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Planning Suspended Ceiling Grid Layout

This is a companion to our popular suspended ceiling installation article.

Tools Required

Difficulty Level: 4/12

A little time spent planning out your suspended ceiling grid layout will really help you as a installation blu print and in ordering material.

There are really four main parts to a suspended ceiling:

  1. wall angle .This is the piece that screws to the outside walls and helps to hold up most of the other parts where they meet the walls.
  2. main T's. These are the main beams of the ceiling system that everything else is supported by ,the main T's will also always run perpendicular to the ceiling joists in the room.
  3. 2' & 4' T's. These lock into the main T's to form the grid pattern for the size of tiles you are using.
  4. ceiling tiles. These come in two sizes (2'x4', 2'x2') and many styles and they fill in all the open space in the ceiling system.

When figuring out the layout for a room you want to always try and even out the border tiles in the room so it looks balanced and centered, instead of just starting with a full tile in the corner of the room and working your way out of the corner with full tiles. This has you ending up with full tiles along 2 walls and cut tiles along the other two walls and does not look very professional.

For my example I will be using 2'x4' tiles and the room will be 9' wide and 14'-6" long and the ceiling joists will be traveling in the 9' direction, I will also be placing my main T rows 4' apart.

So to start with I will figure out the length of the border panels for the width of my room.... Divide the width of room by the length of a single tile:
( 9' divided by 4' = 2.25 panels)(.25 of a panel = 1' )

..... Add the remainder to the length of a single tile and divide by 2:
( 1' + 4' = 5' divided by 2 = 2'-6" )

..... that gives me a border panel length of 2-6" on each side of the room.

Now to figure out the width of the boarder panels for the length of my room .....Divide the length of room by the width of a single tile:
(14'-6" divided by 2' = 7.25 panels)( .25 of a panel = 6")

.....Add the remainder to the width of a single tile and divide by 2:
(6" + 2' = 2'-6" divided by 2 = 1'-3")

.....That gives me a border panel width of 1'-3" on each end of the room

Now I take all that information and can draw out a layout of the ceiling grid in that room based on the sizes I have figured out. From that you can count up the quantity of parts you need for the project. Here is a diagram to help plan your suspended ceiling grid.

suspended ceiling grid layout