How to Cut Suspended Ceiling Tiles


You're almost finished installing your new drop ceiling, but now you face a dilemma: the tiles at the end where the ceiling meets the wall need to be trimmed to fit the space left over. How do you cut suspended ceiling tiles? You'll be relieved to learn it's not too complicated; with a few common tools you'll have them cut and before you know it you'll be inserting the last piece and the project will be complete.

Things You'll Need

  • Utility knife with extra blades
  • 4-foot straight edge
  • Measure the length of tile you need, making sure to include the amount needed for the tile to overlap the grid. Your room may not be square so repeat the measuring process for each tile to be cut.

  • Lay the ceiling tile face up on a hard flat surface such as a workbench or concrete floor; you want a surface that will not be damaged if the cut goes through the tile.

  • Mark your measurement at three points along the side of the tile, using a pencil and taking care not to mar the surface. If the measurements determined that the tile needs to be wider at one end than the other check to be sure the direction is correct.

  • Align a straight edge along the pencil marks and hold it tight to the tile so it cannot shift.

  • Slice the tile along the straight edge, using a utility knife at its longest blade setting.

  • Make another pass with the knife, pressing down to dig deeper into the tile. It usually takes two or three passes to completely cut through.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your tiles have notched edges set the depth of the utility blade to the depth of the inset for the first cut then make a corresponding side cut to remove the needed notch.
  • Ceiling tile will dull utility blades quickly; if you have a lot of tiles to cut change the blade when it begins to drag.
  • Wear light gloves to prevent soiling of the suspended ceiling tiles.
  • Always cut away from your body and hands while using a utility knife.

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  • Photo Credit MorgueFile
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