How Are Suspended Ceilings Installed?
In this guide, we will talk you through the methods of installing a suspended ceiling system and highlight the dos and don’ts along the way.
How Are Suspended Ceilings Installed?
The Planning Stage
The first, yet most important step of every ceiling install, is to plan out you’re ceiling accurately. This will include lining your main runners up, to ensure that you have an even tile cut on each side of your room. If installing in a standard manor for an everyday ceiling system, you would be installing your main runners at 1200mm centres (1200mm apart). Therefore, you would decide which way you are going to run your main tee, either across the width, or down the length. You would always run across your joists or steel when installing below these materials, to ensure that you have a place to suspend your wire from.
If your room was 5m (Width) x 7m (Length), and your joists or steels are running down the length of the room, you would take your width at5m and divide this by 1.2m which is the centres for your main runner. This would give us 4.16, which would refer to the number of rows of main runner you will need. We of course would need to work to whole numbers in rows, so we would install four rows, and take the 0.16 remained and divide this by two to give us the size of the cut/rip each side of the room. So, in this case, our cuts would be 80mm each.
Plan out your ceiling today with our free to use Ceiling Wizard Calculator.
Installing Your Wall Angle
Now we need to install your perimeter wall angles, to allow your suspended ceiling a trim to sit on. Using such tools as a laser level, we would find the height at which we want to install our ceiling, then set the laser level at that height to project a level line around the perimeter of the room.
Having a level line, gives us the perfect template of where we need to install our wall angles. To fix your perimeter trims, you would use one of the below fixing methods.
· Nails– For block walls
· Drywall Screws – For stud walls
Ensure that you fix the wall angle at approximately 350mm centres, this will ensure an even support along each length.
Installing Your Hangers
After fixing your wall angles to the perimeter of the room, our next step is to install the hangers which will support the main tees or main runner as they are also known. To do this, you need to locate where your main runners are due to run. Then using your measuring tape, measure1200mm away from the perimeter trim and mark a point every 1200mm down the length of the main runner. Repeat this step for each main runner.
Having marked out where a hangers will be, we must decide what type of hanger is required. Below is a list of fixing types and the corresponding fixing.
· Installing Under Timber/Plasterboard: Angle Brackets
· Installing Under Steel Beams: Beam Hangers (Range of sizes available)
· Installing Under Steel Purlins: Purlin Hangers
Once you have decided on the fixings you need, fix these at 1200mm intervals to create a hanging point.
Hangers installed, time for the suspension wire! Suspension wire comes as a coil, and must be measured and cut to length, then straightened in preparation for your main runners. The length of your wire would be dictated by the drop from your existing ceiling. For example, if you are dropping the ceiling 400mm below existing ceiling level, you would need to cut the wire 700mm.The extra 300mm is to allow us to wrap the wire around itself at the top and bottom. If you are wanting to straighten your wire using a drill, add more to the length of each hanger to allow for straightening.
To straighten your wire, you can insert a vine eye or similar eyed fixing into the end of a drill, thread one end of the wire through the eye and wrap it around itself securely. You would now tie the other end of the wire to a solid post or support which is ridged and wont move or cause harm. Checking that both ends are secure, slowly start the drills rotations, gradually increasing its speed and applying a level of pressure to straighten out the wire. Do not over spin or spin to quickly as this can split the wire.
Please note that safety precautions must be made before straightening wire, including safety goggles & gloves, failure to do so, may result in injury. If you are not confident or trained with these tools, do not attempt this. Once straightened, cut the wire at both ends to prevent spring back.
Once you have straightened your required number of wires, begin feeding one end of the wire through the eye of your chosen fixings and wrap tail around itself. When doing this, ensure that you are leaving enough length of wire to feed the bottom end through the main runner and wrapping around itself, which should be done to your required ceiling height. Please always either cut or bend and point the wire tails upwards, to prevent harm to anybody that may need to access the ceiling in the future.
Installing The Main Tees
Having secured all of suspension wires in place, we will now install our main tees in place. To do this, find your first main runner run and feed one end up to the edge trim. Checking where our first cross tee will begin, measure and cut the main down to length, ensuring that the first connection hole on your main runner, is inline with the location that your cross tee will be. Cutting the end of the main runner that is to rest on your edge trim at an angle from above, will make resting them easier.
The most important part of installing your suspended ceiling grid, is constantly checking your level. So, using either a laser level or string line, check the level at which your main tees sit, and ensure they are bob on.
Now that we are happy with our level, feed the suspension wires through the pre-perforated slots located along the top of the main runner and wrap round to secure. Ensure that your main tee is at the right height and level throughout this step.
Assuming your room is longer or wider than 3.6m (The length of a main tee), connect your next main runner by sliding the connection ends together on your existing and new main tee. You should here a ‘click’ as they attach. Repeat this step from one side of you room to the next and along the opposite length or width, every 1200mm as mentioned in our layout step.
Installing The Cross Tees
With main runners in place, we can now begin to form our600mm x 600mm or 1200mm x 600mm grid spaces, ready to accept ceiling tiles.
Working from your layout plan, take your 1200mmcross tees and click them into place of the connection holes between two main runners. Where there is only a single main runner at each end, cut the tee down to click in at one end, and rest on the edge trim at the other. Repeat this down the length of your main runners every 600mm to create a rectangular grid shape.
To make your 600mm x 600mm grid system, to take your 600mmcross tees and slot them in between two 1200mm cross tees, to form the square grid shape.
Ensuring that all cross tees have clicked in to place properly and repeated throughout the system, you should now have a fully assembled ceiling grid, that is ready to take your suspended ceiling tiles.
Installing The Ceiling Tiles
Installing your ceiling tiles is the most straightforward yet repetitive stage of the build. You need to lay a tile in to each grid space without damaging the edges on the way in. So, what is the easiest way to do this? The answer is simple. Angle each tile at a diagonal as you feed it up and through your ceiling grid, this will make it much easier to get the tiles through without scuffing and damaging the edges.
Now for the fun part – the cuts! Around the perimeter of your ceiling, you will more than likely have smaller spaces, where tiles need to be cut down to fit. To do this, you need a measuring tape and a sharp knife. Begin by measuring the internal spacing between your wall angle and ceiling grid, now use these measurements to mark your ceiling tile ready to be cut. With the face of the tile pointing to the ground, score your tile using a straightedge and sharp knife, which should then allow you to split the tile, without damaging the face.
Once cut to size, repeat the same process as before, and feed your tiles up and through the grid at an angle. Ensure that all tiles are sitting flush.
Congratulations! You know have a completed suspended ceiling system.
Below is a list of all the components that we have discussed throughout this guide.
For a video version tutorial of how to install a suspended ceiling. Take a look Armstrongs video guide today.
For more information on how to install a grid ceiling system, call our expert team today on 01253 864902.
How Do You Install Suspended Ceilings? Trust The Judge!