling tiles are larger than 6 inches even if this causes the center main Tee might be slightly off center in the room.
Now that you’ve established the locations of your main Tees, you can begin drawing in the cross Tees that will intersect the main Tees to divide the grid system into two foot squares. The process should be the same as when drawing the main Tees: start with the center line and make marks at two feet (by scale) until you reach the room’s edge and then shift as necessary to keep the end tiles larger than 6 inches in size.
In the fourth installment we will transfer your drawing into actual grid on the ceiling and may even begin installing some decorative ceiling tiles.