Decorative ceiling tiles can go a long way toward changing the overall look and feel of a room, but, to install them, you have to install a track system first. Here's how.
Step 1—Install the Grid
Using the electronic stud finder, locate and mark the location of the ceiling joists. This is how you will attach your grid system to the ceiling. As you find each joist, snap a chalk line to mark its location.
Once you have located all the joists, snap a second set of lines in the other direction, about 12 inches apart, so you end up with a series of squares on the ceiling. This grid is where you will run your track.
Step 2—Mount the Grid
Now, it’s time to attach the grid to the ceiling. It should run along the second set of lines you snapped on the ceiling. When you attach the screws, each one should go into a ceiling joist, as marked by the first set of chalk lines that you snapped. This is a safety factor. Failure to do this one step can cause the ceiling to fall.
Most times, ceilings are not perfectly flat. Place a straight edge across the grid strip. Loosen the screws slightly in the necessary areas to bring all the strips in line with one another. This will prevent your ceiling from buckling when it is finished.
Step 3—Install the Tiles
The first few rows of ceiling tiles will go in as whole pieces. If you are using the metal grid system, you will have metal clips to attach the tiles to the ceiling. If you are using furring strips, attach the tiles using staples. Once you have run the full-size decorative ceiling tiles, you'll have to cut the smaller pieces.
Step 4—Cut the Tiles
Cutting decorative ceiling tiles is not difficult, but you want to take care when doing it so the tiles end up with smooth edges. Use a utility knife with a sharp blade. You want to mark the tile, draw a line with a straight edge, and then, placing the tile on a flat, level surface that will prevent damage to anything, cut the tile in several passes.
The first cut should score the tile. This makes sure the surface of the tile stays smooth. After that, cut through the tile with however many passes are necessary. Install these tiles in the same manner as the full-size pieces.
Step 5—Finish the Project
The project is almost complete. The only thing that needs to be done now is the installation of molding around the edges of the ceiling you just installed. This will hide any rough edges you ended up with from cutting.