person using a pneumatic nailer to hang tin ceiling tiles
Photo: Kolin Smith
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Three Ways to DIY

1. Nail up. With this traditional installation method, shown at left, panels are fastened to either -inch plywood or a gridwork of 1x3 furring strips, screwed to the ceiling joists. You can hammer in cone-head nails or shoot in 18-gauge brads with a pneumatic nailer. Dimples on the panels indicate where to drive the fasteners.
2. Tongue-and-groove. Screw the panel's flanges directly to drywall or plaster, then slide the adjacent panels' tongues into the grooves. Available only from American Tin Ceiling's SnapLock line; available from American Tin Ceiling.
3. Drop-in. A metal grid, suspended from the ceiling by wires, supports the edges of each panel; no fasteners required. This method subtracts at least 3 inches from the ceiling height, but it accommodates deep, coffered panels and can cover unsightly ducts, pipes, and soffits. Grid and hanger wires are not included in panel prices.

TOH Pro Tip: "For a pleasing layout, and to avoid awkward cuts at the ends, always work from the center of the ceiling out. Snap two chalk lines: one that bisects the ceiling's length and one that bisects its width. Use the point where the lines intersect as your starting spot." —Tom Silva, TOH general contractor
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