How to Install Drop Ceiling Tiles

Ceilume's 0.013" thick Feather-Light Ceiling Tiles and 0.030" thick Signature Ceiling Tiles 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

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

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.

Drop Ceiling Lighting

Recessed Lighting

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.

Translucent Ceiling Tiles

All of Ceilume's Feather-Light Ceiling Tiles are available in translucent vinyl in addition to our opaque colors and finishes. Translucent 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.

Drop Ceiling Insulation

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.

Soniguard Drop Ceiling Insulation is fiberglass free and Class A Fire-Rated. 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.

Drop-Out Ceiling Tiles Beneath Fire Sprinklers

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 (and 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:

  • Standard Response (SR) sprinkler systems rated with an activation temperature of 165°F or above shall be installed no less than 1" and no more than 5' above the drop-out ceiling tiles.
  • Quick Response (QR) and Standard Response (SR) sprinkler systems rated with an activation temperature of 155°F or above shall be installed 1" or less from the top of the suspended ceiling grid.
  • Drop-out ceiling tiles must remain unpainted and uncoated.

Drop-out installation limitations:

  • Do not use in exits (corridors, stairways, etc.) or pressurized enclosures.
  • Do not install in areas where the space above the panels is used as an air circulation plenum.
  • Do not use in conjunction with dry-pipe sprinkler system deflectors.

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

  • Do not use clips and fasteners that might limit or prevent downward movement.
  • Do not place insulation in the area above drop-out tiles or beneath sprinklers.

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.

Suspended Ceiling Grid Covers

Decorative Grid Tape

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:

  • Make sure that your drop ceiling grid is installed correctly and is even and level. Your Decorative Grid Tape will not adhere properly to bent or damaged T-bar.
  • Thoroughly clean your suspended ceiling grid. Remove any dust and grease, and dissipate static electricity, to avoid attracting dust to the tiles and the T-bar.
  • The temperature of your room should be between 60°F and 80°F with low humidity.

A few additional tips:

  • Do not remove the peel surface on the adhesive backing until you are ready to install your tape. If the adhesive comes in contact with dust, oil, or grease of any kind it will not adhere to your grid.
  • It is easier to cut tape to length prior to installation (always allow an extra inch, rather than risk an additional joint or seam!) rather than trying to work with the entire roll in your hand.
  • Remove small, easily-managed sections of backing (18"-24") and work slowly and steadily.
  • Do not overlap pieces of tape, one on top of another, as this can create gaps and encourage the adhesive to release.
  • If your Decorative Grid Tape does not adhere for any reason, simply apply a small amount of Ceiling Tile Adhesive and re-install.

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. 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

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:

  • Make sure that your drop ceiling grid is installed correctly and is even and level. Your Decorative Strips will not adhere properly to bent or damaged T-bar.
  • Thoroughly clean your suspended ceiling grid. Remove any dust and grease, and dissipate static electricity, to avoid attracting dust to the tiles and the T-bar.
  • The temperature of your room should be between 60°F and 80°F with low humidity.

A few additional tips:

  • Do not remove the peel surface on the adhesive backing until you are ready to install your strips. If the adhesive comes in contact with dust, oil, or grease of any kind it will not adhere to your grid.
  • Do not overlap your Decorative Strips, one on top of another, as this can create gaps and encourage the adhesive to release.
  • If your strips do not adhere for any reason, simply apply a small amount of Ceiling Tile Adhesive and re-install.

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.

Painting, Cleaning, and Storing Ceiling Tiles

Painting

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

  • Be sure that everything is clean and dry before painting.
  • Do not use solvent type thinners or cleaners.
  • Experiment on a sample with your paint of choice prior to working on your ceiling in its entirety.
  • Painting voids all ratings, approvals, and certifications.

Cleaning

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 Fantastik® or Windex®.

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.

Storing

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

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