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Drop-In Tin Ceiling Tile Installation

Suspended ceilings are used in residential and commercial buildings to create a decorative ceiling below a structural floor. A suspended ceiling utilizes a metal grid system that is installed to a ceiling substrate or joists and hangs down from the substrate, creating a cavity void, which is commonly between 4" and 12". This grid can host traditional acoustical tiles or Drop-In tin tiles of the same dimensions.

Regardless of the pattern you choose, all of our Drop-In panels were designed with The Edge – a feature unique to American Tin Ceilings, which allows the tiles to sit flush with the grid for a better finish. Our panels fit standard suspended ceiling grids that are 24" x 24" with 15/16th” bars. A 24" x 48" grid can easily be converted to a 24" x 24" by installing our 24” Cross Tees.

With just a few tools, you will be able to install your Drop-In ceiling. You will need a tape measure, a four-foot level or T-square, a marking pen, tin snips or a guillotine cutter, and painting supplies if you would like to paint your grid to match your tiles. Many people find that a guillotine cutter can also be useful.

Drop them in Place - You must already have a ceiling grid installed prior to adding your tin tiles. Once you have one up, simply drop the tiles into the grid and secure them with our Drop-In Clips. We recommend working in rows and using two clips per tile on opposite sides to lock them into place. The clips ensure that there are no gaps between tile and grid bar.

Work Around Your Lighting - With a suspended system you can install ceiling lights by simply removing a panel and replacing it with a special drop-in fluorescent fixture. If you have recessed lighting, use a compass to mark out where your fixture needs to go - start the cut with a drill bit - and finish with tin snips.

12" Patterns vs 24" Patterns

12” and 6” embossment patterns generally have shallow profile depths. Tin ceiling panels with shallow profile depths, usually under 14”, can be installed wall to wall with the final perimeter panels cut to fit flush against the wall. Crown molding is then installed directly over the tin panels, hiding the cut edge. If the panel does not reach the wall, the remaining gap can be hidden by the crown molding, assuming the projection of the crown is sufficient to cover the gap. This is the most common installation scenario and is the easiest.

Most 24” patterns have significant profile depths, sometimes exceeding a 12”. Installing crown molding over a panel with such a deep profile will result in a noticeable gap. This gap is unacceptable by most standards, therefore 24” patterns require an alternate installation method. The embossed panels are installed uncut, then the remaining area around the perimeter is finished with a filler tin ceiling panel, instead of cropping the panel to fit flush against the wall. The seam where the embossed panel meets the filler is commonly covered with a flat molding to produce a more pleasing aesthetic transition.

Other Suspended Ceiling Notes

Suspended ceilings are commonly used where access to plumbing, electrical or other mechanical maintenance is required periodically. Suspended ceilings are also used for noise reduction as the cavity acts as a natural sound barrier. Insulation can be inserted into the cavity to enhance sound absorption. A suspended ceiling grid is leveled during installation, therefore the existing substrate or joists need not be level or straight.