How to Remove a Drop Ceiling

A drop ceiling, also known as a suspended ceiling, were first introduced in the 1960’s, composed of interlocking tiles resting on a metal grid. Drop ceilings can be found in residential homes, professional offices, and commercial retail spaces. The purpose of a drop ceiling is to provide a small space between the actual ceiling and the suspended one. The reason is because the actual ceiling is often made of concrete, making it very difficult to recess electrical wiring and lighting. If you’re tired of the look and the frustration of replacing lights, you should know how to remove a drop ceiling.

How to Remove a Drop Ceiling

Before you do remove the drop ceiling, you’ve got to learn what type of ceiling it is concealing. Usually, this is concrete, which can be covered with plaster or popcorn texture. You need to know because this is what you’ll be left with once the suspended ceiling is removed. If you don’t like it, you can also change it, though it won’t be a simple process. Unlike removing a bathroom vanity, taking down a popcorn ceiling will require a lot of effort, not to mention, time and materials for replacement.
Dropped ceilings consist of suspended grids and many removable panels and getting rid of one is a straightforward process. Most dropped ceilings cover unsightly or damaged ceilings or they lower the ceiling height to reduce heating and cooling costs. The panels might also conceal plumbing or wiring. The best way to get rid of a dropped ceiling system is to take it off in the reverse order from which it was installed. —San Francisco Gate
Generally, drop ceilings are suspended by wires which support a frame. It’s the frame the ceiling tiles rest on, and, removing the entire system can open up a space, making it feel larger. Usually, there are lights hung through suspended ceilings as these are typically found in residential kitchens, particularly in two-story homes. This means you’ll be dealing with not only materials, but also with electrical wiring and other components. Here are the steps for how to remove a drop ceiling:
  • Clear and cover the area below. Unfortunately, because there’s ample space between the actual ceiling and the drop ceiling tiles, it’s not unusual for dust, debris, and insects to be present. Clear the space below and cover whatever you can’t move. In addition, wear eye protection, gloves, and a dust mask.
  • Turn off the circuit breaker providing power. Before you proceed, go the main electrical panel and turn off the circuit breaker supplying power to the lighting. Then, you can see how the lights and wires are connected.
  • Remove all the suspended ceiling panels. Remove the ceiling tiles one by one. Be careful when handling the ceiling tiles as they might contain asbestos. At the least, they could be frail and break apart as you’re removing them.
  • Uninstall the lights and wiring. After all the ceiling panels have been removed, you can uninstall the lights and electrical wiring. If you are unsure or uncomfortable with this, have a licensed electrician do it for you.
  • Remove the main grid. Now the empty space is exposed, you’ll see how the main grid which supports the ceiling tiles is fastened to the ceiling. To remove it, you’ll have to use a heavy drill-driver and/or a reciprocating saw.
When you’re done taking down the suspended ceiling, you can move onto other improvement projects, like refacing kitchen cabinets. In mean time, phone 800-433-1094 or visit AAA Rousse Services to schedule a time to pickup and haul away the ceiling debris.