Step By Step How To Cut Ceiling Tiles 


Would you like to learn how to cut ceiling tiles? The method for cutting any tile, despite the material, is no difference. The major difference lies in using the right tools. Do you know that cutting ceiling tiles with simple hand tools without hiring a professional is possible? Every tile is cut using a different tool, the most common ones are a carpet knife, drywall saw utility knife, and tin snips. These tools are the most efficient ones to use when you do a DIY. Yet, there are also power tools for different situations. This article will teach you how to cut ceiling tiles.

In this case, power tools may be faster but they are optional. As you mark every tile for cutting, a T-square or framing square of drywaller will help you get the the right angles. The frame square also gives instructions for scoring the tiles and cutting them with a knife.

What Are Ceiling Tiles?

On occasions they are also called as ceiling panels, they are lightweight building materials used to protect the ceilings. Although they can produce thermal insulation, they improve the aesthetics and acoustics of a room. The two of the most well-know ceilings tiles are acoustic and drywall. The price of ceiling tile vary by type.

Tips and What to Consider for Cutting Tiles

Wear a good pair of light gloves. They will provide protection for the tiles from fingerprints as well as your hands from the abrasiveness of the tiles.

If you cut a tile and you only use less than half of the tiles, you can use the rest on another piece.

Instead of a utility knife, cut the tiles using a carpet knife. They are usually much sharper and have a deeper cut. With four cutting surfaces, once one wears down, you have options.

Required Items

To cup the ceilings tiles here are the tools that you need:

  • Plywood scrap
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Gloves
  • Carpet knife
  • Framing square or T-square
  • Pencil compass
  • Hole saw
  • Rotary tool that has  a multipurpose bit/circle guide
  • Portable drill
  • Marker
  • Utility knife
  • Tin snips
  • Drywall saw
  • 3/8” drill bitutility knife
  • drywall saw
  • marker
  • 3/8″ drill
  • tin snips

Cut Acoustic Tiles

A carpet knife is good to use for cutting surface mount as well as drop ceiling acoustic tiles. You are also allowed to use a standard utility knife. However, carpet knives will give a clean and deeper cut. It is advisable to wear a pair of thin gloves when working with this type of tile to make sure your tiles clean and to provide protection for your hands from handling the rough texture of the tiles.

1. Mark off your cut line

Lay a piece of plywood or something the same on your work surface to protect it from being cut by the knife blade. Measure the width of the tile. Then give light pencil marks on the bottom and top of the drop ceiling tile.

2. Make your cut

Place a framing bracket or T-bracket on top of the tile. Make sure the edge of the tool lines up with the marks. Hold the square in one hand and very carefully score the tile with a box cutter. Start by running the knife blade along the edge of the square. Repeat the cut in one or two passes until the tile is completely cut.

3. Create a circular cutout (as needed)

You can create circular cutouts in the ceiling tiles with a hole saw, rotary tool, or carpet knife. Start by marking the center of the hole on the face of your tile.

If you use a carpet knife:

Use pencil compass to draw the circle the size of your hole. Rotate the compass around your marked center point.

With the knife, cut along the circle you just made. Start with a shallow notch and gradually go deeper until the tile is completely cut.

If you use a rotary tool:

Use a multi-purpose cutting bit. Fasten the circular guide onto your saw.

Adjust the circular guide to the desired diameter for the hole.

Tip your tool back. Align the dot on your circle to guide your center mark.

Turn on the tool. Tilt it down gently to allow the blade to cut through the tile. When your tool is standing up, rotate and guide it around its center point to complete the cut.

With a hole saw:

Fasten the hole saw with the desired size onto your portable drill.

Place the middle bit at your marked center point. Hold the drill straight up.

Activate the drill. Press your saw into your tile to complete the cut.

How to Cut Drop Ceilings Tiles (Drywall-Type)

Drop ceiling tiles, which are not acoustical ceilings, are nothing more than vinyl-faced drywall. So cut them like drywall, and use a square and utility knife to get straight cuts and a drywall saw (a keyhole saw) for holes and also curves. You can also use a rotate tool to get circular cutouts.

Mark the Cut Line

On your work surface, lay the tile face up. Measure across the tile and draw a light pencil mark on the top as well as bottom edges of the tile.

Evaluate the Cut

Place a T-bracket or framing bracket on the tile so that its edge lines up with the marks. Hold the square in one hand, and then use a utility knife to make a single, deep indentation along the edge of the square.

Complete the cut

The drop-ceiling cutting method is familiar to everyone who has worked with drywall.

Move the tile so the marked line lines up with the edge of the work surface and debris extends beyond the edge; The marked line must be facing up.

Press firmly on the residue to fit the tile along the marked line.

Angle the tile up along the edge, then cut the tile backing paper along the crease to complete the cut.

Lay the tile flat and, if necessary, trim the ends of the tile’s drywall core along the cut edge, keeping the blade parallel to the cut edge.

How to Cut Tin Ceiling Tiles

Aviation or tin snips can be used to cut these types of tiles easily Long cut snips give faster cuts, yet standard snips work just as well. To protect your hands from sharp and jagged metal edges, wear leather gloves.

1. Mark your cut line

Lay the tile face down on your work surface. Measure and mark the top and bottom edges with a permanent marker. Place a T-square or framing square on top of your marks. Then use the marker to draw a straight cutting line using the square as a guide.

2. Cut your tile

To cut along the marked line, use the tin snips. Place the good piece (what you have left) in your free hand. The tile should curve up slightly when cutting to allow the scissors to cut straight along the cut line.

3. Create a circular cut if necessary

Mark the center of your circle for light fixture. You can use a compass to draw the circle to the required size. Trace the line with your pencil or use a marker if necessary for better visibility. Using a drill and ⅜” bit, drill a ⅜” starter hole inside the circular outline.

The circle can be cut using tin snips, starting and ending at the starting hole.


Ceiling tiles are a safe and durable solution for any home. They protect against mold, insects, pests, water damage, fire hazards, etc. It’s not hard to install these tiles in your own home with this step-by-step installation guide. You can also hire professionals who specialize in ceiling tile installation. 

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