Proper Ways to Insulate a Drop Ceiling
Drop ceilings are by far the most popular choice for public buildings (and offices), because of their affordable price, easy installation, and minimal maintenance requirements. In addition, they provide a plenty of space above the tiles, for all sorts of utility lines, cables, pipes, tubes and insulation.
Batt insulation is ideal for suspended ceilings, because of the ease of access. If you are installing a new ceiling, you should place the insulation bats between the ceiling joists, as usual. However, if you are looking to insulate the ceiling that is already finished, the best way to do it is to lay the battinsulation on the ceiling tiles with a few modifications that will be explained here.
Tiles take the weight
Even though batt insulation blocks are relatively lightweight, flimsy ceiling tiles may not hold its weight. This is especially true for fiberglass tiles. They absolutely can’t support the insulation weight, so they need to be replaced with more popular gypsum tiles. On the other hand, if your ceiling is already “paved” with gypsum tiles, make sure that they are at least 15 mm thick.
Reinforce the structure
Since the ceiling will have to carry the additional weight, you have to reinforce the support structure as well. Strengthen the grid by adding new hanger wires along each beam. The best way to do it is to install an extra hanger wire halfway between each existing pair of wires. By doubling the number of hangers, you will double the load that the structure can support.
Batt insulation choice
Home improvement stores offer rolls of kraft paper-backed or foil-backed batts. Browse the online retails for the best prices. Before you start with the project, you could try scoring free insulation grants that will cover the material cost. When cutting the batt to a desired length, always turn the backing side up and use a sharp utility knife.
- Place a wooden plank across length and kneel on it to make a cleaner cut.
- You want to achieve total fill, with no air pockets, so you need to measure the distance from the grid to the joists in order to know how thick the insulation layer should be.
Dislocate the tiles
Start with the first row of the tiles on one end of the room. Lift a tile and slide it over the adjacent one in the next row. Repeat the process for the whole row. If you remove them completely, they will be much harder to put back once the insulation is laid.
Place the batt insulation
Snug the strip of batt insulation through the ceiling grid, so it rests tight against hanger wires. As it is mentioned before, you want to avoid any air space between the strips of batting. Remember to keep the vapor barrier backing face down. If it is easier for you, remove the cross tees of the each row until you place the insulation.When you finish a row, start sliding the tiles back into place. Lift the batting and slowly pull each tile to its position, so that the batting rests on top.
Batt insulation contains synthetic particles that are highly irritant to the skin and can cause respiratory problems when inhaled. Always remember to wear long sleeved shirt or overalls, as well as a respirator and eye protection when working with batt insulation.