Cost to Install a Suspended or Drop Ceiling

Cost to Install a Suspended or Drop Ceiling

How much does it cost to install a suspended or drop ceiling system? It will cost $365 if you do the work compared with a contractor's charge of $1,482, which includes labor and material.

National Average Improvement and Repair Cost
Diy Logo Hours Pro 15.0 DIY 25.0
Money Pro $1482 DIY $365
Per Square Foot Cost
Per SF Cost $4.94 Total Cost



By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Make the most of an unfinished basement and take advantage of untapped living and storage space. A suspended or drop ceiling is the solution to cover up the maze of electrical wires, plumbing lines and heating ducts. Suspended or drop ceiling tiles are 24-inch square or 24- by 48-inch panels that fit into a metal grid; the system is also used to lower or level an existing ceiling, often a concern in large older homes.

The metal grid is permanently fastened to an old ceiling or from exposed floor joists; the ceiling panels are then placed in the grid. That means a damaged panel can be quickly and easily replaced, and it's no trouble to access the lines and wires for repair work. Compared to a permanent drywall ceiling, this removability factor is a plus.

A contractor will charge $1,482 to install a drop ceiling in a 15-by-20-foot room using 24-inch square panels, which includes the labor and material. If you have some carpentry experience you can buy the grid and panels for $365, saving 75 percent. The job will cost more if you incorporate recessed or surface-mounted lighting. And it's not a trivial job, figure you'll spend the better part of a weekend completing the ceiling installation. Sound too complicated and time consuming? Here's a link to Home Advisor, a free referral service that matches homeowners with local contractors.

The metal grid is permanently fastened to an old ceiling or from exposed floor joists; the ceiling panels are then placed in the grid. That means a damaged panel can be quickly and easily replaced, and it's no trouble to access the lines and wires for repair work. Compared to a permanent drywall ceiling, this removability factor is a plus.

Here are instructions from Armstrong to Install Ceiling Panels.

When you’re planning a ceiling in a room, figure you need at least a 7-foot ceiling height. The channels usually require about six inches of space below the lowest obstacle or pipes in the ceiling, which gives you a finished ceiling height of about 6 ½-feet. That’s the minimum ceiling height for most building codes.

You'll need the following tools and equipment: tape measure or measuring rule, straight edge, hammer, carpenter's level, utility knife, tin snips, line wire cutting pliers, string and chalk, safety glasses and a ladder (two, if you have a helper). You'll spend the most time planning the grid layout and installing it; inserting the tiles goes quickly, which completes the job.

DIY Hassle AlertDIY Hassle Alert

To make layout easier and be assured that the ceiling is level, rent or buy a laser level.

That sums it up. Knowing the average cost to install a drop ceiling lets you compare doing it yourself with what you can expect to pay a contractor. To customize the cost to where you live add your ZIP Code in the cost box.

Improvement and Repair Cost Updated 2020

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