How to Cut Ceiling Tiles

Watch and learn the best way to cut ceiling tiles.

The Family Handyman expert, Wade Sides, shows you how to cut custom ceiling tiles and shadow lines along the wall.

Steps for Cutting Ceiling Tiles

Measure each tile to cut one at a time. To correctly size tiles against a wall, measure from the wall to the edge of the cross T.

Score the width of the tile with the end of a tape measure. Do this by putting the measurement you want to cut along one side of the tile. Hold it firmly in place and move along the edge of the tile. Use the hook end of the tape to gently score the tile as you move along.

Following the score line, cut across with a sharp knife. Cut across several times, making deeper and deeper cuts until you make it through the tile.

To recreate the shadow line on the original ceiling tile, you have to kerf the edge. To do this, first lay the tile back in the ceiling grid. Then score the shadow line with a light pass with your knife.

Take the tile out, use your score line and cut halfway through the tile. Cut through the side of the tile piece, meeting the halfway cut you made previously.

Place the tile back into the ceiling grid and move on to the next one.

Tips and Considerations for Cutting Ceiling Tiles

Use a good pair of light gloves. They will protect the tiles from fingerprints and your hands from the tiles’ abrasiveness.

If you cut a tile and use less than half of it, you may be able to use remainder for another piece.

Cut with a carpet knife instead of a utility knife. They’re typically much sharper and cut deeper. With four cutting surfaces, you’ve got options once one wears out.