4 Best Ways to Install Suspended Ceiling Tiles

An office ceiling with mesh tiles.

Suspended ceilings are most commonly seen in commercial buildings and are quite handy for concealing plumbing or wiring while still providing access to them. There are a number of ways to install suspended ceiling tiles, and they're outlined here.

1 - Exposed Grid

The most common way to install suspended ceiling tiles is through the use of an exposed grid system. To create the grid, connect long metal strips, or mains, and shorter pieces of metal called tees. Creating this grid requires precise measurements and a detailed plan. Chances are good that your room will not be evenly divisible by the size of tiles you choose. That means you'll have to cut some tiles to fit border areas.

2 - Bandraster

The bandraster system is essentially a wider exposed grid. It accommodates not only square tiles, but rectangular as well. This way, you can create a ceiling that looks precisely how you want it to, taking into account the relative aesthetic value of different patterns and shapes. It also helps you work around light fixtures.

3 - Concealed Grid

The concealed grid system makes use of special tiles that hide the cross tees. This suspension system costs more than others and makes it more difficult to access the plenum, but it looks better. You'll need an 8- to 10-inch space between the tiles and the lowest hanging obstacle (pipes, wiring) above it.

Unfortunately, as mentioned above, the way these panels interlock makes removing any single one of them a chore. You have to locate the "key" panel – the panel that can be lifted and removed without damaging it or those around it. These are commonly located in the corners, so to remove a panel in the middle of the room you would have to start in the corner and work your way out to the center.

4 - Suspended Drywall Ceiling

This system uses hangers and wires to hold sheets of drywall below the ceiling. It's simpler than the extensive framing required to create ceiling structures or drywall arches. With this system, you can hang flat panels of drywall below the ceiling for a nice look.