Install Acoustic Ceiling Tile

An option that is available when changing or putting in a new ceiling is to install acoustic ceiling tiles. This is a relatively easy and cost effective choice of ceiling type. There are several things to consider when preparing to install ceiling tiles. You will need a list of the materials that are required for the installation, and step-by-step instructions.

The tools you will need in order to complete this project are: Utility knife, hammer, chalk line, tape measure, pliers, laser or water level, metal snips, hanger wire, acoustic ceiling tile, screw hooks, and support grid pieces.

In many cases, there is an existing grid from the previous acoustic ceiling. While you can rip down the old grid and start from the beginning with a new grid, but in many cases, that is not necessary. If your grid is in decent shape, square, and correctly supported, you can most likely get by with just replacing tiles.

The first step in installing acoustic ceiling tile is to remove the old tiles and existing insulation. If you are installing the ceiling brand new, you would, of course, skip this step. The next thing to do is to inspect the grid for damage. Replace any damaged grid components. If you have a large number of grid components that are damaged, or if you do not have the luxury of working with a previous gird, you will have to start from scratch. In this case, you need to be very careful laying out a new grid. Use ¼ inch graph paper and diagram the room to scale. This will help you decide how you want the layout designed. Keep border acoustic ceiling tiles even, wide, and as uniform as possible. If you have a room that is out of square, snap a chalk line down the center of the room to use as a guide. You can help to disguise the problem by leaving a similar sized border tile on the sides of the room.

To install a new acoustic ceiling tile grid, leveling and fastening the L-shaped molding to the wall is the first step. Use your level to make hanging the wall angle, easier, more accurate, and quicker than a carpenter’s level. Nail the molding the wall at no more than 24-inch intervals. Observe the manufacturer’s minimum height requirements. Do not modify height, as this will make it difficult to install the tiles.

If your wall surface is uneven, install a wooden fascia board along the uneven wall. Attach the top of the fascia board to the joist, keeping the bottom even with the wall molding. Use wooden screws to secure this in place. On the outside corners, place an angle end over another. Miltered molding looks best at the inside corners.

Have patience and pay close attention to installing this acoustic ceiling grid work. Install the main support runners along the centerline while ensuring the cross-tee slots are in the right location. Also make sure to read and follow the grid instructions as well.

To square this ceiling grid, stretch a string from one end of this room to the other, right where the first main runner will hang. Stretch the second string from the second side of the room. Make sure the cross-tee slots line up with across each main runner. A laser tool and a 3X4X5 triangle help to square the main runners. The grid is supported by snap-together connections, but should also be supported by wire connected to the framing members above the grid. 16 gauge wires or heavier are required for a residential acoustic ceiling installation. It is recommended to install wire every 4 ft. along the main runners and wire light fixtures independent of the grid. If for some reason the grid comes crashing to the ground, the light fixtures won’t come with them.

The next step after either using or repairing your existing acoustic ceiling tile grid or installing a new ceiling grid is the acoustic ceiling tile install. Most manufacturers will recommend that you remove the tiles from packages and allow them to adjust to the room conditions overnight. Installing them at normal temperature and humidity is important.

Start with the border tiles. Measure the interior dimensions of the grid opening. Deduct 1/8 inch from the result, thus allowing the tile to slip easily into the grid. Mark the measurements on the back of the tile. Use razor knife to achieve a clean cut, then place into the grid system. Repeat process of installing acoustic ceiling tile until finished.