Drop ceilings, also called suspended ceilings, are most often used in house basements or in commercial buildings. This is because they give you the ability to easily access wirings or overhead pipes and ducts.
They have some real advantages over drywall ceilings but some people think they look to commercial.
1. As already stated, they give easy access.
2. They are easy and quick to install with typical household tools.
3. They are a lot cleaner to install.
3. They also provide good sound proofing.
The Parts to a Drop Ceiling
There are four main parts to a drop ceiling.
1. The L-shaped track attaches to the walls with screws or nails and is often called the wall L track.
2. The main T track which is hung from the ceiling joist or beams at about four feet intervals along the entire length of the room. Tip: you generally want to run the main T’s perpendicular (at right angles) to the existing joist or beams for easier hanging.
3. The cross tees are installed at 90-degrees to the main T’s, and clip into slots in the main T at 24” or 48” intervals. The cross T’s are 24 or 48 inches long. The cross T’s form the space for the ceiling tile to drop into.
4. The tile then rests on and between the tracks, and thus the drop ceiling is formed.
Preparing to install your ceiling
In getting ready to install a drop ceiling, the first step is to lay out the ceiling. This is easiest done with a piece of graph paper. Carefully measure the dimension of the room you are about to install the drop ceiling in and then sketch it out on the paper. By using graph paper, you can easily create an accurate representation of the area.
Now divide the width of the room by two feet. Then take the remainder of the dimension and divide it by two and this will be the size of the tile along each side of the room. In the same way take the length of the room and divide it by four feet. (The tiles come as a two foot by four foot tile most often.) Take the remainder of the length of the room and divide it in two and this will give you the measurement of the tile at the ends of the room.
If you find this difficult then show your sketch of the room to a clerk at the local store where you are buying your material and he can help you with the layout and the parts you’ll need.
Next, you need to figure out the height at which you want the ceiling. On the one hand, you want at least four inches from the lowest point of the old ceiling to the new ceiling. On the other hand you also want at least seven feet from the floor up to your ceiling. Any less and you’re going to create a space that feels cramped. If you’re installing drop in fluorescent lights, you will need at least 5” of space for the fixtures.
Next time the actual installation.