Removing Drop Ceiling Tiles

drop ceiling tile
  • 1-2 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-75
What You'll Need
Protective goggles
Work gloves
Tarp or drop cloth
Friend to help

Though it can take a lot of time and energy, removing drop ceiling tiles is simple. Affordable drop ceiling tiles look clean and are easy to replace, which can prevent you from having to replace an entire ceiling.

Step 1 - Acquire the Proper Equipment

The first thing you will need is a pair of safety goggles or tight sunglasses. You will be staring straight up at the work you will be doing, so any debris that falls can easily find your eyes. A pair of gloves would also be a good idea for avoiding painful cuts or scrapes.

Get a ladder that stands tall enough that you can reach about a foot through the ceiling frame grid. Doing so will allow you to lift and manipulate the tiles correctly in order to remove them in one piece. Make sure the ladder is in good condition. Solicit the help of a friend who can help steady the ladder and provide an extra set of hands when dealing with cumbersome tiles.

Step 2 - Remove the Tiles

Pick a corner of the room and place your ladder directly underneath the first tile you wish to remove. Wearing your goggles and gloves, reach up and place the fingertips of both hands on the surface of the tile. Slowly push upwards and the tile should smoothly rise out of its place.

Once you are holding the tile a bit above the ceiling frame, turn it to the side or diagonally so that its angle allows it to fit through the frame. Now, simply lower the tile through the frame and hand it to your assistant.

It's that easy. The most complicated part is taking the time to move the ladder and climb up and down for each tile. If you have long arms, you may be able to safely reach more than one tile each time you move the ladder, but it is always better to position yourself for each one individually.

Extra Tips

Removing drop ceiling tiles can sometimes be a messy task, depending on the style of tiles and how easily they fit through the frames. Many tiles will easily break apart if you can’t fit them through the frame. Along with the dust, the broken debris can be enough mess to warrant a tarp or dropcloth. Think ahead and prepare for any mess you feel your project might cause. A floor covering will also protect your floor from the feet of the ladder.