How to attach track lighting to acoustical tile ceiling?
How To Attach Track Lighting To Accoustical Ceiling Tile
There is a certain “trick” to attaching something of weight and substance, to something light and unsubstantial such as ceiling tile. As a short piece of track lighting with only 3 fixtures, or lights, can weight around 5 or 6 pounds, it is difficult ot attach it to a ceiling tile made of cardboard or of fiberglass type insulation with just a thin decorative veneer on the exposed surface.
But let me give two suggestions, the first is easier, but may not lead to satisfactory results over the long haul. I do not use this method, although I know that many builders have. Since it is problematic to screw anything into a ceiling tile because of its composition, it is essential to use a fastener that wlll “hold” based on the fact that it has a backing of some type. In other words, if you use a simple screw to fasten something to a wooden surface, you expect that the threads on the screw will be sufficient to hold the fastener and the fastened item in place.
But in cases where the fastener is going into something unsubstantial, you must use a bolt and nut type configuration. But in this case, fastening to a ceiling tile, a bolt and nut will not due. Usually, since the bolt is only a little bigger than the nut, upon which it is threaded, the weight of the track lighting would just pull it though the tile. If not right away, certainly over a little bit of time. In the meanwhile, you may experience a bowing in the tile itself.
In order to prevent this from happening, it is necessary to spread out the weight load that is placed on the bolt which is fastening the track to the tile. This can be done in a couple of ways. First, by using a very large washer. The larger it is, the better. Because the larger the washer is, the more it will spread out the weight. Another method to spread the weight over a larger surface is to use a toggle bolt. Again, the larger the toggle. the more diversified the weight of the track is. If using this method, you must always, always remember to put the bolts with washers or toggels into two different tiles, spanning across the track that supports the tiles. Otherwise the 5 or 6 pounds of the track lighting will still be focused on one tile area, and result in it bowing out of position and falling completely.
The best way to suspend track lighting from ceiling tile is to create a bar that will sit on the gridwork of the ceiling tile, and then fasten the track lighting to that. The bar could be something as small as a 1×2 or 1×3 piece of pine. The length would be determined by the length of the track lighting. It is generally better to calculate the length of the track lightling track, then make the bar longer; long enough to span over the next pieces of gridwork past each end of the track. That way the weight of the track lighting is being born by a wider area and prevents bowing, sagging or pulling through.
Just be certain that whatever you use for the bar is well supported by using extra hanging clips or wires to support the tile gridwork in that area. If that gridwork is sturdily hung, then placing the bar on it will never cause a problem.