Tray Ceiling Installation for Homeowners
By Myron R. Ferguson
Tray Ceilings Enhance Ordinary Ceiling Lines to Create Architectural Interest.
Quite often when I mention a tray ceiling to a prospective customer, I find myself quickly explaining that it is not what they think. The project is actually quite simple. Tray ceilings are generally considered by homeowners to be complicated, expensive and time-consuming to build. As a drywall contractor that specializes in decorative drywall work, I build a lot of tray ceilings because they are fast, easy to construct and come out perfect.
I don’t just meet my customers’ expectations, I exceed them.
A “tray ceiling” is a common term for a recessed ceiling, often with the recessed sides sloped at an angle. The original flat ceiling has its edges lowered to create the center recess area. The lowered edges vary in width according to the dimensions of the room. The basic purpose of a tray ceiling is to break up an ordinary flat ceiling line and add a variation in height to create architectural interest. A feeling of spaciousness can be created by the look of the different levels, and a tray ceiling can make a low ceiling look higher.
Creating the Recess
The entire ceiling should have drywall attached before the tray construction starts. First, determine the width of the lowered area of the ceiling. This varies based on the size of the room and is typically 12 to 24 in. wide. Mark off the layout by snapping chalk lines to use as an installation guide.
Next, attach furring strips to the ceiling along the wall and inner edge. The furring is 1-1/2-in. thick and should be fastened to the solid framing behind the drywall. Glue and screws are used to secure the furring.
Attach 1/2-in. thick drywall to the furring using standard drywall installation techniques. Ceiling panels can be installed with the help of an assistant and a homemade 2×4 T-support (also called a “deadman”). When working alone, you may need to rent a cradle lift, a device that rolls on casters and safely lifts panels as high as 11 ft.