A suspended ceiling is usually installed in basements; and is lightweight, practical and easy to install. It allows access to pipes, wiring and ductwork for future servicing.
A grid system is hung from ceiling joists or the existing ceiling. The grid pieces include wall angles, main tees and cross tees.
Decide on the height of ceiling below all ducts and other overhead obstructions keeping above the highest door and window frames.
Snap a level chalk line on the walls at this height. Starting at one corner and working around the room fasten the wall angles by aligning the lower edge on the chalk line and nailing through the wallboard into the wall studs. At outside corners, cut out a portion of the upper part of each angle, then position one angle overlapping the other. For an inside corner simply lap one corner over the other.
Main tees are set in place on the wall angles. Mark their locations on the walls and attach screw eyes to ceiling joists to support the wire hangers. To determine hanger length, temporarily clamp a main tee section on top of the wall angles at opposite sides of the room. Tie a string tautly between the hanger holes. Insert hanger wires in the screw eyes and bend them directly underneath the string.
Where main tees will run parallel but not directly beneath joists, nail 1 inch X 3 inch lumber bridges across the joists and insert screw eyes into them. Then determine hanger wire length as above.
Rest one end of each main tee on a wall angle and attach the other end to a wire hanger then attach intermediate hangers. Hang all main tees across the room splicing as necessary.
Cut the cross tees to length (if that is necessary) to fit the borders of the ceiling grid. Place cut ends on the wall angles and snap the other ends into the main tee slots. Working across the room, snap all cross tees in place.
With the entire grid work in place, slip the ceiling panels up through the openings and lay them on the flanges of the angles and tees.
This will give you a pretty good idea of what’s involved with the installation of a suspended ceiling system. Most home improvement centres will be able to provide you with installation instructions and diagrams for a grid system suspended ceiling.