A suspended ceiling, also known as a drop ceiling, can be used in a wide variety of areas. One of the most common applications in a residential structure is to serve as a basement ceiling. Often wiring, plumbing, gas lines, or HVAC components make a conventional ceiling impractical in these areas. With a suspended ceiling the ceiling itself is installed just below any obstacles or overhead barriers. This will not only offer you an attractive and affordable solution for the area, but will also allow you to easily access the area above the ceiling for any required maintenance or repairs.
Outer “L” Bracket Installation
In many cases a suspended ceiling will not be the normal eight feet. Take a careful measurement to determine what height your ceiling will need to be to clear all overhead obstacles yet still allow adequate head room below. Mark this measurement on an exterior wall. Using a long carpenter’s level, carefully work your way around the outside of the room making a market every two to three feet. Measure each exterior wall and cut an “L” bracket to match this length. Install the bracket, keeping it just atop the mark. Anchor the bracket into the walls studs which should be on sixteen inch centers. Install the bracket on all exterior walls before moving to the next step of the installation.
Install the Wires for the Suspended Ceiling
Measure out four feet from the longest exterior wall. Mark this measurement at each end of the room. Secure eye bolts every two to three feet along this line. Anchor the eye bolts into the overhead ceiling, being certain each is securely in place. Repeat this process every four feet across the room. When all eye bolts are in place, secure one end of a hanger wire to the eye bolt, twisting the wire tightly in place. Cut the hanger wire so it will extend approximately eight inches below the outer “L” brackets.
Install the Interior Brackets
Measure and cut the Interior “T” brackets to the proper length. These brackets will connect to the “L” bracket previously mounted on the wall. After securing the brackets together, attach the first hanger wire to the “T” bracket. Lay a level atop the bracket to keep it level as you move across the room securing each hanger bracket in place. Repeat this process for each set of hanger wires. Once this step is completed begin installing the cross brackets every two feet along the “T” brackets. These brackets will clip onto the “T” brackets forming a secure rectangle. When completed you will have a grid of openings measuring two feet by four feet with the exception of the last row.
Installing Ceiling Tiles
Begin in one corner of the room installing the ceiling tiles. Angle the ceiling tiles slightly to allow them to pass through the grid, then lay them into the brackets. Continue until all standard size openings are filled. The last row will be an odd size unless your room is divisible by four. Carefully measure the opening and cut cross brackets to the proper size. Install the modified brackets, making certain each is securely in place. Using a razor blade cutter, trim ceiling tiles to the proper size to file the modified openings. Place each of the modified tile sin place to complete the project.