How To Install Ceiling Tiles

Ceiling tile installation is the most satisfying part of installing a suspended ceiling mainly because it gives your ceiling the aesthetic appeal. There is always a sense of gratification that comes with completing the room. However, cutting and installing ceiling tiles can easily make or break the project especially when it comes to a unique, professional look. You can install the ceiling grid or furring strips carefully and meticulously and then ruin your ceiling by installing the ceiling tiles unprofessionally. Let’s explore ceiling tile installation methods.

Recommended tools

1. Utility knife or box cutter: For cutting ceiling tiles to size when full tiles won’t fit.

2. Measuring tape: For laying out the ceiling design

3. Adhesive

4. Ladder

5. Caulk: Choose a color that matches the tiles and use it to fill gaps between ceiling tiles.

6. Straight edge: Get a four-foot straight level or metal rule for cutting tiles.

7. Fitting rubber gloves: They help keep your hands clean especially when working with mastic and caulk.

8. Sponge: Use a sponge or clean rag to wipe off excess mastic and caulk.

9. Caulking gun: For applying the caulk.

10. Carpenters pencil: The marks of a carpenter’s pencil are easier to see.

11. Chalk line: Ideal for drawing installation guidelines

Selecting ceiling tiles

Most ceiling tiles have a blend of cane fiber or wood and various chemical binding solutions.

Most ceiling tiles are one square foot. The tongue and groove style is the most common design. However, you can also get them in unique seamless designs and surface textures. Nowadays, many people prefer acoustical tiles which are specially manufactured to help deaden sound and noise.

Site preparation

At the time of installation, the site conditions should be clear of foreign particles such as debris and dust. Installation of ceiling tiles should only start once the entire building is dry, watertight, fully clad and all wet processes completed. Moreover, before installing the tiles, you should ensure that the furring strips or ceiling grid has been installed as per manufacturer’s code, by the local building code and is square.

Installing ceiling tiles

You’ll see either adhesive-applied tiles or staple/nail-applied tiles. Use staples/nails on rough ceiling surfaces and adhesive on smooth surfaces.

Rules on cutting ceiling tiles

Cut tiles used along the perimeter. Tiles across space from each other (different tiles) should match and you should never use less than half (50%) of a tile.

Determine the size of border tiles

Start by measuring the distance between opposite walls. In case the distance is an exact multiple of 12, there’s no need to cut border tiles. However, if the distance is not an exact multiple of 12, add 12 to the length and divide by 2. It will give you the width of the border tiles.

Applying ceiling tiles with adhesives

Prepare the surface for the adhesive, especially if painted. Ensure that the surface can support ceiling tiles by first using a few tiles randomly around the ceiling surface and examining how well the tiles stay after 4 to 5 days.

Use the chalk string to make lines that will help you align the border tiles. Cut the first border tile to size before fitting it to the corner. When cutting tiles, you should always work on a flat surface and ensure that the ceiling tile is face up.

Apply adhesive to all four corners of the tile and dab one in the middle. When putting the tile into place, ensure that the flange is exposed to align the tongue in the grooves. Sometimes, you may need to staple the ideal smooth surface for extra support. Once the border tiles are in place, fill your ceiling will full-sized tiles before adding molding to create a clean, finished look.

Installing tiles on wood furring strips

Use wooden furring strips on rough or uneven surfaces. Mark the exact location of ceiling joists before attaching the wooden furring strips from one joist to the next at right angles.

Install the furring strips

The second furring strip should be aligned so that it rests between the width of the border line and the center of the piece. Install the rest of the furring strips so that they rest parallel to the second furring strip you’ve just installed. Additionally, they should be spaced exactly 12 inches on center. Use 8-penny nails to affix the pieces and use a carpenter’s level to align everything correctly. You can also use scraps to support border tiles at the edges.

Nailing or stapling ceiling tiles to furring strips

Use chalk string to make lines down the center of the wooden furring strips. These lines will be your guides when installing the tiles. For first cuts, get rid of the side that doesn’t have a stapling brim to set the tiles so that the groove and tongue tiles can be quickly put together.

Start by installing border tiles and then proceed to fill the remaining space with full tiles. Once space filled, apply the rest of the border ceiling tiles. Once filled, install molding to make a clean finish for your ceiling tile installation project.

Installing tiles around pipes and posts

Only cut the tiles into two and trim both halves to fit around the pole or pipe. Always use a utility knife to cut the tiles and ensure that the face is up.

Select an ambiguous position on the final row where you’ll leave one tile unclipped to allow access to the cavity.

On completion

Remove the sheets of the protective film all tiles. Leave work smooth, secure and free of stains, blemishes, and gaps. Clean surfaces of dust and remove extra material, waste, debris and packaging from the site.

Special consideration

Avoid placing permanent pressure or any load on the ceiling tiles as they are not designed to support the weight. In rooms or areas where condensation might form, protect ceiling tiles by installing a waterproof membrane on top of the tiles. In case condensation occurs, the waterproof breathable membrane will protect ceiling tiles from staining or getting wet. Remember, this measure does not safeguard the tiles in the event of water leaks above the ceiling.