Removing Old Ceiling Tiles

Sometimes you need to remove the ceiling tiles for one reason or another. Removing ceiling tiles is a job you can do easily on your own. But the difficulty level of removing tiles is largely depends the way they were installed. Two types ceiling tiles are common suspended and interlocked ceiling tiles. Suspended These are relatively easy to remove, but difficulty arises when you have to remove interlocking ceiling tiles. Interlocking tiles requires more work and effort.

Another important fact you have to keep in mind before working with tiles is the presence of asbestos in it. Before 1980s, asbestos is widely used in tiles. Asbestos is dangerous for you. And if you want to know that your tiles contain asbestos or not you may have to send it to government authorized testing centers. In case tiles have asbestos, it is better to hire a professional.

Required Items

Following items are required to remove the old ceiling tiles:

– Needle-nose pliers
– Garbage can
– Putty knife
– Tarps
– Pry bar / claw hammer
– Utility knife


Removing Suspended Ceiling Tiles

1. Before starting removing the ceiling tiles, put a tarp on the floor. This tarp will help you to collect debris and dust come out of the ceiling. Arrange a large dustbin and place it in a room.

2. Push the ceiling tile up. To dislodge these from its track, pick it up.

3. To take the ceiling tile away through the opening between the tracks, you need to hold these in a particular angle. Take away all the tiles in the same way and throw them into the garbage can or dustbin.

Removing Interlocking Ceiling Tiles

1. First step is same as you follow for suspended in it. Cover the floor with tarp and place a large garbage can to collect all the debris and dust.

2. You have to figure out the way tiles are installed. Mostly tiles are stapled or glued to furring strips. Take a utility knife and notch the edge of the tile. Lift the tile gently with putty knife and see if it is glued or stapled.

3. Take the rim (molding) away from the ceiling. To remove the rim, put the putty knife along the edges of the rim and softly tap it with hammer. Pry the knife away to remove the rim.

4. For removing tiles, you can take help of pry bar or claw hammer. Place the pry bar or hammer on the edge of it and tap a little. Move the bar of claw hammer back and forth; this will loosen the hold of tiles. Remember glued tiles need more effort and force than stapled tiles

5. Remove all the tiles one by one and throw them into the garbage can. If your tiles contain staples, take them away with needle nose pliers.


– Asbestos is harmful substance and it should be treated with due care. The best way is to hire a professional to work on this. If it is unavoidable for you to work on the tiles containing asbestos, follow all the safety measures. You need to have a respiratory mask, safety goggles and protective clothing as well.

– Many states have some rules and regulations for treating and discarding asbestos. Follow the rules and regulations strictly.