How to Remove a Drop Ceiling

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Things You'll Need

  • Wire cutters

  • Wire nuts

  • Hammer

  • Pry bar

  • Drill

Many basements and commercial buildings in America have drop ceilings installed. They are quick to install and allow easy access to plumbing, electrical and mechanical items that are installed above the ceiling. However, from time to time, it is necessary to remove a drop ceiling, either to replace it with a new one or install drywall.


Step 1

Remove the ceiling tiles from the drop ceiling grid. Push up from the bottom side of the tile until it moves away from the grid. Twist the tile at an angle to the side of the grid and slide it down out of the grid.

Step 2

Flip the circuit breaker to the ceiling lights located in the drop ceiling. Disconnect the light fixtures from the electrical supply wire. Use wire nuts to cover the exposed ends of the electrical supply wire.

Step 3

Cut the support wires that are attached to the lights and remove the lights from the ceiling.


Step 4

Use string or metal wire and support any vents or returns that are in the ceiling so that they will not fall when the grid is removed.

Step 5

Cut the remaining support wires that are attached to the ceiling grid.

Step 6

Unsnap the short tees from the main tees and remove them. Continue removing tees until they are all down.

Step 7

Remove the support wires from the joists above. Now that they have been cut at the bottom to free the grid, it is a simple matter to cut them where they fasten to the joists.


Step 8

Use a drill to remove the screws that held the support wires in place.

Step 9

Remove the wall track to finish the removal of the drop ceiling system. This will either be nailed or screwed into the wall.


Vance Holloman

Vance Holloman is a residential contractor and freelance writer living in Atlanta. Much of his writing centers on the expertise he has gained from two decades in the construction industry. His work has appeared in newspapers, magazines and numerous online sites, including and "Auburn Plainsman." Holloman has a Master's degree in business from the University of Maryland.