How to Insulate a Drop Ceiling

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Lighter, less expensive and less time consuming to install than drywall, drop ceilings can be installed in any room to add noise-dampening qualities, hide exposed joists and pipes or just to give the room a different feel. Forgot to insulate the ceiling beforehand? Insulating a drop ceiling can be done after the ceiling is up, if necessary.

Things You'll Need

  • R-19 insulation
  • Staple gun with 1/4-inch staples
  • Razor knife
  • 6-foot step ladder
  • Safety glasses
  • Leather work gloves
  • Dust mask
  • Remove the ceiling tiles from the grid. Press gently on one side of the tile, lift, twist at a slight angle and pull down and out of the metal grid. Take your time and be careful not to damage the tiles as you remove them. Store the tiles in a safe place away from the work area.

  • Cut open the bag of insulation and pull out the strips of insulation with your razor knife. Slide a strip of insulation into the ceiling grid with the paper side down (facing you). Work the insulation into the ceiling between the joists above. Cut the insulation with your razor knife to fit the ceiling length and to fit around any obstacles.

  • Press the strips of insulation so that the paper is even with the bottom of the joists above (where the ceiling grid wires are attached). Staple the paper tabs on the insulation to the bottom of the joists with your staple gun. Place a staple on each side every 12 to 15 inches.

  • Replace your ceiling tiles into the grid. Hold the tile at an angle and gently slide it into and above the grid. Lay it flat and lower it back down into proper position on the grid. Be careful not to damage the tiles during installation.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can repair minor nicks and cuts in ceiling tiles with a correction fluid product (such as you would use for a typing/printing job) by painting over the minor damage with the small brush attached to the top of the bottle.
  • Insulation contains materials that pose inhalation and skin irritation hazards. Wear appropriate clothing such as a hat, long-sleeved shirt, long pants and boots. Wear appropriate safety equipment such as dust mask, safety glasses and leather work gloves when working with insulation. Always use caution and common sense when using a razor knife. Working on ladders, even short ladders, poses a fall hazard. Read and follow the manufacturer's recommendations before and during using any ladder.
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