Although installing plastic ceiling tiles is normally a quick-and-easy home improvement project (see part 1 of this series), some instances call for extra measures. For example, a really damaged or uneven ceiling may require the installation of furring strips before plastic ceiling tiles will adhere properly. Also, some adhesives may not hold tiles as firmly as others and need to be used in conjunction with staples.
Step 1—Staple Ceiling Tiles
When adhesive alone will not hold the tiles to the ceiling, staples come in quite handy. Apply adhesive to the tiles, put them in place, and staple the outer tile flange to the ceiling. To start a pattern, cut off two flanges and place them in a corner. After that, simply continue the procedure of applying adhesive, placing a tile, and stapling until the entire ceiling has been tiled.
Step 2—Install Wood Furring Strips
Furring strips are an excellent way to compensate for damaged or very uneven ceilings. These pieces of ¾- by 1 ½-inch pine or fir hardwood are nailed to the ceiling, providing a sturdy, even surface on which to install the plastic ceiling tiles.
Mark the location of studs with the use of a stud finder. As a general rule, studs are separated at either 16- or 24-inch intervals. Nail furring strips perpendicular to the studs (at right angles) beginning at the wall stud and working outward to the opposite wall. Place the furring strips far enough apart so the tile flanges rest squarely on cross-member furring strips. Carefully check that each furring strip is as flat and level to the ceiling as possible.
Step 3—Attach Plastic Ceiling Tiles to Furring Strips
From here, assuming the furring strips are the proper distance apart and level, the rest of the work should go very smoothly. Apply a generous amount of adhesive to each tile and carefully move it into position. Put at least 2–4 staples along each edge of the ceiling tile and work from one corner all around in a circular motion. This technique keeps the tiles level.
Step 4—Install Ceiling Molding
To complete the job, install either quarter- or half-round molding in the border between the ceiling tiles and the wall. For a touch of elegance and sophistication, add exotic crown molding and finish with a stain or matching coat of enamel paint. Sanding lightly between coats will provide a more durable finish.