Step 6: Seal the seams

Take a short 1x4 block and hold it at a 45-degree angle against the thin groove at a seam between two ceiling panels.

Gently tap the block with a hammer along the seam to close any small gaps. Be careful not to tap on the raised dimples or you'll crush them.

Seal all the seams between the ceiling panels in this manner.
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    Tools List

    • circular saw
      Circular saw,
      for cutting plywood sheets
    • jigsaw
      for cutting holes in plywood
    • drill
    • chalk line
      Chalk line,
      for snapping layout lines
    • gloves
      used to protect hands from sharp-edged ceiling panels
    • brad nailer
      Brad nailer and compressor,
      rent for about $40 a day
    • pencil compass
      used to mark round cutout holes
    • framing square
      Framing square,
      used to mark square or rectangular cutout holes
    • metal cutting snips
      Tin snips,
      for cutting ceiling panels
    • hammer
    • four-foot level
      4-foot level,
      used to mark cornice layout lines on wall

    Shopping List

    1. Pressed-metal ceiling panels

    come in 2x2- or 2x4-foot sizes

    2. Press-metal cornice

    come in 4-foot-long sections

    3. 3/8-inch plywood

    creates solid nailing surface for ceiling panels

    4. 2 1/2-inch decking screws

    for attaching the plywood underlayment

    5. 2x4s

    used to build T-braces for supporting plywood during installation

    6. 11/4-inch-long, 18-gauge finishing nails

    for brad nailer to fasten ceiling panels; or use special cone-headed nails

    7. Latex caulk

    used to fill gaps at the seams

    8. Metallic touch-up paint

    for concealing caulked gaps and mistakes on an unpainted ceiling

    9. 1x4 tapping block

    used to seal panel seams

    10. Fine-point indelible marker

    for marking cut lines on ceiling panels

    11. 1/8-inch drill bit

    used to locate ceiling joists

    12. 3/8-inch drill bit

    for boring tin-snip starting holes in ceiling panels