Back Button

How to Make a Wood Ceiling Grid

Denise Brown

Suspended ceilings are one way to cover old, unsightly ceilings. The installation process is simple enough that a do-it-yourselfer can easily finish the task in a short amount of time. The limitation of this type of ceiling is that each ceiling pretty much looks like every other dropped ceiling. New products are available now that make use of wooden main runners and cross tees instead of the traditional metal ones. These create a wood ceiling grid. You can finish the project with traditional ceiling tiles or select wooden tiles available in a variety of profiles.

Step 1

Measure and mark a line around the top perimeter of the room that’s at least 4 inches below the ceiling joists, using a laser level or carpenter’s level.

Step 2

Attach the wooden perimeter molding you selected for the project so that the bottom of the molding rests above the line you drew in Step 1. Use nails long enough to penetrate into the studs at least 1 inch. Place nails no more than 24 inches apart.

Step 3

Draw a scale rendering of the room where you are hanging the wood ceiling grid. Plan the placement of the wooden main runners so they are 25 inches on center apart from each other as they run perpendicular to the ceiling joists. To figure this, measure the width of the room in inches and divide by 25. This tells you the full number of panels you can place. Divide any remainder by 2 because you want smaller ceiling panels to go on either side of the room to give the ceiling a balanced appearance.

Step 4

Complete the scale drawing by measuring the room parallel to the ceiling joists. Measure the length of the room in inches and divide by 25 to find how many cross tees you will place. Divide the remainder, if any, by 2 to determine the size of the outside panels on this part of the grid.

Step 5

Mark the ceiling joists with chalk lines that correspond to the scale drawing measurements. Using the lines that cross the joists at right angles, insert eye bolts in the ceiling joists approximately every 4 feet. Slip one end of a 12-inch piece of 18-gauge wire into each of the eye bolts and twist it to secure the end.

Step 6

Set one end of a piece of main runner into the perimeter molding, using the chalk line as a guide. Screw in a 1/4-inch eye 3-penny lag screw below the first dangling wire that you attached in Step 6. Run the wire through the eye of the lag screw and twist the wire securely back on itself. Continue adding screws and connecting wire along this piece of main runner.

Step 7

Snap an additional piece of main runner onto the first to continue to the opposite wall. Cut the main runners to fit with a circular saw, if necessary. Rest the outside edge of the main runner on top of the perimeter molding.

Step 8

Continue hanging all the remaining main runners, using the chalk lines as your guide. Periodically check the height of the main runners with a laser level to ensure the ceiling height is uniform.

Step 9

Use the chalk lines in the ceiling joists as your placement guide for the wooden cross tees. Snap the components of the wood ceiling grid together. You are now ready to install the wooden ceiling tiles.