Installing a Ceiling Tile Grid Step-by-Step

Ceiling grid
  • 10-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 500-5,000
What You'll Need
Chalk line
Hanger wires
Main tees
Cross tees

Accurate measurements are key when installing a ceiling tile grid. By taking the time to measure and estimate materials, you will both save time and money and create a well-planned ceiling grid for your tile. Follow these steps to learn how.

Step 1 - Choose a Ceiling Height and Mark the Perimeter

Measure and mark your desired ceiling height, leaving at least a 4-inch minimum clearance below the lowest air duct or beam to allow room for ceiling tiles. Create a chalk line ¾-inch above your planned ceiling height. Check it with a level.

Step 2 - Install Wall Angles

Place the wall angles along the chalk line and screw them into the wall. Space the fasteners every 2 feet; place them in the center. On the outside corners, cut the angles at 90 degrees and fit them together. On the inside corners miter them at 45 degrees and fit them together.

Step 3 - Mark Main Tees and Cross Tees

Pull a string across the room from each of the fasteners you inserted in Step 2 to mark the main tees. Make marks every 4-feet. Stretch a string perpendicular to the main tee strings to mark the first row of cross tees. Main tees generally have pre-punched slots for aligning the remaining cross tees.

Step 4 - Install and Bend Hanger Wires

Place lag screws at 4-foot intervals along the main tee lines. Attach the hanger wire and cut it 6-inches below the string lines. Use pliers to bend the hanger wires to a 90 degree angles ¾-inch above the string line.

Step 5 - Align and Hang Main Tees

Trim the main tees to ensure that the slot for the first row of cross tees lines up at the string. Rest the main tee on the wall angle. Pull the hanger wires through the lowest, round hole in the main tee. Ensure the tee is level and bend the wire up and around. Twist the end 3 ½ full turns.

Step 6 - Install Cross Tees

Hold the cross tees above the main tee and insert them down into the main tee. On the other end, push the cross tee through the main tee slot until it clicks. Install all the cross tees until all are in place and your ceiling tile grid is complete.