Specific Tools Needed To Install A Drop Ceiling

A drop ceiling consists of a metal grid that supports acoustical tiles. These types of ceilings are often used in basements or businesses, where there are pipes and wires installed in the ceiling that may require periodic access, which makes a traditional drywall ceiling a bad idea. Following is a list of a few tools that are specifically needed to install this type of ceiling, not including more common tools like measuring tapes, screwdrivers and drills.

Punch Pliers

Punch pliers resemble pliers, except instead of the normal pinching head they have a hollow receiver and a punch that enters into the receiver. This allows them to punch uniform holes into thin metal. When it comes to drop ceiling installation, these pliers are used for setting up the gridwork that supports the acoustic tiles. Thin metal strips are first installed to create this grid. The punch pliers are then used to punch a hole through the strips where they intersect each other.


Rivets for a drop ceiling consist of two parts. There is the visible portion, or head, which is the same color as the metal strips used for the gridwork. There is then a pin, which is inserted into the rivet head to secure it in place. The rivets are used to hold the strips together by inserting them into the holes that are punched into the grid strip intersections. There are also some specialty rivets available for use on drop ceilings. For example, rivets with hooks for heads are available for hanging lightweight items, such as signage in a store.

Acoustic Tile Saws

These saws have small teeth for cutting through the acoustical tiles. Although you can substitute a drywall saw, they do not work as well because the more widely spaced teeth can chew up the edge of the tile. Acoustic tile saws come in two main designs. There are keyhole style saws, which have a pointed tip so you can poke them into the center of the tile to cut out rectangles or other shapes, such as for installing a ceiling mounted light. You can also use these saws to cut tiles into smaller pieces to fit odd-shaped areas. There are also circle cutters, which are made to cut a perfect circle in the size desired for a more uniform installation hole for ceiling fixtures.

Metal Snips

Although not a specialty tool, metal snips are a necessary tool for installing a drop ceiling. These snips are used to cut the grid strips to the desired length. A good pair of metal or tin snips works well, as long as they are sharp enough to cut through the grid strips. You may also want a good quality file for sanding the cut edges of the strips.

For more information, speak with professionals like Bourget Bros Building Materials.