False ceilings are also known as drop ceilings because they are hung or suspended under a primary ceiling. Installing a false ceiling can enhance the look of your home. False ceilings are practical because they cover and hide piping and wiring, offer a good way to install lighting and are always accessible for repairs. False ceilings vary in materials, shapes, sizes and installation systems, but the basic installation process is similar for any model.
Things You'll Need
- Measuring tape
- Power drill
- Phillips-head screwdriver
- Tin snips
- Utility knife
Measure the area you want to cover with a measuring tape and then make a sketch according to the dimensions of the room and the effect you want to achieve, using a paper and pencil.
Draw a line at the preferred height for your suspended ceiling all around the room. You're outlining the place where the side rails for the suspension system will be mounted and not the final edge of the ceiling. Check your model to plan the distance between the mounting rail and the final surface of the ceiling and make sure the lines for the side rails are level.
Attach the edges of the suspended ceiling system all around the walls of the room. The edges are usually metal side rails mounted around the whole diameter of the room, which hold the grid of the suspended ceiling. Follow the instructions for your ceiling assembly to properly mount the side rails. Hold the rails against the wall and mark the places for screws and then drill the holes with a power drill. Use the screws from the installation kit and tighten them with a Phillips-head screwdriver.
Attach the hooks that will hold the grid onto the primary ceiling. Use a hammer and follow the instructions from the installation kit to mark and measure the exact places for the hooks on the ceiling. Usually the pattern is an orderly grid with 3 to 4 feet between the hooks.
Install the suspended metal grid (the runners) by hanging it to the hooks on the primary ceiling. Use tin snips to cut the runners if needed. Otherwise, simply click the ends of runners together. The edges of the grid have to be securely fitted into the side rail outline around the room. This way the whole suspending system will be secured from two directions, making the ceiling assembly strong and stable. The grid will have holes the size and shape of your chosen ceiling panels, according to the assembly, design and disposition you ordered.
Add fixtures inside the space that will be covered by your new false ceiling. Hide any piping, ductwork and wires in the same space. If features still must be protruding through the ceiling or you already planned a lighting disposition, cut a hole on the ceiling tile before installment. Mark the size and location of the hole and use a utility knife to cut it out.
Place the drop ceiling panel inside the empty grid fields. Every field has a supporting system, so the panels should click into place or simply be placed on the runner, depending on whether you chose an invisible or semi-visible runner option.
Tips & Warnings
- Drop ceiling panels mainly come in three materials: mineral, wood laminate and metal. There are also various shapes: tiles, planks and boards. For residential purposes, mineral fiber or wood laminate options are the best choice.
- Look for a false ceiling system that has as many pre-manufactured features as possible. Many manufacturers offer free assistance with the drop ceiling design and disposition and then deliver the exact, custom-made system.
- Consider installing tiny LED lights to make a night sky in the ceiling or big lamps that completely replace a ceiling tile and seamlessly blend into the surface when turned off.
- Be careful when using potentially dangerous tools such as a power drill and a utility knife.
- Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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