By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Designers consider a ceiling the fifth wall of a room, so making it special gives a room eye-popping appeal. We couldn't agree more because one of the first do-it-yourself projects we attempted was installing patterned ceiling tiles over a less than lovely drywall ceiling pockmarked with small cracks. We were amazed at how that simple project added warmth and style to an otherwise ordinary room.
The tongue-and-groove ceiling tiles, which fit together easily and provide proper alignment, can be installed directly over an existing ceiling with adhesive or wood furring strips so there's no visible grid system. You'll find patterned, smooth and textured tiles sold in cartons of 40 (which covers 40 square feet).
To install ceiling tiles you need basic tools, and if you're looking for an excuse to buy a laser level, this is it. You can use a chalk line and string to ensure the furring strips are level, but a laser is more fun to use. When the tiles are in place, install a decorative molding to conceal the rough edge of the tiles where they meet the wall.
A carpenter will install 12-by-12-inch square ceiling tiles on wood furring strips in a 10-foot-by-12-foot room with ceiling molding for $728, which includes labor and material. You can buy the materials and do it yourself for $295, a savings of 60 percent.
The project involves removing any existing molding, then fastening furring strips to the ceiling joists, which usually run across the short dimension of the room every 16-inches apart. Then use a stapler to fasten the flange of the tile in the furring strip and as the tiles fit together the tongue-and-groove design conceals the seams.
Tip: It's easier to paint or stain ceiling molding before you install it.
Wrapping up, given the average cost to install ceiling tiles you can compare the price of a contractor’s bid with doing it yourself. For a local cost input your ZIP Code.
Cost updated 2014