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How To Install A Suspended Ceiling - Section 2

Continued from: Installing A Suspended Ceiling - Section 1

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Minimum clearance for suspended ceiling
Figure 1 - Minimum clearance for suspended ceiling

Section 2

Installing L Channels:

  • The placement of the L channel is the most critical structural member of the ceiling. All other dimensions and channel placements work from the position of the L channel.
  • If your ceiling height will allow, install the bottom of the L channels 6″ below the lowest point of the ceiling (Figure 1). If the ceiling height is critical, you can raise the L channel to 3″ from the lowest point of the ceiling. If you place the L channel any higher than 3″, you will not be able to maneuver the ceiling tiles into position once the grid is complete.

Laser level
Figure 2 - Laser level
  • Do not set the position of the L channel with a tape measure. Measuring from the floor up or from a ceiling joist down is a sure method to install a ceiling that is not level. Use a laser level as shown in Figure 2, to set the positioning of the L channels. Install all of the L channels to the walls before you do anything else.
  • Fasten the L channels securely to the wall at all points. Use nails if you are attaching to wood studs, screws if you are attaching to metal studs or use screw anchors or other masonry fasteners on brick, masonry or drywall walls.
  • Position the wall angle so that the bottom flange rests on the laser level line. Take your time to do this right!

Mitering "L" channel corners for a suspended ceiling
Figure 3 - Mitering L channel corners for a suspended ceiling
  • On inside corners, overlap the L channels and on outside corners miter the wall angle, as shown in Figure 3. Cut any needed angles with tin snips or a hacksaw.
  • Note: Outside angles are generally not exactly 45 degrees. Experiment with some small scrap pieces to ensure you have the correct angles.

Locating and Hanging Suspension Wire:

  • If you are going to use recessed lights or other styles of light fixtures, install the wiring before putting the suspended ceiling suspension wires in place.
Installing a line to locate main Tee positions for a suspended ceiling
Figure 4 - Installing a line to locate main Tee positions for a suspended ceiling
  • If you are installing pot or recessed lights, for best visual appeal they should be in the center of a ceiling tile. If you are installing 2' × 4' lay-in or recessed fluorescent light fixtures in a ceiling tile position, the light fixture should have support wires attached to at least two opposite corners. A suspended ceiling is not designed to support the weight of a florescent fixture without having the fixture supported independently. By directly supporting the fixture, you will avoid having the ceiling sag. Additional detail
  • Refer to your drawing of the room for the location of all main T (Figure 1). It is easier to suspend the main T if they run at right angles to the ceiling joists in the room.
  • Locate the position of each main tee by stretching a tight line from the top edge of the wall angle on all sides of the room at each position where the main T are to be placed, as shown in Figure 4.
Installing the first suspension wire for a main Tee
Figure 5 - Installing the first suspension wire for a main Tee
  • Cut the suspension wires to a length approximately 12 inches longer than the distance between the ceiling joists and the the top of the L channel you have installed in order to properly position the main tee.
  • Locate the first suspension wire for each main tee directly above the point where the first cross tee meets the main tee, as shown in Figure 5. Check your original drawing of the room to determine this location.
  • Be sure the suspension wires are securely fastened. Apply them to the ceiling with screw eyes, screw hooks, nails, or drilling.

Continued...

Section 1

Section 2

Section 3