How to Install a Drop Ceiling in a Basement Near a Window

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When it comes to ceiling coverings, drop ceilings provide some distinct advantages that other ceiling materials don’t. Since drop ceilings extend below the surface of the ceiling, unlike other materials that install directly to the ceiling surface, the dropped design both lowers the ceiling height in the main room and provides space above the visible ceiling. The lowered room ceiling helps trap heat to lower heating costs, and the space above the ceiling provides room to hide fixtures that extend from the ceiling, such as pipes.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • 2-by-4 wood planks
  • Chalk
  • Snap chalk line
  • Wall angles
  • Concrete screws
  • Concrete eye bolts
  • Flexible wire
  • Drop ceiling tees
  • Drop ceiling tiles
  • Measure at least 4 inches down from the basement ceiling right above the window. If this overlaps the window, you can block off the top section of the window. Nail 2-by-4 planks to the inside of the window frame 1/2 inch in from the front edge. Attach a piece of 1/2-inch-thick plywood to the 2-by-4 planks to make the wood flush with the front of the window frame.

  • Take a 4-inch measurement down from the ceiling at both ends of each wall in the room where you want the drop ceiling and mark the wall. Snap a chalk line between the marks at the ends of each wall.

  • Line metal wall angles up with the lines that you marked on the walls. Secure the angles to the walls with a concrete screw through each of the screw holes.

  • Measure across the ceiling against one wall, marking the wall every 4 feet. Measure the opposite wall and snap chalk lines between the marks that lie directly opposite each other. Repeat this process with the other two walls, snapping chalk lines between them every 4 feet to make a grid pattern of 4-foot squares.

  • Screw concrete eye bolts into the ceiling at every point where two crossing lines meet. Thread flexible wire through the eye bolts along the chalk lines in the ceiling in both directions to make a wire grid pattern like the ceiling pattern.

  • Thread about 10 inches of wire through each hole in a drop ceiling tee if the wall angles sit 4 inches down from the ceiling. Twist the wires together at the tips. Line the drop ceiling tee along the first wire in one direction.

    Set the end of the tee on the wall angle. Wrap the top inch of each wire on the tee around the wire that crosses the ceiling to secure the tee in place so it hangs 4 inches below the ceiling.

  • Repeat this process with enough tees to recreate the wire grid on the ceiling with metal tees. Once all tees have been placed, lift a drop ceiling tile up into each of the holes in the tees and lower it down into position.

Tips & Warnings

  • If a basement has cement walls and ceiling, drill pilot holes for each hole that you want to make. Use wall anchors to secure the hardware to the walls and ceiling.

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