How to Make a Suspended Ceiling

A suspended ceiling is a framed panel which appears to float away from the walls. Fluorescent lights can be placed around the edge of the panel to enhance the floating effect and provide wall-washing illumination. The panel can be covered with plasterboard, decorative veneered ply or mineral-fibre ceiling tiles.

Locate the position of the ceiling joists by noting the direction of the floorboards of the room above; the joists will run at right angles to them. Pinpoint the joists from below by drilling or boring pilot holes through the ceiling. Mark the centre of each joist.

Suspended Ceiling

Setting out the grid

Measure the lengths of the walls and draw a scaled plan of the room on graph paper. Set out the shape of the ceiling panel on the drawing with its edges approximately 200mm (8in) from each wall. Then set out the position of the 50 x 50mm (2 x 2in) softwood ceiling ties. The ties should run at right angles to the joists of the ceiling above. The ends of the ties and sides of the two outer ones should be about 300mm (1 ft) from the walls. The number of ties you’ll need will depend on the size of the ceiling, but three should be a minimum. They should be spaced not more than I m (3ft) apart for adequate support.

Constructing the ceiling

Counterbore and securely screw the ties in position to each of the joists they cross. Cut 50 x 50mm (2 x 2in) softwood hangers to the required length and fix them to the ties with coach bolts not more than I m (3ft) apart.

Cut additional ties to the same length as the planned ceiling panel. Bolt them across the ends of the hangers with an equal space at each end.

Cut the required number of 50 x 50mm (2 x 2in) planed softwood furring battens to suit the spacings necessary to support the boardings or tiles used as a covering. The length of the furring battens should be equal to the width of the ceiling panel less two 50 x 25mm (2 x 1 in) capping battens. Equally space and screw the furring battens to the tie members. Countersink the screw heads.

Mark off the positions of the furring battens along the sides of each capping batten. Drive 75mm (3in) nails into, but not quite through, the cappings at these points. Apply woodworking adhesive and nail the cappings to the ends of the furring battens.

Suspended Ceiling

Finishing the assembly

Have electrical wiring installed in readiness for the fluorescent lights to be fitted. Cover the underside of the frame with plasterboard, decorative veneered boarding or ceiling tiles. Fill and flush the surface and edges of a plasterboard ceiling panel. Finish the exposed edges of the wooden frame to match the other materials as required.

Wire up and fit slim fluorescent light fittings to loose boards, which sit on top of the projecting frame. The fittings can then be easily removed for servicing at any time. Leave enough spare flex to allow the lights to be lifted clear.

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance


About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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