How to remove a suspended ceiling

Updated February 21, 2017

Suspended ceilings are created by mounting a system of metal grids beneath an existing ceiling or a room’s ceiling joists, and then placing fitted ceiling tiles into the gridwork. The result is a ceiling surface that’s easy to access, quick to change, and requires little maintenance. The installation process is a long one that require careful fitting of the gridwork. Removing a suspended ceiling requires much less effort. Most of the suspended ceiling is built to be quickly disassembled, which makes complete removal a matter of reversing the installation process without having to worry about measuring and fitting the pieces.

Remove the ceiling tiles from the gridwork by tilting the tiles upward at a corner and angling the tiles so that you can slip them out of the grid through the grid opening containing each tile.

Disassemble the gridwork by removing the cross tees placed into the notches in the primary metal runners extending the length of the room. Push the cross tees upward from the metal runners, beginning with the tees connecting the perimeter moulding running around the perimeter of the room at ceiling height with the nearest runner. When the tees clear the notches in the runners, pull them from the grid to complete removal.

Remove the wires running from the ceiling joists to the runners, using a pair of needle-nosed pliers to bend the metal wires away from the runners. Begin at one end of a runner and remove the wires extending the length of the runner, suspending the runners in place. Lower the runner to the ground as you progress along its length.

Remove the hanger wire screws from the ceiling joists containing the top connection for the suspension wires, using the screwdriver.

Remove the perimeter moulding circling the room at ceiling level, using the hammer. Pull the nails from the moulding with the claw end of the hammer and then pull the moulding free from the wall.

Things You'll Need

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Claw hammer
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About the Author

Larry Simmons is a freelance writer and expert in the fusion of computer technology and business. He has a B.S. in economics, an M.S. in information systems, an M.S. in communications technology, as well as significant work towards an M.B.A. in finance. He's published several hundred articles with Demand Studios.