This is the fourth installment in our series of posts on how to add drop-in decorative ceiling tiles to your home using a drop-in grid system. If you’ve been following along, you should now understand why I constantly refer to a drop-in installation as being DIY friendly. Homeowners who have a few common tools and a little bit of knowledge on how to use them should be able to install a decorative ceiling tile drop-in ceiling.
This post will cover the installing the grid system that supports the tiles. If you missed the previous installments, you can find Part I here, Part II here, and part III here. We have now determined our 2′ x 2′ grid layout and drawn a line on the perimeter walls at the height the wall angles will be installed. We are now ready to make some visible progress by beginning to install our wall angles and support wires — follow along.
Installing the Wall Angles and Support Wiring for Drop-In Decorative Ceiling Tiles
Your wall angles are secured onto the perimeter walls using screw or nails into the framing members behind the wall covering. If the walls have 1/2 sheetrock on them — which is common, one inch fasteners should be sufficient as long as you’re hitting the framing. A “stud finder” available at most hardware and home improvement stores might be helpful for this phase of the project.
The wall angles can be overlapped at inside corners, but should be mitered at outside corners for an attractive appearance. Wall angles can be cut with standard tin snips that can also be found at home improvement stores, but for a neat mitered corner you should use a manual or power miter box such as the DeWalt DW715 for your cuts.
Once you have installed all of the wall angles, adding the main Tees is the next step. Using your diagram as a reference pull a string line across the room at the location of your first main Tee and secure it at each end. This string will represent the location of the Tee and the cross Tees will intersect it at 90 degree angles across the length of the run. Support wires for the grid system must now be attached to the ceiling and the other end will be used to hold the main Tees in place.
Cut your support wires about 12 inches longer than the distance between the ceiling and your string — the tin snips can be used to cut the wiring. Attach the wires to the framing behind the ceiling material using nails, screw eyes, or screw hooks. The wiring should be installed every four feet along the length of the main Tee and if you can approximate it to be near the spot where the cross Tees will intersect the mains, this can help prevent any potential sagging in the future.
Move your string line in two feet increments across the room until you have installed the support wiring at each future main Tee run. Before moving your string, put a 90 degree bend in each wire where it crosses the line designating the height of the decorative ceiling tiles. In our next installment the grid system is going up.