Well I'm back to let you guys know how it went.
This system consists of 5 components:
- the edges are J shaped vinyl pieces that are exactly like J channel for siding, but not as rigid. These are used on the perimeter of the room. Long leg goes up, short leg goes down. These can either be screwed to the support through the long leg, or through the bottom of the J to the "wall" or other support.
- the "tracks" are 8' long vinyl strips that are run parallel to the long side of the room. These are screwed to the overhead support and the T strips snap in to them. These are a pain to keep straight
- The cross members are ~23" long pieces of T shaped plastic that nest in notches on the tracks and rest in the channel of the J shaped pieces
- The T strips that correspond to the tracks are also 8' long vinyl pieces with a "snap" mechanism that locks into the tracks holding the edges of the tiles.
- the ceiling tiles themselves, are whatever you choose to use either 2x4 or 2x2.
First off as others have mentioned keeping this stuff, level, and square is a huge pain as the stuff is super flimsy. It's strong, but very flexible.
Second screwing this stuff up is difficult because it's very slick vinyl. I put the screw bit into my hand about a half a dozen times trying to get a screw started in this stuff.
Other than these 2 major drawbacks I think it could be good in certain situations given that a few things are done first.
- lay out your entire grid first using a story stick or some other method. Their directions just try to get you to center the grid to the room, well if you centered your lights to the room you end up with a grid line right where your lights are (yep I did this :vs_worry
- check the level of everything you plan to attach it too, being so flexible this stuff takes every imperfection into account and doesn't hide it well. Doing it again I would get either a laser level or water level and spend a good amount of time shimming.
- Screwing through the side of the J channel edge pieces causes them to want to bend upwards. They work better if you do it through the bottom of the J, but if like I you want to install around a duct or other obstruction you end up screwing upward, or installing a filler piece to screw to.
- If I were to do this again I would not have any of the tracks "float". I would add 1/2" purlins behind all of the track lowering the ceiling by that amount, but giving it some rigidity as trying to snap the T pieces into the track with nothing behind them is a pain.
- Screws - they suggest drywall screws. I do not. I would use 1/2" round socket cap wood screws with the sharpest point you can find. Also I ended up having to use a spring loaded punch to make a dent to start the screws to keep them from wandering. Hell, I might even suggest drilling pilot holes in this slick s&*t. The drywall screws make a divot, that if you have to redo the screw for whatever reason you have to trim off to make the back flat again.
All in all this stuff was not terrible, but I think I would have done these few things above differently if I did it again.
The pluses of it are, no lost headroom, and being vinyl they will never rust.