Various Ways to Install Your New Ceiling and How to Choose the Best Way
If your present ceiling is relatively smooth and free of loose plaster, paper or peeling paint, the easiest way to install tiles is to use adhesive. Use a clean broom to dust the ceiling. If your ceilings are nice clean sheetrock or drywall, use Faux Tin or Styrofoam tiles. For plywood ceilings or panels you can use real Tin Nail-up ceiling tiles or glue Faux Tin (PVC) tiles with contact cement or Styrofoam ceiling tiles using ceramic tile adhesive(mastic) or Powergrab™. If it has excessive dust, dirt, flaking or peeling paint then it should be scraped and washed and allowed to dry to ensure that adhesives will adhere. For ceilings that are patched, have cracks, are rough or uneven – Including old Popcorn ceilings! - Go with the Stryrofoam ceiling tiles for a nearly instant improvement. Another way to deal with ugly ceilings is either a drop ceiling that requires a framework of hanging tile frames or with a nail-up installation of real Tin ceiling tiles installed using thin wooden furring strips nailed to your current ceiling.
Before beginning any installation method, be sure you have already measured your ceiling needs and completed the ceiling tile layout that you want. Layout determines the number of tiles and filler strips and the size of the border tiles if needed. Ceiling layout ensures that your job will look professional when it is complete and gives you a ceiling that you’ll be proud of and happy to live with for years to come.
Adhesives are the fastest and easiest way to mount your new ceiling tiles if your ceiling is clean, dry, level and smooth. Contact cement or Liquid Nails™ are easy to use adhesives for mounting ceiling tiles. Some of the recommended adhesives can be seen on our Ceiling Tiles Adhesives page, along with a chart that can tell you which adhesives work with which ceiling tiles. Your measurements and layout should be completed before you begin applying tiles. Read the complete step by step instructions for Faux Tin Glue up Install for 24″ x 24″ Faux Tin Ceiling Tiles or we offer Video instructions for gluing up ceiling tiles, right from the warehouse.
Using Furring Strips
Furring strips are used for installing real Tin Nail-up Ceiling Tiles as a fast and easy way to cover a damaged ceiling or one that is not in good enough condition to accept a glue-up installation. If the existing ceiling is too rough or uneven, has peeling paper or paint or has minor cracks, furring strips are the best method for tile installation. Furring strips are usually 1×3″ strips of lightweight inexpensive straight-grained wood such as pine, fir or spruce. These strips are usually nailed to the joists with common 8-penny nails, one nail at each joist. Use a long level and shim any uneven spots to be level with the rest of the strips.
To install furring strips you will need to find and mark the ceiling joists. Lighting fixtures are often installed at ceiling joists so that may help you find the first joist location. Normally, ceiling joists are placed at intervals of 16″ or 24″ so after you find one, just measure out to look for the next one. A digital joist or stud finder may help you quickly locate your ceiling joists.
Furring strips are mounted at right angles across ceiling joists and should be mounted at intervals that will be convenient to mount your ceiling tiles on. Before mounting furring strips, be sure you know what size of ceiling tiles will be installed and the layout of the tiles. Mount the first furring strip right at the edge of the longest wall. If your ceiling will have border tiles or filler, mount the second furring strip so that the center of the strip is at the width of the border tiles or filler strips. Mount the remaining strips at intervals to center the tile joints in the center of the furring strips. At the wall opposite your starting point you will again need to space the furring strips at an interval to accommodate the border tiles or filler strips. The edges of nail up ceiling tiles are made to overlap and cover the nails.
As you can see, using furring strips requires some planning ahead. All measurements and layout need to be done before mounting furring strips.
Using a Drop Ceiling Grid
The hardware for a drop ceiling includes mounting directions, but some things to consider before you choose this installation method: Drop ceilings need to be installed low enough so that tiles can be fully inserted for proper positioning. If your room’s ceiling is not significantly higher than you want it to be, the ceiling may be too low to mount a suspended grid. Drop ceilings are ideally suited to business places with very high ceilings that have exposed ductwork they would like to cover, or basements with exposed ceiling joists. If your basement ceiling is not over 8 feet high, think about installation using furring strips for nail-up or glue-up installation.
If you already have a drop-in suspended ceiling that is showing its age you can make it like new again very easily. After cleaning and lightly sanding the existing grid frames, they can be spray painted right where they are and when dry, remove the old tiles one at a time and glue new Faux Tin tiles right on over the old ones. This can save a lot of time and completely change the look of a room in just a few hours.