A drop ceiling, also called a suspended ceiling, false ceiling, T-bar ceiling, drop in/out ceiling, grid ceiling, or ceiling tiles is a popular type of secondary ceiling that is hang below the main ceiling. It is used in commercial applications like offices, schools, hospitals, industrial units, and rental units as well as residential applications like conservatories and kitchens. If you are thinking of drop ceiling installation, it is important that you understand how to do it right. This information will also help you supervise the project if you have engaged a professional for the installation. So, how do you install the ceiling?

Requirements

  • Ceiling panels
  • A metal grid system comprising of perimeter moldings, cross T’s, and runners
  • Level pencil
  • String and chalk line
  • Measuring nails
  • Ladder
  • Wire cutter
  • Nails (6d)
  • Utility knife

1. Taking measurements

Before you buy your materials, measure the length and width of the room to determine the quantity of materials you will need. Next, take measurements to determine the maximum height the drop ceiling will hit. This should be 6 inches from the lowest protruding mechanical or structural equipment such as duct, joist, beam, or conduit. Mark the height at several locations along the walls. Using a caulk line, connect the marks along the parameter.

2. Installing the Perimeter Molding

Ensure that the perimeter molding is aligned with the bottom of the caulk lines you’ve made. Use 6d nails to install the perimeter molding in place. The nails should be driven into a stud through the center of the perimeter molding. A butt joint should be used for inside corners and a miter joint for outside corners.

3. Installing the Runners and Cross T’s

Drop ceilings are made up of main runners that span the entire length of the main ceiling and Cross T’s that run perpendicular to runner pairs. The runners should be installed at increments of
4-feet. An easy way to achieve this is by attaching eyebolts into every 3rd exposed floor joist. For floors that are set above bare concrete, use masonry screws. To get suspended ceilings by snap clip, from the eyebolts, suspend 16 gauge wires and insert them into the perforations on the main runners.

Using a string line as a guide, ensure that the runners are installed at the right level below the lower edge of the perimeter moldings. Next, install a cross T every 2 feet on the pre-made slots along each runner.

4. Installing Ceiling Panels

Drop the ceiling panels from above, suspending from the installed metal grid. If the partial panels need trimming along the perimeter, use a utility knife for this. Leave space for such ceiling openings as grilles and diffusers. Ensure that the duct is extending down and stopping just above the panel. Work carefully with a utility knife to ensure the diffuser is correctly inserted onto the duct.

Why install drop ceilings?

There has been an increase in the uptake of drop ceilings over the past few years. The main reasons for this are:

Easy access to cables and pipes

With drop ceilings, you will be able to hide unsightly exposed mechanical and electrical components like plumbing pipes and cables. The ceilings give you quick and easy access to these components for maintenance. All you need to do is slot out the panels where you want to access, do your work, and slot the panels back once you are done.

Quick installation

Drop ceilings take very little time to install. The installation process leads to minimal disruption, which is important for a running business since there will be no downtime. The installation procedure is pretty straight forward and any handy person with a couple of hand tools can do it. The ease of installation and the reduced downtime make drop ceiling installation the cheapest option.

Soundproofing

Unlike plasterboard and drywall ceilings, drop ceilings improve acoustics in your home, especially for story houses. Reduced noise pollution improves the quality of your life by making your home the haven it is supposed to be and that makes your business premises usable. Sound Attenuation Batts (SABs) is often added to the ceiling for even greater acoustic balance and control.

Fireproofing

There are fire retardant drop ceilings in the market today. These ceilings take a long time to burn (up to 1 hour), which gives you enough time to put in place firefighting measures and to get everybody out of harm’s way. You could also implement firefighting measures in the cavities above the suspended ceiling.

Moisture resistance

Drop ceilings are not attached to the roof, making them more moisture resistant compared to conventional ceilings. This moisture resistance reduces cases of mold, mildew, and sagging. This characteristic makes drop ceilings particularly well suited for high humidity areas.

Energy efficiency

When you install a drop ceiling, you are effectively lowering the height of the ceiling. This offers insulation (due to reduced space that required heating/cooling), which lowers heating costs in cold days and cooling costs in hot days. This also increases the usability of your interior space. The thermal insulating and daylight efficacy qualities are from the fact that the ceiling plane reflects daylight and electrical illumination for maximum lumen efficacy.

Choice of design

There are many drop ceiling styles, finishes, colors, and textures to choose from, meaning you are guaranteed of getting a design that complements the rest of your room décor.

Improved Aesthetics

Drop ceilings are very aesthetically pleasing, which will increase the resale value of your home. Which would you prefer: elegant simple tiles or exposed ductwork? Basements particularly have many ductworks, water pipes and electrical wiring running through them. You do not want to completely hide the pipes and electrical wiring because you will need to access them regularly during maintenance, repairs, and inspections. You may also use drop ceilings to hide problems like structural damage as you wait to do repairs. Basement ceilings by snap clip, therefore, make a lot of sense. You will end up with a lovely, functional basement that you can use as a getaway.