How to Install Acoustical Ceiling Tile

  • 4-12 hours
  • Beginner
  • 200-500
What You'll Need
Wire cutters
Acoustical tile
18 Gauge wire
Graph Paper
Chalk line
Masonry nails
Utility knife
Drywall saw

If you're remodeling or refinishing your basement, a suspended ceiling is a relatively inexpensive option. Not only does it look good, but its acoustical properties can help minimize the echoes and other distorted sounds that would normally be generated in a basement thanks to its concrete walls and floor. Follow the DIY steps below, and you'll have a new suspended ceiling in no time.

Step 1 – Lay Out Your Grid

Creating an evenly spaced suspended-ceiling grid requires careful planning. Lay out your tile placements using graph paper with 1/4-inch squares.

Step 2 – Make It Even

Even in a square room, opposite walls can vary an inch or two in length. For example, if one end of your room is exactly 14 feet while the oppose end is 14 feet 2 inches, make a line 7 feet, 1 inch from each side. Marking your center line at exactly 14 feet will give one side of your room no border, while on the other side you'll have a 2 inch border. This will make your room look lopsided.

Step 3 – Planning Your Grid

In installing a suspended tile system you'll need to install wall angle on each of your perimeter walls. This is a narrow L-shaped metal piece that supports the edges of your tile. In installing these angle pieces, place them so they are 2 to 3 inches lower than the lowest object on your ceiling, giving you the space needed to place your ceiling tiles.

Step 4 – Installing Your Wall Angle Pieces

Snap a level chalk line on your walls to use as a guide to install your angle pieces. This line should be at the top edge of your angle. Nail the angle to the wall along this line. Space nails at 2 foot intervals. On inside corners overlap angle pieces. On outside corners miter them at 45 degrees.

Step 5 – Installing Your Tees

To install your main support tees, follow your center line. This will allow you to install your cross tee slots in the correct position. If you have questions about this placement, follow the directions that come with your grid package.

Step 6 – Hanging Your Wire

Attach the wire ends to screw eyes hooks in holes you'll find in the angle pieces.

Step 7 – Installing Your Tiles

Install your first tiles in one corner of the room, following your layout plan. Where necessary, cut your tiles to fit, using a razor knife or utility knife. Cut holes for light fixtures with a drywall saw.