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Should I try installing 2x2 reveal drop ceiling myself?

March 23, 2006

I'm finishing off about 950 square feet in my basement. The room is nowhere near a perfect square and I have two or three different ceiling heights and I want a 2x2 reveal tile (Alpine #1004 at Home Depot). I want it to look good and I have 20 recessed lights to cut out.

Should I try installing the drop ceiling myself or hire this out? I'm getting quotes from $2200-$3000 which seems like an awful lot. I can buy materials myself for $1000.

Hard to find good instructions on the net on how to do this and I've never done this before, but then again I had never framed a basement before either and that turned out ok. Help.

Comments (12)

  • blue_fastback

    I did 1500sf myself and it turned out greak. It is time consuming for the amature like us but saved me a lot of money and most pro's would nt have done as nice of job.

  • dominogold

    Thanks for the encouragement?

    So how did you figure out what to do?

    Did you buy some tools required for the job?

    Any tips for me for my basement?

  • blue_fastback

    I used whats called Ceiling Link. I have a very low ceiling so I could not use a drop ceiling. My panels are removable and it looks like a drop ceiling. I had no special tools. You do want to do some good measuring to find out how square your rooms are and adjust accordingly. I kinda found some info on the internet and figured things out as I went along. Be patient. Let me know if you need more info.

  • ravlegend

    I'm thinking of that as an option and hv been reviewing several DIY sites for such.

    Try googling DIY drop ceiling.
    HD may also sell some DIY video - the system seem straight forward.

    Here is a link that might be useful: DIY link

  • bondrey102

    Last year I helped my son finish his basement...framing, electrical, plumbing, sheetrock, painting, etc. However, he had to do the drop ceiling himself, as I had since returned home. He had very good results, and believe it or not, he had solid advice from his friendly Home Depot associate.
    The one thing that helped him most was renting a revolving laser level to get the line around the room perimeter for the angle channel.
    Yes its tough working alone but it sounds like you have done well so far and are capable. Good luck. Bernie

  • dominogold

    Well I'm starting to lean towards hiring this out.... my reason?

    I just went down and measured it and I have a lot of angles, a lot of "L"s, two soffits, 3 ceiling heights, and oh yes.... I don't think one room is square from one end to the other. Some rooms are off by as much as 2" from one side of the room to the other side.

    So I'm thinking to myself that when I try to put in the 2x2 grid it's going to be off and if I really don't know what I'm doing (which other than what's on the internet have never done a drop ceiling), then I might need a pro to try and make this look good...

    I had a quote for $1100 labor... I figure materials will be about $1000. Looking at the Alpine #1004 2x2 revealed edge from Home Depot.


  • blue_fastback

    Do you have a small room to try first? Thats what I did. I did my laundry room first to figure out how to install it. Most rooms are not that square. You sometimes have to fudge things so they look ok. $1000 for materials may be on the light side. You have to figure in wasted tile pieces and the grid materials. It all adds up.

  • dominogold

    I did figure an extra 10% for waste. I do have a bathroom I could try first.

    So how exactly do you "fudge" things to make them look ok when the rooms are not square? Seems like it's always going to be visible in the ceiling since the tiles are always 2x2.

  • jtwtech

    Domino, I believe the ceilinglink site is kensa.com. I'm doing my whole basement with this and I'm almost finished with my 1st room 13' x 25'. I have a lot a few walls that jet out and such but it's really not difficult to install. As BLuefastback said it does take time though. The walls not being square really isn't that big of a deal. you may have a few tiles in a the row next to a wall that need to be cut, that is all. The rest of the tiles will be fine. Ceilinglink attaches directly to the floor joists and the bottom runner snaps into the top track that is attached to the joists. piece of cake good luck.

  • logicalone

    It's really not that hard. I did everything myself except lay the carpet in my basement including plumbing, electrical, framing, insulation, cabinets, drywall, paint and HVAC. The drop ceiling was the easiest of it all. The key is deciding where the best center of the room/starting point is. Lets say the room is 13 by 27.75 largest measurements if room is not 100% square. Take the 13 dimension....you don't want to start in the exact center, have 6 full tiles and then have a 6 inch tile at either wall....you dont want to start at one side and have 6 full tiles and a 12 inch tile on the opposite side....what you do want is 5 full tiles and roughly 18 inch tile at both walls. It will look much better this way. So in this case you'd lay out the starting track 5 ft, 6 inches from the wall (two full tiles plus an 18 inch tile). Go thru the same exercise for the other dimension. Even though it might look Ok to just start at one side, lay out 13 full tiles and then have one about 21 inches...that only will work if the wall is dead straight and happens to be a perfect right angle to that first track you set up before. Better way is find the slot in that first track closest to the center of the 27.75 dimension and set your first crossbar. You'll have 13 full tiles and the ones at each end will be a few inches shy of full.

    The general idea is have the tiles along the wall always less than full but always as big as possible. I haven't read any of the links so i hope I'm not contradicting them.

  • logicalone

    That's 12 full tiles and the ones at the ends a few inches shy of full.....not 13 tiles.

  • ironhands

    Here is a great time-lapse video showing a couple of guys installing Ceilume ceiling tiles in a pre-school. It shows the grid, the lighting, everything. Very cool, and gives you a great idea of what is involved!

    Here is a link that might be useful: Time Lapse Drop Ceiling Installation

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