How to Install Ceiling Grid Wire

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Suspended ceilings require wires to support them. The wires are attached to special hanger bolts drilled into the ceiling joists. During installation of the metal grid, the other end of the wire is passed though a hole and twisted around itself, holding the grid in place. Installation of the wires in straight lines and bending the wires at the correct height to accept the grid beams and tees is critical to a square and level installation.

Things You'll Need

  • Chalk line
  • Drill with drill bits and hanger bit
  • Hanger bolts.
  • Pliers
  • Tape measure
  • Snap a chalk line on, and perpendicular to, the ceiling joists from which the grid wires will be hung. The first line should be directly above the first run of cross tees that rest on the wall angle parallel to the line. Space successive lines 4 feet apart across the width of the room.

  • Drill holes in the joists to accept the hanger bolts on the chalk lines. The first hole on a line should be 4 feet or less from the wall. Each successive hole down the chalk line should be no more than 4 feet from the previous hole. The drill bit size should be smaller than the threads of the bolts.

  • Install the hanger bolt driver bit in the drill. Place a hanger bolt in the driver bit and position the point inside a hole. Drive the bolt into the joist to the depth of the threads. Put a hanger into each hole.

  • Make a bend in each hanger wire, 4 inches from the end, using pliers. Insert the 4-inch end of the wire into a hanger bolt and twist the wire around itself using the pliers. Install a hanger into each hanger bolt.

  • Measure down from a joist to the wall angle with the tape measure. Measure the height of the ceiling grid pieces and subtract the height from the joist-to-wall-angle distance. The height of the ceiling grid is measured from the top of the hanger hole to the bottom the grid piece. This is the total hanger length.

  • Cut one wire to the total hanger length to use as a wire gauge. Place the end of the wire gauge against the bottom of a joist next to a hanger. Bend the wire hanger at the bottom of the wire gauge so that the bend is one wire gauge length from the ceiling joist. Do this for all the grid wires. When hanging the grid pieces, just insert a wire into the grid piece and twist it around itself.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hanger bolts come in various sizes. Most require drilling a pilot hole, which is typically above the head. Wear safety goggles to prevent sawdust from getting in your eyes.

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References

  • "Home Improvement 1-2-3"; The Home Depot; 2003
  • Photo Credit Photos.com/Photos.com/Getty Images
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