Drop Ceiling Costs and Ceiling Tile Installation Costs | 2022 Costimates (2022)

Table of Contents for this Page

    • How Much Does a Drop Ceiling Cost?
    • Installed Cost of a Drop Ceiling
    • Average Total Costs
    • Overview of Suspended Drop Ceilings
    • Installation Supplies Cost Details
    • Retail Cost of Ceiling Tiles
    • Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time
    • Related Projects
    • DIY or Hire a Pro for this Project?
    • Comparison Costs from Leading Resources
    • Common Questions and Answers about Acoustic Drop Ceilings

Cost of Drop Ceiling Installation

The average cost to have a drop ceiling installed is right at $5.50 per square foot when you choose a local remodeling company to handle the installation. For the DIY’ers out there, you can plan to pay around $2.70 per square foot to install a drop ceiling yourself.

When hiring a local company they’ll include an initial visit to determine how many ceiling tiles and rails are needed, the type of acoustic tiles you want to have installed, as well as providing a price quote. On the day of installation they’ll perform all work and provide all materials, as well as cleaning up after the job is completed.

Average Costs

Average Do It Yourself Cost

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$2.70 / Sqft

Average Contractor Installed Cost

$8.74 / Sqft

Typical Cost Average

$4.10 – $11.45 / Sqft

Drop Ceiling Costs and Ceiling Tile Installation Costs | 2022 Costimates (1)

Overview of Drop Ceilings

A drop ceiling gives any room a completed look. Suspended ceiling and false ceiling are other common names for this interior home project.

Drop ceiling cost is less than drywall ceilings cost, and the project is more DIY-friendly. A false ceiling also gives you access to pipes, wiring and other mechanical features that drywall does not. This makes a suspended ceiling an ideal choice in basements.

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Pro Tip: Be sure cold water pipes are insulated before installing the ceiling. Otherwise, water may condense on them and drip onto the ceiling, causing staining and mold.

Classic, inexpensive fiberboard tiles are still available. But most ceiling tiles are decorative vinyl / PVC panels and tiles in faux wood styles. Metal tiles in a variety of finishes cost a little more. Tiles 2’x2’ and 2’x4’ are most common, though a few 1’x1’ and 1’x2’ tiles are available.

This page of Costimates includes retail pricing for materials – grid rails, various panel materials and accessories – to determine DIY drop ceiling installation cost.

Labor cost per square foot is given for pro installation along with a chart to compare drop ceiling price estimates from reliable sources online. Homeowners also provide their cost to install a drop ceiling, and you’re invited to share your cost once the project is complete.

Product and Materials Cost Details

Drop Ceiling Tile Price Factors

There’s a broad cost range for drop ceilings. Here are suspended ceiling cost factors and how they impact the bottom line.

  • Size of the Drop Ceiling – Obviously, the larger the area covered, the higher the cost. However, for pro installation, cost per square foot usually drops slightly as size increases.
  • Panel Material – Retail costs are listed next. There is quite a range between inexpensive mineral fiber panels those with special features such as acoustic design or mold resistant panels ideal for basements.
  • Panel Quality – In each material, cheap, midgrade and premium tiles are available.
  • Who Does the Work – When hiring a pro, drop ceiling installation cost accounts for more than 50% of cost when cheap materials are used and about 25% when acoustic panels and decorative PVC ceiling panels are installed. Below is a discussion of whether this is a good do-it-yourself project.
  • Complexity of the Work – Cost to install a drop ceiling is relatively low when the room is wide open and uncluttered. Cost rises when installers have to work around features like a furnace plenum, water heater plumbing and vent.
  • Whether Lighting is Included – Our drop ceiling cost per square foot doesn’t include recessed lighting fixtures. However, retail costs for lights are included in the list below.
  • Where you Live – If the cost of living is low, average or high, it will be reflected in the drop ceiling cost estimates you receive.

Retail Cost of Drop Ceiling Tiles and Supplies

This is a common DIY project, so perhaps you’d like to know the cost per square foot of materials and accessories.

Use a material and cost calculator to determine how much material you need and total pricing. Calculators have been produced by many drop ceiling brands including this one from Armstrong Ceilings.

https://www.armstrongceilings.com/residential/en-us/ceiling-project-estimator.html

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Materials are available at home improvement stores and many online sellers.

  • $1.50 – $2.25 per square foot | Grid Rails. Some brands, like Armstrong, sell grid material by the box with enough material for 60 to 100 square feet typically. Other brands, like USG, are sold by the piece, called main T’s and cross T’s. Use one of the drop ceiling material calculators to determine how much of each is needed for your ceiling.
  • $0.55 – $0.95 per square foot | Fiberboard Drop Ceiling Tiles. Some of these are acoustic tiles designed to absorb noise and reduce echo.
  • $1.75 – $4.75 per square foot | PVC and Vinyl Drop Ceiling Tiles. Cost is based on thickness of the tiles and how elaborately they are styled.
  • $3.50 – $6.25 per square foot | Metal Drop Ceiling Tiles in tin, aluminum and steel. Finishes include copper, bronze and pewter in various hues plus a range of paint colors.
  • $1.60 – $1.85 per square foot (Optional)| Insulation Tiles can be used above each tile. Soniguard is a popular brand that reduces noise and adds R6 insulation value to the ceiling.
  • $0.75 – $1.15 per square foot | Wire, clips, anchors and other installation accessories.
  • $0.45 – $0.60 per linear foot (Optional) | Decorative Vinyl Rail Covers are produced by brands like ProLITE to complement its ceiling tiles.
  • $0.25 – $0.50 per linear foot (Optional)| Plastic Tape for covering the rails. It is available in many colors to match or contrast your ceiling tile color.
  • $3.00 – $10.00 | Hand Tools: A utility knife and blade can be used to cut fiberboard tiles. Snips are used for vinyl/plastic/PVC and metal drop ceiling tiles.
  • $20 – $50 | A good 6’ bubble level can be used (starting at $20), but a compact laser level is a better choice for precision leveling ($35 – $50).
  • $85 – $170 Each | LED Panel Lights with Mounting Kits, designed for drop ceilings. Most drop ceiling light panels are 2’x2’ or 2’x4’.
  • $40 – $220 Each | Recessed Light Fixtures in a range of options including single and double lights, trim packages and fixture color.
  • $20 – $35 | Light Controls/Rheostats

Permits, Inspection, Related Costs and Installation Time

Permits and Inspection Cost

  • $0 | No permit is required for installing a drop ceiling.

Related Costs and Installation Time

Hiring a local handyman service is a good choice if you don’t intend to DIY your drop ceiling. Some licensed contractors will also do this work. They can subcontract an electrician to install wiring, lights and controls. Those costs are not covered in this estimate.

Labor rates are higher in large metro areas especially on the Coasts. They’re lower in rural areas and small towns.

  • $50 – $80 per hour | Cost to Hire a Handyman
  • $70 – $135 per hour | Cost to Hire a Licensed Contractor

How long does it take to hang a drop ceiling? Knowing that will help you estimate your total drop ceiling installation cost.

Expect pros to install a suspended ceiling at the rate of 30 to 40 square feet per hour based on the complexity of the ceiling. Here’s what a 1,000 square foot job time frame might look like for one person. Two people will go a little more than twice as fast.

  • Up to 3 Days | Constructing and hanging the grid network
  • 4-6 Hours | Installing drop ceiling tiles
  • Up to 6 Hours | Optional installation of rail tape or covers

The best time to install lighting is after the grid is in place, so the exact location of junction boxes can be determined, and before the tiles are installed.

When hiring a contractor to install your drop ceiling, you’ll often save money when you bundle projects together.Here are several other common projects that are related to, or done at the same time as a suspended drop ceiling installation.

Are You a Drop Ceiling Installer?

If so, head over to our Costimates Pro’s page, and help us make this page better and more accurate for both our visitors and your future customers.

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DIY or Hire a Pro?

I’ve installed a drop ceiling in our basement and helped a relative on hers. The grid work is tedious but not complex or difficult.

The keys are to:

  • Make sure you purchase materials that are compatible – either of the same brand or that you’re sure will work together.
  • Determine whether you want partial tiles on two edges, considering the room is a rectangle (easiest), or whether you want to balance the ceiling so that there are partial edges on all sides.
  • Take your time using the level to get the guide line very level around the perimeter of the room and building grid around obstructions like a furnace plenum.
  • Wear gloves – the cut edges of metal rails are very sharp.

If you DIY, expect your pace to be 1.5 to 2 times what we’ve listed above for experienced pros. In other words, 15 to 25 square feet per hour.

Compare Costs from Leading Resources

  • HomeAdvisor: $5 - $28, Per Square Foot Installed
  • Fixr: $9.35, Per Sqft, Installed by a Local Pro
  • HomeWyse: $5.35 - $7.50, Per Square Foot Installed
  • HomeServe: $5.50, Per Square Foot Installed
  • Porch: $5.10 - $7.50, Per Square Foot Installed

Common Questions and Answers

Are Drop Ceilings More Affordable than Drywall?

In many cases, you'll spend roughly the same amount on a drywall ceiling as a drop ceiling with installation.

Can You Paint Drop Ceiling Tiles?

Yes. It may not look great, but you can paint both the rail system and the tiles with proper prep work and using the right paint.

Can You Install a Ceiling Fan in a Drop Ceiling?

Yes. You do need to assure that the support structure under the drop ceiling is in place to hold the weight of the fan, otherwise it will fall to the floor. Most homeowners build a wood box and attach a ceiling fan mounting box to the wood structure for proper support.

Can a Drop Ceiling be Replaced with Drywall?

In most cases, yes. The drop ceiling and all the framing grid will be removed before building a wood ceiling, strong enough to support the drywall. Keep in mind, it will be most difficult to get to duct work, plumbing, electrical and other utilities that will no longer be easily accessible.

Reviewed and Edited by Steve Hansen of Costimates

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Drop Ceiling Costs and Ceiling Tile Installation Costs | 2022 Costimates (2)Steve Hansen is the Lead Editor of Costimates. (Learn more) An avid home improvement professional with more than 35 years experience in both DIYprojects, as well as working as a construction foreman in residential new home building, upfits, repairs and remodeling.

"Like most homeowners, I became frustrated with the lack of quality information available on specific homeimprovement repairs and renovations. In 2015, Costimates was formed to help homeowners learn as much as possibleabout various projects and their costs so they could make better financial decisions."

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FAQs

How much should it cost to install a drop ceiling? ›

Installing a drop ceiling costs $5 to $28 per squarefoot for labor and materials, which falls in the middle range when it comes to installation costs across all ceiling types. Add $2 per square foot if you want insulating panels behind the ceiling tiles and up to $1 per linear foot for decorative rail covers.

How much does it cost to install ceiling? ›

Install a Ceiling

Ceiling installation costs $900 to $2,400 on average. For drywall and texture, labor makes up 60% to 75% of the price or $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot. Other materials, like metal or wood, take longer to install and cost more than drywall. Added time translates to a higher per square foot price.

Is it cheaper to drywall or drop ceiling? ›

Drop ceilings are more expensive to install than drywall making drywall the cheaper option. However, if you can install a drop ceiling by yourself, you can save on labor costs. You should also factor in paint costs for a drywall ceiling and whether you are hiring a professional to install and paint for you.

How much does it cost to tile ceiling? ›

The national average materials cost to install ceiling tiles is $0.94 per square foot, with a range between $0.84 to $1.04. The total price for labor and materials per square foot is $5.23, coming in between $4.38 to $6.09. A typical 300 square foot project costs $1,570.00, with a range of $1,312.54 to $1,827.46.

How much does it cost per square foot to install suspended ceiling? ›

The square foot cost to install a drop ceiling (also known as a suspended ceiling) ranges between $5 and $35 for your labor and materials. On average, just labor costs between $2 and $5 per square foot.

How much does a drop ceiling cost per square foot? ›

The average cost to have a drop ceiling installed is right at $5.50 per square foot when you choose a local remodeling company to handle the installation. For the DIY'ers out there, you can plan to pay around $2.70 per square foot to install a drop ceiling yourself.

What is the labor cost to install tongue and groove ceiling? ›

The average cost to professionally install tongue and groove pine ceiling planks, including material and labor fees, ranges from $4 to $8 per square foot. If you plan to install your ceiling as a DIY project, expect to pay $3 to $4 per square foot on average.

What is the easiest ceiling to install? ›

Surface-mount ceiling tiles are easy to install. The grid for this system is much easier that the drop-ceiling grid, and the tiles attach directly to the grid. This is another project that can be done by one person, and in most cases, the tiles that go into place can be easily cut to size using scissors.

What is the difference between a drop ceiling and a suspended ceiling? ›

Though the terminology may seem confusing, a suspended ceiling is the exact same thing as a drop ceiling, also called a dropped ceiling. These terms refer to a type of ceiling paneling separate from the higher structural ceiling, and it serves a specific and important purpose in home construction.

Why do older homes have drop ceilings? ›

Aesthetics. Modern dropped ceilings were initially created to hide the building infrastructure, including piping, wiring, and/or ductwork, by creating a plenum space above the dropped ceiling, while allowing access for repairs and inspections. Drop ceilings may also be used to hide problems, such as structural damage.

How much does it cost to tile a 12x12 room? ›

Depending on what type of tile you choose, tiling usually costs between $2 and $14 per square foot. So, self-installing tile in a 12x12 room will cost between $288 and $2016 for the tile. Additionally, other materials like mortar, grout, and tile backing will cost upwards of an additional $300.

How much is tile installation per square foot? ›

The average cost to install tile flooring is $10 to $15 per square foot with most homeowners spending between $825 and $2,520 for porcelain or ceramic tiling. Tiling a shower or bathroom walls run from $7 to $25 per square foot, while installing a tile backsplash costs $23 to $35 per square foot.

How much does it cost to tile $1000 square feet? ›

The national average range is between $1,000 and $5,000, with most people paying around $3,500 for 200 sq. ft. of 12-inch porcelain tile installed.
...
Cost per Sq. Ft. to Install Tile Flooring.
Floor SizeRoom DimensionsAverage Cost Range (Labor and Material)
1,000 sq.ft.20' x 50'$9,000 - $214,000
5 more rows
Jan 5, 2022

How do you estimate a ceiling? ›

Multiply the length by the width for rectangular areas. For triangular areas, multiply the base of the triangle by the height, then multiply that number by one-half. Add together the square footage of each section to calculate the square footage for the entire ceiling.

Is drop ceiling hard to install? ›

Drop ceilings are cost-effective, easy to install on your own, and allow you to access ductwork and wires easily after it's been installed. In order to put in a drop ceiling, you need to first install a grid system of runners to support your ceiling tiles.

Which type of false ceiling is best? ›

Gypsum board false ceiling is quite the popular choice due to the many benefits it has to offer. One of the advantages is the heat-resistant property of this material. It has a non-combustible core that contains chemically combined water (in calcium sulfate).

Is false ceiling expensive? ›

Plain and simple straight-line gypsum false ceilings from reputed brands start at ₹75 per square foot. However, the the cost of the false ceiling can become expensive and go up to ₹125 per square foot if the false ceiling needs to be elaborately designed.

How much does it cost to install a drop ceiling in a basement? ›

Suspended Acoustic Ceiling Cost
Drop Ceiling Cost
National average cost$1,494
Average range$955-$1,510
Low-end$899
High-end$2,709
Jan 2, 2022

How do you calculate tongue and groove ceiling? ›

Armstrong Ceilings, a prominent manufacturer of ceiling supplies, shares a useful calculation tool in its installation instructions: Measure the total room width, divide that total by the width of each plank, multiply the remainder by the plank width, add the plank width to the result and divide the result by 2.

Is tongue and groove more expensive than drywall? ›

Tongue and Groove Ceiling Pros and Cons

It's stunning, looks customized to the space, and looks more expensive than a drywall ceiling (it is pricier, too). If done right, it can increase the value of your home.

How much does it cost to install tongue and groove walls? ›

Installing a tongue and groove ceiling costs $300 to $750. Expect to pay $2 to $3 per square foot using unfinished wood and an extra $1 to $3 per square foot to have it finished by a local professional painter.

What is the cheapest way to cover a ceiling? ›

Cheapest: Install an array of 1-by-2-inch furring strips on the existing ceiling and nail tiles or planks to the strips. Furring strips cost about $1 per strip.

What are the different types of ceiling tiles? ›

There are four broad types of ceiling tiles - acoustical, plastic, tin and cork. Within those categories there is a further break down of tiles by design, installation and use.

What can I use for ceiling instead of drywall? ›

Trusscore Wall&CeilingBoard is an alternative to drywall for ceilings. An eight-foot length of Wall&CeilingBoard weighs in at under eight pounds, which means it can be installed by just one person. There's no taping, no mudding, no sanding, no painting.

What is the cheapest way to finish a basement ceiling? ›

A super easy DIY option for your basement ceiling is glue-on tiles. Typically made of polystyrene or fiberboard, these tiles come in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles, and are also paintable. You'll need to install a foundation, like plywood, to glue them to. But after that, it's as simple as glue and stick.

Can you tile a ceiling? ›

Tiling a ceiling with ceramic tiles is hard, but not impossible. A completely tiled bathroom will look finished, and will be much easier to maintain. If you are doing it yourself, here are the steps you should follow, so that your ceiling is perfectly tiled.

What is a lowered ceiling called? ›

Suspended Ceiling

A suspended ceiling (sometimes referred to as a dropped ceiling) hangs from a metal grid below the existing ceiling that is already in place.

What is the difference between lay in and drop ceiling tiles? ›

The biggest difference you will find between these two ceiling types is the edge and the size. The nail-up tiles are typically larger in size, and the edges usually come with more of a dot overlap. Drop-in tiles are slightly smaller.

Do ceiling tiles add value to your home? ›

You can use ceiling tiles for any room whether it be the kids' playroom or your master bedroom. It will add value and lend an added charm to any room.

Does removing a drop ceiling increase home value? ›

Avoid Drop Ceilings

If your ultimate goal is to increase the value of your home, drop ceilings are the last thing on the list. Drop ceilings also limit your ceiling height, which may already be limited in a basement and you don't want the space to feel cramped.

What is the space above a drop ceiling called? ›

The area above the dropped ceiling is called the plenum space, as it is usually used for the HVAC air return. The plenum space is also very commonly used to conceal piping, wiring, and ductwork.

How much does it cost to put a drop ceiling in the basement? ›

For materials, you'll pay between $1,200 to $9,200, depending on the space's size. Labor costs will go up with larger basements, and you should budget for $800 to $2,000 for it. If your basement has a lot of exposed plumbing pipes, wiring, or ductwork, your drop ceiling costs will go up due to increased labor costs.

Can I install a drop ceiling myself? ›

Drop ceilings are cost-effective, easy to install on your own, and allow you to access ductwork and wires easily after it's been installed. In order to put in a drop ceiling, you need to first install a grid system of runners to support your ceiling tiles.

Why do older homes have drop ceilings? ›

Aesthetics. Modern dropped ceilings were initially created to hide the building infrastructure, including piping, wiring, and/or ductwork, by creating a plenum space above the dropped ceiling, while allowing access for repairs and inspections. Drop ceilings may also be used to hide problems, such as structural damage.

What is the best ceiling for a basement? ›

Suspended ceilings are one of the most popular basement ceilings. Consisting of a simple grid and lightweight tiles or panels, a suspended ceiling covers exposed beams, ductwork, and electrical wiring, while allowing easy access for repairs or leaks.

What is the cheapest way to finish a basement ceiling? ›

A super easy DIY option for your basement ceiling is glue-on tiles. Typically made of polystyrene or fiberboard, these tiles come in a variety of colors, sizes, and styles, and are also paintable. You'll need to install a foundation, like plywood, to glue them to. But after that, it's as simple as glue and stick.

What is the easiest ceiling to install? ›

Surface-mount ceiling tiles are easy to install. The grid for this system is much easier that the drop-ceiling grid, and the tiles attach directly to the grid. This is another project that can be done by one person, and in most cases, the tiles that go into place can be easily cut to size using scissors.

How long do ceiling tiles last? ›

You might be surprised to know that ceiling tiles are designed to last around ten years. After ten years, if they haven't been damaged or discolored by some other factor, they may start to become brittle. Older tiles can warp and even break. Ceiling tiles now come in a variety of materials.

Why are my ceiling tiles sagging? ›

Sagging ceiling develops over time or due to water seepage in the ceiling. Water seepage is the prime cause of this problem and leads to the formation of unsightly marks or spots on the ceiling. Continuous seepage may also cause mold growth, which may loosen the tiles and result in sagging.

Which is the cheapest false ceiling? ›

POP is a flexible material and one can achieve any shape with POP. It is one of the cheapest false ceiling materials.

How do you calculate ceilings? ›

Determine the length and width of the ceiling in a rectangular room by taking measurements from corner to corner. Multiply the length by the width to obtain the gross ceiling area. For example, a room 15 feet long and 10 feet wide has a gross ceiling area of 150 square feet -- 15 times 10 = 150.

Which false ceiling is best for home? ›

Gypsum ceilings will last you forever

With good quality metal frames, gypsum ceilings by Saint Gobain are quite durable. Since gypsum boards are made with precision in factories, the consistency in design is maintained which makes it the ideal material for best false ceiling designs.

Do ceiling tiles add value to your home? ›

You can use ceiling tiles for any room whether it be the kids' playroom or your master bedroom. It will add value and lend an added charm to any room.

What is the difference between a drop ceiling and a suspended ceiling? ›

Though the terminology may seem confusing, a suspended ceiling is the exact same thing as a drop ceiling, also called a dropped ceiling. These terms refer to a type of ceiling paneling separate from the higher structural ceiling, and it serves a specific and important purpose in home construction.

Does removing a drop ceiling increase home value? ›

Avoid Drop Ceilings

If your ultimate goal is to increase the value of your home, drop ceilings are the last thing on the list. Drop ceilings also limit your ceiling height, which may already be limited in a basement and you don't want the space to feel cramped.

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