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Old 10-23-2012, 12:20 PM   #1
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Drop / Suspended Ceiling DIY - Level of Difficulty?


Hi all,

My basement reno is almost complete. I'm really happy how its been coming out and I'm in the home stretch. I've done about 80% of it myself (with help from the girlfriend), except the electrical and drywalling was done by pros. I however did all the insulation, framing, flooring and trimming.

The last major piece of the puzzle is the drop ceiling. I've decided on some ceilume coffered-look tiles, dropped about 4" from my joists.

After all the work that I've done, what is the difficulty of doing the ceiling myself? I have to imagine it's really not that hard, and if I've done all the other things I've listed above, the ceiling is probably the easiest on that list.

Thoughts?

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Old 10-23-2012, 01:13 PM   #2
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Drop / Suspended Ceiling DIY - Level of Difficulty?


I did one once, I must be an expert
But for my first time, it was not to difficult and came out fine.
Was more of a utility room and not a huge room.
What I did was figure out the hight and then on the perimeter walls, used a 6' level and marked the wall all the way around and hung the track to that line.
Then you start hanging the cross track from one wall to the next. Main thing is to keep the track flat and level as you go across, this is done by raising or lowering the wire the track is suspended on.
Then put in the grid pieces going across the track, drop in the panels.
ShazAM! you have a dropped ceiling.

I say go for it, if you get your panels dropped in and see they do not sit flat, gap in one corner, you can raise or lower the wire to correct it. It is forgiving construction, not like you cant go back and fix it later.
Seems I had one corner with a bunch of plumbing I had to get creative on hanging the track, really was easier then I thought it would be.

Sure others will have better advice, I only did one dropped ceiling, I was unsure about doing it. I would recommend it as a diy project now.

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Old 10-23-2012, 01:20 PM   #3
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Drop / Suspended Ceiling DIY - Level of Difficulty?


I helped do a dropped ceiling years ago but I wasn't funfool's helper. It was fairly easy and funfool is here to help if you need it. I'll be watching because I need to do one to close a sky light opening.
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:42 PM   #4
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Drop / Suspended Ceiling DIY - Level of Difficulty?


Although certainly not necessary... this is one project where a rotary laser level really comes in handy.

If you’re one that’s always looking for an excuse to buy a new tool then you may just have found one.
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:48 PM   #5
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Drop / Suspended Ceiling DIY - Level of Difficulty?


A self leveling lazer level would be a valuable tool on this job. Home Depot rents them.
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Old 10-23-2012, 06:13 PM   #6
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Drop / Suspended Ceiling DIY - Level of Difficulty?


This company makes drop and tray ceilings really easy.

http://www.trim-texestore.com/
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Old 10-24-2012, 12:31 PM   #7
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Drop / Suspended Ceiling DIY - Level of Difficulty?


Of course I'm always looking for excuses to buy cool tools, but a laser level is probably something that I won't get much use out of on a regular basis!

Definitely will rent self-leveling one from Depot - seems like the best solution.

Along the same lines, sounds like getting the wall channel level all along the room is the toughest part. After that its drawing out where to start your first main tee, then going from there.
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Old 10-24-2012, 01:05 PM   #8
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Drop / Suspended Ceiling DIY - Level of Difficulty?


Be aware of what your floors are like. Especially with a low basement ceiling, if your floors are off you may have to shift the ceiling grid to compensate for the floors. A nice level ceiling can look goofy if your floors do not match it and slope to corners, etc. A laser beam you can project around the circumference of the room is certainly great but one that will not let you override its self-leveling feature could cause you problems.

And no matter what, you are probably going to need some string lines.
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Old 10-24-2012, 01:17 PM   #9
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Drop / Suspended Ceiling DIY - Level of Difficulty?


Quote:
Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
Be aware of what your floors are like. Especially with a low basement ceiling, if your floors are off you may have to shift the ceiling grid to compensate for the floors. A nice level ceiling can look goofy if your floors do not match it and slope to corners, etc. A laser beam you can project around the circumference of the room is certainly great but one that will not let you override its self-leveling feature could cause you problems.

And no matter what, you are probably going to need some string lines.
The floor is about a 3/4" off over 22 ft. - I'm assuming that's not enough to worry about?

And yes, definitely string lines. Depot actually sells an "install kit" that has snips, stringline, suspension wire and something else all-in-one.

Last edited by Setzer1994; 10-24-2012 at 01:26 PM.
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Old 10-24-2012, 02:50 PM   #10
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Drop / Suspended Ceiling DIY - Level of Difficulty?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Setzer1994 View Post
Of course I'm always looking for excuses to buy cool tools, but a laser level is probably something that I won't get much use out of on a regular basis!
I know what you mean. When my wife and I were building our log home by ourselves, I bought a laser level. We never used it; couldn't bring myself to trust it. I'm too old school, I guess.

I know Home Depot allegedly rents tools, but I've yet to find one that actually does.
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Old 10-24-2012, 03:50 PM   #11
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Drop / Suspended Ceiling DIY - Level of Difficulty?


Silly tip---but needed----the ceiling tiles eat up utility knife blades---and really need a sharp knife to get a clean cut---so buy a pack of blades---

I keep a sharpening stone in my pocket to dress the blades before changing----
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Old 10-24-2012, 04:58 PM   #12
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Drop / Suspended Ceiling DIY - Level of Difficulty?


Have we determined whether the OP is dropping pre-formed ceiling panels or drywall yet. Makes no difference to the validity of the need for sharp knife blades though. I guess I am just curious.

I guess talk of wires and frames suggests a dropped accoustical type decorative ceiling?
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:01 PM   #13
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Drop / Suspended Ceiling DIY - Level of Difficulty?


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Originally Posted by sdsester View Post
Have we determined whether the OP is dropping pre-formed ceiling panels or drywall yet. Makes no difference to the validity of the need for sharp knife blades though. I guess I am just curious.

I guess talk of wires and frames suggests a dropped accoustical type decorative ceiling?
Correct. Decorative 2x2 tiles from Ceilume.com.
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:00 PM   #14
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Drop / Suspended Ceiling DIY - Level of Difficulty?


Just a quick update -

I did half the ceiling in a weekend - maybe 4.5 hours total over 2 days. Once I got the hang of it, the project was quite easy.

I bit the bullet and bought a lazer level from Depot for $80. It's not self-leveling, but the light was night and bright. I hung it on the wall with a nail, then marked the line every few feet with a pencil.

The wall-channel was the most annoying part - they don't come with pre-punched holes. What I ended up doing so that I didn't damage my drywall was to use a hammer and nail to make a hole, then I screwed through the hole into the studs. I wanted to use screws so that it would be easier to take down if I messed up.

Once you hang the main tees it's really a piece of cake. The 4 ft and 2ft cross tees essentially make the whole grid square for you.

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