Suspended Ceilings 3 Planning Your Ceiling How to do…

Suspended Ceilings 3  Planning Your Ceiling How to do...

Suspended Ceilings 3 Planning Your Ceiling

Margin of Error: Not Applicable

Careful planning is essential for a successful ceiling installation. Avoiding or shortchanging this step will cause you to slap your forehead in frustration more than once. Plan well, and the rest of the job will go easily. Outlined here are the important issues in planning the ceiling installation.

Border Tiles

Border tiles are the tiles that run next to all the walls. Since rooms are rarely on exact 2 or 4 intervals, these tiles are often cut to fit. For appearance sake, you want the border tiles on opposing sides of the room to be equal and all border tiles to be more than half a tile. You want to place both cross tees and runners in such a way that this is successfully accomplished.

First locate where your ceiling joists are running so you will know in what direction your runners are to run (perpendicular to ceiling joists). If the ceiling joists are exposed, there is no problem. If they are hidden within the old ceiling, you will need to use a hammer or a stud finder to locate them. Usually they run across the short dimension of the room. Then, with a chalkline, snap a line down the center of each joist on the old ceiling.

Now, using graph paper, begin to make a diagram of where all your runners and cross tees will go. First you must determine the size of all border panels. To do this, use the following formula.

Determine the size of the border tiles so they are more than half a tile and equal. To do this, convert the rooms short wall measurements into inches. If you are using 2 x 4 panels, divide this measurement by 48 (inches) if the panel length is to run parallel to the short wall. If you are using 2 x 2 panels, or if the panel length will run parallel to the long wall, divide by 24 inches. Take the remainder of this division and add 48 inches if the panel length will run parallel to the short wall and if you are using 2 x 4 panels. Add 24 inches if you are using 2 x 2 panels, or if the panel length will run parallel to the long wall. Half of this final figure equals the border dimensions at each side of the room.

Heres an example. For a room 102 wide with the panels length running parallel to the short wall and using 2 x 4 panels: Convert 1 02 to 122. Divide 122 by 48=two full panel lengths and a remainder of 26. Add 48 to 26=74- then divide by 2=37. Thus, the border panels at each side will be 37. There will be one full-size tile and two 37 border tiles (37 + 48 + 37=122). This dimension of 37 also equals the distance of the first main runner from the sidewall.

Repeat these calculations using the length of the room to find the end border panel size.

Laying Out the Grid

Now that you have determined the size of the border tiles, you can draw the full grid on the graph paper. Indicate the main runners on your graph paper by drawing the first and last runners at a border tile distance from the sidewalls and perpendicular to the ceiling joists. Add the in between main runners at intervals of 4. Using a different color pencil, mark the cross tees on the layout sheet. Start at the border tile distance from the end walls (14 in our example)- then add the in-between cross tees every 2. The cross tees will intersect with the main runners. If using 2 x 2 panels, additional cross tees will be used, locking into the perpendicular cross tees halfway between the main runners.

Columns or posts. If you have any columns or posts in the room that support the floor system of the floor above, these will have to be accounted for. This is a common occurrence in basements. The grid must be planned so that no runners or cross tees run into a column or post If this is the case, you will need to make a slight adjustment so that the column falls in the open area of the grid. This may require unequal border tiles.

Light fixtures. Location of light fixtures will not require any changes in your grid, but they should be marked on the grid. Remember to do all your rough wiring before installing the grid.

Estimating the Materials

Suspended Ceilings 3  Planning Your Ceiling How to do...

Wall moldings are available in 10 lengths. Measure the rooms perimeter and divide by 10 to find the number of wall molding pieces you will need.

Main runners are available in 12 foot lengths. Tabs at each end of the main runners make it possible to join main runners for lengths longer than 12. However, no more than two sections can be cut from each 12-foot length of main runner.

Cross tees come in 2- and 4-foot lengths with connecting tabs at each end. These connecting tabs are inserted into indentations that occur periodically in the runners, and cross tees.

Hanger wire of 12-16 gauges is needed to hang the runners every 4. The wire at this point is 6 longer than the distance between the eyehook and the new ceiling.

Wire fasteners or eyehooks are necessary at each support point to attach the hanger wire to the ceiling joist.

Ceiling panels will be indicated by the layout. Allow enough to cut for border tiles. Also, purchase all needed lighting fixtures.

Note: The following system may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but most systems are similar. Also, the system is usually the same whether installing 2 x 4 or 2 x 2 panels.

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