Things You'll Need
Pad and pencil
Suspended ceilings have improved and evolved from being simple white tiles to decorative three-dimensional decorative ceilings. The choices of styles and designs are varied, but the size of the ceiling tiles is limited to two standard sizes. The most common is a 2-foot by 4-foot tile, but a 2-foot by 2-foot tile also is available and offers a great many choices in tile designs.
Take careful measurements of the entire room. Measure each wall and transfer this data to a scale drawing of the room. Graph paper works very well for this exercise. Use each line on the paper as one foot and mark the outline of your room. This will be your guide for the layout, the parts lists and the installation guide. This is your blueprint--an error at this point will be magnified as the project evolves, so check all measurements to ensure accuracy.
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Mark the location of your main tee brackets. Regardless if you plan to install 4-foot tiles or 2-foot tiles, the main tee brackets will be placed on 4-foot centers. Begin at one wall and mark the first main tee on the fourth line. Repeat this across the page. Once all main tees are marked, you will need to mark the cross tees. The first set of cross tees will be 4 feet in length and will be placed every 2 feet between each of the main tee brackets. When this step is complete, you will have a grid of 2-feet by 4-feet openings. The only exception will be the final row, which unless your room is divisible by four, will be odd-sized. This section will be dealt with in a later step.
Draw the 2-foot cross tees. These will be centered in each of the 2-foot by 4-foot grid openings. They will run parallel with the main tees supported by the hanger wires. The cross tees will have no hanger wires attached.
Measure the final section of the grid that is less than 4 feet. If this area is 2 feet or less, your grid is complete. You will cut 2-foot square tiles to the appropriate size to custom fit each opening. If the openings are wider than 2 feet, you will need to add an additional main tee bracket and set of hanger wires. Custom cut cross tees for the final opening. The grid is now complete and ready for the installation of the ceiling tiles.
Double-check all measurements, both in the room and on your scale drawing. This will help avoid costly errors later when preparing a materials list.
Do not order the exact amount of materials needed. In most instances it is suggested to add 5 percent to each item. This will offset any mistakes, damages or last-minute changes.