How to Build a Suspended Ceiling

A suspended ceiling, often called a drop ceiling, is an economical means to install a secondary ceiling in almost any size area. In residences, a suspended ceiling is most common in a basement area where it can conceal overhead joists, duct work and plumbing. While it will take some careful planning, a suspended ceiling is relatively simple in design.

  • Wire cutter
  • Pliers
  • Tin snips
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • Screws
Determine the height at which you want to place the ceiling. A standard ceiling is 8 feet in height. Mark a location on a wall where you can get a clean measurement. From this point you will extend the mark around the entire circumference of the room. It is critical this line remain level at all points. This will serve as the foundation for your ceiling, and it must be properly prepared or the finished product will not have the desired look or fit.

Drill anchor holes for the wall brackets. These brackets will come in 12-foot lengths and have pre-drilled holes where the anchors need to be installed. Begin in one corner and install a full-length piece if the room is large enough. From this point, continue around the room, cutting the wall brackets to fit as you reach each corner. Mount all wall brackets first before proceeding. You will also need to install the same style wall bracket around any posts or columns in the room.

Install the main tee-bracket on four foot centers. Above each row you will install anchor points approximately every two feet. These anchor points can be screws or eyebolts secured into the overhead joists. From each anchor point, install a hanger wire long enough to reach the main tee below. Secure the main tee with the hanger wires, keeping the tee-bracket level with the wall bracket. Install a complete row before moving on to the next.

Between each row of main tees, install a cross tee every two feet. When this is complete, you should have a complete gird with 4-foot-by-2-foot openings. These brackets will snap into place in pre-drilled holes. Unless your room size is divisible by four, the final row of tiles will be less than four feet in length. Carefully measure each of these openings and cut a ceiling tile to match. Once the odd sized row is installed, move on to the full sized tiles. Install a complete row, then move to the next until all tiles are in place.

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