Now that you've read part 2 of this series and have everything squared away in terms of your tools and materials, it's time to evaluate your room and plan your job accordingly.
Take your ceiling tiles into the room where they're going to be installed, open the box, and leave them there for 24 hours. This allows them to become acclimated to the temperature and humidity. Also, fix any leaks or moisture problems before beginning. Inspect the ceiling for dips, swells, and other irregularities and chart these out on paper.
Laying Out the Ceiling
The layout for ceiling tiles is somewhat simpler than that for a suspended ceiling. The main thing you are planning for are the border files. These are the rows of files that run along the walls of a room. You want to plan these files so they are never less than 6 inches (½ tile). Rarely do room dimensions work out in exact, 12-inch intervals.
For example, let's assume the width between two of the walls is 9 feet, 8 inches. If we made no adjustments, there would be nine full-size tiles and two border rows of 4 inches. To correct for these small border rows, convert 9 feet, 8 inches (116 inches) into 8 feet, 20 inches (116 inches).
In this way you can have eight full-size courses and two border rows of 10 inches each. Work out a similar layout in the other direction (in our example, 12 feet, 4 inches converts to eleven full-size tiles and two 9-foot border files. In this way, all four border rows of a rectangular or square room are more than 6 inches, and the two opposing border rows are equal.
Once you've done the math and formed a plan, proceed to part 4 to learn how to install your tiles.