How to install surface mount ceiling tiles

Surface mount ceiling tiles, also known as “direct apply” can be installed over the surface of an existing ceiling or right to ceiling joists. Examples of this are mineral fiber tiles and planks and WOODHAVEN ceiling planks.

No drop ceiling grid is required. All of our ceiling products are considered to be DIY-friendly. However, some projects may require a contractor or installation assistance. In this guide, we’ll walk through the steps of installing a surface mount ceiling so you can decide if you’re up for the project or need to hire a handy person to help.

Before you begin

Using Easy UP installation system

Using adhesive

Before you begin

Safety tips

A. Ladder stability

When working overhead, make sure your work area is clear of obstructions and that your ladder is stable.

B. Adequate ventillation

Establish and maintain adequate ventilation in the work area. If high dust levels are anticipated during installation, such as with the use of power tools, take proper precautions.

C. Safety gear

Wear long-sleeve, loose fitting clothing, gloves, and safety glasses.

D. Utility knife

Use a sharp utility knife to ensure clean cuts. When not in use, store properly.

Important surface mount installation information

A. Store and install panels in areas with temperature and humidity ranges that meet specific product warranty requirements.

B. Remove panels from the cartons 24 hours before installation and allow them to adjust to normal interior conditions of the area where installation will take place.

C. Never install ceiling panels below an existing ceiling that contains embedded radiant-heat coils. Do not apply loose fill or batt insulation so that it rests directly on the panels.

D. Keep hands clean to avoid smudges on the finished ceiling.

E. Always cut mineral fiber or fiberglass ceiling panels face up with a sharp utility knife.

What are the basic tools needed for surface mount ceiling tile installation?

Check your product's installation instructions to confirm the required tools.

A. Sharp utility knife

B. Chalk line

C. Clamps

D. Drill bit sets

E. Cordless drill

F. Hammer

G. Tin snips


Surface mount installation steps to complete

When using EASY UP installation system

The EASY UP installation system is the fast, easy, and secure way to install surface mount ceilings. This concealed system provides greater dimensional stability and strength over wood furring strips. When installing the EASY UP track system, the first and last rows of metal tracks are installed 2" from the side walls. The rows of tracks in the middle are installed 12" on centers.

1. Attach the track to the ceiling joists or the existing ceiling.

2. Snap on the clips.

3. Position the tile or plank by sliding into the clips.


When installing with surface mount ceiling tile adhesive

Another installation option for surface mount ceilings is using adhesive. This requires less prep work than the EASY UP.

1. To install mineral fiber tiles directly to existing drywall or plaster ceilings with adhesive, use a recommended tile adhesive.

2. Follow the adhesive manufacturer's instructions for application and usage.

Note: When using this installation method, the drywall or plaster ceiling must be smooth and even.

Frequently asked questions

What is a surface mount ceiling tile?

Surface mount ceiling tiles are tiles that are directly applied to the surface above. These tiles can be attached in a variety of ways, including adhesive, using a grid system, or nailed.

How do you hang surface mount ceiling tiles?

Surface mount ceiling tiles can be hung using our EASY UP system or by using a commercial grade adhesive.

Can you attach ceiling tiles directly to joists?

The ceiling tiles themselves shouldnt be attached directly to the joists, however, the grid system can be attached to the joists.

Can you glue up drop ceiling tiles?

Drop ceiling tiles should not be glued. Drop ceiling tiles are meant to sit in the ceiling grid.

What is the easiest ceiling to install?

Surface-mount ceilings are the easiest to install. The grid for the system is much easier to install than the drop-ceiling grid, and the tiles attach directly to the grid.

Other ways we can help

Contact customer service

Replace a few tiles

Change the entire ceiling

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