How to Cut Ceiling Tiles?

by Nest Tile on Nov 19, 2021

How to Cut Ceiling Tiles?

There are many steps in cutting tiles, from measuring, marking, and cutting with a tile saw and grinder. This blog post will give you step-by-step instructions on how to cut ceiling tiles for your home. The first thing one must do is measure out the area that needs a tile or light fixture replaced and then mark where it should be cut with a pencil. After that, use a carbide-tipped drywall blade (or another type of blade) and carefully cut through the drywall until you reach the surface below using an electric tile saw or wet saw. Use extreme caution when working around electrical wires, as they can cause serious injury if not done properly.

The installation of ceiling tiles is an easy solution, not just to cover your ceilings but also to improve the aesthetics and acoustics of the room. So, a single of the crucial elements of ceiling tile installation is cutting. How you cut the tiles will determine how the finished ceiling appears. If you've decided to take the DIY option, we suggest you go through our guide on cutting ceiling tiles.

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What are ceiling tiles?

Sometimes referred to as ceiling panels, ceiling tiles are lightweight building materials utilized to protect ceilings. Even though they can provide thermal insulation, they enhance the aesthetics and acoustics of a space.

The two most popular ceiling tiles include acoustic and drywall type tiles. Ceiling tiles' prices will vary based on the kind. For instance, acoustic ceiling tiles are available in boxes at $500 per box. However, higher-end ones such as tin tiles can cost up to $15-$40 per square.

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Things you'll need:

Before we go to the cutting step, here are the items you'll need to know:

  1. A piece of plywood
  2. Safety gloves
  3. Pencil
  4. Tape measures
  5. Carpet knife
  6. Utility knife
  7. Framed square or T-square
  8. Tool for rotation
  9. Pencil compass
  10. Hole saw
  11. Portable drill
  12. Drywall saw
  13. Marker

How to cut acoustic ceiling tiles?

To cut acoustic tiles, carpet knives are recommended since they can cut more deeply. It is important to wear a light glove to protect your hands and ensure that the tiles are good.

Step 1: mark lines for cutting:

Place a scrap piece of plywood on the area to shield the floor from cuts. So, place the tile face-down over the piece of plywood. With a pencil, draw your measurements along the bottom and top sides of your tile.

Step 2: cut the tile:

Utilize the T-square (or framing) square to line up the edges of the tile to the lines. Securely hold the framing piece using one hand. So, the next step is to mark (partially cuts) the tile using the carpet knife, cutting across the square's edges.

Two or three passes are enough to slice the tile in its entirety.

Step 3: make a circular cutout (if needed):

In certain situations, you will need to make clear circular holes in the tiles to accommodate lighting fittings or boxes for electrical. So, it is possible to use an abrasive, a hole saw, or a rotary tool to make a circular hole.

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1. Carpet knife method:

Make use of the pencil compass to draw a circle of the desired hole's size. Pivot the compass in the direction of the central point. With the carpet, the knife cut a slash around the circular. Make more passes each time until you've cut into the tiles.

2. Hole saw method:

If you own an adaptable hole saw, you can adjust the tool according to the size of your home you want. Could you attach it to a portable drill?

Set the saw's center point with the center point marked when you are holding your drill up straight. So, engage the drill and then press on the tiles until it is ready to cut.

3. Rotary tool method:

Make use of a multi-purpose cutting tool and connect a circle guide for the saw. The circle guide should be calibrated according to the size of the hole you wish to make.

Retract the rotary tool and make sure that the center point of the guide circle to the center mark. Once the tool is upright, you can guide the tool to the center point marked to make an arc cutout.

How to cut drop ceiling (drywall) tiles?

Drop ceiling tiles without purpose other than acoustic are essentially the drywall that is coated with vinyl. Therefore, a typical knife will do the trick, and you can even use the drywall saw to cut lines and holes.

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Step 1: mark the cutting lines:

Install the drywall tile onto the plywood. The tile should be measured and marked with cut edges (top and bottom sides) with a pencil.

Step 2: make a scoring cut:

To ensure that your cut is straight, you should use a t-square or a framing square to frame the tile. Place the square on top and use a knife to create an angled cut. Scoring is the same as cutting a small cut into the tile.

Step 3: completing the cut:

This procedure should be well-known to people who cut drywall before. The border of the tiles (the scoring line) with the working surface's edges. Ensure that any excess tiles or debris are hanging above the edge of your work surface and that the scored line is directed upward. Then, gently push the waste to fold it and press the tile in the scoring line.

In this stage, the waste portion of the tile must be hanging from its back. So, turn over the tile along its edge, and then cut the crease with your cutting tool. Place tiles on flat surfaces then cut any excess drywall core along the edges.

Step 4: making a circular cutout (if needed):

Similar to acoustic ceiling tile, you might need to create a circle to allow for the installation of lighting fixtures or electrical cabinets.

Step 5: drywall saw method:

Make use of a pencil compass and draw a circle by the size of your home you want. The compass's pivot should be set to the central point. Place the saw blade on the edges of the circular. Then, gently push the saw to get it into the tile. Cutting should be done on the side facing.

Mark the lines of the circle using the saw until you have completed the cut. It is also possible to utilize a rotary tool with an all-purpose bit that can cut the circular hole. So, just follow the steps for the rotary tools that we have described above.

Key benefits of cutting ceiling tiles:

Here are the main advantages of tile ceilings. So, the perfect addition to a room in your house or office.

1. Improved aesthetics:

If your ceiling is covered in unsightly wires, pipes, or ductwork, installing ceiling tiles is an excellent way to conceal these snazzy fixtures. Additionally, the variety of designs and styles can enhance the look of the space. So, it's not just about hiding ugly items. You're improving the appearance of the room.

2. Insulation and energy efficiency:

If you install the ceiling with a drop or suspension, you'll have a reliable method of capturing warm air inside the space. The warm air will also be kept from getting lost to the ceiling's upper part. Based on the kind of tiles you select, you will save energy costs by becoming more energy efficient.

3. Enhanced acoustics:

One of the most significant advantages that ceiling tiles offer is the ability to enhance a room's acoustics, particularly for acoustic ceilings. So, they can be an efficient sound-proofing barrier for floors. The improved acoustics could be beneficial for spaces like theaters.

4. Safety purposes:

In certain situations, such as hallways to escape from the fire, a suspended ceiling that is fire-rated is utilized. So, the fire-rated tile ceiling has been proven to ensure structural integrity for a specific duration of time. The fire-rated tops can also stop fires from spreading across rooms.


Ceiling tiles are a secure and durable solution for any home. They protect from mold, insects, pests, water damage, fire hazards, and more. It is easy to install these tiles in your own home with the help of our step-by-step installation instructions or by hiring one of our professionals who specialize in ceiling tile installations. Common types of ceiling tiles include lightweight fiber acoustic tiles, drywall-like drop ceiling tiles and tin tiles. All can be cut with simple hand tools, or with power tools for circular cutouts.