Installing Ceiling Tile
Screw a grid of 1x3s to the ceiling, shim it for a flat surface, and then staple tiles to the grid. The centre seam of the ceiling must run down the center of the room. Trim the tiles so those against the walls are the same size on opposite ends of the room. Apply the grid from the centre of the room outward, and the tiles from the wall edges. For finished ceilings, locate the joists with a stud finder. Drive a nail to ensure you're directly under the joist, and use chalk to mark its location.
- MARK WALLS THAT RUN PARALLEL TO JOISTS
- CENTER A 1X3 FURRING STIPE ON THE CHALK LINE
- SCREW 1x3s TO REST OF THE CEILING
- LEVEL AND ADJUST FURRING STRIPS
- SNAP LINES TO PLACE TILES
MARK WALLS THAT RUN PARALLEL TO JOISTS
Mark the center of the walls that run parallel to the joists. The visible edge of the tiles will be along this line. Measure over by the width of the tile's tongue—usually about 1/2 inch-to show where the tongue will be. Repeat the centering process on the two walls that are perpendicular to the joists. Snap chalk lines between the tongue marks so that two chalk lines cross each other on the ceiling.
CENTER A 1X3 FURRING STIPE ON THE CHALK LINE
Center a 1x3 furring strip on the chalk line and screw it to the ceiling joists with #8 1 5/8-inch drywall screws. You'll find screws easier to use than the nails usually recommended, and if you have to back one of the 1x3s away from the joist later, you can simply loosen the screws. You may want to add support blocks to hold the edge of the furring strip against the joist. (See "Work Smarter," above right.)
SCREW 1x3s TO REST OF THE CEILING
Screw 1x3s to the rest of the ceiling, spacing the centers so they are as far apart as the visible part of the tiles is wide, usually 12 inches. On the wall perpendicular to the joists, put a 1x3 right against the wall too.
LEVEL AND ADJUST FURRING STRIPS
The ceiling will only be as flat and as level as the furring strips. Check by putting a level against the furring strip grid. If you see gaps between the level and the furring strips, back the screw out and slip in a shim. Tighten the screw until it is just snug, and check again with the level. Drive the shim in further or slide it partway out as needed.
SNAP LINES TO PLACE TILES
While most tiles in the ceiling are full size, the border tiles are trimmed to fit. Lay out the full-size ones first—start at the lines you snapped in the middle of the ceiling and snap a new line every 12 inches.
MEASURE AND TRIM TILES TO FIT
Measure the distance between the last line and the wall and cut individual tiles to fit. Size them so that there is a 1/4-inch gap between the tile and the wall—this leaves you room to maneuver the tile. It also means that you won't need to cut a tapered tile as long as one end is no more than 1/4 inch shorter than the other. A molding will cover the gap later.
STAPLE THE BORDER TILES IN PLACE
Staple the border tiles in place, driving the staples through the tongue of the tile. On two walls, you'll be able to staple the tiles to the 1 x3 furring against the wall, as shown here. On the other walls, nail the edge of the tiles into the joists, if possible. If you can't, the molding you'll apply later will provide adequate support.
BEGIN APPLYING THE FULL SIZE TILES
Once you've applied the border tiles on two adjacent walls, begin applying the full-size tiles. Work your way across the room. Trim the border tiles against the remaining walls to the proper size and staple in place. If you need to make a cutout in a tile, put it in place and mark each edge of the cut. Reposition it to mark the adjacent edge. Connect the lines on the back of the tile and cut the opening with a keyhole saw. After all tiles are in place, cut molding to tightly fit against the ceiling and wall, and nail it in place, covering the gap left by the tiles.
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