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How to Hang Ceiling Tile Tracks

Recessed, or hanging ceiling tiles are propped in between tracks, also referred to as runners. Before the tracks can go up, there are a few other components that must be installed. Ceiling tracks are placed just far enough apart to support the 2-by-2- or 2-by-4-inch ceiling tiles and sit inside main beams that are connected to the joists. Before the main beams are installed, the wall molding must be properly installed.

Things You'll Need

  • Suspended ceiling grid kit with wall molding, main beams, wire fasteners and tracks
  • Tape measure
  • Laser level
  • Hammer
  • 6d nails
  • Metal snips
  • Wire cutter
  • Chalk line
  • Utility knife
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    • 1

      Measure the width of the ceiling tiles. The tracks will need to be hung at this width. Measure the ceiling width and use this width to draw an outline of the ceiling on a piece of paper. Divide the ceiling up equally to form equal size columns of ceiling tiles. If you run out of room for the last columns, prepare to cut the ceiling tiles to fit into the last column.

    • 2

      Measure the ceiling height. You must place the wall molding 3 inches below joists, ducts or pipes. Wall molding, also referred to as "runners," will be installed at the selected ceiling height.

    • 3

      Mark the wall molding height on the wall with a pencil. Adjust a laser level to this exact height, then turn it on. It will create a level line around the room at the exact height needed.

    • 4

      Line the molding up against the wall. Hammer 6d nails through the wall molding to secure it to the wall.

    • 5

      Line the next molding up against the first and secure it to the wall with nails. When you come to a corner, install the first molding tight against the corner, then butt the second molding against the first. For outside corners, cut both molding edges at a 45 degree angle with tin snips and butt them against each other. Ensure every wall is covered with molding before installing the tracks.

    • 6

      Mark the ceiling or joist every 4 feet for the main beams. The main beams will be placed in the opposite direction of the ceiling joist. Snap a chalk line every 4 feet to indicate the placement of the beams.

    • 7

      Hammer wire fasteners through the chalk line of each joist. These fasteners hold up the beams.

    • 8

      Cut hanger wires 12 inches longer than the drop in your ceiling with wire cutters. Insert 6 inches of wire through each fastener loop, and wrap it around itself three times. Bend the free end of each wire to the required height of the ceiling tile.

    • 9

      Insert the beams into the wall hangers every 4 feet. Insert the free end of the hanger wires into the holes on the beam and wrap the wire around itself. If necessary, cut the metal beam to the correct size with tin snips.

    • 10

      Position the cross tracks so they run perpendicular and intersect with the main beams. Cut each cross track 4 feet long using tin snips. Make sure the width between each cross track is not wider than the ceiling tile; most ceiling tiles are 2 feet wide and tall. The tracks are now installed.