How to Install Tin Ceiling Panels

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Tin ceiling panels
“L”-shaped wall bracket
Main runners
Drop-ceiling support wires
Cross “T”s
Power drill
Wood screws
Tape measure
Chalk line

The most-challenging aspect of installing tin ceiling panels is not the panels themselves, but the support brackets, as well as the runners and line that span the room. Once those elements are in place, installing the tin panels is a matter of dropping them into place.

The grid system must be accurately installed and supported so that each panel fits perfectly into its allotted spot, though. Any miscalculation could result in each area being too big or too small for a panel, and then you would have to spend a lot of time and effort correcting the error.

Step 1—Snap a Chalk Line

The first step is to determine the position of the “L”-shaped bracket that you will install along the perimeter of every wall in the room. This bracket must be at least 4 inches below the bottom of the ceiling joists and at least 7 ½ feet above the floor. Make the appropriate marks on your walls. At one corner, secure the loose end of the chalk line at the mark level and stretch it to the other corner. Snap the line. Do this on all 4 walls.

Step 2—Install the “L”-Shaped Bracket

With the chalk lines as your guide, install the “L”-shaped bracket all around the room. Use a level to make sure it’s straight. The bracket should have holes for the screws. Align these with studs whenever possible.

Step 3—Install Main Runners

The placement of the main runners will depend on the size of the tiles. Most residential tiles are 2 feet by 2 feet. In that case, you would mark every 48 inches for the main runners.

Step 4—Support the Runners

At each cross point where the main runners meet, take a length of wire and attach its other end to the joist above it. Make sure this does not pull the runners out of level. It needs to be of a precise and equal length all the way across the room.

Step 5—Install the Subconnectors

To accommodate the 2-foot-by-2-foot panels, subconnectors must be attached to subdivide the 4-foot span between each runner. These require no extra support from the joists above. They need to be evenly placed to create 2 equal, 24-inch sections so that each tile will fit accurately.

Step 6—Install the Tin Tiles

With the grid in place, begin to install the tiles. Pick up one tile, move it up between the runners of the grid, and lower it back down flat on the runners and subconnectors. It should be a perfect fit. Ceiling tiles on the edge of the grid will rest partly on the “L”-shaped bracket.

The grid must be perfectly spaced in order for each tin ceiling tile to fit to specification. Properly spanned and supported, tin ceiling tiles will quite literally fall into place and need nothing further to secure them.