Lay-in type suspended ceilings can offer businessess many benefits. The main benefits associated with false ceilings/drop ceilings is that they can easily hide unsightly services like electrical cable trays, plumbing and air conditioning ductwork.
Here are a few more advantages a suspended ceiling can offer:-
- With the correct type of ceiling tile they can offer fire resistance.
- Maintenance of the services above is much easier, because the tiles can be just lifted out.
- With insulation fitted above they can reduce your heating and cooling costs.
- Very affordable compared to the alternatives, MF plasterboard ceilings for example require plastering and then decorating.
- A wide range of textures and colours are available.
- If damage occurs it is very easy to just replace a single tile.
- It is very simple to incorporate lighting into the grid system.
Suspended ceiling tiles of the lay-in variety are available with three common edge details.
The most basic of these are square edge tiles which are sometimes called “board”. The edge of the tiles sits on the ceiling grid. Although the tiles are 600x600mm the actual dimensions are 595x595mm or 1195x595mm.
Tegular tiles sometimes called “rebated” sit on the grid system just like the square edge tiles but the face of the tile protrudes below the level of the grid system. These are slighty more difficult to install due to the fact that the edge tiles need to be cut square, fitted into the grid system, scored along the perimeter and then removed so a rebate can be re-cut into the edge.
Microlook tiles are very similar to tegular tiles except they fit into a 15mm grid system. As you can see in the examples below, the tegular and square edge tiles require a 24mm grid system.
Quick and easy way to work out how many tiles and grid pieces are required, just enter the room dimensions and the calculator will do the rest.
There are many different types of suspended ceiling anchors available and it may not be immediately apparent which type to use where, so we have put together a few different types and will explain which type to use depending on the soffit you are fixing to.
You would need to use metal angle brackets fixed to the timber with 25mm drywall/wood screws. You then need to thread the ceiling wire through the hole in the bracket and tie it off.
You can also use angle brackets fixed to the beams using self drilling tek screws, but a much easier option if there is space above the beam is to just pass the ceiling wire over and tie it off below.
The preferred way to fix to concrete is by drilling a 6mm diameter hole and using a “wire hanger”. These fixings push in to the pre drilled hole and when you try to pull them out it wedges itself in. The wire hanger itself has a hole in the end so you can thread the ceiling wire though and tie it off.
Another way to fix to concrete is by using angle brackets but this time fixing them using metal nail-ins or knock-ins as they tend to be called.
There are many different types and sizes of purlins and depending on which type your hanging off will depend on which type of purlin clip you require. The most common type of purlin clip suspended ceiling installers use is the Caddy H clip that you hammer on or the Caddy AF clip. As per all the other types of fixings it has a hole through which you can thread and tie off your ceiling wire.
Profiled Metal Roofing
Most types of profiled metal roof you can fix directly in to and so you would use tek screws and angle brackets as per the metal beams above. If on the odd occasion you are unable to fix in to the profiled metal sheeting then you’ll require wedge nuts. These are combined with an angle bracket to make a secure fixing point.
What not to use
Never under any circumstances use standard plastic plugs and screws in a concrete soffit. These are only strong when used in walls. In a ceiling over time they will work themselves loose, but even more importantly, if there was a fire, the plastic would melt and the ceiling would fall down as your trying to escape.
If your still unsure which is the best fixing to use then contact a specialist ceiling contractor.
Suspended ceilings are very simple to install. The first thing you need to decide is the height of your ceiling. The ceiling really needs 200mm clearance to allow for the tiles to be fitted, but if your installing 600x600mm light fittings then more clearance may be necessary. Once you’ve decided on the height you then need to fix the perimeter trim.
Once this is complete, the next step is to decide on the layout of the ceiling. As a rule of thumb using a 600x600mm system you should have the largest cut tiles as possible around the edge. For example if your ceiling is 2700mm long then your edge tiles should be 450mm wide (not 150mm wide), with an equal cut size on the adjacent side. An easy way to work this out is to enter your room dimensions in to a ceiling calculator and it will work out the cut tile sizes for you.
After you’ve determined the layout of your ceiling grid you need to fix the main tees (main support bars) at 1200mm centres using ceiling suspension wire. The wire should also be set out at 1200mm centres. Then clip the 1200mm cross tees at 600mm centres between the main tees and 600mm cross tees between the 1200mm cross tees. For cross tees at the edge of the ceiling, professionals always use 1200mm cross tees, because they are slightly longer than two 600mm cross tees, but if your fitting the ceiling yourself it doesn’t really matter.
To finish off its just a matter of fitting the tiles. Ceiling tiles can usually be cut very easily using a stanley knife and a straight edge. If your ceiling tiles have a tegular edge detail, then first cut the tiles as though your fitting square edge tiles. Fit the tile in to the grid system and score the tile using the perimeter trim as your straight edge. Next remove the tile from the grid and cut out the tegular rebate. Once this is complete the tile is then ready to be fitted back in to the grid system.
Suspended ceilings are relatively easy to install but if all this sounds a bit too complicated or beyond your DIY skills, then you could always use a professional ceiling contractor.
To buy the ceiling tiles and grid then you could try looking at these suspended ceiling suppliers, most will supply direct to the public.
Suspended ceilings are made up of a gridded galvanised steel framework which is suspended by wire from the soffit above. Lightweight ceiling tiles are then dropped into place. Ceiling tiles can be manufactured from a variety of materials such as mineral fibre, metal, fibreglass, plastic or even wood and can be purchased in a wide range of colours. Usually tile measurements are 600x600mm or 1200x600mm but other sizes are available too. They are very easy to cut and are ideal for mounting downlights and sprinklers. Suspended ceilings are popular not only because of ease of installation and comtemporary feel but because they provide an area between the soffit and ceiling which is known as the plenum space, which can then be used to keep unsightly piping, electrical wiring and HVAC out of view.
Nationwide suspended ceiling contractors.