Install a Suspended Grid Ceiling

Install a Suspended Grid Ceiling

Install a Suspended Grid Ceiling

A step by step guide to laying out and installing an acoustical suspended grid ceiling, explains nailing the wall angle, hanging hanger wires and the grid, leveling it.

Kelly Smith

Jul 31, 2007

Install a Suspended Grid Ceiling

A suspended grid ceiling, otherwise known as an acoustical ceiling, can be a great improvement in some areas of your home. For example, if you are remodeling your basement or turning it into a game room, a grid ceiling is easy to install and allows you to take advantage of can lights or florescent fixtures that sit right in the grid. This article will show you how to install a suspended grid ceiling. Let’s take a look at the tools and material needed to complete this project.

Tools and Material

  • hammer
  • tin snips
  • string line
  • pop rivet tool
  • utility knife
  • small clamps
  • Install a Suspended Grid Ceiling
  • chalk line
  • acoustical ceiling grid (12′ main runners, 4′ T’s, 2′ T’s optional)
  • wall angle (molding)
  • ceiling tile
  • hanger wire
  • pop rivets
  • nails
  • fence staples

Nail up the wall angle

Determine the height of your acoustic ceiling and strike chalk lines one inch above that on the walls. You may just measure down from the joists or use a laser. Allow about 4” below the joists or any obstructions. Nail up the wall angle; the chalk line is the top of it.

Making the Layout for the Ceiling Grid

The first step is to make the layout. It’s easy to determine which way the main runners (or, just mains) will go – they will run perpendicular to the ceiling joists. They are spaced at 4′ intervals, connected every 2′ with the 4′ T’s. To determine their location, find the center point of the room. This can be either the center between two mains or the point where a main falls. Either way, it makes for equal borders.

Mark off every 4′ so you know where the mains are and using fence staples, hang your hanger wire. Allow about 4” below finish ceiling level.

Find the center point on the other wall; this will give you a mark where a border T goes. Measure back down the wall and make a mark at the last 2′ increment before reaching the opposing wall. This is the first T. Now make a mark 6” past that. Measure the distance between the mark and the wall and make that mark on the opposite wall and run a string line from mark to mark.

Hang the Ceiling Grid

Cut and hang two mains so that one of the slots lines up with the string line. Fill in the 4′ T’s. Pop rivet the mains to the wall angle. Now check the second 2′ X 4′ grid opening for square by measuring diagonal corners for equality. You may have to cut that border T shorter or longer to achieve this. When you’ve got it, make sure it’s straight by eyeballing down the 4′ T and rivet it. Now run a string line from the outside edge of that main along the main by the edge where you just established squareness and clamp it to the opposite wall.

Using the two strings you can hang the rest of the field. Rivet the border T’s on that wall and the mains on the string wall. Hang the grid in a slight arc to make it easy to level down in the next step.

Level the Ceiling Grid

Simply run a taut string under each main in turn and level down to 1/16” from the string. If you are making a 2′ X 2′ system, pop the 2′ T’s in. You’re done!

Lay in the Acoustical Ceiling Tile

Cut the border tiles, install them, and fill in the field, leaving open any cells for lights fixtures.


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