How to Install an Acoustic Drop Ceiling

acoustical drop ceiling-finished basement

You need a new ceiling, so why not install an acoustic drop ceiling in the new room you are thinking about. Maybe it is your new recreation or games room, laundry of perhaps that new home theater you have been dreaming about. Before you begin the actual installation of the ceiling, it will pay to take some time to discover the various types of ceiling panels. You will find everything from vinyl coated fiberglass tiles, simulated tin ceilings to fully acoustical tiles in sophisticated decorator patterns. When you are gathering information and ideas its easy to keep track of these in your quinju account.

Drop Ceiling Installation Process

Step #1 - Draw your room plan to scale

Draw the exact dimensions of the room to scale on graph paper. Choose from either a 2' x 2' or a 2' x 4' ceiling tile pattern. The pattern size will determine the material requirements for the ceiling. For the 2' x 4' pattern, install the patterns in a standard or reverse pattern. Each pattern offers a different appearance. Sketch various layout possibilities for the planned ceiling. It is important to space the cross tees so the border panels at the ends of the room are equal and as large as possible. With a 2' x 4' pattern, space the 4-foot cross tees 2 feet apart. For a 2' x 2' pattern, add 2-foot cross tees between the midpoints of the 4-foot cross tees. You can find help with your material estimating needs with many manufactures like this. CGC-USG

acoustical-drop-ceiling- basement room ceiling -

Step#2 - Lighting and Audio Planning

Its best to plan for your lighting needs before you get to the installation stage. Any wiring needed to accommodate built in light fixture panels or other ceiling lights should factored into your plan now. This is the best time to decide on all the elements above the finished ceiling.You might also need to consider audio components at this stage too. Following this stage, you can determine the final ceiling height. Most manufactures recommend a minimum of 3” to 4” clearance. Always refer to the manufactures recommendations for the final measurement. This distance allows you place the ceiling panels in the finished grid. To learn more about some innovative options check out our recent article here - Lighting Ideas

Step#3 - Installation of Wall Angle

After you have decided on your plan and taken delivery of your materials, its time to start First measure and mark the point on the wall for the finished height of the ceiling. From this point, you draw a level line around the room as a guideline to attach the wall angle. You cannot assume that the floor or ceiling above is level so its safest to proceed this way. The next step is to install the 90-degree wall angles. Fasten the wall angles with nails or screws to the wall studs around the room. Use your guide line to position the bottom of the wall angles around the room Overlap the angles on the inside corners and miter the outside corners. The wall angle can be can easily with metal snips or a hack saw blade

Step#4- Attach suspension wires

Main tees should always run at right angles to the joists in the room. Locate the position of each main tee by stretching a tight line from the top edge of the wall angle on all sides of the room at each position where the main tees will be installed. Now, cut the suspension wires to the proper length. The wires should be 12 inches longer than the distance between the old ceiling and the new guideline string. Locate the first suspension wire for each main tee directly above the point where the first cross tee meets the main tee. Check the original sketch of the room to determine this location. Be sure the suspension wires are securely fastened. Apply them to the ceiling with screw eyes, screw hooks, nails, or by drilling. Attach a suspension wire every 4 feet along the level guideline. Stretch each wire to remove any kinks and make a 90-degree bend where the suspension wire crosses the level line

acoustical-drop-ceiling-suspended ceiling tile

Step #5- Install the main tees + Cross Tees

Refer to the layout sheet to determine the distance from the wall to the first cross tee. When main tees are installed in rooms less than 12 feet across, cut the main tee to the exact measurement of the room, allowing 1/8" for the thickness of the wall angle. Rooms wider than 12 feet, the main tee can be spliced. Be sure to align the splice so that the suspension wires are correctly positioned and remain completely straight. Install the main tees so that they are all level with the wall angle already mounted. Use a long level for this. Install the cross tees by inserting the ends of the cross tees into the slots in the main tees. Use the manufacturer's instructions for fitting the cross tees into position. Determine the location of the cross tees by the pattern selected

Step #6 - Install Ceiling panels

Cut the smaller edge pieces as required around the perimeter. Nest install all the lighting or audio panels. Be sure to check at this step to insure all these components are working correctly before closing in the remainder of the ceiling. Drop the remainder of the ceiling panels into position by tilting them slightly, lifting them above the grid-work and gently lower them into place

acoustical drop ceiling - drop ceiling finished in black-

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One Thought to “How to Install an Acoustic Drop Ceiling”

  1. Ceiling which you’re showing are amazing! Really interested in getting something like this :-0… I’m not very advanced in home improvement, would it be hard to install something like what you’ve showed for a beginner? Or should I probably hire somebody? 😉 Thanks


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