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How to Install Drop Ceiling Tiles

Ceilume's 0.013" thick Feather-Light Ceiling Tile Collection and 0.030" thick Signature Ceiling Tile Collection can be installed in an approved ceiling suspension system using standard 1" face T-bar grid per the manufacturer's instructions. Some Signature styles may also be installed in slimline, 9/16" drop ceiling grid.

Check building codes as required.

Installation is as Easy as 1-2-3!

To install your new decorative ceiling tiles, simply pop your new tiles into place in your suspended ceiling.

How's that for easy?

Edge Trim

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In all likelihood, you will have some less than full-size grid squares around the perimeter of your room. Our border tiles have been designed with a minimum relief pattern that lends itself to trimming and installing in these edge trim areas.

Simply measure each of these partial grid squares, cut your edge trim tiles to size with scissors or Ceiling Tile Aviation Snips, and then place them in your grid.

Refacing Your Existing Ceiling

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If noise or temperature is a concern for your new installation, you can choose to reface your ceiling by installing the appropriate Ceilume Ceiling Tiles beneath your existing mineral fiber ceiling tiles. Refacing your ceiling keeps the insulation properties of your old ceiling while providing a much nicer-looking installation.

To install, slide your new refacing tiles (with features projecting down and into the room) under your old mineral fiber tiles. Sometimes a bit of wiggling (of the stacked tiles, not your hips) is required to get your ceiling tiles to fall into place in your grid.

Recessed Lighting

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Grid-mounted (can) lighting is a great illumination option. Choose a tile design that has sufficient flat area in the middle to accommodate the light opening and trim ring, and choose fixtures that come with grid-suspension brackets so that the weight of the light is supported by your T-bar and not by your tile. Coffered ceiling tiles may require some additional steps. Contact us for more information.

Luminous Ceilings

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Ceilume's Feather-Light Ceiling Tiles are available in translucent vinyl in addition to our opaque colors and finishes. Luminous Ceiling Tiles can be installed directly under lighting fixtures, or throughout the entirety of your grid for a fully-illuminated ceiling.

For best results, install your translucent ceiling tiles at least 6" below your lighting fixtures, and use your tiles in conjunction with AcoustoTherm® Backpanels.

Ceiling Level Temperature

As a general rule, Ceilume Ceiling Tiles and Panels will not be affected by ceiling level temperatures up to 120°F.

In some installations involving halogen lights, metal heat registers, and radiant heat sources (wood stoves, kitchen ovens, etc.), localized ceiling and ceiling tile temperatures can be much higher than anticipated. Please contact us for specific advice if your installation has any of these special conditions.

Insulating Your Drop Ceiling

AcoustoTherm® Backpanels provide better diffusion of light and hide dust and insect accumulation when used in conjunction with translucent ceiling tiles. They are listed and approved for use beneath Quick Response (QR) and Standard Response (SR) sprinkler systems rated with an activation temperature of 155°F or above, where allowed by local fire safety authorities. Please see Drop-out Ceiling Tiles for more information.

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Soniguard™ Drop Ceiling Insulation is fiberglass free and Class A rated for surface-burning characteristics. It will dramatically improve the acoustical performance of any drop ceiling, and its 6.0 R-value will help any room feel warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

To install AcoustoTherm® Backpanels and Soniguard™ Drop Ceiling Insulation, simply drop your ceiling tiles and insulation into your grid in pairs: one AcoustoTherm® panel or Soniguard™ square resting on top of one ceiling tile. We call this the "ceiling tile sandwich". We don't get out much.

Fire Sprinklers

When fire suppression sprinklers are involved with your drop ceiling installation, your first and most important step is to consult with your local building/fire officials to make sure that your intended use will conform with the appropriate local codes.

If your suspended ceiling installation involves fire suppression sprinklers, you may proceed one of two ways:

Fire Sprinklers BELOW Ceiling Tiles

When it is necessary for your sprinklers to penetrate your ceiling tiles and be visible in the room, use a ceiling tile style from our Signature Ceiling Tile Collection (0.030" thick) backed by a standard mineral fiber tile at each sprinkler penetration. This configuration allows you to use a standard restraining-type trim ring/escutcheon.

Safety Note

The only time you can use a restraining-type trim ring/escutcheon at a sprinkler penetration is if your Ceilume ceiling tile is backed by a standard mineral fiber tile.

Never use a restraining-type trim ring/escutcheon at a sprinkler penetration if your Ceilume ceiling tile is not backed by a mineral fiber tile.

Our ceiling tiles and panels are designed to be sensitive to the heat from a fire; that is why they can be used as drop-out ceiling tiles (see next section). When fire suppression sprinklers penetrate, the tiles need to be held in place until after the fire sprinklers activate. Backing a ceiling tile from our Signature Ceiling Tile Collection with a mineral fiber tile keeps the Ceilume tile insulated from the fire, preventing it from interfering with sprinkler function.

Fire Sprinklers ABOVE Drop-Out Ceiling Tiles

When installed on their own, our ceiling tiles and ceiling panels have the unique ability to drop from your suspended ceiling grid in the event of a fire. Approved for Light Hazard and Ordinary Hazard Group I occupancies, this allows you to locate your sprinklers above your suspended ceiling panels, reducing sprinkler installation costs, preventing tampering and accidental sprinkler discharge, and creating a cleaner, more beautiful finished project.

All ceiling tiles (and AcoustoTherm® Backpanels) are listed and approved for use beneath Standard Response (SR) sprinkler systems rated with an activation temperature of 165°F or above, where allowed by local fire safety authorities.

Additionally, Ceilume's Feather-Light Collection (including AcoustoTherm® Backpanels) is also listed and approved for use beneath Quick Response (QR) and Standard Response (SR) sprinkler systems rated with an activation temperature of 155°F or above, where allowed by local fire safety authorities.

Check with your local fire marshal before installing under sprinklers:

Drop-out installation limitations:

Do not limit the ability of the ceiling tiles to drop without restraint from the grid in the event of a fire:

Please Note: Decorative Grid Tape and Decorative Strips have not been tested for use in drop-out ceiling installations, though there is no mechanical reason that the use of tape or strips, when installed properly, would affect the tiles' ability to drop from your grid.

Drop-Out Ceiling Panels - A Discussion on Their Use with Fire Suppresion Sprinklers

by Rolf Jensen & Associates, Inc., June 2014

This White Paper is intended to be used as an introduction to those considering the use of drop-out ceiling panels, sometimes referred to as tiles. They have many useful applications and their "drop-out" feature from a standard T-bar ceiling grid offers advantages over the commonly used acoustic ceiling tile. They are especially useful when used with fire sprinklers. This paper is a resource and is intended to educate potential users as to the best applications for drop-out panels. It is not intended to be a substitute for checking the applicable listings, codes, and standards, and encourages users to consult with their authorities having jurisdiction (building officials, fire code officials, and in some instances, insurers).

Download White Paper (PDF)

Decorative Grid Tape

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Decorative Grid Tape comes in 100' long rolls, is self-adhesive, and is designed to cover the face of your T-bar grid.

Before installing your Decorative Grid Tape:

A few additional tips:

Start by applying your Decorative Grid tape to the wall angle (the outside border of grid around the perimeter of your room). Beginning in a corner, peel off the backing of your tape to expose about 2' of adhesive. Press about 2" of the tape onto your grid and align the remaining exposed tape carefully before pressing it firmly into place. Reach behind the grid with your free hand to support the T-bar as you apply strong pressure to firmly stick the tape into place. Once that first bit of tape has been applied, remove another 2' of backing and repeat the process. When you reach a corner, trim the tape to fit.

Once you've finished the wall angle, it's time to move on to your ceiling mains. Most ceilings are installed with the ceiling mains running parallel to the longer walls in the room. Determine the direction and length of your mains (look for the long, seamless portions of grid), trim your tape to fit (allowing an extra inch to avoid an additional seam), and then apply using the same technique as before.

Finish by applying your tape to the ceiling cross T's. Except for the smaller sections around the perimeter of your room (not every ceiling will have these, but the odds are yours will), you'll find that your cross T's will be about the same size. Still, it is best to dry-fit and trim your tape prior to installation to ensure a good fit that will completely cover the entirety of your grid. Finish applying these last pieces of Decorative Grid Tape to your T's using the same technique as before, and your beautiful ceiling is complete!

Decorative Strips

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Decorative Strips are 2' long, self-adhesive, and designed to cover your T-bar grid. Each strip has a decorative pattern that begins with a dot and ends with a dash.

Before installing your Decorative Strips:

A few additional tips:

Dry-fit your first Decorative Strip by placing the dot at the beginning of the strip directly over the intersection of four ceiling tiles, and its length over the grid between two adjacent tiles. Trim to length if necessary.

Remove the backing on your strip, exposing the adhesive, line it up as before, and press firmly into place.

Butt (hehehe... we said "butt") the next strip directly against the end of the first, creating a repeating dot-dash pattern. The dot on your second strip will land over the next intersection of four ceiling tiles.

Install all of the Decorative Strips running in one direction, and then finish by installing the set of strips that run perpendicular to the first. In order to keep the dot-dash pattern consistent across the entirety of your ceiling, you'll need to trim the dot off of the end of each strip in this second set.


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All of our ceiling tiles, panels, tape, and strips can be painted before or after installation.


Ceilume's ceiling tiles, panels, tape, and strips require no special cleaning agents - just wipe them down with a soft, damp rag. There is no risk of water damage during cleaning, and there is no need for scheduled professional cleaning and resurfacing to prevent environmental and aesthetic problems. Small, stubborn spots can be handled with cleaners such as Formula 409®.

Do not use cleaners containing organic solvents or other aggressive ingredients as they may affect the surface appearance of your tiles. Examples of these types of cleaners include chlorine bleach, liquid grease remover, strong detergents, and nail polish remover.


Store upright in a single layer (no stacking) in a cool spot out of direct sunlight.

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