How to Take Apart a Ceiling Grid

Tom Raley

You have installed a drop or suspended ceiling in your home and have decided to remodel the room. Removing the suspended ceiling will be much less work and far less troublesome than a conventional sheetrock ceiling.

Use common home tools to take down the ceiling grid.

While there will be little or no heavy lifting involved, you will need to perform the task in a specific order to prevent damaging the components of the ceiling and its grid work. This will allow you to re-use, store, or sell the ceiling components if desired.

  1. Remove all odd-shaped ceiling tiles. There should be one row of odd sized tiles which were custom cut for your application. If there are any air ducts in the room these will also have custom cut tiles around them. Stack these aside for disposal or re-use. Remove all full-size ceiling tiles and stack separately.

  2. Turn off the power at the breaker panel and take down any light fixtures from the room. Disconnect the wires from the light fixtures and securely cap off each wire. The light fixtures will be supported by hanger wires attached to overhead anchors. Use the pliers to untwist the hanger wires and release the light fixture. Some of the larger fixtures will be somewhat heavy so ask a friend to help hold them while you release the wires. Once all light fixtures are removed and wires capped off, the power may be turned back on.

  3. Remove all cross "T" brackets. If you used a 2-foot by 2-foot grid there will be several rows of 2-foot brackets you will need to remove. These pieces clip together and should pull apart. Once all the 2-foot pieces are removed, begin removing the 4-foot cross "T" brackets. When this step is completed you should have several long sections of "T" brackets remaining, all of which should be supported by overhead hanger wires.

  4. Untwist the hanger wires, beginning at one wall and working your wall across the room. Remove enough hanger wires to release each section of "T" bracket. Continue to remove these sections until all "T" brackets have been taken down. Once again start at one wall and remove the hanger wires from the overhead anchor points. The anchor points can then be removed or can remain in place for possible future use.

  5. Unscrew the "L" brackets from the outer walls. Begin in one corner and remove enough screws to release one piece of "L" bracket at a time. Continue around the room until all brackets have been removed. If desired the screw holes can be filled with sheetrock mud, smoothed, sanded and painted over.