How to Install Acoustical Ceiling Tile

What You'll Need
Wire cutters
Acoustical tile
18 Gauge wire
Graph Paper
Chalk line
Masonry nails
Utility knife
Drywall saw

Acoustical ceiling tile can offer several advantages to the homemaker, especially to one who is remodeling or refinishing his basement. Installing this tile can be relatively inexpensive and can help add acoustical properties to a basement whose concrete walls and floor might otherwise create echo and distorted sound. Carefully plan installation this tile system and you should have no serious problems completing your installation. Follow the steps below.

Step 1 – Planning

The success of your acoustical tile ceiling installation will depend on your layout. In order to have evenly spaced borders and ceiling tiles, you'll need careful planning. Use graph paper with 1/4 inch squares, a ruler and pencil to layout your tile and hangar placement and border widths. To produce the wide borders you'll want, plan to place the center point of tiles in your middle tile row on the center line of your graph layout.

Step 2 – Creating a Square Ceiling

Your tiles, when installed should have borders of equal width on two opposite sides of the room. This will work well if your room is perfectly square. Most ceilings vary an inch or two from one end to the other end. One end of your room, for example may be exactly 14 feet, while at the oppose end it is 14 feet 2 inches. Make your ceiling center line 7 feet 1 inch from each side edge to make your room look more square. Marking your center line at exactly 14 feet will give one side of your room no border, while on the other side you'll have a 2 inch border. This will make your room look lopsided.

Step 3 – Planning Your Grid

In installing a suspended tile system you'll need to install wall angle on each of your perimeter walls. This is a narrow L-shaped metal piece that supports the edges of your tile. In installing these angle pieces, place them so they are 2 to 3 inches lower than the lowest object on your ceiling, giving you the space needed to place your ceiling tiles.

Step 4 – Installing Your Wall Angle Pieces

Snap a level chalk line on your walls to use as a guide to install your angle pieces. This line should be at the top edge of your angle. Nail the angle to the wall along this line. Space nails at 2 foot intervals. On inside corners overlap angle pieces. On outside corners miter them at 45 degrees.

Step 5 – Installing Your Tees

To install your main support tees, follow your center line. This will allow you to install your cross tee slots in the correct position. If you have questions about this placement, follow the directions that come with your grid package. 

Step 6 – Hanging Your Wire

Attach the wire ends to screw eyes hooks in holes you'll find in the angle pieces.

Step 7 – Installing Your Tiles

Install your first tiles in one corner of the room, following your layout plan. Where necessary, cut your tiles to fit, using a razor knife or utility knife. Cut holes for light fixtures with a drywall saw.