How to Replace a Suspended Ceiling Tile

suspended ceiling tile
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 25
What You'll Need
Drop cloth
Vacuum
Safety eyewear
Work gloves
Particle mask
Step ladder
Measuring tape
Pencil
Straight edge
Exacto knife
What You'll Need
Drop cloth
Vacuum
Safety eyewear
Work gloves
Particle mask
Step ladder
Measuring tape
Pencil
Straight edge
Exacto knife

One of the benefits offered by suspended ceiling tiles is that they are as easy to replace as they are to install. Ceiling tiles can get damaged for a number of reasons, usually either smoke or water. Make sure the source of the damage has been repaired before replacing the tile. If you don’t fix the problem first, expect to be replacing the ceiling tile again in the near future.

Step 1 - Preparations

Replacing a suspended ceiling tile can be quite messy. You will want to protect furniture that wasn’t in the room when you originally installed the ceiling. Use drop cloths to cover the furniture in the room, especially pieces directly under the tile to be replaced. Have a vacuum on hand to clean dust as you work to avoid tracking it around the room. You should also take precautions for yourself as you will be exposed to lots of dust and particles. Make sure you put on a pair of work gloves, safety glasses or goggles, and a particle mask.

Step 2 - Remove the Old Tile

2.1—Place the step ladder directly under the tile to be replaced.

2.2Push the tile up into the ceiling at one end that we'll call "end 1" while sliding it over lengthwise about a foot inside the overhead space.

2.3—This move will open up the overhead and expose the other end of the tile that we'll call "end 2", which you'll need to grab with your other hand.

2.4—Holding the tile up with the initial hand while still holding firmly at the other end (end 2) in a flat horizontal position, with the initial hand used as the pivot point, rotate end 2 of the tile about 90° with your hand so that the tile becomes more or less perpendicular to the opening.

2.5—Keeping the tile up overhead with the initial hand, pull end 2 of the tile down through the opening with your other hand and slip the tile out through the opening between the support tracks.

Step 3 - Prepare the New Tile

If the tile being replaced is a standard size, with no alterations added, no further preparation is needed. You can install it right away. For custom cut tiles, use the original tile as a template to mark the size needed on the new tile. Measure the size needed when the original tile is damaged or broken. An Exacto knife is an ideal tool with a straight edge to cut the ceiling tile to the desired shape.

Step 4 - Install the New Tile

To install the new tile, repeat all the steps from "Step 2" but in the reverse order, inserting on end through the opening first, then pushing the tile up into the space overhead, rotating into its proper approximate positioning, and finally dropping it onto its suspended holding tracks.

The fit into proper position will often be a bit tight keeping the tile from simply falling flat and level inside its tracks. You just need to tap gently underneath the tile where you have the gap to finally get the tile to completely drop into place, flush and even with the supports tracks.

Tilt the ceiling tile on its side and slip it through the opening in the support tracks lengthwise. Once the new ceiling tile is above the support tracks level it out and slide it into position. The new ceiling tile will drop into the support tracks.