How to Tile a Ceiling

Installing Tile on Furring Strips

To install tile over an uneven or badly damaged ceiling, nail furring strips across the ceiling.

Step 1: Locate each ceiling joist in the room, and mark them on the ceiling. Nail 1 X 2 or 1 X 3 furring strips at right angles across the joists and along the edges of the ceiling with 6d common nails, 12 inches apart from center to center. Use a carpenters' square to make sure the strips are even and properly angled. Cut the strips to fit.

Step 2: To mark the lines from the starting corner for the corner tile and the first two border rows, carefully snap a chalk line each way on the furring strips. Trim tiles to this dimension.

Step 3: Attach tiles to the furring strips using a heavy-duty stapler and staples of a length specified by the tile manufacturer. Staple at an angle through each tile's grooved edges, then slide in the next tile's tongued edge to interlock the tiles.

Step 4: Cut the corner tile and set it into place, grooved side toward the center of the room and centered on the furring strips. Staple it to the furring strips, setting three staples along each exposed grooved edge. Nail the other two sides firmly into place with 4d common nails, as close to the walls as possible.

Step 5: Continue across the room, setting border tiles and then filling in with full tiles, sliding new tiles in to lock over old ones as you go. Staple each new tile with three staples along each grooved edge.

Step 6: Fasten border tiles into place at the wall, driving three nails along each trimmed tongued edge, as close to the wall as possible. These nails will be covered by molding. Trim and set border tiles for the far walls one by one as you work.

Step 7: Install cove molding along the edges of the ceiling if necessary.

Now we've covered the two most common ways of tiling directly over an existing ceiling. Time to beautify that room.

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