While the design of a concealed grid suspended ceiling panel has become less popular in recent years, this is still a method of suspended ceiling that is used. Knowing how to remove and repair this type of ceiling system requires a bit of skill and knowledge because one wrong move can damage the ceiling panels.
Identify the Problem Ceiling Panel and Key Panel
Because a concealed grid suspended ceiling uses interlocking panels to eliminate the look of a metal grid, you’ll need to remove the key panel in order to get to the panel you want to remove. If you try to only remove the panel that is damaged or in need of repair, you could damage it or damage the installation above the ceiling. The key panel is generally in one of the corners of the suspended ceiling. Gently push up on corner panels to determine if they can easily be removed. If the panel doesn’t move when gently pressed on, it is probably not the key panel. Don’t force the ceiling panel, as you might damage it and the interlocking grid system. Once the key panel is removed, you can begin to make your way to the damaged ceiling panel.
Removing the Necessary Ceiling Panels
Remove the suspended ceiling panels in the concealed grid through the hole made by the key panel. Make sure each ceiling panel you take out is easily removed from the grid system. Don’t force any of the panels to move. Once you’re able to reach the damaged ceiling panel, you can remove that one as well. If the ceiling panels are glued together for any reason, you’ll need to carefully pry them from the adhesive using a pry bar.
Replacing the Damaged Ceiling Panel
Using a new ceiling panel, replace the old or damaged panel through the key panel hole. Begin to replace each remaining ceiling panel in the same order they were removed through the key panel. It can be difficult to find replacement panels, but you need to make sure the one you’re using is specifically for that grid to maintain the interlocking system. Once all of the panels are in place, replace the key panel.
While there are clear disadvantages to having a concealed grid suspended ceiling, there are also advantages. With a concealed grid ceiling panel, you have a ceiling that is more difficult to damage than a visible grid suspended ceiling. When fires, earthquakes, or other natural disasters occur, a concealed grid suspended ceiling won’t be as likely to fall and be damaged as a visible grid ceiling. Ceiling panels aren't easy to remove and provide for a better level of security than visible grid ceilings do.